Australian Members - Part II - if you read the first post, you'll get what this is all about. - Page 137
Ultimately, the colour of your shoes matter little. Maybe 1 out of every 5 people will notice your shoes and of those only a small percentage will care that they aren't orthodox. Of that small percentage, an even smaller number will actually say or do something about it.
The decision to wear brown or burgundy shoes is a function of risk tolerance. Do you care more about dressing the way you want or what people think/fear of being judged.
I tend to wear brown or burgundy shoes 4/5 days a week and black is a rarity but it has never been a problem.
i work in an APS department and am seemingly the only person in my division other than my FAS that wears a tie everyday (i don't wear a suit, though). wearing a tie at treasury, finance etc is definitely 'expected', but i don't think it's an explicit rule written in policy. saying that, immigration is v strict these days - even down to undershirts!
RN had an interesting speaker on Blueprint for Living this AM. Christopher Breward has written The Suit:Form, Function and Style you can listen to it or download it here http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/the-history-of-the-suit/7520514
The book is published by Reaktion Books a very interesting Cultural Theory Art publisher and while their books are written by academics they are quite accessible. I've quite a few of their books in my library.
Thanks guys for your comments.
I understand that burgundy with navy/grey is awesome, that's why I love the colour in the first place. However I'm still not quite sure about "99% of places would be fine with you wearing dark brown or burgundy shoes to work" when you may be one the only few wearing non-black shoes on the whole floor.
As you probably know, most of my colleagues and even managers (mix of IT and BAs, back office, big corp) rock to work in mediocre black oxford or derby and I would find it hard for them to not pay (too much?) attention to my shoes, especially when they are "well-polished and maintained". I'm still fairly new to the company and don't want to send the wrong message.
It's kind of funny that after discovering that I've been wearing shitty shoes for a long time, I've spent the last few weeks browsing SF and AAAC to learn about quality dress shoes, trying to find the best and most suitable shoes for my style, only to realise that Australia is not the same as the US and EU when it comes to styles (you can see black everywhere in Melbourne, and it's not just shoes.) While I like the idea of well dressed, I definitely don't want to create the impression that I'm trying too hard to be different or something.
Maybe I should play it safe and wait until I've been at the place for a while, and hopefully by that time things have changed a bit towards the non-British side, to consider the burgundy again?
Also speaking of dark brown and dark burgundy, anyone thinks the Herring Richmond brogue in brown and the Loake Strand in Burgundy are not dark enough for work? The colour of the Strand is from the review of wurger who is also an Aussie AFAIK and somehow it looks like a medium burgundy to me.
But most places these days no one could tell if your shoes were leather or sneakers or whatever - let alone worry about captoes vs brogues vs burgundy. My experience with the big corporates these days is as a visitor presenting or customer - around finance/capital works/IT(big) - Legal advice and Audit /Accounting services. By corporates I’m talking about with the big multi nationals. I mean on behalf of people I'm involved with - not representing myself.. I can’t say I've noticed much strict conformity to what’s been deemed on SF - elsewhere than here - as Conservative Business Dress. And believe me I’m a keen observer. Shoe care and choice are probably the most offensive. That all said I don’t see many men dressed as for Pitti.
I did once for a brief, but glorious time, work for Telstra on contract, when the 3 Amigos were in charge. I wasn’t on their level but I can tell you I don’t think I ever saw someone dressed neatly enough (IMNSHO) to be seen outside their house or in a restaurant in my whole 6 months.
There are some individual firms that do place some emphasis on all that but they are rare and usually explicit, and befuddled, about it.
In most places people want you to fit in and perform. Good performance will allow you to get way with many sartorial and personality quirks. Bad performance wont. Most places want someone who can work in a team. Thats what workplaces are. But working in a team means working with people. Half of your workmates will not have seen their father or grandfather ina tie, and think a tie is only for politicians and funerals and won’t be able to knot a tie. Most will think being “dressed up” is ironing your shirt and wearing a new Kathmandu or North Face fleece and something NOT jeans. I’m not joking. Most people just do not see clothes. They don’t have the visual ( or verbal) language to judge and understand. They literally don’t see what you’re wearing unless it stands out loudly
As someone above has said – perhaps if you turn up for an interview with a petrol blue bumfreezer suit, high-water jegging trousers and light tan double monks – it might not be seen as a good move. Maybe no one would hire you dressed up like that but they certainly won’t fire you if you are already hired. No one will refuse you a promotion based on your clothes – unless its just an excuse for something else – like petty rivalries etc – but then no matter how you dress it won’t make any difference to that.
If your clothes are a problem on your way to the executive suite on the top floor – take it from me if your potential and your clothes are a problem either way – either too bad or too good – someone important will have a deep and meaningful word in your shell like with you loooong before it becomes a problem.
I’ve done it plenty of times – in one situation one of my best workers used to turn up in long cargo shorts, tatts on legs, and docs and band T shirts. I told him long before he even thought about it “You’re a good worker and good bloke, but if you want to get into management and deal with other institutions and represent us – you’ll have to dress like a man not a boy” – his reply – was “ No problem – I’m not heading that way but if I do I’ll ask your advice” – he’s till a friend many years later. Still wearing shorts – in winter.! I’ve had to tell women – “Its work not a cocktail party”
My advice: forget all the details on these forums. If its a job interview/s then dress, as much as you can, to show you care, are clean, aware of your impact on others, can fit in and understand presentation. That generally means conservative but up to date. Don’t look out of touch.
Dark shoes, dark suit pale shirt, conservative tie. Doesn’t matter if shoes are open laced or closed laced – no one except a few of us here can even tell. Captoes or not – irrelevant. Again no one even knows what a captoe is. A bit of brogueing – no problem – just don’t wear Trickers pebble grain triple sole tan country long wing brogues – even then…..
Dark brown or burgundy shoes – I wouldn’t worry. As long as they aren’t bright red.
You know what I like – and I reckon it might help you – burgundy shoes but using black polish/cream/nugget on them – tones them down and gives them a nice look and you can kinda reverse it by just using burgundy to clean at some point. Don’t do a mirror shine on shoes for an interview.
Don’t overthink it.
Oh BTW - you wont be able to order Loakes from Herring to Australia. I think Herrings own shoes - often made by Loake - are better design and quality anyway. I also think, contrary to advice on other places on SF that the best (most versatile etc) first few real men's - as opposed to boys - shoes for someone starting out are city brogues - not too heavily brogued. One pair black + one pair dark brown (or burgundy in this case)
Re quality of Herring's own brand shoes made by Loake vs those carrying the Loake label, I couldn't agree more.
I would add that in my experience, quality/finishing of Herring shoes runs like this:
Herring by AS > Herring by Cheaney > Herring by Loake > Loake/Barker
@clayb, if you can afford the extra cash for shoes made by AS vs those made by Loake, assuming availability of a style you want, it is well worth it.
Thanks everyone again for your comments, and particularly fxh for such a detailed and thoughtful post. Tbh I didn't expect this at a time where many are gluing their eyes to the screen watching how the federal election unfolded. It's much appreciated.
And fxh, you're absolutely right about my workplace. Just a few weeks ago I would've still had no idea about concepts like oxford, captoe etc. I've also seen a guy regularly rocking to work in cargo shorts (he's only changed to something longer as it's winter now) and what seemed like sneakers to me. In fact I'm still wearing jeans and jumpers to work now, and only switch to pants and shirts (suit and tie are for serious events only) on days I have meetings as the majority of my current team in Sydney, all technical guys, doesn't seem to have any problem with what I'm wearing down here. Others on the floor, as you would expect, couldn't care less about my appearance.
It's a bit odd, however, when you are in the same lift with other suited men. Also my new team is entirely based in Melbourne so I'm going to have to interact with them and potentially some internal customers physically, hence my quest to upgrade my wardrobe and learn to dress properly.
But as you, and many, have pointed out, I probably have over thought it. Also my goal is to become a domain expert in my field rather than to climb the management ladder, so hopefully how I dress would not be that important. And thanks for your recommendation regarding Herrings own shoes, I'm browsing them right now. If I am to buy the Loake burgundy I probably have to use a ship forwarder like UK Postbox to get around the restriction.
Thank you for the suggestion. I can afford the Herring premium shoes made by AS, but I thought it's been a consensus in SF that shoes made by Loake 1880, AE and even Meermin are already good enough (i.e. quality full grain leather, goodyear welt, resoleable) and once you move pass this sweet spot the law of diminishing returns will kick in hard, won't it?
To quote wuger from his The Quintessential Dress Shoe thread:
I'm not quite sure about this, but from what I read in SF, if I'm to fork out $480 for a pair of Herring made by AS, shouldn't I pay an extra $70 or $80 for a pair of C&J bench grade, which has been widely considered the best mid-tier English shoes, at pediawear instead?
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 7/2/16 at 4:18pm