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post #91 of 111
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you just beat me to it Arvi.  It has been a very long time since someone could divide clothing styles along national lines.  There used to be the American suit, the British suit, and the Italian suit.  These were easily distinguishable by their unique fit and style characteristics, and that was that.  That was a very very long time ago.  These days you have American companies making Italian suits, and vice versa. British companies with Italian influence, etc. Not only that, the style cues that separated the national identities can all be found on the same suit at once.  What I think you are referring to, and please correct me if I am wrong, is the more unique and offbeat styles that generally come out of Italy.  The silly shoes, the funky ties, the now much maligned Armani cut of the 80s.  Because alot of people associate those things with Italy, it has become a  bit of a stigma.  If you think about it, however, the same holds true in the rest of the world. For every BB Alden shoe that you probably love, there are 10 atrocious Kenneth Cole/et al. square toed monstrocities that you are ignoring. For every well dressed conservative Brit, picture some of the rather eccentric styles that emerged from that country in the 60s and 70s.  Every country has both good and bad looks.  For some reason you are focusing on the good looks of the Americans and the Brits, yet only focusing on the odd and ugly looks thats sometime malign the Italians.  The truth of it is Italy has the majority of the best tailors, designers, etc. in the entire world as far as the clothing business goes.  Italian companies pride themselves on innovation, on creativity, and because of that have some of the most beautifully styled clothes, but unfortunately some of the ugliest.   to simply say you dont like Italian styled clothes is too much of a generalization.  What you should say is you dont like ugly Italian clothes, and neither do I.  You wouldnt catch me in a pair of those silly Italian shoes with the huge welt running around it like a rain gutter if they were given to me.
Dear Phil and others, You're right that one may some difficulty confining an aesthetic to national origin, given esp. the influence each has had on the other (for good or ill). However, I do think it is possible to delineate to a more or less clear extent the basic attributes of a "style". Now if we prefer to think of them not in terms of national origin, that's fine. But I'll continue to do so. I should also say that we had a very good discussion of the implications of "national origin" on the AskAndy site. I termed this a sort of "Cultural Capital". That is, a value that is intangible in one sense because it carries with it feelings, emotions, history, and an aesthetic that it is difficult to pin down. Levi's has a certain "cultural capital" due to not only the fact that it is an American design, but because of the discourse surrounding the article of clothing -- the films in which it's appeared, the movie stars who wore it, the (varied) socio-economic classes that have worn it, everyone from the sexy daughter of the society matron on the upper east side of NYC to the down and out punk drug-addict of the old CBGB's club to the farmer in Kansas to the surfer in California has worn levi's. Now Levi's are no longer made in the USA. But that garment still maintains its Cultural Capital. Now I am not arguing for the Levi's here, and I offer it only as an example. (Though the design, in its simplicity, durability, and value are unsurpassed, to my mind, in a pair of jeans). It's acutally hard to "pin down" or quantify much aesthetic taste. You know taste when you see it. Now while it is true that in say art, one can attempt to employ mathematics to "rationalize" taste (measuring the dimensions or relative space between features on a face of a Greek statute, for instance), or in poetry one can attempt to scan the meter of the a poem. etc. And 'Arvi: what's this business about the Italians influencing the Anglo-American look? Yours on the ramparts, H.
post #92 of 111
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(MPS @ 18 Oct. 2004, 10:36)
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Originally Posted by T4phage,18 Oct. 2004, 01:23
I lived in the States during all my college and grad years, and to me, I personally hated the "Trad" look.  Very shapeless, very boring.  Once I got to Europe, especially Italy, I was sold. btw. Saville row clothing as typified by A&S is not that far removed from the Neapolitan suits in terms of shoulder stucture.
T4phage - couldn't agree more. Quite frankly, I think that the Italian "take" on the "English look" beats the American hands down.
From the Ben Silver website: Classic American Blazer Look at this thing - horrid chest, horrid lapels with a dead roll, ironing board stiff shoulders, such low armholes that lack comfort. Ech...
I don't find this cut to be uncomfortable at all, though I prefer the shoulder to be slightly more natural. At any rate, Ben Silver is it's own animal, as I've stated, and it gets many things wrong. My critique of the catalog may be found on the askandy.com site.
post #93 of 111
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I can understand if you prefer English tailoring, shirts, shoes, etc., to that of the Italians (although I disagree completely, except for shoes), but how on earth can any sane person prefer American (the land of sack suits, tasseled loafers, and boxy button-down shirts) to Italian?
Thanks for your post. First, what I am really championing is an Anglo-American look. That is, a look that takes certain qualities from the English, but maintians an natural shoulder ivy league look. This whole idea of the sack is a phantom. Even the J. Press suit has shaping. People like to slam the sack, as it were, but in has many virtues. The button-down is one among many. Second, the greatest virtues of the Anglo-American look can be found in the many Hitchcock films, such as Foreign Correspondent, North by Northwest, etc. There is a whole list of classic French and Italians films filled with our European brothers who just couldn't get enough of the Anglo-American look. Now, I suppose, it would be a good idea to dry to define the Anglo-American look. (Ken Pollack on askandy.com has done a very good job of it).
post #94 of 111
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(Horace @ 14 Oct. 2004, 01:57) All this Italian stuff --- horrible.   You all must buy top-shelf American or English things from now on. That means suits, ties, shirts, shoes, leather goods, etc. No more Italian.  Stop it.  Only Anglo-American or British cut clothing.  
With this attitude, I'm surprised you're not advocating we wear the fascist clothes of Hitler's germany. Yes, we must all obey and bow down to your superior taste from now on. The sack suit? That's only for overweight people. I like the way the Italian suits look for thinner people. Why make everybody, even people thin enough to wear Italian, wear something ugly as an sack. Seriously, sometimes people obsess and glorify the past too much. That was an era where women and minorities had no rights at all.
First, let me say that only Germany holds a candle to Italy when it comes to Fascist aesthetics. Actually, a study or review of military uniforms of the second world war would be interesting. There is more to the Anglo-American look than the sack. To my eye, the sack looks best when the wearer is fit. (Like most clothing). There is, by the by, no logic in your last sentence. How we got from clothing to human rights is an amazing leap of logic, but it is a leap you took from the beginning.
post #95 of 111
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Aspiring to beauty is unwholesome, even suspect, in an American man.
Did you mean "aspiring to be beautiful?" Because I, for one, find beauty a wonderful thing to aspire to, though I have no grandiose ideas of being beautiful, per se.
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I would not abjure all things Italian, but the textiles and men's clothing have become too refined, too sophisticated to accord with the American ideal of physical comfort and social invisibility
I wonder if it is an ideal, or if it is merely apathy. A good social question... Regards, Huntsman
First let me commend Jerrysfriend. I too must say that a part (but only a small part) of my distate for Italian clothing comes from my school years. Second, ROI, I am in agreement, that there is something about the Italian clothing that is to concerned obviously and sometimes even blatantly with beauty. There's something terrible self-indulgent about Italian clothing. I don't like the cut of the clothing. I don't like the fabrics. I don't like the idea behind it. It's this baroque Catholicity. (Though I do like this in art). Now to ROI's critic: I think one should aspire to the beautiful, but not to beauty. There is a difference. Other silly arguments I've seen for the Italian: that they've more selection. that they're clothing flatters one's physique. I say, if you're fit, you can look damn decent in American/Trad wear. And I don't want anything more from it. I think it unseemly to look to good if you're a male. ROI makes good points on the American idea of comfort (note I said "idea") and what he has termed "social invisibility". Interestingly enough, London Lounge had Spallas take on "Two Jackets". If you don't subscribe to the LL, I may still have message and will be delighted to paste here. The British coat is one that is subtle and it's superior quality not evident to one looking upon it from 20 yards away. The italian coat, by contrast, screams out like a peacock. That to me says it all. This vulgar display of showmanship is something I cannot abide. Also this whole shoe business: if there's a thread, please direct me to it, where a discussion of manufacturing techniques are discussed which show shoe a or b demonstrably superior to say, an Alden shoe. As flip and unmoored is my aesthetic toward the American/Trad look, I find the same to be the case for the Italian contingent. Although I admire, say, the knowledge of an A. Harris, I've never been convinced (with a few exceptions) that his approval of one shoe or another is based on anything other than taste. And there is of course, nothing wrong with that. Like Jerry's friend, I too admire the Alden shoe. I like the aesthetic of it, and I like the durability. Now whether it is manufactured as well as other shoes, I don't know. But if someone could explain the differences in manufacture that make one demonstrably superior to the other, I'd be really interested to read that. I simply ignorant (for the most part), in manufacturing techniques of shoes. Once more into the breach, H.
post #96 of 111
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(CTGuy @ 14 Oct. 2004, 8:36)
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Originally Posted by Styleman,14 Oct. 2004, 11:15
Your a joke. I'd really like to see what you look like in your American Ralph Lauren, and Gieves and Hawkes. (A Joke, just like I said before) One who thinks that Ozwald Botang looks better than is possibly blind. Show me some inovative style in British clothing; take a single look at Gucci a/w 04-05. Is there even a comparision? No, I think not. America, do not get me started, we like to wear things under sweaters, we like to wear things under shirts, we like to wear things ten sizes too big. Sorry boss, but you aint got an argument. Whenever I see someone with a t-shirt under their shirt I feel like taking out my Purdys and oh dear....
Your narrowmindedness and poor syntax both amaze me.
Of indemnity and all lucidity, that visage may possess; the English Language's veracity was apparently lost en route to America. Moreover, of collateral, it is undoubtedly a matter of ancient history of whence the language originated.
Actually styleman, your greatest two poets of the 20th-c, Auden and Larkin, hungered after the American language because they felt that the English language was dead. Auden so much so that he moved to these shores. He felt it was impossible to the tell the truths that a poet must tell if he were to remain in England. It both is and is not ancient history of where the English language originated. Whatever the case of that is though, we must note that it's a good thing it spread so far and wide, beause the returns, in many respects, have been great. For instance, take a look at the Nobel poet writing in English from the British West Indies, Derek Walcott.
post #97 of 111
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(jerrysfriend @ 16 Oct. 2004, 1:46) I also bought some Santoni Classico spectators on e-bay this summer and was not impressed; not in the same league with AE or Aden, even.
No, they're not. In terms of quality of design, quality of leather, quality of finishing, and attention to detail, even lowly Santoni Classico shoes are usually demonstrably superior to Alden or Allen-Edmonds. That's not intended to be a slur towards Alden or Allen-Edmonds; it's just that they don't make a product of equivalent quality to Santoni. My dear JCusey, I know you've written quite well in the past on shoe making techniques. I would appreciate it if you could point me toward a thread or discourse here, on each manner in which said shoes are demonstrably superior to Alden. I'd really like to know. I've picked up and held and inspected and worn many brands of high quality shoes, though certainly not all. And while it is evident to me why, say an Edward Green is superior to a low level Grenson, I don't see why this is the case for an Alden.
post #98 of 111
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Originally Posted by jcusey,16 Oct. 2004, 12:21
The argument that I was making was that it's ridiculous for someone to say that Lattanzi shoes, for example, are inferior to Edward Green shoes because he saw some outlandish-looking Lattanzi shoe the last time he was in Bergdorf Goodman. The good stuff in Italian shoes is available if you're willing to seek it out and if you're willing to wait for it.
I shop in New York -- the shopping capital of the USA -- all the time and all I ever see from the top Italian makers are the pimp shoes.  Where are these other models?  In Italy only?
I accept what you and A Harris say about handwork and how that affects the price -- although I have a hard time believing that handwork alone accounts for the huge prices charged by Lattanzi.  I guess what turns me off about those shoes, apart from the pimp styling, is that if I'm going to pay four-figures for a handmade shoe, I really want it to look like a handmade shoe.  Even Lattanzi's semi-brogue oxfords have clunky reverse-welted double soles, and are as big as gun boats.  I guess that's what sells over here, but sheesh.  The only really good looking Lattanzis I've ever seen are on the Japanese shoe fetish sites.  Maybe the Japanese have better taste, and so he sells the good stuff over there. In any case, I would always prefer an English bespoke shoe at a comparable price, or an English RTW shoe at well less than half the price.  But that's just me.[/quote] My dear Manton, concerning your comments and query on "handwork".  It would be interesting to consider, vis a vis the comments of someone like Veblen (who wrote _Theory of the Leisure Class) and the comments here on handwork. Now, it may very well be in some (many?) cases handwork increases the "use value" or "performance value" of an article:  for instance, in the case of the chest or shoulder of a jacket, the structure, fit and whatnot may be inhanced by the handwork.  (Buttonholes are another matter -- I've had bespoke from Saville Row and from the USA, and from HK -- and I actually prefer machine-made buttonholes). But in what cases is there no difference between the two in "performance value", which I separate from "aesthetic value" -- though I can foresee an argument of why others may not. In essence, Veblen's argument was that certain goods of manufacture (and recall he was writing in what?  1902?), there was no demonstrable difference in "use value" (a term from Marx) between the two.  Now, I don't share his critique of society, but I wonder how often the proponents of "more handwork = better item" is more a matter of feeling good about the fact that someone's direct labor (unmediated by technology (e.g. sewing machine) -- though of course, even the needle may be considered technology) went into item. In short, does it necessarily follow in all manufacturing steps that more handwork in a shoe means a better shoe?   Or could the reverse be argued? [i]
post #99 of 111
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. I lived in the States during all my college and grad years, and to me, I personally hated the "Trad" look.  Very shapeless, very boring.  Once I got to Europe, especially Italy, I was sold. btw. Saville row clothing as typified by A&S is not that far removed from the Neapolitan suits in terms of shoulder stucture.
1. Trad look is not shapeless and I don't think it boring. See Andover shop. 2. Saville v. Neopolitan. True, in a sense, it seems to me. But actually for the relative merits of both (and I think the superiority of the English garment), an Italian has made my argument for me, better than I ever could have. See Spalla's post on the tale of two jackets on London Lounge
post #100 of 111
All quotes originally posted by Horace:
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Saville v. Neopolitan. True, in a sense, it seems to me. But actually for the relative merits of both (and I think the superiority of the English garment), an Italian has made my argument for me, better than I ever could have. See Spalla's post on the tale of two jackets on London Lounge
I don't believe Spalla ever said that the English jacket was superior. Remember, he was also comparing a totally handmade Saville jacket to a partially handmade Neapolitan. If you ask him to compare his favorite neapolitan to his favorite English, I don't think he can choose a "better" one. It all depends on usage and image. When I compare my bespoke Hunstman to my Neapolitan or Roman, invariably I prefer my Italians.
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Interestingly enough, London Lounge had Spallas take on "Two Jackets". If you don't subscribe to the LL, I may still have message and will be delighted to paste here. The British coat is one that is subtle and it's superior quality not evident to one looking upon it from 20 yards away. The italian coat, by contrast, screams out like a peacock.
Again, where did it mention the the English was of "superior quality" as compared to the Neapolitan? Just different, again see my point above when comparing a totally handmade v.s partially machine made. Also, he was using very descriptive words. Looking at the De Sica, it does not scream "peacock". What it does say is "incredibly elegant", "fits beautifully", and "looks wonderful and comfortable". I consider myself fit, and when I did try on a "sack suit" - not particularly elegant, not nice, nothing great....
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P.S. Unless Spalla personally okays it.
If that is the case, Spalla personally likes many Italian tailors. Then you should too if that is all that you require.
post #101 of 111
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post #102 of 111
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I know you've written quite well in the past on shoe making techniques. I would appreciate it if you could point me toward a thread or discourse here, on each manner in which said shoes are demonstrably superior to Alden. I'd really like to know.
Just look at the shoes. Let's take a simple cap-toe bal. Here's Alden's version: There's nothing wrong with this shoe. It's perfectly correct. It's not the most elegant shoe in the world -- notice the shape of the toe, for example. If you examine the shoe up close (and you can't see it from this picture -- you have to look at an actual shoe), you'll notice that the stitching on the welt, the welt strip itself, and the heel of the shoe are a little ragged and a little crude. Then there's the fact that the soles are stitched aloft. Here's a Santoni Classico version: This isn't the best picture in the world -- you can't see all of the details of the shoe. It's also a cap-toe shoe (this time with a discreet toe medallion). The seams on the toe cap and the quarters are reversed, so no stitching is visible on the uppers of the shoe. Compared to the Alden shoe, the detailing of the sole and the heel are smooth and elegant. The soles themselves are channelled. The shoe itself is light and flexible where the Alden shoe is heavy and stiff. The leather is clearer and more lustrous. The Alden shoe is correct; the Santoni shoe is beautiful.
post #103 of 111
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All quotes originally posted by Horace:
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Saville v. Neopolitan.  True, in a sense, it seems to me.  But actually for the relative merits of both (and I think the superiority of the English garment), an Italian has made my argument for me, better than I ever could have.  See Spalla's post on the tale of two jackets on London Lounge
I don't believe Spalla ever said that the English jacket was superior.  Remember, he was also comparing a totally handmade Saville jacket to a partially handmade Neapolitan. If you ask him to compare his favorite neapolitan to his favorite English, I don't think he can choose a "better" one.  It all depends on usage and image.  When I compare my bespoke Hunstman to my Neapolitan or Roman, invariably I prefer my Italians.
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Interestingly enough, London Lounge had Spallas take on "Two Jackets".    If you don't subscribe to the LL, I may still have message and will be delighted to paste here.  The British coat is one that is subtle and it's superior quality not evident to one looking upon it from 20 yards away.  The italian coat, by contrast, screams out like a peacock.
Again, where did it mention the the English was of "superior quality" as compared to the Neapolitan?  Just different, again see my point above when comparing a totally handmade v.s partially machine made.  Also, he was using very descriptive words.  Looking at the De Sica, it does not scream "peacock".  What it does say is "incredibly elegant", "fits beautifully", and "looks wonderful and comfortable". I consider myself fit, and when I did try on a "sack suit" - not particularly elegant, not nice, nothing great....  
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P.S.  Unless Spalla personally okays it.
If that is the case, Spalla personally likes many Italian tailors.  Then you should too if that is all that you require.
I think there must be miscommunication here; perhaps due to my English, or the conversational, fragmented syntax. a). Your first citation of my words do not state that S. said one was superior. b). Your second citation of my words do not state that S. said the British jacket was superior. Spalla notes the qualities of the jackets. I attribute to those qualities a value (in this case, superiority). I say it has superior qualities (or "qualities which are superior" is perhaps what I should've written to make it clearer to you). Those qualities, by the by, are subtley and restraint.
post #104 of 111
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(Horace @ 18 Oct. 2004, 03:15) My dear Manton, concerning your comments and query on "handwork".  It would be interesting to consider, vis a vis the comments of someone like Veblen (who wrote _Theory of the Leisure Class) and the comments here on handwork. Now, it may very well be in some (many?) cases handwork increases the "use value" or "performance value" of an article:  for instance, in the case of the chest or shoulder of a jacket, the structure, fit and whatnot may be inhanced by the handwork.  (Buttonholes are another matter -- I've had bespoke from Saville Row and from the USA, and from HK -- and I actually prefer machine-made buttonholes). But in what cases is there no difference between the two in "performance value", which I separate from "aesthetic value" -- though I can foresee an argument of why others may not. In essence, Veblen's argument was that certain goods of manufacture (and recall he was writing in what?  1902?), there was no demonstrable difference in "use value" (a term from Marx) between the two.  Now, I don't share his critique of society, but I wonder how often the proponents of "more handwork = better item" is more a matter of feeling good about the fact that someone's direct labor (unmediated by technology (e.g. sewing machine) -- though of course, even the needle may be considered technology) went into item. In short, does it necessarily follow in all manufacturing steps that more handwork in a shoe means a better shoe?   Or could the reverse be argued?
First, remember that I was defending English shoes against the claims of Italian shoes, so in that sense (but probably in no other) I am your "ally" in this debate. Second, handwork done well does increase the comfort and durabilty of a shoe, in my opinion.  Bespoke shoes can last much longer than partially machine-made shoes.  This is partly (I think) because the hand stitiching is better able to stand up to the horrid stresses of walking.  Also, handmade shoes are much lighter and more flexible, without losing any strength, than their machine-made couterparts, and this too increases their comfort. As to aesthetics: I agree with Flusser here.  The foot is a particularly "ugainly" (I think that's the word he uses) part of the anatomy.  The aim of footwear should be to minimize that ungainliness.  This is done by creating shoes that conform as closely as possible to the foot's actual shape, since any exccess will only make the damned ungainly things look bigger.  From my perspective (12 D) that is not desireable.  Handmade shoes can be made to look much smaller than machine-made shoes.  Take the sole: with a handmade shoe, it is possible to cut the sole very close to the upper, and bevel the instep in such a way that it is invisible. What I object to about the Italians (or many of their products) is that they go to the trouble of producing handmade shoes that are as big as gunboats.  What's the point?  A prime virtue of a handmade shoe is that it looks small and elegant.
Well, my Dear Manton, I certainly wasn't looking for an "ally", but I'll take it when I can. As for the foot: if as Flusser opines the foot is ungainly, then why replicate it in a shoe. Why not make it a square box? I may agree with his conclusion, but the way he gets there leaves something to be desired. I don't think much about feet. I don't really think the gunboat is a bad choice. I have some Alden's in the Barrie last, full brogue that I think look rather swell.
post #105 of 111
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(Horace @ 18 Oct. 2004, 05:03) I know you've written quite well in the past on shoe making techniques.  I would appreciate it if you could point me toward a thread or discourse here, on each manner in which said shoes are demonstrably superior to Alden.  I'd really like to know.
Just look at the shoes. Let's take a simple cap-toe bal. Here's Alden's version: There's nothing wrong with this shoe. It's perfectly correct. It's not the most elegant shoe in the world -- notice the shape of the toe, for example. If you examine the shoe up close (and you can't see it from this picture -- you have to look at an actual shoe), you'll notice that the stitching on the welt, the welt strip itself, and the heel of the shoe are a little ragged and a little crude. Then there's the fact that the soles are stitched aloft. Here's a Santoni Classico version: This isn't the best picture in the world -- you can't see all of the details of the shoe. It's also a cap-toe shoe (this time with a discreet toe medallion). The seams on the toe cap and the quarters are reversed, so no stitching is visible on the uppers of the shoe. Compared to the Alden shoe, the detailing of the sole and the heel are smooth and elegant. The soles themselves are channelled. The shoe itself is light and flexible where the Alden shoe is heavy and stiff. The leather is clearer and more lustrous. The Alden shoe is correct; the Santoni shoe is beautiful.
Thanks. I think you picked the most banal Alden model possible. I don't see those differences in the pictures, but I take your point concerning different means of manufacture. I could perhaps quibble with a few of your adjectives and ask you to explicate further... However, I happen to regard to Alden toe, rounded though it may be as far more tasteful and good-looking than the other shoe.
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