The eyes of our hero blink rapidly as he finishes a knowledge download. He turns to face his mentor and says, "I know.... shoes?"
That's not something I ever expected to say in my lifetime. Like with any subject, the hole can go rather deep. I've only scratched the surface, but that gives me more knowledge about the subject than the majority of people I know. Obsessive tendencies can have interesting benefits.
I started out only wanting to update my wardrobe a bit and wondering what I should look for in a suit. I have now swallowed the men's fashion red-pill and can't look at the world again in the same way. My granulation was finer than simply suit/not-suit, but not by much. Now I take the time to look at every suit I come across and see cut, color, fabric, pattern...
I've been a jeans & t-shirt guy for most of my life. Even at my job as a computer programmer for a small shop, the dress code was very casual. My approach has always been towards the practical: I stopped wearing a watch quite a while back as clocks are everywhere. I'd see a watch that I though would look nice on my wrist, but then would decide against it, having a cell phone in my pocket. Now I understand the fashion and accessory aspect of wearing one.
So at 44, I've decided it's finally time to update my wardrobe and up my game. I had to leave work due to disability about eight years ago, so I don't have a large budget to work from, but I did set aside a portion to kick-start my endeavor. My initial excursions netted me:
I went with a tropical weight due to my body's difficulty with dealing with heat. I know 150s + tropical weight will not stand up to extended wear, but I don't have much occasion to wear a suit, so it won't be in any kind of daily rotation. This replaces an untailored charcoal pinstripe Hunting Horn poly blend that I bought in the late 80's.
- Skagen steel/charcoal watch with link band ($90)
Now that I've started looking into watches, I can definitely see how being a car guy can overlap with being a watch guy. I imagine (and maybe fear) that I might develop a collection. For now, I wanted something that would work for both formal and casual. The watch is slim with a austere dial, so I don't think it will be too out-of-place with the above suit, but I can also wear it every day. http://www.amazon.com/Skagen-Denmark-Charcoal-Silver-861XLSMXM/dp/B003ZUODD2
I also picked up a decent casual belt to replace my military style web belt and a couple polo/golf shirts.
Then I discovered Goodwill. I had stopped in a thrift store or two before, but never felt inspired. My new clothing purchases usually involved ordering a t-shirt with a witty saying I liked off the web. Now that I have a better idea of what to look for, and an actual reason to look for it, I'm really enjoying the treasure hunt. So I've also added:
- Several 80s shirts ($5-$9 ea) (When I first saw the label on an ugly button-down, my initial thought was, "Why would I want an 80's era style shirt?" Then I saw another with 2-ply as well. "Ohhh... right.")
- Banana Republic stone chinos ($5)
- A pair of ties for $5 ea: A Ralph Lauren and a Stonehenge that caught my eye. I have a decent idea of what to look for in shoes and shirts, but I need to do more research on ties and how to spot the better ones.
These wouldn't be my top pick, and they are a bit scuffed, but hey, $8 and they fit. I had already purchased the ones below, but they hadn't arrived yet, so I didn't know if had a pair that fit. Since men's shoes haven't been plentiful in the stores I've visited, I thought to play it safe and get these as a backup.
After reading up on Lefcourt, it sounded like these would be a safe bet on quality, even if I didn't know the specific maker. Unfortunately they are too narrow. 10.5D can be a little long for me, so I decided to go for a 10, but forgot to account for the width difference between sizes. I guess that's the risk of eBay shoes.
I'm tempted to try for some of the AE Park Avenues that pop up on eBay as well, but I'll see how the J&M's clean up first. There's no rush—but now that I know what I want, it can be difficult to wait.
I have to say, previous notions that dressing well also meant dressing uncomfortably are gone, now that I know what better quality materials and construction feels like.
Any thoughts on the above or suggestions for the future are also very much welcome.