Let's get deep. How long have you guys been in the Alden game and why? It seems like there have been a number of members who have joined SF within the last couple years, discovered Alden, and have gone hog wild with purchases. Is the recent irrational exuberance for Alden due to the Interwebs saying they're cool, a return to traditional aesthetics, the thrill of the hunt for rare shell colors, hoarding mentality, etc.? Do you see yourself sticking with the brand long term, or is Alden just a passing fad in your sartorial evolution?
Interesting question. I'm 2 years into this phase and while I wouldn't call it a passing fad, it does feel as though my passion has subsided. My first Aldens were a pair of BB half-straps (penny loafers to non-Alden fans) from ebay. The seller had changed the soles to antique and I had never seen this before so I had to have the shoes. After numerous unsuccessful applications of shoe polish I somehow came across this site and learned a new phrase - shell cordovan. Using the Mac method, I brought my shoes back to life and have been hooked ever since. I've pretty much sold all of my Alden calfskins and even some rare shells and my collection sits at about 15. One suede and the remaining shell. Given my age and location, I simply don't interact with many people who even know what Alden's are, so status was never a part of the calculus for me. I just love the look of the shoes. And thanks to this site, I feel as though I've earned my PhD in all things shoes.
Having said that, I was surprised by how little interest I had in either the Cigar captoes from DC or the Cigar/Ravello WT from AoC. A year ago, I would have been all over both of them. I love my Aldens and will still purchase from time to time (just picked up the Dovers from Unionmade) but my enthusiasm is definitely on the wade. I still check this site twice a day, primarily for the interaction and tip, but Aldens don't excite me as much as they have in the past. And that is not a criticism, just a natural evolution.