I've really appreciated quite a number of the interesting posts and questions from the last couple of days. It's been intriguing to think about which shoes are our most essential, most versatile and/or most frequently worn and which ones emerge in retrospect as our questionable impulse buys. As I near the one year anniversary of my having discovered Aldens and fallen deeper down the rabbit hole of "nice shoes," I find it useful to try to take a macro-level view of my collection, thinking about where it's been and where it might be heading. In addition, as I contemplate my recent full-disclosure decision to forego the super secret visa vanilla gift card approach and let dear wife in on all styleforum-related purchases, I realize that I want to focus less on the quantity and manic-like excitement that comes from each pulling of the trigger for an Alden shoe and instead want to focus more on the building of as "complete" a footwear wardrobe as possible. Accordingly, a number of thoughts and questions have arisen that I'm hoping will spark a discussion amongst my fellow Alden addicts, as I very much value your opinions, experience and good humor.
For those of you who have bought fine footwear beyond Alden's offerings, where do you see Alden's place within the pantheon of nice shoes? Do you feel it covers all of your various shoe needs adequately or do you find yourself wishing they would branch in another aesthetic or functional direction (and I don't necessarily mean following AE in making god awful sneaker-like creations)? I'm asking this question because a year into the addiction, I think I've learned enough about Alden lasts, construction and materials to begin to see it in comparison with other makers (whereas for the first few months, I didn't even know what a plaza-lasted shoe looked like, let alone where to go about asking after one). For example, I've seen folks allude to Trickers, which I know nothing about other than that they make Barrie-looking boots and brogues. Do you guys think it's worth it to entertain these alternative brands? On the other end of the spectrum, how many of us also are purchasing "nicer" nice shoes such as John Lobbs, Edward Greens and G&Gs? How many are looking into comparable brands such as C&J, AS or Carmina? I've started to read the Edward Green appreciation thread on SF and have been heartened to see the same level of enthusiasm that we have going here (see, e.g., our friend Namor's numerous and illuminative posts on both EG and Alden).
As you reflect on your Alden collections, which shoe types or lasts do you feel are missing or not readily available to you? I love every one of my Aldens and sometimes lament about how infrequently some of them get worn (e.g., my first love, my tobacco fake cxl JCrew lwbs), but sometimes I wish Alden made a chelsea boot or a double monk strap shoe. Where do you guys go looking for such non-Alden fare?
I know this post has ended up long-winded and for that I apologize. I hope this does not sound like a troll post. I obviously know this is an Alden thread and want to stay relevant. I guess I'm just interested in how others relate to the brand as a whole and to what extent it meets the breadth of your style needs. I plan on remaining a loyal follower of this thread, but realize that an inadvertent effect of posting and lurking here has been that I've gained a wider appreciation for style in general as a result. I'm eager to see how others aesthetics have burgeoned or morphed as a result of all the cool posts and camaraderie shared here daily.
Thanks in advance for any comments you guys are willing to share!
I tried telling you this in the beginning, but I guess some things you just have to learn for yourself.
I don't think you have to stick to just Alden, the same as I think its dumb when people buy a pair of shoes for the mere fact that "Alden" is stamped on the insole. (or when people buy a rare-make up in the wrong size and stuff tissue paper in the front of the toe and use insoles and heel pads and tongue pads and wear two pairs of thick wool socks to "make it work", just so they can wear an exclusive make-up)
With every additional shoe that you buy, the marginal benefit from that additional pair decreases. (Law of diminishing returns) You're probably beyond the point of a well-rounded and useful collection, but if you enjoy shoes, keep going.
If I see a shoe that I like (regardless of brand), and I think that I would get enough use and enjoyment out of it to justify the cost, then I buy it. The key is to be honest with yourself about whether you will really wear the shoe enough, or want it bad enough to justify the $700 or however much it may be. Conversely, sometimes you have to admit that it is just the shoe of the week that you think about buying while you are bored at work.
I have bought a lot of Aldens because I like shell cordovan, have plain taste, and don't like narrow shoes.