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Second pair of dress shoes opinions?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I recently bought my first pair of dress shoes for a job interview I had.  After much research, I bought a pair of black Alden straight-tip (cap-toe) Bals.  They're excellent shoes and were very appropriate with a suit.  However, now that I'll be working, I won't be wearing a suit very often.  Just simply slacks and a dress shirt.  I want to slowly build my wardrobe with quality rather than quantity.  Here is what I'm thinking about: 5 slacks - charcoal gray, light gray, navy, brown?, black?, tan? 5 dress shirts - ... Now, I want people's opinions on what I should purchase for my second pair of shoes.  It seems that genuine cordovan shoes would be my first choice because they can be paired with almost any color combination, BUT they're out of my price range (~$500) right now considering I'd have to buy a matching belt (~$200).  So, I'm thinking about buying a pair of dark brown Alden plain-toe bluchers (~$350) with a matching belt (~$80).  That way, I'll be able to rotate my shoes and have something to wear with the brown and earth-tone slacks (which I haven't purchased yet). I'd like to hear people's opinion on their experience/taste in building a wardrobe from scratch.  Keep in mind I don't have much money now, but I'm willing to spend top dollar for quality pieces as long as I can use them interchangably. So far, here are the only items I have: Alden black straight-tip Bal shoes (with belt) 1 pair of charcoal gray slacks 1 light blue shirt Any suggestions or comments would help.  Thanks.
post #2 of 12
If you like the size/last combination for black bal Alden, you could hit ebay and see go for the same size/combination with confidence. I'm more of an Allen Edmonds fan, but I just look for shoes that fit the last/size of the AE's I have. As for how to start, a brown blucher (or monkstrap - in many ways, there essentially the same - with the buckle replacing the laces) would be a good start. Once you've got the single black dress shoe, you can pretty much go any way you want. Brown blucher is as good as any for a second shoe, maybe a little better than most. As for slacks, charcoal, light gray, navy, tan, black, and brown would be my order of preference. All are good.
post #3 of 12
You don't necessarily have to match a cordovan pair of shoes with a belt - you could always just wear a brown calf belt. At ~$350 there are also a lot of other options out there, almost too numerous to list... I wouldn't really know where to begin. Ebay is kind of a disaster for shoes in my experience. For every pair of shoes I have bought and have worked, there have been 4 that haven't fit properly. Of course, if you have tried on the exact shoe you are buying, then no problem. If you know your size, try online, either Ebay, or maybe try picking up some Grensons from Bennies in May.
post #4 of 12
I've heard good things about the Certo's that Stu sells. I don't have a pair myself (though I have a pair of their sandals - they're beautiful), but at that price point, you could get two or three pairs. Dan
post #5 of 12
I think for trousers, you will get the most wear out of: 1) black 2) med gray 3) dk gray 4) taupe 5) olive and maybe one with some texture/pattern for interest. My favorite "office shoe" for a guy in a business casual environment is a lace-up split toe in brown or burg. Extremely versatile, and can dress up or down. 2nd choice is a monk strap. JM2cents.
post #6 of 12
If you're business casual all the time consider a classic brown penny loafer.
post #7 of 12
Don't worry about matching the shoes and belt, rather buy a nicer pair of shoes. Looking at the budget for both items ($350 + 80 = 430), you would be in a good position to get a pair of C&J Handgrades from PLal. I would recommend the Weymouth in brown. Not only is it arguably the "˜signature' C&J shoe, but also it's the only Handgrade that PLal keeps some stock of, hopefully meaning you'll get your shoes faster. As for the belt, just get something of decent quality that relatively matches for around $30 or so. You'll notice the difference in quality shoes infinitely more than a quality belt.
post #8 of 12
If you're going business casual, I would perhaps go with a semi-brogue blucher (like the Allen Edmonds Lexington), a monkstrap or Jill's split-toe. These Alden split-toes are great: NFI, but Chris at Bennie's says he can give a discount on Aldens. The Certo monks look like a good option, especially at that price point. Here's the AE Colton, which seems to have replaced the Lexington in the catalog:
post #9 of 12
Quote:
I recently bought my first pair of dress shoes for a job interview I had.  After much research, I bought a pair of black Alden straight-tip (cap-toe) Bals.  They're excellent shoes and were very appropriate with a suit.  However, now that I'll be working, I won't be wearing a suit very often.  Just simply slacks and a dress shirt.  I want to slowly build my wardrobe with quality rather than quantity.  Here is what I'm thinking about: <snip> Now, I want people's opinions on what I should purchase for my second pair of shoes.  It seems that genuine cordovan shoes would be my first choice because they can be paired with almost any color combination, BUT they're out of my price range (~$500) right now considering I'd have to buy a matching belt (~$200).  So, I'm thinking about buying a pair of dark brown Alden plain-toe bluchers (~$350) with a matching belt (~$80).  That way, I'll be able to rotate my shoes and have something to wear with the brown and earth-tone slacks (which I haven't purchased yet). <snip> Any suggestions or comments would help.  Thanks.
Choosing leather goods is a hard thing to understand. I'll not claim to be an expert on it, but can offer some thoughts. A man once related to me that he did not believe in buying "high priced shoes". People had told him that he should, because they would last longer. He liked the idea of buying new shoes more frequently. So he laughed at the idea of longivity. My observation is something along a different line. Leathers do not look right until they are used. Use allows them to exhibit their real character. With use, you get the effects of wear and maintenance. It should improve the apperance of the item and establish the original quality. In an effort to promote that effect, look at how the high dolar shoes are antiqued to duplicate that chatacteristic. However, while developing the character, some parts of cheap and faulty construction can fail by either falling apart or by simply stretching out of the useful range. Just as it gets to looking good - it falls apart and is not really repairable. Think of the shoe purhase as buying something you will maintain and use for 20 years. With the idea that it will look better with wear - if properly maintained. The luster from several years of polish and conditioning really cannot be duplicated on a new item. In your situation, and with the ability to spend the $$$, I would get either the Alden Shell Cordovan Saddle or Monk Strap. However, do not overlook the idea of buying some stylish Bally or Ferragamo shoes on Ebay - expecting a shorter life. The fellow who liked more pairs of new shoes did have a valid point to make.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your suggestions. I will take them into consideration when I go to purchase my next pair of shoes and trousers. I'll have to look into some of the other shoe makes that you have recommended...
post #11 of 12
I've said it once and I'll say it again -- Alden represents the best value for your money in shoes (excluding the Grensons at Bennies, of course). Not even close in my opinion. For $285 at Brooks Brothers right this moment you can get leather that in my opinion isn't that far below Edward Green quality (I'm talking about the leather, not the finishing), great construction, and durability. Sure, they aren't "sexy," but they look great with 3 season suits and odd trousers.
post #12 of 12
My first pair of shoes were black, cap toe bluchers as well. My second pair were brown cap toes (perf), and the third were brown suede cap toe. If I had to do it over, I would have gotten black, cap bals first, and dark brown perf wingtips second. The suede is nice, but I just end up worrying about rain and slush too much. -boston
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