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Help Needed - First pair of real shoes for new job

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by dstunbound, May 25, 2012.

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  1. dstunbound

    dstunbound Member

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    I posted a week or two ago about starting a new job and needing some real suits (as opposed to the JAB stuff I had), and got some great responses. Now, I need to add a real pair of shoes to these suits. The new job is with a financial firm in CT where I will be wearing a suit daily and be client facing some days. It's definitely a little bit more conservative locale (think country clubs and hedge funds), but I want to look good and have the shoes add to my look. I also to be able to own these for a long time, and I aim to be living in NYC sooner than later. I currently have a pair of basic black J&M - http://images.johnstonmurphy.com/images/products/1_52950_FS.JPG - and a pair of CH burgundy penny loafers - http://www.peltzshoes.com/resize/ResizeImg.aspx?img=/images/vendors/COH/03504/03504.jpg&height=360

    Ideally, I would like to keep cost under $250, so I reached out to AE to get their list of seconds/discontinued, and I'm going to their store later to get my size. Any thoughts in general on the type of shoe to get next would be very helpful. If AE seconds aren't the way to go, by all means let me know. I'm sort of leaning towards a dark brown wingtip, but open to a lot. I like the look of Monks, but don't know if I'm ready for that with my first real shoe.

    Cap vs. Wingtip?
    Oxford vs. Monk?
    Dark brown vs. light brown?
    etc etc etc

    For the suits I ended up getting up a Suitsupply Napoli charcoal suit, and two BB Fitzgerald suits, one in navy (summer weight) and one in navy stripes. I also have a a similar navy light striped Macy's suit, and will occasionally be wearing chinos and a navy blue blazer.

    Thanks, it's a long post, I know, I appreciate the feedback (I seem to get more and more confused the more threads I read).
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  2. jrd617

    jrd617 Well-Known Member

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    Please do a search
     
  3. Zeppelin

    Zeppelin Well-Known Member

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    Black cap toe... Keep adding brown shoes afterwards.
     
  4. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    AE Park Ave - Black.
     
  5. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Well-Known Member

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  6. GBR

    GBR Well-Known Member

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    +1

    Do you need help with socks and underpants as well?
     
  7. runners n jeans

    runners n jeans Member

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    For a first shoe, please don't get wingtips and don't get monks. I can see why you are considering those because you said, "I want to look good and have the shoes to add to my look." I won't touch that comment.

    You seem to be set on AE shoes and that's a perfectly fine choice. You'll be fine with either a black or dark brown shoe--not walnut, not chili, not burgundy (although all of these colors will make fine third or fourth pairs of shoes).

    If you want choices: Park Avenue in black, Fifth Avenue in dark brown. They may seem boring to you, but you did specify that this is you "first pair of real shoes" so start with foundational pieces and then you can add from there.


    Maybe I read into your post, but I assumed that you're looking to replace your current J&M and CH shoes, right? Or were you planning to supplement your shoe collection with an AE shoe and that's why you're considering wingtips or monks?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  8. EngProf

    EngProf Well-Known Member

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    Slight disagreement. The AE Park Avenue in merlot calf is about as versatile a shoe as there is. I don't know what it doesn't go with, though someone here can tell me. In a pinch, suitable for funerals (whereas there are many, many situations in which a black shoe will just look goofy aesthetically). $335 from allaboutshoes. The Alden equivalent, the 906 captoe bal in burgundy calf on the Hampton last, is more expensive, although if an irregular is available via The Shoe Mart, it'll be $299.
     
  9. paulbnyc

    paulbnyc Active Member

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    Gbr adding absolutely no value and being snotty and superior again.
     
  10. Snedley

    Snedley Well-Known Member

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    Always buy new 1st quality shoes from the actual company store. Since you're in finance and in Conn. I'd recommend these.
    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF8005_1_40000000001_-1

    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF2822_1_40000000001_-1

    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF1607_1_40000000001_-1

    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF54210C_1_40000000001_-1


    Where are you? Stamford, Greenwich?
     
  11. LeJouvre

    LeJouvre Well-Known Member

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    Florida, USA ; New zealand; Hong Kong; Singapore
    Like everything else the answer "depends" on things like what suits you are going to wear. Styles of suits, colors and quality of fabric etc.

    It also is important to know what you wear when you are casual because it is good to plan a shoe cupboard around using some of your shoes for both business and casual wear.

    In this case you obviously want to start with a shoe which is suitable for the office, right?

    Do you want one pair? Or are you going to consider buying more than one pair because rotation is essential.

    Since you need to rotate you will need to consider at least one pair for use exclusively for business and formal wear and the second which can double up as business and casual.

    Budget?

    Level I AE are good, even for those who can afford higher priced shoes. I own thousands of dollars worth of shoes, some of which cost a few thousand dollars each, but I still always own at least 2 or 3 pairs of Union built, USA sourced Allen Edmonds shoes. Anyone who tells you they are not good quality is either a snotty little snob or just ignorant. AE is a good quality shoe, provided, of course, that you do not buy one of their products which is outsourced to some South American or Asian country.

    Another entry level shoe of superior quality is Alden.

    Level II If you want to go more exotic, well then I would start with looking at Crockett & Jones but I prefer to guide you towards Cleverleys because they are better priced than Edward Green, which is the next step up, in my opinion. Going English quality shoes definitely means improved comfort but it also means a better range of styles. They can be longer lasting in many cases, but they are also more expensive.

    Edward Green used to be the best English company to deal with but they are falling in quality and service so I would buy my Edward Green shoes soon, before they are no better than your common or garden type Crockett & Jones.

    Level III Then look at John Lobb and Gaziano & Girling. G&G take the crown of the bench grade shoes and the MTO grade shoes. John Lobb don't really give you much choice with their MTO program whereas G&G do.

    Until not too long ago Edward Green used to be right up there with the very best, but that has changed recently. Also, Edward Green cannot make up their minds what their MTO and Top Drawer means, so I won't confuse you with those choices. Too many people have been caught with very unpleasant experiences with Edward Green lately and so I feel reluctant to push the recommendation, although, their leather is certainly superior to most English brands, including John Lobb and G&G, their attitudes towards customers has definitely changed for the worse.

    Vass kind of fits between Level II and Level III. Vass is a good shoemaker with really good lasts. He uses superior leathers and good shoe making techniques, but he is known to produce the odd catastrophe or two. Still, they are normally very pleasant to work with. I deal with Lazso, the son-in-law at their Budapest store, and he manages to speak the odd coherent bit of English and is always very friendly.

    Then you could look at other exotics like JM Weston or Corthay or even Swiss Bally.

    Then back to Alden. For black and #8 cordovan they are the way to go, superior quality and USA Union made. I normally only buy their cordovan boots, but that is a matter of taste. They produce really great shoes too, both in calf hide as well as cordovan.

    Ralph Lauren and BB is a good source of custom made shoes from Alden, AE, C&J and Edward Green, but normally it is best to wait for sales because they are a little on the expensive side I think.

    PM me if you need any more advice, I am happy to give you a hand with selecting good shoes and also to introduce you to good suppliers.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  12. cardguy

    cardguy Well-Known Member

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  13. LeJouvre

    LeJouvre Well-Known Member

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    They look like Mezlan.

    For the price? They're fine.
     
  14. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Well-Known Member

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    See above your post.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  15. dstunbound

    dstunbound Member

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    No I've got those covered, thankfully, but I buy them in 3-packs so they probably aren't up to your standards.

    Thank you to those that actually wrote thought out non-snarky responses. I did search the forum, and I did not find answers applicable to MY situation, which is why I started the thread.

    My thought was to add a brown shoe to supplement my black J&M. I know they aren't up to the standards of many posters on SF, but they suffice for now. Ideally, I would also like to wear these new shoes with khackis or nice jeans occasionally, but they will be primarily for the office. I wear I don't have the budget to spend on $300 shoes, but based on various posts around these parts, seconds at A&E seem like a great deal, especially with their sale going on this weekend.

    Snedly - I'll be in Greenwich
     
  16. Snedley

    Snedley Well-Known Member

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    J&M still makes excellent shoes in their Custom Select range which you'll have to wait 6 weeks for delivery;and also in their Italian range. They added some cheaper range shoes to the collection a few years ago but I guess they need to pay the bills too to stay in business.
    btw, most posters don't have any standards here. You have a lot of kids and poor poseurs on here who don't like it when an expensive brand also carries a cheaper line because they can't impress their little friends with this expensive brand name. You see, in their class there are actually people who are so gauche that they will comment on your shoes and even (believe it or not) ask what make they are. They are really label whores who want to pretend they're not. Oh noo, I'd never wear a shirt with a logo on it (even if that crocodile logo is classic and has been around since before their granddaddy was born). The truth of the matter is that they can't afford these products and want people to believe that their logoless Target shirt is really a Smedley [​IMG]
     
  17. Putonghua73

    Putonghua73 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you LeJourve. Your post providing a synopsis of the different brands by entry level [price point] was extremely insightful. I also appreciate that you replied to my PM, to answer a few more questions. Most kind of you.

    I'm not keen on the styles for the brands that you recommended for Level I. That said, I've come to realise that one's criteria should be (in order): fit, colour and style (price notwithstanding). Normally I reverse that order and wonder why I either have blisters and am hobbling (not an attractive sight) or said shoes fall apart after 6 months.

    I have yet to actually try any of the brands, but am in the market for non-work shoes. I tend to wear dress type shoes casually i.e. outside of the office, so I prefer a more formal, structured style. I was thinking of Oliver Sweeney but at that price point I could buy a more recognised Level 2 brand such as C&J [Arden]. Note: If I were to go with the C&J Arden (£275 from Afinepairofshoes) I would obviously pop into a retail branch that has the Arden's in stock to see how they fit - then order online.

    Ultimately, I aspire to either Carmina [Cordovan Brogue Captoe Oxford] and Carmina [Wholecut - Inca last] to grace my feet. Perfect 2nd date shoes (especially for Oriental women). Unfortunately, whilst looking on XE.com for the exchange rates, I noticed - to my horror - that the sterling is trading below 1:120 against the Yen! I have a 2 week trip to Japan booked for Autumn, and what was going to be an expensive holiday is now looking more and more expensive as sterling plunges. So the Carmina shoes will have to be a Christmas present to myself.
     
  18. LeJouvre

    LeJouvre Well-Known Member

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    Pleasure, looking forward to the pics!!

    Don't make the mistake of thinking you are going to get bargain by waiting to arrive in Japan either, shoes are decidedly more expensive in Japan.
     
  19. Putonghua73

    Putonghua73 Well-Known Member

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    I've had a change of heart after reading this thread. Previously, I dismissed Loakes because I judged them by their cheapest range (non-UK sourced) - admittedly, better than comparable ones from the High Street (like another pair of shoes I was going to buy for work from a shop beginning with 'A' and ending in 'O' - this time in black).

    I quite like the Loake Aldwych which has a price point of £195 for Goodyear welted leather sole, full leather and UK sourced.. Given that I could buy another pair of work shoes from a shop beginning with 'A' and ending in 'O' and a pair of C&J Ardens for a total cost of c£375, or buy x2 pairs of Loake Aldwych's (black and tan) for a total cost £390, I believe it is better to go with the latter option for overall better quality. The C&J Ardens will be of a higher quality than the Loake 1880s but the pair of shoes from 'that' shop will be much poorer.

    Black shoes for work and tan shoes for play.

    Over time, I can add to my work shoe collection with C&Js. In terms of casual i.e. non-work, my heart is still fluttering over those Carminas.

    You're correct about bargins vis-a-vis Japan. First time I visited was back in 2007 when the pound:yen was 1:200. I since visited a further 3 times, and the last time (Christmas 2009) the pound:yen was 1:140. That hurt. My 5th time is looking around the 1:120 level :( Serious pain. The bright side will be back in a country with the World's most beautiful women (IMO) in Kyoto.

    Once again, thank you (as well as the other posters) to allow newbies like me to make better informed decisions.

    Cheers!
     

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