Allen Edmonds Strand vs McAllister (black vs brown)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by AdamAdam, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    Hi all. I'd like some opinions if you'd indulge me. I need a nice new pair of black and brown shoes. I've order a pair of AE McAllisters in walnut which are on their way. However, I'm having second thoughts. Here is what I need...

    For work I'm business casual 50% and in a suit 50%. So, in the black shoe I'm looking for something I can mainly wear with a suit and occasionally without. The walnut I plan to wear much more often. I'm looking for something I can wear with my gray, navy, etc. suits and during business casual days which are usually darker pants. But I'd also like a brown shoe I can wear to certain events like Thanksgiving or other times where I would dress "nice" but not overly formal.

    Here is my conundrum...

    Between the Strand and McAllister, which would you get in which color? Like I said I bought the McAllister in walnut and now I'm thinking I should have gotten the Strand. I'm thinking when not with a suit the McAllister may look like a cowboy boot. Would you get two colors of the same shoe? I'm leaning towards walnut Strand and black McAllister but then sometimes I think that a black cap toe is a timeless essential. I also find the McAllister aesthetically more pleasing but think that it may be less practical than the Strand. I feel like maybe the Strand is more universal.

    I'm torn. Opinions? In the picture below the top row are the McAllisters and bottom is the Strand.

    Thanks!
    Adam




    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  2. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    Don't get either of those shoes in black. Personally, for your situation, I would skip black altogether for now. For versatility with suits, you need a pair of dark brown shoes.

    I would return the McAllister and get either the Strand or McAllister in bourbon (flashier) or dark brown (more conservative). Either choice is more conservative than the very flashy walnut. Walnut is nice, but not for your first or second pair of shoes to wear with suits.

    I would get a blucher for my second shoe for your business casual days. I personally think the balmoral style is a bit formal for anything but suits. I like the Delray (in Chili), but AE has plenty of other blucher/derby shoes to choose from. Walnut is a good choice for the shoe in this category, as is any of the brown shades.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  3. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    +1. Strands in burgundy, McCallisters in Walnut, Park Aves in black. You need at LEAST three pairs of shoes.
     
  4. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    Thanks for the opinions. When you say "Strands in burgundy" do you mean bourbon? I see that as the closest option in the Strand and merlot as the closest in the McAllister.
     
  5. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I don't want to speak for him, but I think he got it backwards. I suspect he meant Strands in walnut and McAllister in merlot. These are very popular model/color combinations by SF standards.

    I'm still not sure I recommend this configuration though. I still think you need at least one blucher instead of 2 balmorals, since you only wear suits 50% of the time. I also agree that 3 pairs of shoes are ideal, but you can get away with 2. I also think bourbon works better than walnut, at least in terms of versatility. It is slightly more conservative (though still a little flashy). Walnut makes a good 4th or 5th shoe. Now, if you are talking about a walnut blucher for business casual days, then I thinkt that works great. I believe the Cliftons (I think sold only at Nordstrom) come in this configuration.
     
  6. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    No, I meant Strands in burgundy (merlot, oxblood), and the McCallisters in walnut. I don't concern myself with what's popular, at SF or anywhere else.

    Edit: for the record, I have McCallisters in walnut and oxblood. Love them both. I've also got black Park Aves, and a a pair of dark brown, pebble grain Park Aves.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  7. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I assumed you flipped it because I don't see the Strands offered in merlot at all.
     
  8. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    Ah ha! Now I see. I just checked the website. Given those four choices, I'd get the Strands in bourbon, with the burnished brown being my second choice.
     
  9. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    Once again, thanks for the recommendations. For whatever reason I'm smitten with the walnut color. I feel like they pop and really add to a nice suit. I assume these are the walnut in the picture below.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    This is sound advice. I'd considered the Park Ave in black as well since it's timeless and versatile but it just seemed boring to me. Just so that I understand are you saying:

    McAllister (walnut): for suits
    Strand (bourbon): business casual
    Park Ave (black): when you just want a timeless, not flashy black shoe

    ???

    edit: If I'm not going to wear the black all that often maybe I can find something less expensive from a different designer and spend the money on the other two shoes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  11. ajmanouk

    ajmanouk Senior member

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    my advice

    black park avenues (every man needs a pair of black stitch caps) - wear exclusively with suit (grays/charcoals)
    burgundy mcallister or shell macneil - wear with suits or business casual (yeah, its not SF approved but who cares)
    walnut/bourbon strand - business casual
     
  12. facet

    facet Senior member

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    For me, the colours I would choose would really be dependent on which shoes I'm settling on, if I had the option to buy multiple shoes at once. If I was going with the above options, then, based on my own experience, I would do:

    PAs in merlot (I have this and love them; it's been my most versatile shoe up until this point.)
    McAllister in walnut
    Strand in dark brown (bourbon's a nicer colour but may be too similar to walnut)

    If you plan on getting a blucher as others suggested and it could only be two, then I would go

    Kenilworths in dark brown (just got these and they may surplant my PAs as my most versatile)
    Strand or Mcallister in either merlot/walnut/bourbon, whichever you fancy (although the merlot Mcallisters may be a better choice as they'd be more versatile and it leaves you the option of getting the Strands in walnut/bourbon later on down the road).

    Ultimately, they're all very nice shoes and, regardless of what you get, you'll likely be well served by them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  13. Scottyb06

    Scottyb06 Senior member

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    My vote (and coming from a guy who just purchased a pair of Walnut Strands three weeks ago): Get a pair of Bourbon Strands + a pair of black Fifth Avenues. Alternatively, get a pair of Walnut Strands and a pair of Fifth Avenues in a dark brown color (I love bourbon). I'm just not a fan of stenciled shoes in black but do know that others like them. Up next for me is a pair of Strands in bourbon.
     
  14. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    All very helpful posts. Thank you and keep them coming. They give me good ideas.
     
  15. squalidozzi

    squalidozzi Well-Known Member

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    Hello all, Long time reader first time poster- I'd like some advice as I'm about to graduate from college and enter the working world and would really appreciate your collective knowledge...

    Currently, I have a boxy pair of cordovan (the color) blucher Eccos, a pair of black blucher Bostonians (akin to these, without the stitch cap)[​IMG]

    and tan Johnston & Murphy loafers.

    I tentatively plan on getting two suits MTM from suitsupply (would BB MTM on sale be better?), one mid grey, one navy, and I'd like to get shoes to wear with them, in business casual settings, at night, and with jeans (these are all separate instances). I have two suits now, a charcoal faint pinstripe RLBL and subtle windowpane Armani Collezioni, neither of which are 100% interview-appropriate.

    I was looking at AE shoes, and I thought I would get a pair of brown oxfords to round out my rotation, since I already have a serviceable black shoe (not the most formal, but that will come later). Although I was attracted to the Larchmont and other bluchers at first, now I am most interested the more formal balmorals. I'm leaning towards getting the walnut McAllisters to go with these suits along with the other settings I mentioned. Should I buy a brown Strand first, and as a second get the McTavish or McAllisters in walnut?

    Thanks for the help
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013

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