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Balmorals vs. bluchers

Ambulance Chaser

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A debate in another thread about the propriety of wearing cap-toe balmorals with a sportscoat got me thinking. Â Do you try to match the formality of a shoe with the formality of an outfit (i.e., balmoral with suit and blucher with sportscoat/more informal wear)? Â Or is this just overthinking the process of getting dressed?
 

NoVaguy

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This would be overthinking in the States.

Most people don't even register the difference between a Bal and a Blucher.
 

Manton

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I disagree. I always choose my shoes along these lines. That's the main point in buying pairs of shoes in different styles.
 

kidkim2

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The texture of the leather is, IMHO, a much more important formality issue than the bal/blucher distinction.
 

johnnynorman3

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Well, I'll agree that bals give some touch that bluchers don't, and vice versa, but I disagreed with the post re: no captoes with odd jackets, and I disagree that bluchers should be reserved for non-suiting. I'm wearing Alden dark brown cap-toe bluchers right now with mid-grey flat-front flannels and a cashmere sweater with a dress shirt underneath, and I don't think my choice is inappropriate.

That said, I wish I had more bals on my shoe rack -- I only have one pair (my Grensons), as I pay more attention to other things when looking for shoes (and since I buy at discount, I can't have everything usually).
 

demeis

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I wish i had the option. I need more shoes :sigh:, but when i am shoe shopping i usually end up with bluchers because i have a narrow foot and its hard to find B's and C's around here so with a D or M the blucher fits a little bit tighter on me.
 

FCS

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Eh, in my experience the balmorals are usually tighter. With the blucher you can better adjust the tightness of the lacing.
 

NoVaguy

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I wish i had the option.  I need more shoes :sigh:, but when i am shoe shopping i usually end up with bluchers because i have a narrow foot and its hard to find B's and C's around here so with a D or M the blucher fits a little bit tighter on me.
I usually end up with bluchers for the opposite reason - I apparently have an higher than normal instep, so getting the bal's laced up is a pain, whereas the bluchers are easier to expand (or, in your case, contract) to fit.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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The texture of the leather is, IMHO, a much more important formality issue than the bal/blucher distinction.
I wouldn't wear the suede balmoral with a dark double-breasted suit (see today's post from Renault about his fitting questions)-black without the medallion would be better. And I wouldn't wear any balmoral with a sportjacket (maybe suede with a navy blazer but not black). Bluchers or loafers (tassel slightly more formal than penny and black more formal than either cordovan or suede) seem better with a blazer or sportjacket. If the jacket is very informal (i.e. not a navy blazer), then penny loafers even with a tie seem appropriate. That said, I'd wear black balmorals with a db blazer. It's getting confusing, so I'll stop. Footnotes tomorrow.
 

kidkim2

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demeis--

If you don't object to wearing used shoes (I don't), eBay could change your footwear life. It did mine, and I have much narrower feet than yours. Keep your eyes open; the auction site can yield unexpected treasure.

I have been able to pick up two pairs of vintage Italian-made J&M tassel kilties, medium brown captoes, garden-variety brown tassel loafers, penny loafers (too tight, however), and handmade cowboy boots. (What I'll do with the latter is a mystery even to me.)

Also try AE and Alden. They both have a wide range of sizes and widths in bals (and just about everything else).

Avuncular advice from a 13AA. . . .
 

AlanC

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It's something I would take into consideration but generally it's not something I get too worked up about. I now have the option to choose between my cognac Grenson bals and my chestnut Allen-Edmonds derbys (Lexingtons), which is nice. In black I only have derbys: Alden captoes and Coach plain toe. Clearly I'm in need of black oxfords...
 

demeis

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demeis--

If you don't object to wearing used shoes (I don't), eBay could change your footwear life.  It did mine, and I have much narrower feet than yours.  Keep your eyes open; the auction site can yield unexpected treasure.  

I have been able to pick up two pairs of vintage Italian-made J&M tassel kilties, medium brown captoes, garden-variety brown tassel loafers, penny loafers (too tight, however), and handmade cowboy boots.  (What I'll do with the latter is a mystery even to me.)

Also try AE and Alden.  They both have a wide range of sizes and widths in bals (and just about everything else).

Avuncular advice from  a 13AA. . . .
Acutally as i'm reading this i'm looking at shoes on ebay. I just picked up a pair of AE medalion wing tips for $20. My first shot at used shoes and hoping it goes well. Its just i don't have black shoes now and i'm super impatient (really want some more grensons to come in), but until then i'm gonna keep my eye on ebay.
 

kidkim2

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demeis--

A hearty "Well done." Keep us informed of your experience. Hope the $20 (.) shoes work out as well as mine have.

Mike
 

TCN

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(kidkim2 @ 05 Jan. 2005, 1:54) The texture of the leather is, IMHO, a much more important formality issue than the bal/blucher distinction.
I wouldn't wear the suede balmoral with a dark double-breasted suit (see today's post from Renault about his fitting questions)-black without the medallion would be better. And I wouldn't wear any balmoral with a sportjacket (maybe suede with a navy blazer but not black). Bluchers or loafers (tassel slightly more formal than penny and black more formal than either cordovan or suede) seem better with a blazer or sportjacket. If the jacket is very informal (i.e. not a navy blazer), then penny loafers even with a tie seem appropriate. That said, I'd wear black balmorals with a db blazer. It's getting confusing, so I'll stop. Footnotes tomorrow.
Really, you wouldn't pair a pair of medium brown cap-toe Balmorals with a sportcoat?
 

STYLESTUDENT

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It's essentially a dress shoe, IMO. So if you dress up a blazer with a spread collar shirt, then OK to a brown leather balmoral (especially if suede or pebbled grain and not shiny and smooth). But I'd say not with a more casual jacket (say a herringbone or cashmere plaid which usually takes a button-down). My balmorals are all black, so I haven't had the temptation. My own sportcoat shoes are all Alden loafers (tassel and penny; brown suede, black and shell cordovan). All opinion without much evidence.
 

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