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Business Casual Allen Edmonds - Park Ave too much?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by manny14, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    First, thanks to everyone who has posted on this site. There has a been a lot of great information for improving your style.

    The first thing I want to upgrade in my wardrobe is shoes and using this forum and a couple other sites as guides, I've settled on Allen Edmonds. The Park Avenues seemed to be universally loved as a first pair. I went ahead and finally ordered these, but now I'm wondering if I chose the right style. My work is business casual and I basically only wear a button down or sweater with trousers or chinos. The only time I can see myself wearing a suit in the near future is possibly for a job interview. I will eventually get another nicer pair of shoes, but I want to just start with one as I develop my style and build my wardrobe.

    So I'm looking for opinions on whether the PA's go with a business casual uniform. If not, what are your recommendations? I think I'm set on black as my first color, but I do love some of the brown and reddish options. Thanks!
     
  2. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I think both black and Park Avenues do not work that well in a business casual wardrobe. The super-conservative style of the Park Avenue will contrast with the rest of your outfit.

    Also, I would choose something in brown or burgundy for my first color. Black is really only going to look good with gray or possibly blue pants. Brown shoes will look good with gray, blue and khaki/stone.

    Here are some Allen Edmonds options that should work: Patriot (burgundy/merlot), Delray (brown or chili), McNeil (burgundy/merlot). I'm sure there are others. I would stick to a blucher or loafer.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Jester87

    Jester87 Well-Known Member

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    This. I've tried to wear my black PA's with business casual, and it just doesn't work. It's a clash of formality.
     
  4. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Black PAs are indeed a bit formal for business casual, but you could do much worse.

    I'd go for brown Fifth Avenue, Strand, or McAllister.
     
  5. PMac

    PMac Well-Known Member

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    Like the others have mentioned black PA are not the right shoe for business casual. I think a blucher, such as the McNeil, in chestnut, brown or burgundy would fit this role nicely.
     
  6. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    Thanks. I guess I just got too excited about getting nice new shoes that I forgot to consider what would be best with the clothes I wear on a daily basis. I definitely do like some of these brown shoes. The Delray looks great.

    Thanks for doing the trial-and-error for my exact situation. :) I'm glad I'm finding this out before I actually got a chance to wear them.

    Yeah, at least they're good shoes, right? But I'll look at some of these more informal choices considering my wardrobe. Sounds like I should move towards to brown too. The Fifth Avenue looks nice in brown.

    Ok, so I should definitely pick a different shoe. Thanks everyone for your feedback. I think of the choices mentioned I like the Delray and Fifth Avenue the best for a first shoe choice. I think I'd be more comfortable in those if I had to dress up more, but I'll branch out with something less conservative for my second pair.



    On a related note, I was sized at an AE store for the Park Aves. Since the length and width are standard sizes, would I be safe getting another style in that same size? I realize the last may be different and I'm not sure how much that affects fit.
     
  7. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    (removed double post)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  8. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    For the Fifth Ave, you should be fine with the same size. For the Delray, probably, but not guaranteed. The Delray is on the 8-last while the Fifth Ave and Park Ave (as well as Strand and McAllister) are all on the 5-last.

    The Fifth Ave in brown should work for your situation, but I still think it is on the formal side. It is still a balmoral and has minimal brogueing. It works great with navy suits. I think the Delray or McNeil fit better for your situation, but I don't think they work well with suits. They do work with odd jackets though.
     
  9. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Yep, and they are certainly better than the square-toed monstrosities most people wear.
     
  10. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    Thanks again for your suggestions. Very helpful! I think I'll take Fifth Ave out of the running and try to pick McNeil, McAllister, McTavish, or Strand. I'd like my first pair to be versatile if possible, but since they'd only occasionally be worn with a suit it's more important that they aren't too formal.
     
  11. nickrut

    nickrut Senior member

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    When you reference business casual, are you speaking to slacks and a button down? Or are we talking like Cords and a polo?

    My office is business casual, which for me consists of the slacks and button down and I'd consider Park Ave's to be definitely okay for that setting.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    By button-down, I assume you mean a button-up shirt, not necessarily a button-down collar, right?

    Either way, I think Park Aves are too formal for that type of attire. Since the OP has the option of returning them, I would encourage him to do so. I think Park Avenues really only work with suits.
     
  13. lucidream

    lucidream Active Member

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    I think it all comes down to what BC is for you. Most days, for me, the only difference is formal minus suit jacket, minus tie. I wear dress shirts and wool dress pants, and dress shoes (PA included). Maybe I'm an outlier, but I see that as fine. If I'm wearing cotton pants, I would tend towards something less formal than the PA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  14. recondite

    recondite Senior member

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    Black PA are perfect for business casual assuming you wear for Business Casual the same items I do:


    tropical worsted, gabardine, twill, or other wool trousers;
    plain or patterned dress shirts including BD oxford cloth,
    black, brown, or cordovan colored dress shoes with matching belt;
    possible wearing of a complimentary colored wool or cashmere cardigan or V-neck pullover, sportcoat or blazer, and/or tie.



    Black shoes go with everything including khakis and jeans, especially if your trousers for business wear are in business appropriate colors of some shade of grey, some shade of blue medium or darker, or some shade of brown tan/khaki or lighters, such as cream. Since business casual presents the opportunity to wear odd trousers, if is useful to know that black goes with all shades of brown, since dark brown pants are fine for business casual wear.

    Black shoes are an outstanding choice if you plan on wearing some sort of business casual plaid or check trousers such a medium grey Glen or black and white houndstooth.

    And they are the number one best choice for the all time best business casual trousers made from grey flannel.

    Captoe oxfords go with trousers of any kind end of story. And shorts as well, assuming you are wearing the requisite knee socks and not entirely baring your legs.

    It is silly to think that a captoe blucher/derby or boot would be business casual, but that a captoe oxford wouldn't. You can say the same for brogues oxfords as well.

    In fact, my number one choice for business casual wear are half brogued captoe oxfords in black calf and my second choice are tassel apron loafers in black calf, and my third choice are penny or strap loafers, in again, black calf.

    I don't hit brown shoes for business casual until my fourth and fifth choices, which are captoes and full brogue wingtips respectively both in expresso or bitter chocolate suede. I wear these are largely for sunlit social business meetings that are likely to be outside on a deck or veranda overlooking the ocean or a pool, more than inside a conference room pounding out a deal, an auditorium making a presentation, or for business casual evening wear inside or out, when I will be wearing black shoes if given the opportunity.

    Executive Summary: expresso suede for daywear, especially under sunlight and black calf for insidewear and especially for eveningwear inside or out.

    If you wear your black PA's with grey flannel trousers and a black V neck cashmere sweater with a navy stripe BD collar shirt under, no one will be better dressed than you in any business casual situation while remaining strictly casual.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  15. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    Cords and a polo would be acceptable at my office, but I've started wearing long sleeve button downs and slacks. They're still relatively casual though. A number of my shirts are striped and some are checkered (whatever the design term is). Sometimes I wear chinos/khakis with just a sweater.

    For me it's button-up. It sounds like most people agree with you that Park Aves are best with suits and I should find something different for my current situation.

    I'm upgrading my wardrobe starting with my shoes. Since many people at my office often wear polos, I'll likely invest in a number of casual looking slacks. But to be honest I don't know much about pants right now.
     
  16. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    Wow, that was a nice read. It sounds like as long as I dressed in the higher end of business casual that black PA's would be fine. If I did end up keeping them, then it would be a good excuse to dress better and build a nicer wardrobe. Thanks for the thoughtful reply... although this makes my decision a little less clear!
     
  17. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    Personally, I consider both the PA and the Fifth Avenue to be too formal for anything but a suit. A balmoral with more broguing like the Strand is passable with an odd jacket, but still a little questionable, at least to me. The MacNeil or the Bradley would seem more appropriate for Business Casual, just to give a couple of examples.

    The fact is that "Business Casual" is such a vague term that it can mean anything from a sport coat and tie to a polo shirt and khakis or even jeans. This makes it very hard to prescribe what is appropriate for others.

    The plain fact of the matter is that the vast majority of your co-workers are not going to give a damn about the nuances of styling of your shoes. However, wearing an obvious "suit" shoe like the PA as Business Casual will look anomalous and disharmonious to gentlemen of taste and discrimination...if there even are any in your office.

    However, to the OP, i would say,"Be of good cheer, no matter what dress codes are regnant at your workplace, you will always need your black PAs (or their counterparts) for those occasions in life when you really need to dress well."
     
  18. manny14

    manny14 Member

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    Fantastic proverb! I agree business casual is very vague and even if you came into my office you wouldn't be able to say it falls on either end of the spectrum because people wear all kinds of things. It's a good point about others not giving a rip about what I'm wearing and it's very true. I don't want to get too hung up on what the perfect shoe is, but as I try to improve my own style I want start looking like I at least somewhat know what I'm doing.
     
  19. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I think I actually disagree with almost everything in this post. Seriously, captoe oxfords with shorts?
     
  20. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    So it wasn't just me who caught that gem? Do we have another Latour on our hands here?
     

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