Can somebody please explain why square toed shoes/long lasts are so derided around here?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Gdot, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    And THIS is my point - sometimes it's just plain and simple PERSONAL OPINION that influences our choices. There is absolutely nothing wrong about having a personal opinion and style. As a matter of fact it's a good thing "in my personal opinion" :crackup:

    Do bear in mind however, that others will always disagree - for instance, as I've already stated - I think almost every shoe Allen Edmonds makes is totally fugly - I'm aware that it's just my opinion - I'm not telling people not to wear them. What I am suggesting is that no matter what your choices are there will always be a huge group of people who think otherwise. There aren't really so many 'right and wrong' choices in fashion - but there is a lot of personal preference - which is LARGELY formed by what we are exposed to in our daily lives. So why not have the courage to develop your own personal style somewhere within the range of accepted norms - or perhaps a little outside of it even.

    What I am attempting to bring forth in this conversation is exactly this - an understanding that while there are classic, safe, choices that will more or less withstand the test of time, and yes I think it's a wise choice to build a wardrobe around them, I also think it's a tremendously interesting, creative and self expressive act to ALSO respond to your own inclinations and 'current' styles by floating through your wardrobe elements that are 'of the moment'. It's a way of communicating to the world that you are 'in touch' with what's going on around you.

    If we all subscribe to the exact same style we will all look alike and I for one hate that thought.

    For me there are times when I dress absolutely 100% to conform to the precise expected norm (client presentations, job interviews, funerals, weddings, formal events) because in my opinion the social expectations for these sorts of things is more important to me than expressing my personal sense of style. Day to day work wardrobe - well I think it's good to fit in - sure but I also feel a need to be an individual - even if this means accepting the fact that some won't agree. Social occasions - well pretty much it's everything from soup to nuts - depending completely on the venue.

    It's all just a symbology for how we choose to fit into the world - I'm only saying don't be a lemming - make your own well informed choices. Because that is where the power of style really lies.
     
  2. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    probably becasue they are ugly!
     
  3. B|aze

    B|aze Senior member

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    I think that within the stylish elements there are enough option to express your personal style without having to use "fashion" (or as you describe it, as "current styles", and "of the moment")
    IMO fashion really only shows that you don't know what you want to express and therefore follow "the leader", to be safe.. You may think it communicate that you are in touch with what goes on around you, but I think it communicate that you are not in touch in what's goes on inside you
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    This is not correct. By the late 18th century (1790), heel heights were coming down and right and left ("paired") lasts were reintroduced in response to the fashion for lower heels.

    Note that I said "reintroduced." This idea that our ancestors were dim witted cretins incapable of seeing that their own feet were different is silly. Paired lasts go way back. It is only with the introduction of heels in the late 16th century that shoemakers began using straights. And they did so simply because the knowledge to model a foot at higher heel heights and make paired lasts that actually looked like a pair was not well understood.

    As time went by, and fashions evolved or changed, heel heights went up or down...often in response to movements that sought to emulate the "natural" condition of the foot. And paired lasts came back into fashion accordingly.

    Most of the footwear made in the early to mid 19th century would have been made on paired lasts. This is not to say that shoes made on straights were not there. Many, if not most of the brogans issued to enlisted men during the Civil War would have been made as straights. But this may have been simply because the Quartermaster had surplus brogans available. Sydney Brinkerhoff suggests this in his monograph, Boots and Shoes of the Frontier Soldier.

    But Lincoln had a very large foot (something in the neighborhood of a size 18, IIRC). He had his boots made for him and I've even seen the shoemaker's data that was collected from his feet. So in all likelihood, Lincoln's boots were made on paired lasts.

    That said even on modern paired lasts, a wide square toe such as was popular during the 19th century will make the forepart of the shoe look remarkably straight. Just widening the toe of the last like that produces this straight appearance.

    Beyond that, the fact is that wide square...and often soft...toes were the fashion in Lincoln's time. Inch and a half wide was about the minimum width that was considered acceptable. The wide square toe dominated men's shoes from about 1817 to the early 1870's...well though the Civil War.

    Wide square toes have come and gone. It's fashion pure and simple. And those who have a hard and fast bias against square toes will sooner or later find themselves either wearing them or looking old fashioned and out of step. It is very possible that some of those alive and posting in this thread will see them come back.

    If nothing else the frantic need of manufacturers to create "interest' and novelty in order to sell shoes that have grown staid, will make sure that happens.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  5. Achilles_

    Achilles_ Senior member

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    x2

    But I'm still going to wear brown or burgundy 9 times out of 10 :tounge:
     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    To add insult to injury, most of the shoes that are highly touted on SF are built on extended toe lasts.

    The historical standard has always been "two full sizes"--the length of the shoe relative to the length of the foot.

    Most of the characterization of Lobbs as "old fashioned," for instance, can probably be attributed to adhering to that standard. Same with examples from the Austro-Hungarian school of shoemaking.

    But I would guess that fully 90% of the highly rated shoes on this forum are made to a longer standard maybe three full sizes or even longer in the case of some Italian models.
     
  7. HughJ

    HughJ Senior member

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    I'm sure someone can prove me wrong and do it tastefully, but I just have a bad association with square toed shoes. My instant mental picture is a guy in an over-sized, untucked shirt with some pattern silkscreened on it, bootcut jeans with flaps on the back pockets, and a pair of square toed kenneth coles to really cinch it together.
     
  8. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    VERY interesting observation - but a very judgemental one (IMO).

    Perhaps the creative side of a person's personality is [B]exactly[/B] what is inside of a person. And that is exactly what is being expressed by experimenting with constant tweaks/changes. Sort like an artist working with the newest and latest tools as they happen to come along.

    I also find you make a certain judgemental assumption when you express that responding to what is happening around you is 'follow the leader'. Certainly not for me - it's more about 'explore the new and interesting simply for the intersting fun of it'.

    Perhaps living within a rigidly defined sense of 'personal style' which is somehow perfected to the point of never changing is actually more 'insecure' than responding to the changes in the world around us. As it strikes me as a very much 'by the rules' way to think.

    Perhaps the need to set a rigid sense of personal style as a matter of being 'right' is actually much less emotionally secure and 'centered' than having the freedom to explore and expand and express yourself.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't think one way or the other in this regard - to each their own - just bringing another perspective for you to consider.

    I think both ways of thinking are perfectly valid - and many more as well.

    By the way - what percentage of your current wardrobe is over 10 years old - or just a newer version of EXACTLY the same item you would have worn 10 years ago?
     
  9. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    I hear you - me too!

    This is also part of my point - is it the actual shoe that is objectionable - or what you've come to associate with it?
     
  10. Achilles_

    Achilles_ Senior member

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    All of my staple suits/sport coats would be the same.

    The lapels might not be as big as some of the big lapels of the 80's, but not all lapels were made that large. I prefer a medium sized lapel on almost everything I own.
     
  11. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Me too! And I actually like an even lighter shoe (caramel) with Navy in the summer. I find it lightens up the entire effect. The only time I wear black with navy any longer would be at night to a dressy dinner if I've chosen not to wear a black suit.

    But my point about the whole brown/burgundy shoes with navy suits conversation is this is about 'fashion' for most people - not style - pure and simple. Twenty years ago it wasn't fashionable to wear brown shoes with navy suits (in most circles) and now it is. I could care less either way - do what rocks your boat! But it's FASHION as long as it specifically relates to that which everyone else is doing. And it's REALLY just fashion for those who simply can't fathom the idea of wearing black shoes to a funeral etc. etc. It seems to me that these sorts are completely trapped in 'fashion victim' mode with their simple fashion forumla "Brown shoes good - Black shoes bad" UGH! Makes me sad. :(

    My objection is - those who insist that whatever the currently fashionable interpretation of timeless style is actually THE 'timeless style'. Perhaps most of the individual elements are relatively timeless - but the total look is rarely ever actually timeless. (Excluding perhaps people who dress like Prince Charles every day. He looks great doing what it is he does - but I don't get much inspiraton from it for me personally.)
     
  12. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    There is a big difference between tweaking your own personal style and slavishly adhering to whatever is the latest fad that fashion designers thought up just so they can keep making money.


    [​IMG]

    :confused:
     
  13. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Ok - I hear you there - sort of - I bet shoulders are different too though - just guessing. How about gorge height? Any change in the past 10 years?

    So - perhaps a percentage of suits/sportcoats are indeed identical (mine too by the way). This is a fraction of the pile though.

    How about trousers? Still the same configuration as 10 years ago?

    How 'bout shoes? Still the same?

    Ties?

    Did you wear pocket squares differently now than you did 10 years ago?

    :D
     
  14. Achilles_

    Achilles_ Senior member

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    I'm pretty boring. So medium gorge. Then again I don't mind lower or higher as long as it's not extreme.

    Trousers I like pleated or flat front, I'm not too picky as long as they fit!

    Shoes, have they changed that much? I have a pair of Hanover longwings that are probably 30 years old, they fit in well with the rest of my shoe wardrobe.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing, I know things change. But I don't like extremes in my clothing. I have one sport coat that would be considered "modern." I wear it a couple times a year tops. I hate the small lapels/high gorge :fu:

    Edit: Ten years ago I did not own a suit let alone a PS. I didn't even own a pair of wool slacks. :laugh: (I was in middle school at the time)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  15. inter061

    inter061 New Member

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    Are you looking for a reason....
     

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