First REAL dress shoe - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by korce, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. korce

    korce Senior member

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    I apologize in advance if I should not be creating a new thread for these questions, but here goes:

    While most of my wardrobe consists of items most appropriate in the "streetwear and denim" forum, I would like to purchase a first pair of dress shoes and am looking for suggestions from forum members. The shoes will be worn with a charcoal gray TaT suit, as well as more casually with jeans and other pants. I'm thinking of getting a dark brown captoe balmoral with some light brogueing, though I like derby/blucher styles too. I don't want too conservative a shoe, as I am young and won't be wearing them to the office on a regular basis (my office has a very casual dress code).

    Furthermore (if possible), I would like the shoes to be formal enough that they are appropriate for wear at a non-black tie wedding (worn with a charcoal gray or navy blue suit), yet casual enough to wear with jeans or slim trousers, a slim button down (eg. BoO) and a bedford or norfolk style jacket (a la engineered garments). I am young (22), and my wardrobe generally tends towards a slim/fitted look, but not as extreme as some on the streetwear and denim forum. If possible, I would like to spend less than $300. To complicate matters, I live in Toronto, Canada - where good men's shoes are notoriously hard to find at a reasonable price! I've been looking at Allen Edmonds, and plan to go to Harry Rosen to try on a few models, but would like to consider options outside AE too.

    Any suggestions with the above in mind?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JordanH.

    JordanH. Senior member

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    i like the idea of a dark brown cap toe with brogueing. i would also buy a pair of black cap toes. they are my favorite look.
     
  3. Golf_Nerd

    Golf_Nerd Senior member

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    i would also buy a pair of black cap toes. they are my favorite look.

    +1

    To start or to buy a standard pair of shoes, AE is (more than) perfect.
     
  4. CrocsRock

    CrocsRock Senior member

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    Allen Edmonds Park Avenues are pretty much the go-to recommendation you'll receive. Though don't buy from Harry Rosen, they'll be way too expensive (and I don't know that they'll have a whole lot, since I think they just ended their big sale). Try 'em on, find a pair that fits, and order them online.

    Aldens are also a brand that are hard to find fault with.
     
  5. korce

    korce Senior member

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    Allen Edmonds Park Avenues are pretty much the go-to recommendation you'll receive. Though don't buy from Harry Rosen, they'll be way too expensive (and I don't know that they'll have a whole lot, since I think they just ended their big sale). Try 'em on, find a pair that fits, and order them online.

    Any suggestions other than the Park Avenue? I'm looking for something a little less conservative...

    Yes - I didn't plan on going to HR to buy, just to try on and then buy online. I imagine AE would be way overpriced at HR.
     
  6. Reborn

    Reborn Senior member

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    Dark Brown Crockett & Jones Tetbury.

    yfyf often matches his well worn pair with suits and I feel like you'd get a lot of casual wear out of them.

    Edit: Those might be out of the price range but I'd look into a Chukka anyway.
     
  7. audiophilia

    audiophilia Senior member

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    If you get 3 AEs on sale, you'll be all set --

    Lots of young guns go for:

    Park Ave in black
    Evanston in Chili
    Hale in Merlot

    Edit: Just noticed that you are in TO. Do not buy at HR. 400 + incl. tax! WTF!!! You may be out of luck re my rec. David's on Bloor has some decent stuff. I like Boss shoes for younguns. My son loves his black Oxfords. Sadly, though, Toronto is a frigging shoe and sartorial wasteland.

    That said, good luck....
     
  8. korce

    korce Senior member

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    One other questions folks - which of the AE lasts is best for a slightly wider foot? I know that most of their shoes come in multiple widths, but I'm sure some lasts are more suited to a wider foot than others.

    I tend to fall somewhere between a 10.5D and 10EE in running and (poor quality, ie rockport) dress shoes that I own. I've never had the pleasure of trying on a shoe in 10E or 10.5E as not many make this size (though I notice AE does).
     
  9. porcelain monkey

    porcelain monkey Senior member

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    That is one of the best things about AE - they make shoes in all sizes. I have found so often that I find a great looking shoe and it only comes in D so I can't get into it.
     
  10. korce

    korce Senior member

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    Well, I tried on the Hale at Harry Rosen today - the best fit seemed to be a 10D. They didn't have a 10E in that shoe, but I tried a different shoe in the same last (8) in 10E, and it felt much too big. The 10D was slightly snug in the width, but felt like it would give appropriately over time.

    The only problem I had was a bit of heel slippage in the right shoe (which is my smaller foot).

    I'm wondering, what other AE lasts are similar to the 8 last? How does it compare to the 0 last (ie evanston)? Specifically, if there is a similar last but with a slightly narrower heel, it would probably work quite well for me.

    At this point, the shoes I'm considering are:
    -Hale in chili burnished calf
    -Evanston in walnut calf
    -McClain in chili grain calf

    Do you think the brogueing/wingtip on the McClain would be too extreme to wear to a wedding? Or is it suitable for a semi-formal event (ie suits, but not black tie)?
     
  11. korce

    korce Senior member

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    Any thoughts?
     
  12. breakz

    breakz Senior member

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    Bump because I'm curious as well. I'm about to pull the trigger on some Evanstons as a first dress shoe.

    Additional question: how often is too often when wearing dress shoes (AEs)?

    Last question (promise!): what brands are good alternatives to AE that provide modern styling and great quality?

    Thanks people, the search info is scarce for first-time shoe buyers.
     
  13. korce

    korce Senior member

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    I'm getting pretty close to pulling the trigger on a pair of Hale's in Burnished Chili, but am hoping to get input on two questions before I buy:

    1. Is the burnished chili color a dark enough brown to wear with a charcoal gray suit? (even to a wedding that may have a "black tie optional" dress code)

    2. Will the Hale end up being too chunky to wear with a slim suit (a la Thick as Thieves)? I'm a little worried that this and other AE designs are simply too chunky to wear with slim trousers. But, there aren't many other options that I can try on in Toronto (ie no Grenson, C&J, etc. retailers that I know of).
     
  14. highball

    highball Senior member

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    I'll say all this with the caveat that I'm young and don't much adhere to the "rules":

    1. I don't think the burnished chili is too dark to wear with charcoal. I once had a pair of (non-AE) cap toes that were called "burgundy" but were probably only a shade darker with a bit more red than the picture AE has on their site of the hale in burnished chili. (Not nearly as dark as AE's "Merlot" or "Burgundy") I wore these with a charcoal pinstripe suit and thought it was ok.

    2. I don't have any problems wearing my Park Ave's with slim trousers. I have small feet though so I'm not sure any shoe I could find would look too big for my pants. I think AE's have an ill-deserved reputation as being "chunky" when in reality you could do a lot worse.

    As for other suggestions I like Grenson's. Keep an eye out at Bennie's for when they go on sale for around $220. These have been on my list, and I would consider wearing them to a wedding, but again see caveat above.

    breakz, I wear my Park Ave's 2-3x per week due to my small shoe collection, but never 2 days in a row unless I have 2 back-to-back days with business events where I have to look sharp but conservative. I think this is ok when you're starting out but will probably cut that down to 1x/week once I have more shoes.
     
  15. korce

    korce Senior member

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    1. I don't think the burnished chili is too dark to wear with charcoal.
    I was actually wondering whether the burnished chili would be dark enough to wear with a charcoal suit, not wondering if they would be too dark...!
    I'll say all this with the caveat that I'm young and don't much adhere to the "rules": As for other suggestions I like Grenson's. Keep an eye out at Bennie's for when they go on sale for around $220. These have been on my list, and I would consider wearing them to a wedding, but again see caveat above.
    I very much like Grenson's too. A little sleeker than any AE I've seen, and with that classic british style. Unfortunately I know of no stockists in Canada, so I have no way of finding out my size. I've contacted Bennie's about them before, and they told me that they did not ship to Canada [​IMG]
     

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