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Streamlined Shoe Wardrobe

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    couldn't disagree more. Black shoes suck all the time. They are lifeless and boring.

    For every situation where a black shoe works well (excluding black tie and funerals), a brown shoe looks better. If you are wearing decent brown shoes, there is no issue of safer.
     
  2. HughJ

    HughJ Senior member

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    The U-last is right where "too sleek" begins for my preference.

    I like oxfords with dress trousers and above, and reserve derbys for casual wear.
     
  3. bant

    bant Senior member

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    incorrect, not in the case of UCBD.
     
  4. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    bull.

    I don't care what board room, law firm, or investment bank you are in, no one will give a rats ass if you walk in with a well fitted gray or navy suit and dark brown captoe oxfords. no one will say anything, no one will berate you, in fact, you'd probably get compliments, i know I have.

    if you walk in there with for instance Walnut strands on, yeah, you may raise a few eyebrows.
     
  5. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    From a practical perspective, I think you're probably right and it may not matter in many cases if black is seen as slightly more conservative. That said, black shoes are still more conservative, and for this reason slightly safer, IMO. This doesn't mean brown shoes are wrong or that I would have an issue wearing them in a formal business setting with a suit, just that they're not quite the ne plus ultra of conservative footwear.
     
  6. Gauss17

    Gauss17 Senior member

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    I partially agree. Most of the time, no one will really notice. For a counterexample however, a friend of mine works at Nationwide Insurance and he really thinks brown has no place in a business environment. He thinks shoes should always be black. Also, please do not take this out of context, whether or not I agree with him or whether or not he has good taste is debatable. I am simply providing an example of an average guy who would disagree, and hence he cannot be alone in this thought. That said, I would argue that anyone who disagrees is still like not to say anything or berate you, but they will quietly think you have made an error.
     
  7. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    ^ Nationwide is NOT on your side, Quadcammer :D
     
  8. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    AGREED
     
  9. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    point being, if no one notices, cares, or says anything, does it really matter?
     
  10. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    But in what context? On this forum or at your office? I could dress terribly in my office (I actually used to) and no one cared or noticed, as they all dressed poorly too. Even though they didn't notice, I still looked bad.
     
  11. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Most of the time in day-to-day life, probably not. There may be a few office environments where black shoes are expected, but I don't know of any personally. If I'm going to a job interview or pitching to a new client I've never met before, I'd always wear black over brown and keep my clothes on the more sedate side. I think there are a small number of cases where the less colorful and more boring shoe (even though I like black a good bit more than you, I do agree that it is somewhat boring) is definitely a better choice.
     
  12. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The tan monks could go.
    I have a pair of tan wingtips and tan plain toes and wear them a lot in summer, but I don't really need them.
     
  13. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    point is that brown shoes would be disdained not for looking bad, but for being somehow less formal. My statement is that since no one cares, wear what looks better, which in my opinion, is brown.



    i agree that conservative choices are better, hence navy suits, white or light blue shirts, subdued ties, etc. never run into a situation where dark brown captoes would be astride of that
     
  14. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Negative in London.
     
  15. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I agree the tan monks would be the first to go if something had to go. But it is a very useful shoe.

    Foo is also right that if you had to pare down, seasonality could be ditched, but if you can achieve seasonality with only 6-7 pairs, you should.

    The fooshoo is absolutely wrong for summer.
     
  16. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I don't agree with a number of the basic principles, and I'm not sure exactly what the utility of streamlining is (beyond the type of 'if you could only have 5 ties' intellectual exercise). If you have space and funds for more than a half-dozen pairs of quality shoes, why limit yourself? Any quality shoe that fits and works with your wardrobe is a useful shoe. Choice is good.
     
  17. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    In fairness, shoes are a good bit more expensive than ties, so a six shoe wardrobe is equivalent to a 30 tie wardrobe in terms of cost (assuming $400 shoes on average). A 30 tie wardrobe is a completely uninteresting exercise because with that many choices, you can have plenty of staples and more eccentric choices. If you're spending a similar amount on shoes, you don't have that luxury so the exercise becomes more interesting IMO. Not everyone needs to streamline, but I think it makes sense to look at certain basics that one should have. It may not matter if you have enough shoes, but still a good check to make sure you have certain essentials (or that you know what your essentials are).
     
  18. recondite

    recondite Senior member

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    First some personal opinion: monk shoes should never be part of a streamlined shoe wardrobe. As a point in fact, only children and dilettantes wear shoes with buckles. Sorry for the brutal truth, but there it is.

    Your wardrobe should be determined by what you do or better, how you live. I have never had less than a four shoe wardrobe. Even as a youngster, I had a shoe wardrobe that contained trainers, boat shoes, hiking boots, and cordovan penny loafers. Once I cut the tether, I traded in the penny loafers for something different.

    Due to how I lived, for over thirty years my shoe wardrobe consisted of only three different shoes and one pair of boots:

    black tassel apron loafers
    tan boat shoes
    white trainers
    mountaineering boots by Galibier

    I had originally two pair of each except for the boots. I added a third pair of black tassel loafers when I had to send in a pair for re-crafting. I later put a Topy bottom on one pair of the loafers for bad weather, salt be damned, and my shoe wardrobe was perfect and complete for over 30 years of living out of suitcases and duffel bags where a streamlined and uniform wardrobe was essential if not desirable.

    I never was at a loss for the right shoe from black tie to playing squash to regattas to shooting chukar. I never was without a proper shoe to wear from D.C. to The City to Monaco to Sun Vallet and every known yacht club on both coasts, not to mention most of the dive bars with live music, in between.

    There is nothing wrong with uniform attire. Frankly, the best dressers all have one.

    Once I gained a pied-à-terre, I began to appreciate other types of shoes. But brown shoes, especially in calf, are still hardly in evidence. They serve no purpose other than that they are different.

    The first thing I noticed that was missing from my shoe wardrobe was a pair of nice cowboy boots. So eventually Lucchese fixed me up with a couple of pair in black calf and natural shell once I got religion. If limited to one pair of cowboy boots, natural shell would be the right choice for how and when I usually wear them.

    Once I found some time to lace my shoes, I began to appreciate captoe oxfords or balmorals which are are great for all day wear when black, whether stitched or punched. Even though I now own a couple pair and enjoy them, I do not find oxfords or balmorals essential. Because black goes with everything [and it does, including khaki and white], some form black dress shoe is essential, pick one that works for you. Brown dress shoes are practically an oxymoron, so I do not recommend them unless you must be....different.

    Another point in fact: the ugliest shoes ever made are brown. Anything that is hideous in black become a crime against nature when offered in brown.

    Depending on how you live, loafers might be the bomb. The best ones [not moccasins] are certainly a more elegant solution than any captoe bal or oxford including those made by the better marques. Since I am in and out of my shoes several times a day, even at my advanced age, loafers have great utility for me. When I was young and single, loafers were a necessity and not an principally an affectation since I was changing in and out of attire frequently every day and night, and I just preferred not to carry a shoe horn.


    Vibram soled walking shoes are nice as well if you walk any distance and/or deal with inclement weather or terrain on a regular basis, as I do now. I have plain toe bluchers in both black and walnut buffalo hide for both such occasions. I wear the walnut [edit: actually probably more tobacco because of the red overtones] colored ones the most in daytime and the black ones at night. Vibram is superior to Danite in my limited view, So I have limited myself to one pair of shoes with Danite which are quite useless on wet polished stone and on ice. They are brown split toe bluchers I wear only during fair weather when I just want something out of the ordinary with jeans or khakis.

    Gum soled desert boots are the ultimate casual shoe for comfort and my espresso colored ones go with everything and everywhere. When comfort is valued above all other features, I know of no more comfortable shoe or boot when you need something more substantial than a slipper. If you value comfort above all other virtues, gum soled desert boots are essential.

    If you pursue or are pursued by women, you may want to spruce up your shoe wardrobe since they universally have a shoe fetish. This is why I have espresso full brogue oxfords in unlined suede for dancing and the same in midnight calf for every other casual event. I also wear navy suede full brogue bluchers for events with paramours that may begin in daylight one day before ending after dawn the next. Women dig men in full and half brogue shoes; that's a fact. Just wear them with more casual suits, odd jackets, khakis, and jeans, and you will not look like you're trying too hard.

    If you don't live on planes and boats, some form of house shoe is nice. Mine are two tone black with brown trim tassel moccasins. On and off like slippers, and they go with everything except a dinner or lounge suit, but then I don't wear suits around the house much when not entertaining or fundraising.

    Black or brown leather trainers are nice to have when on the run around town. I wear my brown ones the most, except in Europe, when the black ones see the most wear.

    If you need elegance above all, then you can't do better than black wholecut oxfords for everything on the formal side of odd jackets with trousers. Women will appreciate these or a well made apron loafer with or without tassels, far more than a stitch cap oxford which they find unremarkable by and large.

    Elegance is a virtue that is worthy of your attention if you are no longer a dilettante. Elegance will demand that you lose any interest in shoes with buckles. Boots are a different matter, be they jodhpurs or motorcycle, where buckles are still serve a purpose.

    You should know that I associate buckle pumps with the shorts and knees socks worn as a small child, but that is my cross to bear and maybe not yours.

    How do you live?

    I still frequently sail and workout almost daily, so I require trainers and boat shoes and cannot live without them. I also need full blown hiking boots for other regular activities that include hunting. I still have my Galibiers, but also a mid weight pair of boots for times when a full blown mountaineering boot is just a bit much. If I didn't need a dress shoe, I could live with only trainers, boat shoes, and hiking boots, as I did most often when at university.

    If you live out of your closet, have affectations for metal buckles, and you are far from athletic, the six shoe wardrobe might be just the ticket.

    Otherwise, YMMV if you indulge in sport, women, and travel, each of which encompass a far different and nearly incompatible aesthetic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  19. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I hope this was a full cut and paste from something already written.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    3 people like this.
  20. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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