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suitforcourt

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Yeah, it was 60F in LA today, so I had to break out the heavy tweed. Brrrrr!

:rotflmao::rotflmao::rotflmao:
I have a wedding in LA in October. Will contact you about some "must see" places.

Maybe we can hit up some thrift stores?
 

instigateur

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Vintage Hess PTB Scotch Grain
IMG_20200121_080352.jpg
 

DapperAndy

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It's tough to get a mirror with regular polish; the waxes are too soft (disclaimer: this may not be the whole reason, but it's the gist). Saphir mirror gloss uses much harder waxes, which makes it easier to build up a mirror shine. Another great wax for mirror shines (about half the price of Saphir, and it smells great, too) is Pure Polish High Shine:


(And no, @DapperAndy won't give me a commission if you buy from that link; I just like his polishes a lot.)

For some great tutorials on putting on a mirror shine, I recommend Elegant Oxford (Preston Soto) on youtube (and I think @DapperAndy has a video or two also; look under How-Tos on his site).
Thank you @woofmang that means a lot.
I answer the “how to mirror shine” and “diagnose my current process” questions a lot, and I’m lucky to get to do so. So for the sake of conciseness on “how to”, here are a sequence of three in-depth blog posts where I took an old thrifted pair of Swiss Navyboot Plain toe oxfords up to an “Ultimate Shine” and explain each of my steps along the way. And no, they aren’t links to my site, but rather a James Bond Style Fan site, where I offered guest blogging.
Part 1 – https://www.iconicalternatives.com/2019/06/10/complete-shoe-care-guide-part-1/
Part 2 – https://www.iconicalternatives.com/2019/06/12/the-complete-shoe-care-guide-part-2/
Part 3 – https://www.iconicalternatives.com/2019/09/12/how-to-create-a-mirror-shoe-shine/
I don’t do as many videos, since I think videos don’t explain very well. So if I’m going for explanation, I write long posts talking about the grain of the leather, alternating soft and hard waxes, and removing occlusions on the final layer with soft flannel cloth and minimal droplets of water.

If I’m going for inspiration, I show my badass mirror shine pics and don’t give an explanation. So, I guess that’s why I (currently) suck at video. Lol

~Andy
P.S. these are the raw unedited photos from that evening. I have a place on my top floor deck, where if I catch a sunset just right, and put the shoes on my deck chair underneath the overhang, it allows for perfect soft light and ultimate reflection.
5C321563-7211-4710-ABEC-223CB08AAE78.jpegE887A4C0-5C8E-4545-80B2-6A8F8B7D1A13.jpeg88488948-A36F-477B-A841-8089712664DB.jpeg
 

DapperAndy

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Somebody recently posted a pair of Church's. Years ago, Church's was a fantastic Northhampton manufacturer that made exceptional shoes. I believe in the last several years the quality has declined dramatically. Prada bought the company and from what I have heard, they have slowly ruined the reputation of a high quality british manufacturer.

BUT, I think the vintage Church's are exceptional. I was thinking about this last night and decided to get my Church's Cap Toe out to clean up and polish.

A black cap toe is, in my opinion, a requirement of a gentlemen's collection. As I really like some black cap toe oxfords. However, they can be pretty boring. Even the best looking Cap Toe with rich traditional elegance isn't exactly eye catching. I suppose that is the reason to have them. They are VERY formal. They can be the perfect choice of shoe to dress up a dark suit. Because they are not worn that much, a quality pair will last for decades. Despite my appreciation for this traditional shoe, I was very bored with them after I polished them.

My wife (probably like many of your spouses) likes my shoes. But, she pokes a little fun at me when I get a pair out to clean up or polish. She will say, "Oh, you are going to take some pictures and post for these for the guys on the forum?" She isn't really making fun, she just doesn't get it like we all do. So, when I was done, she asked if I was going to wear them and take pictures. I decided I was not.

The simple elegance of the cap toe just seemed too dull.

I thought I would try a mirror shine on the cap toe. I thought that would elevate the excitement. After all the above rambling, I have finally come to the point. I could not seem to get a real mirror shine! A few years ago I found an OLD shoe shine kit. Inside was two old cans of Shinola polish (remember The Jerk? Learn the difference between shit and shinola). Even though it was very old, it was still thick and creamy. I figured it must have some good stuff in it since it has not dried out. I have used the polish before and it worked fine. It made the rest of the shoe look good. I got out my tin of Saphir Pate De Luxe black and tried to do a mirror shine on the cap toe. They turned out okay, but not mirror shine. I polished and rubbed and used a little water and rubbed and polished and kept going. I brushed and brushed. But, could not get it.

How do you all do it? Do I need the saphir Mirror Gloss polish? Any other tips? Maybe the Shinola just didn't cut it.
Did someone say Vintage Church’s Cap-toe? Hah! That’s actually what I keep at my desk to polish when I’m thinking through a creative problem. I find the repetitive motion calming and helpful in focus.

Here it is from a few nights ago.

45C066E1-43D0-4EE9-B247-411F1676D5F3.jpeg

To diagnose any process, you have to come to a mutual beginning. If you start with the leather, stripped down, or removed of any product, is it smooth, are there scuffs, divets, rough edges? Is it tacky, wet, porous, dry? Regardless of the wax layers you put on top, whether it be Shinola, Saphir, or Pure Polish, you have to start clean and smooth. Then, since leather has grain and is porous, fill it in with some soft waxes and conditioning oils. The solvent will open up the pores, but if you use too much and don’t let it evaporate, it will become tacky or unbuildable. Then, your hard wax layer from paste/wax or “pate”, builds up the beginnings of what I like to call the M&M shell. It’s delicate and protects the leather. You know it’s dont when a water drop doesn’t soak through easily any more - you can rub the moisture around a little bit. Then the final mirror shine layer, you alternate very tiny dabs of the stiffest wax you can find (High Shine of Mirror Shine products) and water droplets. This is like polishing that M&M until it’s glass. For final inspection, when you steam up the toe with your breath, you shouldn’t see any more grain, roughness, or pores. It should be pure glassy smooth. That’s why I always finish with a very soft cloth.

Cheers!
 

eTrojan

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I have a wedding in LA in October. Will contact you about some "must see" places.

Maybe we can hit up some thrift stores?
Absolutely. LA is a big city. Let me know which part of town you’re going to be in.
 

suitforcourt

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Nobleprofessor

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I purchased these shoes recently and today is the inaugural wear.

I am very impressed with the eBay seller. They were packed extremely well.

I have heard of Gravati and have seen some of their shoes. But, had never tried any. I found this pair and they looked nice and were very reasonably priced. I believe they are vintage — depending on how strict that definition is construed.

I did a little research on the company because I didn’t know much about them.

“ Gravati: The shoes are hand-crafted entirely within the factory by skilled artisans and technicians. Every pattern of every Gravati shoe is hand-cut. Unlike most modern shoe manufacturers, Gravati does not maintain stock—retailers must specify the patterns, lasts, leathers, soles, and construction methods that they want; and only then will the factory make the shoes. Their production methods are typical of many upper-echelon shoemakers in that the uppers are cut (or clicked) and lasted and the shoes finished by hand, but that all sewing is done by machine.”

I was surprised that only a few retailers sell them. It appears that Wilkes-Bashford has the biggest selection.

The listing described these as Oxblood which many people use incorrectly to mean a burgundy color that is often called “Cordovan” — even though we all know that is not a color. I thought these would be Cordovan — the color.

The listing photo shows a handsome color that is sort of a dark brown and #8 mix.

25501BA4-71E8-4858-8411-E4DDDA368929.jpeg



But, today when I put them on, they look more brown. I like the color but thought they were closer to burgundy/Cordovan.

I like shoes so far. They are definitely styled in a more Italian style with a longer narrower profile.

They do appear to be quality leather. And while they may be Blake construction, they look very well made. I don’t think I would ever pay full retail. But, I paid about 1/8th the price.

I have the wrong color socks — especially if they are really brown instead of burgundy/Cordovan.

E9AB2349-E679-467C-AFD9-D877AD93F3D4.jpeg
FA3E079E-400D-44E6-A856-635017E2EBA5.jpeg
 

suitforcourt

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Absolutely. LA is a big city. Let me know which part of town you’re going to be in.
Will message you once I confirm everything. It'd be nice to hit up a few thrift stores. And check out the lively night life and food scene.
 

The Apostle

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I purchased these shoes recently and today is the inaugural wear.

I am very impressed with the eBay seller. They were packed extremely well.

I have heard of Gravati and have seen some of their shoes. But, had never tried any. I found this pair and they looked nice and were very reasonably priced. I believe they are vintage — depending on how strict that definition is construed.

I did a little research on the company because I didn’t know much about them.

“ Gravati: The shoes are hand-crafted entirely within the factory by skilled artisans and technicians. Every pattern of every Gravati shoe is hand-cut. Unlike most modern shoe manufacturers, Gravati does not maintain stock—retailers must specify the patterns, lasts, leathers, soles, and construction methods that they want; and only then will the factory make the shoes. Their production methods are typical of many upper-echelon shoemakers in that the uppers are cut (or clicked) and lasted and the shoes finished by hand, but that all sewing is done by machine.”

I was surprised that only a few retailers sell them. It appears that Wilkes-Bashford has the biggest selection.

The listing described these as Oxblood which many people use incorrectly to mean a burgundy color that is often called “Cordovan” — even though we all know that is not a color. I thought these would be Cordovan — the color.

The listing photo shows a handsome color that is sort of a dark brown and #8 mix.

View attachment 1322290


But, today when I put them on, they look more brown. I like the color but thought they were closer to burgundy/Cordovan.

I like shoes so far. They are definitely styled in a more Italian style with a longer narrower profile.

They do appear to be quality leather. And while they may be Blake construction, they look very well made. I don’t think I would ever pay full retail. But, I paid about 1/8th the price.

I have the wrong color socks — especially if they are really brown instead of burgundy/Cordovan.

View attachment 1322295View attachment 1322294
Those look great. The color looks similar to Allen Edmonds Coffee. At least in the picture. My only gripe which is super subjective and I'm certain has varying opinions. Such nice shoes need waxed laces. I know non shoe people would never noticed, just my preference. Not hating at all...love the shoes.
 

friendlygoz

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I purchased these shoes recently and today is the inaugural wear.

I am very impressed with the eBay seller. They were packed extremely well.

I have heard of Gravati and have seen some of their shoes. But, had never tried any. I found this pair and they looked nice and were very reasonably priced. I believe they are vintage — depending on how strict that definition is construed.

I did a little research on the company because I didn’t know much about them.

“ Gravati: The shoes are hand-crafted entirely within the factory by skilled artisans and technicians. Every pattern of every Gravati shoe is hand-cut. Unlike most modern shoe manufacturers, Gravati does not maintain stock—retailers must specify the patterns, lasts, leathers, soles, and construction methods that they want; and only then will the factory make the shoes. Their production methods are typical of many upper-echelon shoemakers in that the uppers are cut (or clicked) and lasted and the shoes finished by hand, but that all sewing is done by machine.”

I was surprised that only a few retailers sell them. It appears that Wilkes-Bashford has the biggest selection.

The listing described these as Oxblood which many people use incorrectly to mean a burgundy color that is often called “Cordovan” — even though we all know that is not a color. I thought these would be Cordovan — the color.

The listing photo shows a handsome color that is sort of a dark brown and #8 mix.

View attachment 1322290


But, today when I put them on, they look more brown. I like the color but thought they were closer to burgundy/Cordovan.

I like shoes so far. They are definitely styled in a more Italian style with a longer narrower profile.

They do appear to be quality leather. And while they may be Blake construction, they look very well made. I don’t think I would ever pay full retail. But, I paid about 1/8th the price.

I have the wrong color socks — especially if they are really brown instead of burgundy/Cordovan.

View attachment 1322295View attachment 1322294
Those are great. If Wilkes Bashford sells them they are high end. @CWOyaji and live near one. It’s the kind of place where a purchase would require a mortgage refinance for most people. Great score.
 

Nobleprofessor

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Those look great. The color looks similar to Allen Edmonds Coffee. At least in the picture. My only gripe which is super subjective and I'm certain has varying opinions. Such nice shoes need waxed laces. I know non shoe people would never noticed, just my preference. Not hating at all...love the shoes.
Those are great. If Wilkes Bashford sells them they are high end. @CWOyaji and live near one. It’s the kind of place where a purchase would require a mortgage refinance for most people. Great score.
I agree about the shoe laces. I always prefer waxed laces in dress shoes. These also don’t seem to grip very well, I have had to tighten them twice.

I agree about WB. Very pricey! Any place that sells Tom Ford Suits is outside my price range. The Gravati shoes they sell are priced at $695 up to $950. They have a few on sale for $400 something.

So, that means I spent less than 10% retail.
 

eTrojan

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Those look great. The color looks similar to Allen Edmonds Coffee. At least in the picture. My only gripe which is super subjective and I'm certain has varying opinions. Such nice shoes need waxed laces. I know non shoe people would never noticed, just my preference. Not hating at all...love the shoes.
As long as we’re going down this rathole...

Laces:

Round or flat?
Waxed or unwaxed?
Color-match or color-contrast?
 

Nobleprofessor

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As long as we’re going down this rathole...

Laces:

Round or flat?
Waxed or unwaxed?
Color-match or color-contrast?
I can give the most accurate response which is also a complete cop out. It depends.

I like waxed for anything other than casual shoes. I like round unless it’s a Black very dressy shoe then black can look better because it sort of disappears.

Color match or contrast depends on how dressy you want them to be. I have a pair of Florsheim LWB that were done in the shoe challenge. They have purple laces. I love them! But, if I’m wearing some very dressy shoe with a suit, I wouldn’t wear them.

I like the lighter contrasting colors on some shoes where the sole edge is natural or where the welt stitching has been changed to a lighter color.
 

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