If I had to start my entire wardrobe over, I would start with shoes. Even a casual observation would tell you that, in terms of both choice and care, shoes are the part of many men’s wardrobes that don’t get appropriate attention. A lot of guys seem to think that shoes aren’t important, which is a mistake. A well-chosen and well-cared for pair of shoes says a lot about a man.
In this podcast, I talk about starting at the foundation of a good wardrobe with smart, classic shoes that will work in any setting, any year, from business to casual, with suits or jeans. Avoid any square-toed clumsiness with weird stitching patterns and chunky soles that look like a collaboration between Kenneth Cole Reaction and Herman Munster. Start with something simple, elegant and timeless: a lace-up oxford or wingtip, with solid construction, perhaps with a Goodyear-welt. For the record, my favorite shoes come from Church’s and Grenson in the U.K., and, in the U.S., Alden, Allen Edmonds, Johston & Murphy and Florsheim.
In the podcast, I also elaborate on how to take care of your shoes so that they last longer than you will.
My simple rules of shoe care:
Never wear the same shoes two days in a row. They need a day off to dry and retain their shape.
Keep cedar shoe trees in your shoes when you’re not wearing them.
Shine your shoes every week with a nice shoe cream, like Meltonian. Every two weeks minimum.
Get taps put under the toes and heels of your shoes.
As many of you probably know, Caterpillar – that same company that makes tractors – also makes footwear. Earlier this month, CAT Footwear celebrated the launch of their Autumn/Winter 2012 collection of casual shoes and boots at their showroom in New York City. Style bloggers were treated to a complimentary pair of their choice.
My favorite boots by far were the Orson ($160) and the Haverhill ($140). (I snagged a pair of the Haverhills.) Each is made with Caterpillar’s standards of durability, including a full grain leather upper, canvas lining and Goodyear welt construction.
The A/W 2012 collection is now available to the general public in select stores and online at www.catfootwear.com.
This is a basic. Dog runs are not hotbeds of cleanliness, which means wearing comfortable garb that I don’t mind getting dirty or wet. The dog run can also be a gateway to Frumpytown, characterized by ill-fitting clothes from the ugly bin. My ego won’t allow it. I believe that the “I don’t care what I look like” aesthetic in public places, wherever and however employed, can start to quietly bleed into other areas, bringing us to our current state of guerrilla casual.
I’m not a fan of wearing shorts in the city, so I keep it light in the summer with easy and wearable classics that are never wrong: canvas Chuck Taylors, an old, light pair of chinos or cargo pants, and an old t-shirt or polo. Simple.
We’re now living in a culture where jeans have become a premium item, and sneakers have become the pumped, pimped and hyped norm. The result is a new breed of uber-casual adult man: the non-athlete wearing athletic footwear and over-specialized patterns of denim that – really not that long ago – would have been considered ladies jeans. This is where we are.
I mean, come on. If you’ve already got your basic brogues in black and brown, why not expand your palette? These dashing kickers from Allen Edmonds come in several colors in both leather and suede. My favorites are olive, red and blue.
They’re made with a 360 degree Goodyear welt construction and are eligible for Allen Edmonds full Recrafting service.