Sartorially Self Inclined: Just Need a pair of Brown Shoes

As my time at the coffee shop comes to a close and I start to get ready for the “real” world I believe it is time for me to finally say farewell to my behind the bar shoes and hello to some dress shoes. For any of you that work in the service industry, other than hipsters, have at least once in their life had or entertained the idea of owning a pair of dankso shoes. They are the primo slip on for the restaurant type and just so ideal for any type of kitchen like work. They are durable, comfortable, can take a beating and not make your feet smell like poop! They are great. But the only problem that I have with them is that they look clunky and awkward. Not the most handsome of shoe nor the trimmest. They are round and weird. Much like many people who work in the kitchens. Joke, really, you are all beautiful people.

These are industry standards. Ironic hipsters would wear dress shoes to work in a cafe. But I ain’t staining my nice shoes with milk and bleach.

Being a mens sartorial addict I fawn over really nice shoes. I mean like drool, sometimes even worse than my ladyfriend. A nice pair of brogues, a good monkstrap, or suede desert boot make me go “ooh, this is what the feet of a modern day renaissance man deserves.” Shoes to me are the most important part of an outfit that you can and should spend money on. I remember talking to the Head Roaster of Novo coffee, Erich Rosenberg, and he said that you can judge a man and his coffee tastes just by looking at his shoes. I have heard variations on this comment from multiple blogs and posts that I read around the internet and always thought it was important but was blown away when I realized that Erich was right. And not just right on coffee, but right on the importance in the shoe for interactions between people.

They way I look at it is this. Shoes are one of the few things that men have that can show off their individuality. There is not a lot of variation in men’s dress clothes. They all are based on business standards and longlasting traditions traded down for eons. English Suits have maintained the same structure for ages, men’s shirts are either polo, button up, or collared and pants are either ball restricting skinny, boxy, or slim fit. No matter how exotic the cuts or the colors; shirt, suit, and pants all have the same shape and structure. Hence why when you go into a place like Forever 21, the men’s section is limited to about three racks. Virtually identical.

But shoes, well that has a whole different ball game. You see, for every occasion, for every type of activity, for every type of foot, there is just as many if not more types of shoes for men. Shoes really get to show off a man’s taste and aesthetic. Any man can wear a suit at work and many are required to, but that doesn’t say anything about your individuality. However, the shoe connected with that outfit will really tell you about the man. Is that man serious about his job and pays attention to detail? Does he not really care about his job? Can I trust him? Does he prefer to be comfortable or tres chic? All of these questions can be answered by shoes.

These are as right angled as you can get but there are levels of square. Rounded and pointed are more sophisticated and traditional. True style.

First and foremost I firmly believe that square toed shoes are ridiculous and although I do tend to get a lot of flack for this, I don’t trust men with square toed shoes. I always associate men who wear square toed shoes with sleazy car dealers and mid-1990’s Die Hard style villains. They look awkward and clunky and really break up the flow of the male figure. If you look at a man in a well cut suit from top to bottom it should look like a seamless line. Square toed shoes make your line stop and in most cases, similar to a slightly large or unfit shirt, can make you seem short of chunky. Not only that, because they are out of fashion they usually tend to be dirt cheap. Not that buying fiscally is bad, but come one, no one looks good in square toed shoes. There is a fine line between being frugal and at least looking good.

Before we get into the personal reasons why I like to wear really nice expensive shoes I think it is important to really think about what buying good handmade shoes means.

1. It helps to keep an ancient craft alive and keeps shoemakers in business.
2. It “hopefully” helps to support small local businesses from the US or Italy and not Chinese manufacturing giants with small children workers
3. Creates a one of a kind shoe that people will be really impressed with and also allows for mass amounts of individuality.
4. Did I mention it helps small businesses and craftsmen? I think the only two things that many of us hipster 20 somethings care about.

Shoes are what you will be in a majority of the day so you want them to be super comfortable but at the same time, shoes convey the type of person that you are and your personality type. Especially with professional clothing I think that having a good pair of shoes shows that you are giving respect to your fellow coworkers. I know that sounds weird but I think that when getting dressed nicely, or even t go out with your friends to the bars, your wardrobe should reflect your level of respect for the situation and those around you. I am not saying wear a nice pair of leather moccasins when you go play basketball, but it couldn’t hurt to wear them out to an open mic night. If I have to be in a pair of shoes all day I want them to be able to do a few things.

1. Be comfortable and breath
2. Be able to transition from business wear to evening casual rather easy. It is much easier to change your top than it is to change shoes and pants when you are a man. It’s the lazy effect.
3. Show a professional level of respect to the people around me
4. Be leather. Because I always associate leather with professional, classic, and just very manly.

There are many other websites and blogs that can go on and on about shoes and what type to buy and what goes with what and blah blah blah. What I want to do on this site is really highlight the importance of picking shoes. Not only are they something that you need to be comfortable in, but they are a great subtle way to make a good first impression. Think when meeting your ladyfriends parents for the first time. Just visually,  along with being well groomed and in nice fitting clothes, shoes can make you look like a professional. Can make you look like you care about how you present yourself to the world and are not a slob and pry have the financial know how to support their daughter even if your working for Americorps like me!

You don’t want to flaunt your money but you do want people to take you seriously and I think that if you are to invest your money into something, investing in shoes is an integral tool in your wardrobe.I already have a nice pair of black monkstrap shoes that look fantastic in a suit and nice jeans. Now if I could only find a really nice pair of brown lace ups that were affordable on a below minimum wage salary. That would be nice. Anyone willing to let me sample your shoes and review them on this blog? Hmm Calvin Klein, Clarks, Cole Haan, Florsheim, Hush Puppies? Anyone?

These are simple, elegant, but demand respect and attention. Worn with a nice fitted pant and shirt. Mmmmm

As always Put This On does a better job at explaining shoes than I so check out their video here from their web series. Also an amazingly humorous and sincere look at men’s fashion. Worth checking out.

<p><a href=”″>Put This On, Episode 2: Shoes</a> from <a href=””>Put This On</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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