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  • First Pair of Allen Edmonds

    Making the investment on my first pair of Allen Edmonds oxfords. I think I'm going to go with the Strand cap-toe.

    My question is which of their brown color options (walnut, brown, bourbon) would be most versatile to go with charcoal, navy, gray, etc?

    Also, if this were going to be your only pair of AE for a while, would you go with the Strand? Or is there another style that would be more prudent to own? Again, going for versatility.

    Any advice on sizing with AE?

  • #2
    Color: Brown. Wish you could buy a mid-brown from AE as that's probably best. Bourbon can be fine, as will be Bob's Chili. Don't go for walnut.

    Style: What are you using these for? What sorts of clothes? Strands are not super versatile, IMO, because they're closed-lacing which is more formal - but if you're planning to only wear these with wool trousers, dress chinos, and suits I think they're absolutely fine.*** I would also consider Bob's Chili and Brogue Suede if you're going for the Strands, both are really great and versatile colors.
    - to be honest unless you have to wear suits all of the time I'd consider a longwing blucher such as the MacNeil or McGregor, or a cap toe/medallion toe blucher (don't know what AE has in their roster like this at the moment), or even a split-toe blucher in a non-chromexcel makeup (chromexcel leather is very casual and can't take a polish) over a pair of balmoral (closed lacing) shoes. I think you can dress any of these up with a suit if necessary, though not to the highest of high formal standards, and they'd all look great with chinos or jeans. (I would recommend a plain toe blucher like the AE Kenilworth in brown/bourbon also but people seem to have sizing issues with these and AE is discontinuing them in favor of the much uglier Jomoc so your size may not be available).

    Sizing: Can you find a Nordstrom or AE near you and get sized? That's honestly the way to go.


    ***A bunch of people may come here and say they disagree and wear their walnut strands with jeans all of the time. There's a lot of #menswear groupthink leftover from 2011 about walnut strands, mostly percolating on Reddit Frugal Male Fashion/Male Fashion Advice... but most people who've been buying nice shoes for a while will tell you that the walnut color is really hard to pair with most things in their wardrobe. There's a "rule" about not wearing closed-lacing shoes with jeans, which I follow because I think open lacing (like the MacNeils or Leeds) looks better with those, a lot of people say rules are fussy and wear what looks good. It's your call.

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    • #3
      If you plan to wear these mostly at work with the trousers mentioned by [MENTION=2492]LosRockets[/MENTION], I think the strands are a great option. I also agree that brown is the most versatile color.

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      • #4
        For your first pair of shoes, I'd go with Brown or Bourbon to start off with. I think the Strands will be great as well.

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        • #5
          Bourbon gets my vote. My walnut strands ended up on ebay because they were hard to match to anything.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LosRockets View Post
            ***A bunch of people may come here and say they disagree and wear their walnut strands with jeans all of the time. There's a lot of #menswear groupthink leftover from 2011 about walnut strands, mostly percolating on Reddit Frugal Male Fashion/Male Fashion Advice... but most people who've been buying nice shoes for a while will tell you that the walnut color is really hard to pair with most things in their wardrobe. There's a "rule" about not wearing closed-lacing shoes with jeans, which I follow because I think open lacing (like the MacNeils or Leeds) looks better with those, a lot of people say rules are fussy and wear what looks good. It's your call.
            Eh, I wear a pair of brown closed lacing, but casual wingtips all the time with jeans, (think AE's rough collection), and it works totally fine. My only issue with the Walnut Strands, (I have a pair - they were my first pair of AE's) is that they are just too light to pair with dark denim or any darker pants. I still wear them frequently, but thats because I wear khaki or light gray chinos to work frequently, and they work well with those. I get a lot more wear out of my bourbon McAllisters though, because they work a lot better with darker colored pants. Brown or Bob's Chili would also work well here. However, I agree with the original sentiment that you should probably not get Walnut as a first pair due to the lack of flexibility, (though I do not regret my purchase of them as my first pair).

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            • #7
              Agreed with Bourbon, Brown, or Chili. Walnut is only for when you have a few other shades of brown in your rotation.

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              • #8
                Can't go wrong with Bourbon/Brown, but may I suggest Merlot (aka Burgundy)?

                Just as versatile as a true brown, yet...in my humble opinion...more sex appeal.

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                • #9
                  Oddly enough, my first pair of AEs were walnut 5th Aves (along with black Park Aves), but if I had to go back, I'd definitely get dark brown, then bourbon, then walnut. I really like the walnut as a change of pace and it goes well with my mid-blue and light gray suits, but isn't as easy to pair as bourbon, brown, black, or even merlot.

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                  • #10
                    Could someone post pictures, side by side if possible, of a bourbon shoe next to a walnut shoe? This would be much appreciated as I can't get a good feel for true color based on the rasterized images on the AE website.

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                    • #11
                      Should be able to Google that easily.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pyourne View Post
                        Could someone post pictures, side by side if possible, of a bourbon shoe next to a walnut shoe? This would be much appreciated as I can't get a good feel for true color based on the rasterized images on the AE website.
                        Not quite side-by-side, but here's an out of date picture of my shoe collection.

                        Bourbon = every shoe in the second row from the top and the Daltons in the top row furthest to the left

                        Walnut = the two furthest left pairs in the third row from the bottom

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                        • #13
                          Merlot McAllisters (recommend getting these as your first pair) and Walnut Strands (probably recommend if you get a merlot and bourbon first and second).

                          http://i.imgur.com/Kjmz0n0.jpg

                          Also recommend to get the Mora 2.0s for your first bourbon pair.

                          http://i.imgur.com/Di05c8b.jpg

                          First row: Walnut Strands, Merlot McAllisters, Bourbon Strands.
                          Second row: Black McAllisters, Dark Brown Burnished Fifth Aves, Bourbon Mora 2.0s.

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                          • #14
                            Totally agree that AE Strand should not be the first shoe.. I started my collection this year.. and so far have a PA in Black, Strand in walnut, McAllister in Merlot and Parkway in Brown.. I definitely feel that for the US work environment, browns are your best bet.. If you are in UK or previous UK colonies, then Black is your best bet.. I find myself wearing the Parkway in Brown the most.. I am looking to add more like the Kenilworth which is in clearance or maybe another mcallister or Leeds.. The PA in black is way too formal.. maybe works for banking.. Merlot doesn't go with everything..

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lemmy127 View Post
                              Not quite side-by-side, but here's an out of date picture of my shoe collection.

                              Bourbon = every shoe in the second row from the top and the Daltons in the top row furthest to the left

                              Walnut = the two furthest left pairs in the third row from the bottom
                              Perfect, I appreciate you taking the time to do this. I couldn't find a Google image with both colors under the same light.

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