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    Looking for Advice on Building a Shoe Collection

    All,

    I'm looking for advice on how to build my dress/casual shoe collection. I'm at the point where my current shoes need to be replaced. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to start? With all the choices it can be overwhelming.

    For work I typically where suits, dress trousers and chinos from Brooks Brothers.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    Here's my personal list of 10 essential shoes I posted at AAAC.
    black captoe balmoral
    merlot semi-brogue captoe balmoral (I want a plum museum Adelaide)
    dark to mid-brown short-wing balmoral
    chocolate suede short-wing balmoral
    merlot or dark brown full brogue cap-toe blucher
    mid-brown to tan Scotch grain longwing blucher
    merlot penny or tassel loafer per your preference
    chocolate suede chukka
    snuff suede PTB, chukka, or penny loafer per your preference
    Indy boot, color of your choice, I prefer mid-brown

    If I were in the UK, there would be more black in the list especially in the closed lacing section. This is a minimal list that doesn't include formal shoes, boat shoes, or work boots used for actual working. I don't have any dress boots listed but you can place a dress boot version of any shoe in the list as you like. This could be paired down even more without much trouble as others will tell you.

    Comment


      #3
      Before heading down the slippery slope of making personal recommendations, I going to ask three questions:

      1. What is your budget?
      2. From your current range of shoes, what do you find yourself wearing the most?
      3. What is your typical daily outfit (casual, business casual, suit and tie)?

      Just as an example, I fall more in the casual/business casual range and wear a suit maybe 1 or 2 times a month. So if I had $600 to spend and wanted to replace the key shoes in my current lineup, I would go with:

      1. Good pair of dressier suede chukkas in dark brown (not desert boots). These are probably the most versatile shoes I own and I wear them with jeans, khakis, and flannels. I got mine (To Boot NY) on sale at 6pm.com for about $129.00, but $150 for a pair wouldn't be unreasonable.

      2. Brown full grain wingtips (say about $200.00). I use these when the suede boots will not be formal enough, i.e. times when I need to be more on the "I'm a professional" side of business casual (i.e sport coat and a tie). I use them about 1 or 2 a week.

      3. Black closed lace oxfords (cap-toe is what I have): about $150 to $200. These get worn about 1 or 2 times a month, so I didn't feel a need to spend $300 plus on them since they are used so lightly when I wear a suit.

      4. Sneakers or boat shoes: for weekends, downtime with family and friends, etc. I have a pair Converse canvas Jack Purcells I got on sale for $50.00.

      Once I had those, personally I went next with a pair of casual pull-on/Chelsea boots (about $125 to $150) and a pair of boat shoes (Sperrys). So six shoes in total that cover about 95% of my needs.

      If I can give any advice based on personal experience it would be: first, be patient and wait for big sales. Last seasons models show up all the time on flash sales sites, Nordstrom Rack, SaksOff5th, and even sites like Overstock.com. I was able to purchase all my shoes at somewhere between 40% and 60% of MSR because I stuck with "classic" styles and colors and did my research. And second, invest the most in the shoes you're going to wear the most. Like I said, I saw no point investing $300 plus in a pair of oxfords that got worn 10 to 15 times a year.

      Hope this helps!

      Comment


        #4
        [MENTION=12713]winghus[/MENTION] has you on the right track.

        I wear suits to work most days (conservative big law firm in the south), and my most often worn dress shoe is my burnished brown AE Fifth Avenue. I sometimes wear my black AE Park Avenues to work, and I think they are essential for the occasions which require them--conservative (i.e. federal) court, funerals, and I prefer them to patent leather for formal occasions. For business casual, I usually wear either my walnut AE Waricks monkstrap or bourbon AE Ascher loafer. I see a lot of guys wearing loafers and occasionally monk straps with suits at work, but I prefer to save them for trousers+button up+optional blazer days. I also have some chili AE McGregors that I wear less with suits these days and more with winter business casual. They were my first pair of real dress shoes, and I found them very versatile, but now they are less useful since my dress shoe collection is around 6-7 pairs instead of one.

        For chinos and button up or polo, I opt for my snuff suede AE Dundees or my brown Thursday Boot Co. Captains during the fall through spring. Once I wear the TBC Captains out, I plan to upgrade to the dark brown grain leather AE Long Branches. I also just picked up a pair of tan fargo AE Interstate 90 driving shoes to wear with chinos and polos through the rest of the spring and summer. And of course I wear flip flops and (let the bashing ensue) Chacos a good bit during the summer when I am out and about during the day. It gets hot in TX, GA, and FL, where I split up most of my time, and Chacos are the most comfortable shoe (sandal) ever made.

        One pair of shoes I have worn twice and have absolutely no use for are my black AE Lexingtons. They are a captoe derby. I bought them on sale for like $199 when they were being discontinued thinking they would work in place of a black captoe oxford, and I was wrong. After I bought the black Park Avenues, the black Lexingtons just sit in my closet. I have tried to sell them here for as low as $100, but no bites. I find that anytime I would wear them, I can either step it up a notch to the Park Avenues or just wear a brown shoe instead.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by JohnG View Post
          Before heading down the slippery slope of making personal recommendations, I going to ask three questions:

          1. What is your budget?
          2. From your current range of shoes, what do you find yourself wearing the most?
          3. What is your typical daily outfit (casual, business casual, suit and tie)?

          Just as an example, I fall more in the casual/business casual range and wear a suit maybe 1 or 2 times a month. So if I had $600 to spend and wanted to replace the key shoes in my current lineup, I would go with:

          1. Good pair of dressier suede chukkas in dark brown (not desert boots). These are probably the most versatile shoes I own and I wear them with jeans, khakis, and flannels. I got mine (To Boot NY) on sale at 6pm.com for about $129.00, but $150 for a pair wouldn't be unreasonable.

          2. Brown full grain wingtips (say about $200.00). I use these when the suede boots will not be formal enough, i.e. times when I need to be more on the "I'm a professional" side of business casual (i.e sport coat and a tie). I use them about 1 or 2 a week.

          3. Black closed lace oxfords (cap-toe is what I have): about $150 to $200. These get worn about 1 or 2 times a month, so I didn't feel a need to spend $300 plus on them since they are used so lightly when I wear a suit.

          4. Sneakers or boat shoes: for weekends, downtime with family and friends, etc. I have a pair Converse canvas Jack Purcells I got on sale for $50.00.

          Once I had those, personally I went next with a pair of casual pull-on/Chelsea boots (about $125 to $150) and a pair of boat shoes (Sperrys). So six shoes in total that cover about 95% of my needs.

          If I can give any advice based on personal experience it would be: first, be patient and wait for big sales. Last seasons models show up all the time on flash sales sites, Nordstrom Rack, SaksOff5th, and even sites like Overstock.com. I was able to purchase all my shoes at somewhere between 40% and 60% of MSR because I stuck with "classic" styles and colors and did my research. And second, invest the most in the shoes you're going to wear the most. Like I said, I saw no point investing $300 plus in a pair of oxfords that got worn 10 to 15 times a year.

          Hope this helps!
          Definitely this. I paid full price for the aforementioned AE McGregors because I needed one pair to get my shoe collection started, my job began in a week, and I knew I wanted to have high quality shoes for work. That was kind of an emergency situation (my old J&Ms that got me through my internships were worn down pretty badly). I have not paid full price for a pair since then.

          Comment


            #6
            Lots of great advice in terms of brands and styles. I'll just list my favorites.

            Merlot wingtips - very versatile color, a bit flashy with the brogueing, but dark enough to be subtle. Mercanti Fiorentini is a great choice for the money and I do really like the quality.

            Black cap toes - pretty standard if you are wearing suits or have any black clothes. I don't necessarily have a budget recommendation but Park Avenue on the upcoming Nordstrom sale?

            Brown double monks or plain toe bluchers - depending on your preference. A little less formal than the above choices but still versatile. Check out the BR Wyatt or J&M Conard.

            Lighter brown loafers - for more casual and for summer as well. Look at the BR Paul.

            Comment


              #7
              Quality, not quantity. And others have said, work slowly and never pay full price. But, just because something is on heavy discount, don't buy it unless you know you'll wear it enough to justify it, and just because something was bought on heavy discount, don't justify keeping it if your feet don't fit properly in them. Which brings me to my next piece of advice: get your feet measured properly. Having a baseline brannock helps quite a bit when figuring what size to go with. Shoe sizing differs from company to company, and last to last within a company. Lots of information out there in regards to sizing, and there will be some brands you can't try on in store. So by doing proper research, you'll minimize the need to do a return, or try on several different pairs to get the right size.

              Comment


                #8
                Buy a brown pair of AE Fifth Avenues for $245. Is how I would start it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Suits: cap toe oxfords/balmorals.

                  Dress trousers: wingtips (bl├╝cher/derby or balmoral/oxford)

                  Chinos: loafers

                  Clearly you can branch out from there, but I would consider that a good foundation.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You can go through these links then choose based on your lifestyle:

                    http://www.esquire.com/style/mens-ac...for-men-2013/?
                    http://effortlessgent.com/six-pairs-of-shoes/
                    http://www.fashionbeans.com/2015/5-f...an-should-own/

                    Comment


                      #11
                      PutThisOn has a similar guide, which I find to be pretty effective.

                      http://putthison.com/post/2755852442...-i-write-about

                      If you alternate between suits and mid range business attire (a step above business casual), I'd probably start with the following:

                      - Black Captoe Oxford (closed lacing)
                      - Brown or Merlot Captoe or Semi-Brogue Oxford (closed lacing)
                      - Brown or Merlot Wingtip or Semi-Brogue Blucher (open lacing)
                      - Brown or Merlot Chukka, Plain Toe Blucher, or Loafer (depending on your preference between the styles)

                      Those four can get you through all professional and smart casual situations. The options give you some flexibility based on your personal preferences.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by wsupjs View Post
                        PutThisOn has a similar guide, which I find to be pretty effective.

                        http://putthison.com/post/2755852442...-i-write-about

                        If you alternate between suits and mid range business attire (a step above business casual), I'd probably start with the following:

                        - Black Captoe Oxford (closed lacing)
                        - Brown or Merlot Captoe or Semi-Brogue Oxford (closed lacing)
                        - Brown or Merlot Wingtip or Semi-Brogue Blucher (open lacing)
                        - Brown or Merlot Chukka, Plain Toe Blucher, or Loafer (depending on your preference between the styles)

                        Those four can get you through all professional and smart casual situations. The options give you some flexibility based on your personal preferences.
                        That article is spot on. Makes me think about reevaluating my shoe collection....

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by wsupjs View Post
                          PutThisOn has a similar guide, which I find to be pretty effective.

                          http://putthison.com/post/2755852442...-i-write-about

                          If you alternate between suits and mid range business attire (a step above business casual), I'd probably start with the following:

                          - Black Captoe Oxford (closed lacing)
                          - Brown or Merlot Captoe or Semi-Brogue Oxford (closed lacing)
                          - Brown or Merlot Wingtip or Semi-Brogue Blucher (open lacing)
                          - Brown or Merlot Chukka, Plain Toe Blucher, or Loafer (depending on your preference between the styles)

                          Those four can get you through all professional and smart casual situations. The options give you some flexibility based on your personal preferences.
                          I agree about the first three that you recommend, but have never owned and probably will never own a pair of non-boot bluchers and a pair of loafers. Don't feel a need for bluchers as most people, including me, do not really care about the lacing systems on a shoe, which may make me a philistine in some of your eyes. So my third rec would be a pair of less formal oxfords, and fourth rec would be something fun, like a medium brown double-monk, or something suede, either boot/chukka/double-monk/PTB.

                          What I own as examples in the four I recommended:
                          1. Black Captoe: AE Black Park Aves
                          2. Brown or Merlot Captoe: AE Dark Brown Burnished Fifth Aves, AE Merlot Park Aves
                          3. AE Walnut Strands, AE Bourbon Daltons
                          4. AE Bourbon Mora 2.0s, SuitSupply Suede Double-Monks in Dark Brown, Alden Snuff Suede Chukkas, Alden Tan Suede Boots, Alden Hunting Green Suede George Boot

                          Then out of office casual recs + what I own as examples:
                          5. Leather sneakers/boat shoes/canvas sneakers: Nike Killshot 2, Gustin White-Green Lowtop Sneakers, Navy Rancourt Newport Boat Shoes, Jack Purcells in White/Black
                          6. Casual boots: Red Wing Moc Toe Boots, Viberg Natural Waxed Flesh Service Boot, Alden Ironside Indy Boot

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by mmgfarb View Post
                            That article is spot on. Makes me think about reevaluating my shoe collection....
                            Agreed. When I started my wardrobe reduction, it helped me focus on what I needed. I want to swap out one pair, but overall, I'm happy with how concise and versatile of my rotation.

                            Originally posted by devastitis View Post
                            I agree about the first three that you recommend, but have never owned and probably will never own a pair of non-boot bluchers and a pair of loafers. Don't feel a need for bluchers as most people, including me, do not really care about the lacing systems on a shoe, which may make me a philistine in some of your eyes. So my third rec would be a pair of less formal oxfords, and fourth rec would be something fun, like a medium brown double-monk, or something suede, either boot/chukka/double-monk/PTB.

                            What I own as examples in the four I recommended:
                            1. Black Captoe: AE Black Park Aves
                            2. Brown or Merlot Captoe: AE Dark Brown Burnished Fifth Aves, AE Merlot Park Aves
                            3. AE Walnut Strands, AE Bourbon Daltons
                            4. AE Bourbon Mora 2.0s, SuitSupply Suede Double-Monks in Dark Brown, Alden Snuff Suede Chukkas, Alden Tan Suede Boots, Alden Hunting Green Suede George Boot

                            Then out of office casual recs + what I own as examples:
                            5. Leather sneakers/boat shoes/canvas sneakers: Nike Killshot 2, Gustin White-Green Lowtop Sneakers, Navy Rancourt Newport Boat Shoes, Jack Purcells in White/Black
                            6. Casual boots: Red Wing Moc Toe Boots, Viberg Natural Waxed Flesh Service Boot, Alden Ironside Indy Boot
                            The only reason why I recommended oxfords instead of bluchers for 1 and 2 is because he wears suits frequently, and didn't want him to cause issues in the work place in case he works with others that do notice the difference between lacing styles. Having two of each makes sure he's covered for all situations and doesn't cause any unnecessary issues.

                            I personally am not a fan of double monks. I wouldn't recommend them for someone trying to build a concise rotation, and is overwhelmed by the amount of styles in the market. However, a lot of people really enjoy them, so they could work as the forth shoe.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by wsupjs View Post
                              The only reason why I recommended oxfords instead of bluchers for 1 and 2 is because he wears suits frequently, and didn't want him to cause issues in the work place in case he works with others that do notice the difference between lacing styles. Having two of each makes sure he's covered for all situations and doesn't cause any unnecessary issues.

                              I personally am not a fan of double monks. I wouldn't recommend them for someone trying to build a concise rotation, and is overwhelmed by the amount of styles in the market. However, a lot of people really enjoy them, so they could work as the forth shoe.
                              With people still wearing black square toed shoes with laces or no laces, like a slip on square toed dress shoe, in the office regardless of what color suit they're wearing, I'd be less worried about causing issues with oxfords/bluchers.

                              And double-monks are definitely not everyone's cup of tea. But I think everyone should try either a double-monk or a suede shoe for a less formal shoe. Dubmonks/suede shoes can be dressed up and down, which makes for a much more versatile collection in the office. I'd also recommend these or a similar variant for a fun shoe: http://i.imgur.com/8E9igt4.jpg?1 These will be my next purchase.

                              Comment

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