Gentleman, Dressed: The Shoe

Watch your step! This is a veritable minefield for fashion faux pas. The shoe is not an afterthought but the glue that binds a complete look. It truly invokes the “and last, but certainly not least” cliche. And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s usually the first article considered.

It’s in the Details

I lean towards intricacy. I’ll take the ornate patterns on a wingtip brogue over all else. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. You have to factor in color,material, width, and your personal frame. What best accentuates your natural features, disposition? What risks are you willing to take? Are you reserved? Coy? Maybe the laces can be replaced or there is an elaborate design on the sole? Perhaps a patterned lining? A slimmer guy shouldn’t be near ANYTHING with a square toe (FACT). Know thyself and when to say “no” to thyself.

My Style

Be ready for any occasion. Here are three pieces from my personal shoe rack that have been incredibly versatile (hence the wear and tear). The first, a formal shoe, basic elegance (Ben Sherman). The second is something you’ve seen before that I can’t get enough of, my brown brogues (Tommy Hilfiger) for a casual setting. And the last, I’ve nicknamed the “Neal Caffrey’s”–‘White Collar’ fans?–by Calvin Klein, for whenever I want to inject some ‘genteel flair’ into my outfit. Caveat: I’ve included the designers not to add any pressure to aspire to purchase these particular brands but so that, if you’re as frugal as I am, you can monitor their collections for inspiration and then find something that doesn’t impale your wallet. (All were bought at ridiculous sale prices!)

Put your best foot forward and everything else will follow suit.

   

–Thierry Augustin

Footwear is probably one of my favorite things when it comes to getting dressed (notwithstanding my undying love for blazer jackets). More than anything, footwear deserves a higher precedence over other garments in our wardrobe because they can solely make or break the best look you could manage to pull together. That, and women seem to be really good at deciphering a man from the kind of shoes he wears (don’t ask me how, but that should be the only incentive you need).

Whether sneakers are your day-to-day preference or not, every gentleman should have in his possession at least a pair of shoes–stick to the classics: black or brown–that’ll save him should he have a job interview to knock out or a dinner date to wine and dine his lady.

If the ‘rescue-me shoes’ no longer pertain to you then building variations should–the color, material, quality, and brand (if that’s important to you) of shoes are all facets you must take into consideration before making a purchase. It is imperative that you choose pieces that will work well with your wardrobe as well as with the climate changes.

I’ll seize this opportunity to call attention to some shoes (a starter kit, if you will) that I have my eyes on for the very near future. This selection will easily spruce up your look and and add some pep to your step when getting fully dressed is called for.

Mark McNairySperry Top-SiderMacAlister Desert Boots

–Stephen Obisanya