In years 3 to 5 of the 5-year project of Building a Gentleman’s Wardrobe I recommend Broadening the Colour Palette, Plugging Gaps and Replacing, and Improving the Quality. I’ve been taking my own advice and doing just that.
I’ve been on the lookout for brogues in colours other than brown, tan or black and have been considering navy, green and grey. This has been trickier than anticipated. Men’s shoemakers are quite conservative and whilst there has been some movement towards a widening range of colours by more expensive shoemakers, it has taken some time to trickle down those shoemakers more accessible to men of modest means.
So I am feeling quite chuffed with my latest shoe acquisitions which have taken some patient research and even more patience waiting for them to go on sale.
A couple of months ago I finally secured a pair of navy brogues at M&S which were to my liking. I had been looking for a good pair for quite some time. These shoes which were on offer at 20% off at the time were too good to miss.
The shoes are a very dark navy which means that they sometimes appear black, so the blue is quite subtle. That they are suede only added to the attraction. Quite apart from the ability to allude to one’s ‘blue suede shoes’ the suede finish means that the shoes are matt rather than shiny.
Having some shoes in one’s collection which are matt is useful for those moments when shiny shoes might appear to be trying just a little bit too hard. Suede shoes are also very handy for travelling or other occasions where polishing shoes is not very convenient.
Some weeks later I followed up the M&S navy shoe purchase with a pair of long wing brogues in olive green from Topman. Topman is not a place I shop regularly. In fact I can’t recall the last time I bought anything there. I feel spectacularly old whenever I go in. Probably why these brogues were bought online from topman.com. M&S on the other hand is much more to my liking. Probably an indication that I am becoming part of an older demographic…
Nonetheless, Topman had a pair of fabulous olive green brogues, originally priced at £65 but which went on sale a few weeks ago for £35 and promptly sold out. Clearly there were a few of us out there waiting for the sale.
The shoes are Topman branded but are in fact made by Ben Sherman, or at least by the factory which produces shoes for Ben Sherman. They are identical to Ben Sherman branded long wing brogues apart from the fact that only the Topman branded shoes are available in olive green.
I’ve written previously about inconsistency in UK shoe sizes so it is interesting to note that whilst the M&S shoe is UK11/EU46 and the Topman shoe is UK12/EU46 the M&S shoe is slightly longer. Go figure…
I am very pleased with these latest acquisitions. The navy shoe is proving be easier to wear as blue is a very versatile colour and one of my favourites so I have plenty of items with which to wear them. A general rule of thumb is to avoid wearing shoes and trousers in the same hue but they would work fabulously when wearing a navy blazer or shirt.
The green brogues are more of a challenge. I love the fact that they are a somewhat unusual colour for shoe. I think that they are subtle colour also, with hints of brown in them. Over time as they are polished and weather I expect the patina to be come even more interesting. Nonetheless, I can foresee that I may need one or two additional items in the wardrobe with hints of green to go with the green shoes.
This is the downside of broadening the colour palette; you tend to need more stuff. Still my shoes closet is filling up nicely….
What do you think?