For the uninitiated, monk straps are not a means of enabling self-flagellation for the masochistic. If that is what you were looking for when you found this post on Google, sorry to disappoint. Rather monk straps are a type of smart, but less formal shoe.
This is turning into a bit of a shoe themed week on 5YP. Shoes are admittedly my current area of interest as the rest of my wardrobe is largely where I want it to be at the moment. So if you’re not keen on shoes you might not want to come back to the blog ’til next week….
Regular readers will know that I am in year 5 of my 5-year project to build a Gentleman’s Wardrobe. Shoes did not really begin to feature until after I was halfway through the 5 years. Since then I’ve been making up for lost time and building up a nice collection, and learning a great deal along the way.
My growing collection now includes oxfords and derbys, brogues and slip-ons, boots and flip flops, in suede, nubuck, and smooth leathers and in a widening range of colours. They cover a range of contexts from relaxed to casual, formal and very formal.
However, one type of shoe which is still missing from my collection is the monk strap. I have been an admirer of monk straps for some time now but have simply not quite got round to acquiring a pair.
To be fair, there have always been other wardrobe priorities, and even now that remains largely the case. Nonetheless, I am sure that a pair of monk straps (or two) would add some depth to my shoe collection. And each time I see a smartly dressed man rocking a pair of monk straps I think to myself I need to plug that gap.
So what’s the big deal about monk straps? Difficult to say. They are of course unusual in using a buckle to fasten the shoe rather than laces and for this reason I think they are a just little bit tricky to wear. They are ever so slightly look at me shoes, precisely because they are unusual.
Nonetheless, when worn well, perhaps in a semi formal or smart casual context, they do suggest someone who takes style seriously and is prepared to go beyond the more typical lace up fastening. Put simply, they add a touch of class to an ensemble.
One of the reasons that I haven’t yet scratched my ‘monk strap itch’ (not to be confused with jock itch) is that it is not easy to find a good-looking pair which falls within my desired price range.
Whilst visiting Jermyn Street last month I saw a really very lovely pair in Crockett & Jones but was simply not in the market for a pair of shoes that cost north of £350; and that was the lower priced pair. The shop was a lovely place to spend some time though….
Like all shoes there are some examples that work for you and some example that don’t. I particularly like the double monk strap, preferably with a toecap and steel rather than bronze buckles.
Brown would be a great colour but as I am on the lookout for a pair of grey shoes would be very chuffed if I could find a pair in grey suede which I both liked and could afford.
If you are thinking about taking the monk strap plunge you could try a low price pair in tobacco tan from Samuel Windsor, currently on sale for only £25.