The art of manliness – shoes

February 14, 2016

Having a nice pair of shoes is never ever optional, if you want to come across as a respectable and serious gentlemen in this world. You need to invest in a good pair of shoes.

Look here! I am not responsible for the rules that govern the game of life – that’s just the way it goes down.

Like or hate it….we all live in a judgmental world where everyone is judging everyone by their appearances, I do it all the time and I am sure that you do too even should you insist that’s not something you regularly do!

Many people like to say the outcome for a job interview is cut and dried within the first ten seconds of you entering the room. I much prefer to be specific and state categorically…it’s decided by the care and attention in your selection of shoes. What that means is your outfit and specifically your shoes plays a disproportional part in that decision making process – I am not saying, your smile, handshake, voice and the way you carry yourself counts for nought…but if there are two equally matched candidates and one is wearing dull loafers while the other is decked out in mirror polished brogues, then the choice is clear as day who bags the job or contract.

I can almost guarantee you that a crappy pair of shoes will be noticed instantly in virtually every significant social setting – which in turn will speak volumes about you! Serious men by nature are quite forgiving when it comes to your wardrobe. They rarely deduct points for that crumpled collar or even loose fitting slacks, but when it comes to shoes it’s an entirely different matter. That’s because for very serious men, it’s socially frown on to dress over the top. But when it comes to shoes, your choice and condition of shoes that you decide to slip into speaks volumes about you. The same goes for women, they’re likely to pay more attention to your shoes than any other aspect of your wardrobe. How do you think, women can read the time from tiny watches…they have a natural eye for details. So if your shoe is out of shape and you look like you’ve just slipped on Ronald McDonald’s clown shoes, it’s going to be uphill lah and the good stuff is really unlikely to come around….take it from me lah!

Besides wearing an elegant pair of shoes is the clearest testament that you respect yourself and above those who you are engaging.

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‘I wear only traditional English gentlemen brogues. These are the equivalent of all terrain Landrover shoes that’s never out of place in either the field or the board room.

They’re dead serious working shoes. They are Good year welted weather resistant and it’s constructed from 100% leather and cork inner linings, no plastic or rubber, just old fashion materials that’s commonly used in the age of sail and candles…they way shoes are traditional supposed to be made in an age when things don’t fall to bits just after you use them a couple of times. None of that buy and throw mass produced Aldo and Hush puppies bullshit that lose their shape in two hours or something really frivolous and distracting with tassels.

These are dead serious shoes…they’re weapons of war like thermo nuclear warheads that scream out that I am dead serious about how I see myself and my vocation. So serious that I even take the trouble to invest in the historical knowledge that goes into my purchase decision and how it might even come across to set the desired impression on my target audience.

So do yourself a life changing favor and consider investing in a pair of high quality Brogues. Because trust me, you always need a pair of Brogues in a your shoe collection.

Neither do you need to spend a fortune on a pair of JM Weston’s or Church. That’s not necessary. If you have the dosh…go ahead.

To me a Brogue is a Brogue! It’s like a T-34…a classic tank shoe..providing it’s Goodyear welted, it’s good to go for a least twenty years with proper care and set of cedar shoe trees. If it’s just a piece of rubber glued on, then it’s a fake Brogue and it’s no good! Don’t buy it…only bear in mind, traditionally constructed Brogues are NEVER comfortable…they’re like stallions, they need to be broken in, but once you run them in – they’re as comfortable as a pair of Adidas.

For example my pair of Brouges cost me S$80. That’s all I am prepared to spend on dress shoes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get build quality. It’s handmade in Calcutta India by craftsmen who used to make shoes for the British army…buy the same Brouges anywhere else and it might cost you ten to fifteen times what I paid for it – you just need to do your research on what’s on offer out there in the world!

We are not talking about prestige, haute couture or the stupid preoccupation of chasing brands – you will never hear me talk about such nonsense here…that’s just dumb – this is about the art of putting your best foot forward and winning, not about getting cancer of the wallet!

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Do’s and Don’t with Brogues

– If possible try to get a deep cherry or burgundy full wing tip. As tanned wing tips that veer towards khaki tend to be to showy and often require Mensa color matching skills. Besides they clash with dark business attire and should never be worn in a formal setting.

– Never buy a black Brogue. I know they are sold in that color, but that hardly makes it orthodox – since Brogues are quintessentially country life footwear – they were originally never ever conceived in black and only in fair and dark shades of brown. Only uneducated people who don’t ever bother to read broadly think they look dapper and bespoke wearing black brogues. If you don’t heed my advice…you will be marked down!

– The gold standard for Brogues is the full wing tip with Scotch grain leathering (pebble leathering like mine, very hardy and scratch resistant). This is the most authentic period style that you can possibly find….it’s timeless and it’s versatility in being able to fit across a wide spectrum of social setting makes it the best choice.

– Where to buy, if money is no object, go for J M Weston. They are the Rolls Royce. End of story. Second place is Loake and Barkers – they’re like the Mercedes range for Brogues as they specialize in country life footwear. A budget alternative, but nonetheless surprisingly not too far off the mark is the recently revived from the dead, Clarks Goodyear welted craftsmen range of Brogues….you could get them for less than S$100 and in my considered opinion, they are good to go.

– Learn to take care of leather shoes. Never ever have the bad habit of wearing the same shoes two days in a row. Rotate. Shoes are constructed out of skin, they need to breathe, ventilate and return to their shape. Learn to use an appropriately sized cedar shoe tree to prevent curling, crinkling and going pear shaped. Cultivate the good habit of polishing your shoes before you wear them. If you do this every time it would just take about two minutes.

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