Broke and Bespoke

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I foresee much of my Spring/Summer uniform looking like some version of this: button down collar shirt sans tie, unlined sport coat, jeans, suede chukkas or loafers. Today it’s Brooks Brothers, LBM 1911, Drake’s, Red Cotton Denim, and Allen Edmonds.

A Cautionary Tale: Allen Edmonds ‘Walden’ Loafer

I recently bought a pair of Allen Edmonds ‘Walden’ penny loafers. I wasn’t really in the market for new shoes, but I was bored one afternoon and did a search on ebay for ‘penny loafer 10D’ just to see what it’d turn up.

I already own a pair of penny loafers, but they’re not the greatest quality. They’re some rubber-soled Rockports made out of a shiny corrected grain leather that I picked up on ebay NOS for ~$20. For the price, they’re great, but I am always kind of looking to replace them with a finer pair of traditional burgundy loafers.

Well, that day I thought I was in luck. Someone had just posted a pair of gently used Allen Edmonds ‘Walden’ loafers on ebay hours earlier with a BIN of $29.99. I didn’t even hesitate, just clicked the ‘Buy it Now’ button and checked out. 

A few days later the shoes arrived and the condition was as expected. The shoes looked like they’d only been worn a handful of times. And the previous owner had placed some rubber bottoms on the leather soles to prolong their life a bit (while the effectiveness of this tactic is debated I’m a fan, especially when someone else has picked up the tab on the job). The silhouette of the shoes was a bit more sleek than my Rockports, which was also to my liking. I was immediately struck, however, by the look of the leather. It was pretty shiny and plastic-ey looking, much like the Rockports I was seeking to replace. I couldn’t find any visible pores in the leather, and it slowly dawned on me that these were probably made not of full grain leather, but of corrected grain leather.

I’ve mentioned here before that despite being one who sometimes indulges in excessive rambling about menswear on this site, I have little patience for doing that kind of reading myself. I’ve learned a ton over the years from skimming StyleForum and other information-packed fora and blogs about menswear, but I almost always just skim them and pull whatever out of them that I find useful. 

Well, that kind of lazy approach to the font of information available online about menswear finally hit home for me. A cursory google search about Allen Edmonds Waldens quickly revealed that they are indeed made of corrected grain leather (as are, incidentally, all AE shoes that come in a color/finish that includes the word ‘polished’ in it) despite their $200+ price tag. My assumption that Allen Edmonds didn’t use corrected grain leather on their shoes was patently false.

And so, I write this post as a cautionary tale to any readers who may be looking for a new penny loafer, but want one made of full grain leather, and have been considering the Allen Edmonds Walden. That said, I’m quite happy with the shoes for the $29 I paid for them though, and think they were well worth that price.

Three patterns. Choose them wisely.

Lazy Sunday…

Shirt: J. Lawrence Khaki’s Washed OCBD, courtesy of Khaki’s of Carmel

Jeans: J. Crew, clearance $27

Shoes: Allen Edmonds ‘Castine’, thrifted $17

Hunter Green in the Summer

I’m not sure why, but I usually associate hunter green with Fall clothing, and maybe even Winter. Certainly not for when it’s hot out. But one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s actually a really great year round color (and I’m clearly not the only one).

Here I’ve put together a pretty casual summery look, anchored by some cut off white denim and Venetian loafers. A softly constructed light blue striped shirt that rumples in the heat of a summer day is a perfect complement for the half-lined 3 patch pocket jacket. A knit or grenadine tie would be perfect, but for those of us of lesser means The Tie Bar’s ‘grenafaux’ gets the job done at $15.

Jacket: Michael Bastian for Barneys New York, $200 @ Barneys Outlet

Shirt: Solosso MTM, courtesy of Solosso 

Tie: Hunter Green ‘Grenafaux,’ $15 @ The Tie Bar 

Jeans: White Jeans from Pac Sun, $20

Shoes: Allen Edmonds ‘Castine’ Venetian Loafers, thrifted $17

Another fruitful day at the thrift. Some Allen Edmonds ‘Camden’ penny loafers with shoe trees ($12), a handful of cotton hankies ($1 each), and 5 NOS PRL ties ($2 each).

Sunglasses and No Socks…I do believe spring is finally here.
Pants: Dockers Alpha Khakis, courtesy of Dockers
Shoes: Allen Edmonds Venetian Loafers, thrifted $22 (IIRC)

Sunglasses and No Socks…I do believe spring is finally here.

Pants: Dockers Alpha Khakis, courtesy of Dockers

Shoes: Allen Edmonds Venetian Loafers, thrifted $22 (IIRC)

Hot weather…
Shirt: Brooks Brothers Slim Fit OCBD, thrifted $4
Jacket: Michelangelo Linen-Cotton Unstructured Sport Coat, Yoox $100 (purchased w/ Visa gift card)
Pants: Garment Dyed Jeans, Uniqlo $30
Socks: Richer-Poorer, purchased w/ credit at Refinery29
Shoes: Allen Edmonds Brookwood, thrifted $9

Hot weather…

Shirt: Brooks Brothers Slim Fit OCBD, thrifted $4

Jacket: Michelangelo Linen-Cotton Unstructured Sport Coat, Yoox $100 (purchased w/ Visa gift card)

Pants: Garment Dyed Jeans, Uniqlo $30

Socks: Richer-Poorer, purchased w/ credit at Refinery29

Shoes: Allen Edmonds Brookwood, thrifted $9

Allen Edmonds Captoe Monkstrap, thrifted $12

Allen Edmonds Captoe Monkstrap, thrifted $12

Jacket: Brioni, thrifted $20
Shirt: Luxire, courtesy of Luxire (review here)
Tie: Vintage Yale Co-Op Repp, estate sale $1.50
Pants: Dockers Alpha Khaki, courtesy of Dockers
Socks: Cashmere blend from the Gap circa 2006, $1.99 (I bought them all)
Shoes: Allen Edmonds Brookwood, thrifted $9

Jacket: Brioni, thrifted $20

Shirt: Luxire, courtesy of Luxire (review here)

Tie: Vintage Yale Co-Op Repp, estate sale $1.50

Pants: Dockers Alpha Khaki, courtesy of Dockers

Socks: Cashmere blend from the Gap circa 2006, $1.99 (I bought them all)

Shoes: Allen Edmonds Brookwood, thrifted $9

Gotta love tasseled loafers, especially Allen Edmonds ones that were only $9.

Gotta love tasseled loafers, especially Allen Edmonds ones that were only $9.

Multitone, not monotone.

Multitone, not monotone.

Green Jacket.

Green Jacket.

Shoe Care: Saphir Renovateur
I’m certainly not the first, nor, I suspect, will I be the last, to extol the virtues of the French shoe care product Saphir Renovateur. It really is something else. I recently picked up a jar of the stuff and have been slowly working my way through some of my shoes with it. 
It’s both a moisturizing agent as well as a cleaner, and for me, if you keep your shoes in pretty good shape (i.e., the type of person who brushes shoes off after each wear, diligently keeps shoe trees in all your shoes, etc.) then a spot of Renovateur every month or so is a great way to keep them looking and feeling healthy between more serious polishings and waxings.
On an additional note, I just picked up the Florsheim Royal Imperial Shell Cordovan Longwings you see here today while out thrifting. The uppers and inners are in pretty great shape—especially given their age—but they could do with a new sole. The uppers looked a little worse for wear when I brought them home, but after a little treatment with the Renovateur I’d say they look pretty great.
They’re a size 9A (though they do seem a bit larger and wider than other 9As I’ve come across), which is to say they’re too small for me. They’ll probably go up on ebay sometime in the near(ish) future as I’ve got a bunch of stuff I need to list. If you wear a 9A, and are seriously interested in a great pair of Florsheim Royal Imperial Shell Cordovan Longwings that need a resoling, then feel free to drop me a line with a price that you think would be reasonable. Please, no lowballers…

Shoe Care: Saphir Renovateur

I’m certainly not the first, nor, I suspect, will I be the last, to extol the virtues of the French shoe care product Saphir Renovateur. It really is something else. I recently picked up a jar of the stuff and have been slowly working my way through some of my shoes with it. 

It’s both a moisturizing agent as well as a cleaner, and for me, if you keep your shoes in pretty good shape (i.e., the type of person who brushes shoes off after each wear, diligently keeps shoe trees in all your shoes, etc.) then a spot of Renovateur every month or so is a great way to keep them looking and feeling healthy between more serious polishings and waxings.

On an additional note, I just picked up the Florsheim Royal Imperial Shell Cordovan Longwings you see here today while out thrifting. The uppers and inners are in pretty great shape—especially given their age—but they could do with a new sole. The uppers looked a little worse for wear when I brought them home, but after a little treatment with the Renovateur I’d say they look pretty great.

They’re a size 9A (though they do seem a bit larger and wider than other 9As I’ve come across), which is to say they’re too small for me. They’ll probably go up on ebay sometime in the near(ish) future as I’ve got a bunch of stuff I need to list. If you wear a 9A, and are seriously interested in a great pair of Florsheim Royal Imperial Shell Cordovan Longwings that need a resoling, then feel free to drop me a line with a price that you think would be reasonable. Please, no lowballers…

American Classics
Pants: Brooks Brothers Slim Fit 5-Pocket, $25
Socks: Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom Rack $4
Shoes: Allen Edmonds ‘Brookwood,’ thrifted $9

American Classics

Pants: Brooks Brothers Slim Fit 5-Pocket, $25

Socks: Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom Rack $4

Shoes: Allen Edmonds ‘Brookwood,’ thrifted $9