11 hours ago
Saturday, May 29, 2010
White Shoe Shopping
Too many guys who think nothing of wearing white Jack Purcell's, or latest Nikes are put off by the idea of a sturdier white shoe. The most common excuse is "I don't want to look like the ice cream man." Man up. You wear the clothes, they don't wear you.
Historically, a white shoe connoted a man was above the fray, that he had the resources to expand his wardrobe, but didn't, especially in urban areas, need to toil in the streets. Thus the white shoe law firm was smarter, had a higher class of client than the local ambulance chaser.
I have a life time supply of white dress shoes. I've made a number of mistakes in their acquisition. If I can bring one convert into the fold, or save 1 gentleman from himself, my mission will be accomplished.
A lot of guys find their way from dirty bucks to its summer cousin the red soled white buck. This is about as basic, classic if you prefer, as it gets. A campus staple until the early '60's they actually improve with age. Few shoes are as comfortable as a well broken in white buck. Sadly, they've no discernible style. Bass and Jack Purcell are the usual sources.
As dress shoes, a gentleman has got to keep them neat, and clean. As play shoes they need to be scuffed. Three years is about all it takes to pass from one state to another.
Ben Silver has advertised this Crockett and Jones number for many years. It is a gorgeous shoe, at near $600 it should be. Many, myself included, lust for a pair, but it requires a willingness to suspend disbelieve and common sense long enough to pull the trigger. If you've the means, this is the gold standard.
The welted blucher indicates this is a dress shoe. Its sense of style will never allow it to become as casual as the basic white buck. It will also never be confused with the ice cream man's shoes.
Fortunately, a number of substitutes exist for a man not in the market for $600 summer kicks. Orvis advertises this suitable split toe substitute for around $150.
My favorite source is Roberts in Minnesota.
Roberts is a quality source for both high and low priced white shoes. They also have a great saddle selection, but that's a story for another day.