I can never decide if Converse All Starts are fashion or anti-fashion. They’ve been through so may cycles of in and out that I can’t tell where we are any more. In fact, at this point, they seem to have transcended the usual considerations and have, like blue jeans, motorcycle boots, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, simply become American classics.
Converse, the company, started out life in 1908 as a rubber manufacturer, adding its famous shoe line in 1917, after which, thanks to the efforts of its star employee, basketball player, coach, and super salesman Chuck Taylor quickly became a household name.
You can regularly see these shoes on the feet of celebrities and they have fast become a staple part of any manâ€™s wardrobe. There are a great range of Chuck Taylors available from Liquor Store Clothing, who specialize in on-trend menâ€™s fashion.
Most people go for a classic color like navy or black, as these are guaranteed to never go out of fashion, but because the shoes are relatively inexpensive, I prefer to keep a number of them in my closet, including a pair in olive drab like the ones shown above. Another great thing about Converse is that the more used and worn they are, the better they look, making them a shoe that will last forever.
The newest collaboration Converse has landed is with international rap star Wiz Khalifa. Described as rebellious and fashion-forward, expect a modern reworking of the classic Chuck Taylors.
Sleek designs, bold patterns and funky printed soles define the collection which has been designed with Wizâ€™s own personal style in mind. These shoes are a definite must-have for any fashion-conscious man.
Having already spanned over 100 years, the popularity of Converse shoes is continually growing and is showing no signs of stopping just yet.]]>
Jaunty and prosperous, that’s how I would describe his look and his personality, a bit eccentric, but only because the rest of us are so drab and conformist. Did I mention he’s an artist, a very successful painter of portraits for very important people, a fact which explains much. His clothes are a bit of a pose. He dresses like one imagines an artist would have dressed back in the day, playing the role to the hilt.
This last week, he wore a black jacket (with boutonniÃªre in the lapel), grey vest, cream-colored trousers with a wide cuff, and a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes. Because he pays close attention to cut and fit, and because he has an excellent eye (he’s an artist, afterall) he always manages to pull off looking like a million dollars from back when a million dollars was a whole lot of money.
So, now I’m thinking about buying some two-toned shoes. Not the attention-grabbing black-and-white spectator shoes, but something a little subtler, like these…
The Stanley wingtip leather brogue from Grenson, an English shoe maker of some renown. (Via Stuarts London.)
I think it’s time for me to be a little more adventursome in the matter of footwear. I needs something cool, that going to shake things up a bit, without going too far afield.]]>
If the fit and form of Converse is not for you then another good choice is a pair of Vans such as the Vans Classic or Slip On Shoes. Due to the chunky style of these shoes they do tend to work better with a looser fit trouser and as such, they do look a little more casual than their Converse counterparts. Available in neutral and wearable shades as well as their iconic chequerboard design, the Vans footwear range ticks all the boxes â€“ durable and comfortable as well as stylish beyond any others. (Info from ExtremePie)
Years ago if youâ€™d have walked into an event in a suit and sneakers the chances are that youâ€™d have been ridiculed out of the door, nowadays, youâ€™re pushing fashion forward and showing the rest how itâ€™s done.]]>
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about monkstrap shoes, mainly because they appear to be the men’s shoes of the moment, and because they occupy a unique place on the fashion spectrum. Monkstraps are what I would call shoes of intermediate formality; more formal than loafers, but less formal than wingtips or cap-toe oxfords. And because of this, you can wear them with almost anything from all but the most formal suit, to trousers and sports coats, or even jeans if you’re bold enough.
In my mind, however, the monkstrap’s strongest associations are academic. I think of it as something worn by smartly-dressed English professors in brown tweed suits, the sort of shoe that is exactly fussy enough, and exactly stylish enough to make you want to read poetry out loud to a classroom of lovely young coeds.
MensDesignerShoe.com has a wide selection of monkstrap shoes. Here are three of my favorites:
The Moreschi Bristol Calfskin Monkstrap in black or brown, is a simple, luxurious, traditional Italian monkstrap. I love that brown color.
Double monkstrap shoes are especially hard to pull off without seeming overly dandyish. However, the suede finish of this double monk strap from Santoni negates some of that.
Finally, if suede is your thing, I very much like these simple single monkstrap shoes, the Cremona from Stemar, as being something that you could wear everyday, with a huge variety of outfits.]]>
Today’s New York Times contains an disappointing article about the current widespread use of skulls in fashion. Although the paper is right to note the trend, one Izzy touched upon a while back, it fails to give any recent history of the death’s head as decoration, including its use on Nazi S.S. uniforms or its place in the iconography of heavy metal, something the British shoemaker Jeffery West tries to market. The article claims that the skull has largely lost its edge as a symbol, but Izzy thinks its connotations depend upon the sex of the wearer. It’s one thing for a woman to borrow style cues from pirates or Hell’s Angels; she is clearly playing dress-up. But when a man does the same, he is liable to come across as threatening or uncivil, far from a good thing in Izzy’s estimation. As for me, I’ll stick with more traditional cufflinks from Alfred Dunhill.)]]>
In honor of the Miami Vice movie (which, in Izzy’s opinion, makes the terrible mistake of not being set in the ’80s), the New York Times’ Guy Trebay penned an interesting article about the original TV show’s influence on fashion:
When he orchestrated the look of the original show, [the director Michael] Mann was venturing into stylistic territory already staked out by Italian designers, people like Gianni Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, or Giorgio Armani, the man generally credited with introducing the world to the unconstructed suit ? that is, without padding, a lining or internal stiffening. This might be as good a time as any to amend the old canard about Mr. Armani being the inventor of the floppy suit. It was long a staple of Neapolitan haberdashery, developed by tailors sent to London by wealthy patrons to apprentice on Savile Row.
Oddly, Trebay’s otherwise detailed account of the show’s style fails to mention footwear. How can one think of Crockett except in a pair of Espadrilles, like those you’d find at Pretty Green from Red Square Clothing?
Big Ben, Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace are usually recognised as the biggest destinations in the British tourism guidebook. But this summer, coach-loads of tourists will be descending on a little village in Somerset to marvel at another British sensation.
Clarks Village stands on the site of the old Clarks factory â€“ the place where these legendary shoes were made for so long. And this summer, thousands of Chinese tourists will make the pilgrimage to purchase a pair of classic British style. It seems that this elegant British shoe has become an icon halfway around the world.
Shoes that last a lifetime
Clarks are probably the biggest name in footwear in the UK and are also a major player around the world. Popular in the USA, Australia and across the globe, these are shoes made with the hallmark of quality. Shoes you could wear with blue jeans, good pants, or even fashionable shorts.
Clarks shoes â€“ as youâ€™ll know if youâ€™ve ever owned a pair â€“ are made to last. They arenâ€™t the kind of shoes that start disintegrating after a few months, but, given the right care and attention, will last a lifetime. And when you think about the strain that your shoes endure on a daily basis, thatâ€™s a remarkable feat of design and manufacture. Itâ€™s what makes them such good value for money.
This is almost certainly why the Chinese love them so much, although the trademark Clarks style has definitely got something to do with it too. Some brands donâ€™t need to follow trends. With simple and classic designs, Clarks shoes stand apart from fashion â€“ timeless and reliable. Buy a pair of Clarks menâ€™s shoes and theyâ€™ll be just as stylish in ten years time. After all, this is the company that designed the Desert Boot â€“ a shoe which is often imitated but never bettered.
So, as the thousands of tourists make their pilgrimage this summer, think about how lucky you are that you can simply go online and buy a pair of Clarks shoes. It might be an unusual destination for tourists, but when you think about it, it does make sense.]]>
Manolo says, it is no secret that the Manolo loves the casual boots, indeed, owns and very much enjoys wearing the Timberland Earthkeeper boot shown above and which he purchased in Argentina several years ago at the outrageous retail markup price.
However, there is the other casual boot that the Manolo considers absolutely essential for the wardrobe of the man, the desert boot. Here, from the Manolo’s friends at the Scotts, is the Nicholas Deakins Fenrir desert boot.
This is the sort of quality, chukka-style boot that every man looks good wearing with either the jeans or the khakis; casual, but not so casual that you would feel as if you were dressed like the teenager.]]>
What could be better than the classic Converse Star Player Ox in white leather.
Perhaps the Puma Clyde, in the classic black.
But, wait, here is the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 in blue for when the Manolo feels the uncontrollable urge to rock it Japanese style.
These and other such handsomely classic shoes are available from Size Mens Clothes.]]>
Each summer morning before deciding on his dayâ€™s choice of footwear Mr. Henry scans the weather report, looking in particular at the temperature. The question he poses himself is not whether he will wear shorts and a polo shirt, his default hot weather costume, but whether the temperature will climb so high that his poor feet will boil in closed shoes and as a consequence he must wear sandals.
If sandals are the day’s choice, a more ticklish problem arises, namely, whether to wear socks. If the temperature will reach 90 and above, the decision is clear. Sockless sandals are the only choice. But what if rain is predicted? What if he plans to spend time in gelid air-conditioned interiors? What if he plans to be outdoors among bloodthirsty mommy mosquitoes? Arenâ€™t socks necessary, even with sandals?
Mr. Henry wears socks proudly. With the confidence of a Scandinavian giant gamely navigating the avenues of midtown, Mr. Henry remains blasÃ© if hipsters with tattoos and slouched trousers should cast derisory glances at his stockings.
In defense of socks: