Article By: Joseph Aaron

A True Essential

Shoes, arguably the only true essential item of clothing. Sure, not wearing pants in public is frowned upon by the general public and the powers that be (rightly so), but unless the weather is particularly cold, you should survive. Shoes however are absolutely essential if you want to traverse the urban jungle of broken glass, concrete and gravel. So, seeing as we need to have few pairs in our wardrobe, it is our duty to take care and consideration when purchasing them in order for us to look our very best.

In this two part guide to timeless shoe style, I will be discussing all things shoe related: The difference between high street and the more expensive brands, finding the right shoes for you, shoe care guides, what to look out for when buying and other miscellaneous (yet important) tips. I will also be discussing and dissecting the shoe styles that are considered timeless and you should all own in your wardrobe. By the end of it, your shoe collection should be complete and ready for any occasion and situation; giving you multiple options year-round for all your outfits and looks.

The Debate – Style Vs Substance

So first off, let’s start with a debate in order to really get you thinking about your recent shoe purchases and making sure you take the time to consider exactly what you are looking for next time you add to your collection. This topic is something that has bugged me for quite a while about the fashion industry, specifically with shoes. Designers, whether they be top fashion houses or the high street, continue to impress me by making high quality, good looking products – I’m not disputing this. However in my opinion, fashion is lacking in practicality.

For example, I recently bought a pair of fantastic looking leather desert boots from a well known high street brand and while the styling was perfect, the sole was so thin I might as well have been walking around in bare feet. Now this kind of thing is all well and good when you’re just popping to the bar down the road, or if you drive everywhere, but I walk six miles a day to and from college; I need some kind of support. Another area where I feel the fashion industry is letting us down is in protection from the elements. The advice across the board seems to be the same when addressing the problem of bad weather – “wear rubber soled shoes when it’s raining”. Now I don’t know if you remember last winter? My street was like the ski slope in the winter Olympics, and a pair of rubber soled shoes just wasn’t going to cut it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to change what they are doing in terms of pushing design forward, and creating beautiful looking garments, footwear and accessories, but maybe they could offer some more robust choices. So my questions to you all are:

1. Is style more important than practically?

2. Have you had similar problems?

3. What can the industry do to improve its products practically?

Now this is just based on my experiences, so feel free to tell me if I’m being a giant girly man in the comments below, or if you actually agree with me.

High Street Vs Designer Vs Specialist Brands

Leading on from the above, I imagine most of us get our shoes from the regular high street haunts; on the surface it’s much cheaper than buying a designer brand or purchasing from a shoe specialist like Trickers, but on closer inspection it could be more expensive. The logic here is simple; a well made, expensive, specialist made pair of shoes – if cared for properly – will last you a lifetime. The high street brands on the other hand while looking great and being on trend, tend not to last long. I myself recently found my brown brogues in tatters less than six months after I bought them, and at 55 pounds a pop, they’re not cheap.

There is also a marked difference between top designer brands and shoe specialist. With the designer brands they will generally be better made than the high street products but in terms of quality and construction they pale in comparison to specialist shoe makes. With designer brands, you are essentially paying a premium mark up for the name and the looks, whereas with a specialist you are paying for quality craftsmanship and solid construction. So to simplify it from lowest to highest quality it goes:

High Street – such as Topman, All Saints and Burton.

Designer – such as Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and D&G.

Shoe Specialist – such as Trickers, Loakes, Red Wing and Grenson.

Check out 4 examples from each of the categories above so you can get a feel for the difference in price, style and quality for a pair of on trend brogues.”

To read more about this article, you can check out Fashion Beans Blog : http://www.fashionbeans.com/2011/a-guide-to-shoes-part-one/

Frolic Love


~ by frolic6ent on June 8, 2011.

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