Whether they are shoes or boots, if you have read some of my previous blogs, you will know that I love spectators. They are tremendous, because there is an interplay with contrasting and complimenting colours and textures of leathers and other materials such as suede, canvas and even tweed; that enables them to make big statements and be somewhat unique.
Nonetheless, as I consider the question of which shoe is my favourite Herring style, I will have to go with something less ostentatious. The two that I adore have several common themes; they are formal and therefore oxford styles, have some brogue patterns and are not black. Whilst black shoes are ubiquitous and it is essential for every well-dressed man to have at least one pair of black oxfords in their wardrobe (which of course I do), I typically do not wear black shoes.
My favourite styles are the Chamberlain semi brogues in mahogany calf, and the Churchill oxford in burnished mocca without any broguing.
One of the reasons for this is, is that the mocca and mahogany are very versatile and work beautifully with both formal and less formal ensembles. Men’s suiting often includes navy, various shades of blues, greys and charcoal fabrics. Consequently, mocca or mahogany can give that eye-catching stylish pop and even that je ne sais quoi.
The second reason that I am drawn to the mahogany and mocca, is the gorgeous richness and depth of those hues and the exquisite hand burnishing of both styles.
The Chamberlain and the Churchill are the best of the best. The calf leather is of the highest quality and the hand burnishing takes many hours. With time and wear a beautiful unique patina will develop which is the testimony of the luxurious design, quality of materials and craftmanship.
The Chamberlain is manufactured by Joseph Cheaney. The last is long but very traditional with a classic almond toe. I love it for its elegant simplicity. There is some broguing but it is minimal. It is the last shape and the mahogany calf that speak to its class. I have worn the Chamberlain many times and without fail, on every occasion, I have been complimented on them. I have worn them at a board meeting at work also at weddings. It is a style that I can wear in many settings. Clearly, it is no surprise that the Chamberlain is a best seller and has been part of the Herring catalogue for many years.
The Churchill, too, is manufactured by Joseph Cheaney. The last is long but unlike the Chamberlain, it has a more contemporary chisel toe whilst still maintaining a classic aesthetic.
Like the Chamberlain, my preference for the Churchill is in the brown burnished hues. The Churchill is a beautiful minimalist design that gives the shoe a little bit more fun and flexibility. I love this style because, like the Chamberlain, it is a shoe that I have worn both at work, in very important meetings, at formal social events and less formal social events and even with jeans.
Both the Chamberlain and Churchill come from a pedigree that has stood the test of time. They will never date or go out of fashion and will impress well into the future.
The weather is changing. I am not referring to climate change but the cyclical changes in the seasons. The northern hemisphere is beginning to turn a little warmer with summer looming and the extreme heat in the southern hemisphere (especially in Australia) is cooling. Spring and Autumn are typically the time for weddings. ‘Love is in the air’ and the weather is a little more predictable and much more pleasant than the extremes of summer and winter.
Have you ever wondered about the etymology of the white dress and black dinner suit that have been de rigueur for weddings for almost two centuries?
As has often been the case with style cues, both the white wedding dress and the black dinner suit have their beginnings with the Royal Family.
Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress when she married in 1840 and it subsequently became popular and a tradition was created. The black dinner suit has its beginnings with the Prince of Wales in the mid 1800’s. The Prince was later to become King Edward VII.
The black wedding suit was always paired with black shoes and the safest option was often the venerable ‘black oxfords, not ‘brogues’. This is probably one of the most popular styles of shoe and is a must in every man’s wardrobe. It is a style that is timeless and elegant, fitting for a Prince at a royal wedding and even James Bond as he is saving the world from disaster and anarchy. If you are a prince or a ‘spy who loves’ the black oxford not brogues, you can’t go passed the Herring Knightsbridge or Charles II. Both are exquisite examples of the black oxford not brogues. The Churchill has a contemporary chilled toe whereas the Knightsbridge a more classic almond toe.
As beautiful as the ‘black oxfords, not brogues’ is, is it the only option for a wedding, today? The answer is an emphatic, no. The reason for this is black oxfords are a classic styled shoe and quite formal, weddings today are more eclectic and relaxed than in the past. Black suits, white dresses, black shoes are no longer de rigueur for weddings. They can be but they don’t have to be.
Whilst the wedding day is still an auspicious event in a couple’s life and there are many months and sometimes years of planning, couples today have more freedom to create a unique and individual day that expresses who they are. Weddings in gardens, on a beach or a tropical paradise are now becoming more popular. As a consequence, the black dinner suit and black shoes for the groom is no longer de rigueur.
Weddings always stop traffic and a few weeks ago, I saw a wedding party posing for their wedding photos. To be honest, I can’t remember what the bride or bridesmaids were wearing, but the guys looked smashing. Being summer in Australia, the weather was warm but thankfully not too hot and the guys nailed it with mid blue window pane and checked 3 piece suits and navy monks with an Oxford cap. If that is your fancy, you can’t go wrong with the Herring Cadaresa in navy. Would the ‘black oxfords not brogues’ have worked on the day? The answer is yes, but on that day, ‘navy Oxford monks, not brogues’ was coined. It was a great day for classic self-expression.
The point is, that we longer have to be tied to tradition, we have so many options to express and depict who we are. And, in my opinion the wedding day is always a day when your individuality needs to be expressed. For instance, if you are wearing a navy or grey suit for your wedding day, consider that vast array of options available like, the Chamberlain in mahogany, the Henry II in chestnut or the elegant Eden II. And if you really want to make a statement the Philip II single monk is fabulous, as is the Orwell. All the styles I have mentioned are timeless, elegant and offer a little bit of panache and flair.
On the other hand, if your outfit is a little more relaxed, whilst the styles I have mentioned are still terrific options, you may want to consider something a little more contemporary and adventurous. How about the Chaucer wholecuts in rosewood or tan. Wholecuts are beautiful and given that they are made from one piece of leather, they require a craftsman with the highest of skill and flawless leather to be constructed. The Chaucer colours are very contemporary and would accent a relaxed ensemble perfectly.
There are other styles that I will quickly mention that are also good choices to consider, like some of the boot options, such as the Thatcher Chelsea or the Milton Jodphur boot and the three Blamoral Laverton II options.
In short, the message is to explore the many options that are available and to consider a pair of wonderful shoes that expresses your personality and compliments the bride’s and the rest of the bridal party’s outfits.
One of the most exciting styles to have been introduced by Herring this year is the Henley. It is a contemporary spectator brogue in dark leaf calf with a contrasting canvas. It is exquisitely made and the dark leaf calf and canvas combination is perfectly balanced. The colours create a beautiful contrasting harmony and the texture of the canvas gives the shoe an edgy panache.
I wrote about the Henley spectator at the beginning of this year (find the blog here) and the reason I’m bringing it up again is to reiterate and encourage the practice of reviewing the New Styles section of the Herring website on a regular basis.
If you are like me, and the fact that you a reading this blog, suggests that it is likely that you are; you have quite a comprehensive shoe collection or at least in the process of building one. I continue to add new styles but now only consider styles that will create a definitive difference and enhance my collection. The Henley certainly fits into this category. And, Herring have done it again by offering two more unique designs that will add significant depth to your wardrobe.
If you explore the New Styles section of the Herring website, you will see that Herring has partnered with the Italian brand Stemar to offer a spectator single monk called Cadaresa and a spectator Chelsea boot called Crema. Stemar was founded in 1969 by the Moreschi family in Vigevano, Italy. Stemar shoes have a classic European design and style. They are hand-made and are best known for their comfort and flexibility.
The Cadaresa and Crema share the same last and design cues. What sets them apart is that they are the most exquisite and flamboyant spectators. I love spectators because the combination of contrasting (and in the case of the Cadaresa and Crema, complimenting) colours and textures create so much personality and interest.
Both the Cadaresa and Crema come in two sublime variants. The first is a sensual navy calf complimented by an irresistible French navy suede and the second variant is a deep and rich tantalising burgundy calf and a most luscious burgundy suede.
The Cadaresa and Crema are Blake stitched and consequently have a beautiful slim aesthetic with a contemporary chisel toe. Both designs have a calf cap toe with beautiful detail and broguing. This is exquisitely contrasted with a divine complementing suede on the vamp with the back also in calf.
My immediate choice, as you can see by the photographs, was the Cadaresa in burgundy. I am always drawn to burgundy and so I could not resist and the decision was a simple one for me as it also compliments my wardrobe. The navy and Crema are just as exquisite and it is terrific to have a choice.
The monk strap of the Cadaresa is in calf and makes a bold and proud statement with the large single chrome buckle.
Both styles are statement shoes. The design and colours and different textures create a significant impact and that is what I find most appealing about the design. Both the Cadaresa and Crema are for the discerning aficionado who is looking to add that special flair and dash to their style.
What makes the Cadaresa and Crema even more captivating and desirable is that they will only be produced in small numbers and limited to one production offering. Once they are sold they are gone. There are only 12 pairs being made in each colour of the Cadaresa and Crema. So be quick to secure yours because you will have a shoe, that in my opinion, is one of the most exciting designs on the market today and most likely, you will be the only one in your city that has a pair. For me, that is very appealing.
With summer approaching in Melbourne, the Cadaresa is a great choice with so many different outfit choices. Its fine and gracefully slender style coupled with the single monk aesthetic makes it a perfect and suitable addition to a linen 3 piece suit in the summer or a more relaxed chino or jeans inspired ensemble. The Cadaresa spectator is such a versatile style and the monk design creates that extra flamboyant touch that is sure to have heads turning.
Nonetheless, the navy and burgundy colour palette of the Cadaresa and Crema is also ideal for the cooler autumn and winter weather. The suede is rich and dark in colour and its luscious texture would make for a perfect pairing with either a flannel or plaid suiting ensemble. Believe me, you would look smashing in a contemporary cut flannel suit with either the Cadaresa or Crema.
Of course, to complete the look you will most definitely need to pair the Cadaresa and the Crema with the finishing touch of a fedora or panama hat. A suitable hat is always a must.
So, which style tempts you, the Cadaresa or Crema? Be quick to make the decision so you don’t miss out on what is literally a one time opportunity of a lifetime.
It is Spring in Melbourne, but the weather is still cool and great for tweed, which I love. And, the weather is turning in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of us that like to layer up, it is a great time. Footwear also follows the climate and cooler temperatures start to bring out the country brogues and country brogue boots. Their construction is both rugged and still very stylish and virtually indestructible.
In previous blogs I have mentioned a number of exquisite examples of country brogue shoes and boots. Do go back to those blogs and read about them. I have discussed the tweed Exmoor boot and contrasted it with its smaller sibling the Dartmoor tweed county brogue shoe. They look fabulous with the Moorland Green Tweed. It is the herringbone weave of the tweed that creates a striking texture with a warm colour palette of green, yellow, orange, blue and burgundy. Both have the Dainite sole. On the other hand, the Dartmoor country brogue in dark leaf calf with the storm welt and leather sole is majestic and bold and is the classic country brogue shoe. I have also reviewed the Coniston boot with its contrasting burgundy leathers. I recall referring to the Coniston as the Errol Flynn of boots. The handsome and debonair Gentleman Jim who was just as brilliant as the rugged and swashbuckling Captain Blood. I contrasted these boots and shoes with the Langdale II that possesses a more traditional persona. It is rugged and tough and shares all the same trekking attributes as the Exmoor and Coniston but it is not as ostentatious. It is its simplicity that appeals. As I mentioned in the previous blog, on simplicity, I have to agree with Oscar Wilde, ‘The simplicity of the Langdale’s character makes it ‘exquisitely incomprehensible to me’.
Vintage workwear and footwear associated with it is very popular at the moment and that is why the topic of this blog is on the Wasdale derby shoe and the Windemere boot. Whilst vintage workwear is popular the Wasdale and Windemere have been in the Herring catalogue for many years. They are manufactured by Joseph Cheaney for Herring using the 4436 last which is over 75 years old. With the Wasdale and Windemere, you are getting a true vintage legacy. One that is authentic and has lasted the test of time and is not just a passing fashion phase.
In terms of construction, they are the next level up. There is no doubt that the Wasdale and Windemere will last more than a single lifetime. They are bold and rugged with a commando sole that will last the life of the shoe. They also use a Veldtschoen construction method. Veldtschoen construction is a type of Goodyear welting shoe production method whereby the lining is welted to the insole edge or the insole bridge before the upper is attached. Once the lining has been welted, the upper is placed on top of the welts and double stitched onto the midsole. A second stitch connects the upper with the welting and the outsole. This shoe production method guarantees sturdy, waterproof shoes that retain their form.
Both the Wasdale derby shoe and the Windemere boot are the real deal and are designed to be used and abused outdoors. Nonetheless, they are perfect to wear with jeans or chinos for a casual weekend. And of course, look sublime with tweed and even corduroy.
The last is generous with a G fitting and clearly designed for comfort and to wear with thicker socks. The upper is the most gorgeous and what will become a very soft and supple burgundy grain leather. It is a no nonsense design with a traditional rounded toe with two rows of double stitching to create a most definitive statement with its bold cap toe.
As I reflect on the characteristics of quality products, three attributes come to mind. Excellence in design or style, craftsmanship or manufacturing of the highest order and the exclusive use of the best materials or ingredients.
Recent additions to the Herring range has, unequivocally, all three of those attributes. They are the Cromer boot, Crawley brogues and the Barcelona II tasselled loafers…all in Cordovan leather.
All three are beautifully crafted and styled. The Crawley brogues have a vintage appeal with the toe being a blend of the more contemporary almond toe and the traditional rounder toe.
I am particularly drawn to the Cromer boots. They are a bold derby toe-capped boot and share the same last as the Crawley brogues. The Cromer boots are minimalist and harken to the work wear styles of old, but demand your attention because of the burgundy hue that speaks to the excellence of the materials that are used to craft all three of the styles.
With respect to the burgundy hue, I am always attracted to it as it is my favourite colour. And it is, in my opinion, the most versatile of colours as it can easily stand in for a brown or black but, of course, should be appreciated for its own beauty.
There are two aspects to the three styles that ties them together. Excellence in materials; the JR oak-barked tanned leather soles and the burgundy colour in all three styles that is attributable to the Cordovan leather.
JR oak-barked tanned leather soles are arguably the best in the world and have been produced since 1871. The tanning process is complex and labour intensive. The final step in the process is the oak bark ground tanning stage. This occurs in oak lined pits that are filled with a tanning solution and agents such as oak, spruce, and mimosa bark, as well as valonea fruit. The hides just sit in this solution for about nine months. The complete process takes up to a year, compared to other tanning processes that take about a month. The consequence of the long process is that you get a much better leather. The tannins bind and conserves the leather’s protein structures, which makes the leather extremely durable, breathable and flexible. It’s also very lightweight and more comfortable to wear. Because of the complicated and long process, oak-barked tanned leather soles are expensive and only reserved for the highest quality and luxury shoes.
Now to the gorgeous uppers of the three styles, the Cordovan leather. Cordovan shoes are highly coveted. The leather is difficult and expensive to make and constantly in high demand. Cordovan shoes are discussed and debated about at much length in style and shoe forums. They are often looked at as a holy grail of men’s footwear. And, as for the burgundy colour, cordovan doesn’t take dyes as easily as other leathers and is limited in its range of colours. Typically, cordovan shoes come in black, dark brown and my favourite, burgundy.
Cordovan is the name for a leather derived from the hindquarters of
a horsehide. The name cordovan derives from the Spanish city of Cordoba.
Cordovan is exceptionally durable. The pores are so dense on the
hindquarters of a horse that they are not visible to the naked eye. Consequently,
the hide is naturally resistant to water as well as stretching. Unlike
other leather shoes that crease, cordovan ripples. Since creasing can lead to
cracks in the leather, the tendency to ripple rather than crease helps to
preserve the surface of the leather and the overall lifespan of the shoe.
Furthermore, shell cordovan ages very well and develops a
particularly beautiful patina over time. A well cared for pair of shoes can
truly last you a lifetime.
The high price of cordovan is due to the low supply of hides, the
high demand for them, and the long, complicated tanning process. It takes
approximately one and half hides to make one pair of shoes and since horses are
only raised as part of the food chain in a few places in the world, the supply
of horsehides is small and unlikely to grow, contributing directly to the
scarcity and high price of this type of leather.
Without doubt, I believe that the Crawley brogues, Barcelona loafers
and Cromer boots will become best sellers. They are all exquisitely styled and
crafted, but it is the cordovan leather and JR oaked barked tanned soles that
gives them their distinction. Cordovan shoes are always in high demand and
highly prized, so if I were you, I would be quick to secure yours.
As for me, the Crawley brogues are very tempting, and have the definitive standout features of the previous generation Canning burgundy brogues that I already have. I am contemplating and wrestling with whether the first loafers I will own, will be the Cordovan Barcelona. But, I can’t resist the temptation and pull of the Cromer boots. I reckon they will be the “first cab off the rank”.
Which of the three will you choose for your first pair?
Without doubt, the number one topic of discussion in 2020 will be the tales and, hopefully the not too many, tribulations of how we spent our time in isolation. This is certainly the case in our household. There are five members in our household and four of us are working from home. Zoom meetings, internet bandwidth issues, being distracted by other household members being on the phone or in a meeting are all part of life, at the moment.
I live 25 kilometres from the city centre of Melbourne, on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley wine region. It is a cool climate wine region, and is famous for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines. As a result, we have some nice places to go for walks and get out of the house for some exercise.
There has been a recent addition to our household. Hank the Tank – the Italian Greyhound. He even has an Instagram page. With a name like Hank, you would expect him to be big and fat, but Hanky is anything but. Italian greyhounds are the smallest of the greyhound breed. Hanky is a little crazy. He is fast and loves to run and needs to be walked everyday in order to prevent him from destroying the house.
It is late autumn in Melbourne and the weather is cold and wet. Where we live, the muddy terrain calls for some sturdy footwear and the quintessential English country brogue boot is the perfect. Not only is the country brogue boot as tough as nails, it is also very stylish. There is no reason why you should not look your best traversing those steep hills or stepping through potholes. In addition, because they are so stylish and versatile, country brogues can be worn everyday as a casual dress boot with jeans, tweed or flannel trousers.
When I’m travelling I typically take two pairs of shoes. One is a dress shoe, generally in a burnished burgundy calf. Burgundy is a favourite colour and is quite adaptable. I find that it compliments most clothing options. Most gentlemen’s clothing colour spectrum falls into a combination of grey, navy, various shades of blue and brown. Burgundy works beautifully with all those colours and if black is your thing, try a splash of burgundy and you will see that I am right.
The other pair of footwear I take is country brogue boots. They are my walking boots. They are comfortable to wear all day, can cope with all weather conditions and look fantastic. Incidentally, I always take a pair of plastic shoe trees and a bit of shoe polish in my travel bag. It ensures all scuff marks are easily dealt with. The plastic shoe trees take up no space, they are light and you don’t encounter issues with having wood products when travelling internationally.
Country brogue boots are in most cases Gibson or Derby designs and have a storm welt which makes them more water resistant than normal Goodyear welted dress shoes. They also have thicker and sturdier soles. Some boots have double leather soles but given the mud and slush I need to traverse, my preference is for the tough, reliable and the go anywhere characteristics of the Dainite sole.
Herring has three style options in their range that fit the bill exactly. As we examine them more closely, you will find that while each variant is the archetypal country boot, they are each distinctly different and complex in their design and characteristics.
The first boot, I have also mentioned in a previous blog. It is the Exmoor. This boot is a favourite of my son’s. And I am also very partial to it as I recently added the Bodmin to my collection, which shares the same pedigree as the Exmoor. The Exmoor is a bold and beautiful boot with a chunky round last. It is tough and robust, there is no doubt, but it also comes with a wonderful twist. And, that twist is that the chestnut calf is contrasted with the Moorland Green tweed. It is the herringbone weave of the tweed that creates a striking texture with a warm colour palette of green, yellow, orange, blue and burgundy. There is no better way to traverse that muddy terrain with sartorial class. It is also a boot that will be an excellent travel companion because the colour pallet of the tweed offers so many clothing styling options.
I will also add, that even though I am concentrating on country boots, the Exmoor boot has a sibling, the Dartmoor. It shares the same last as the Exmoor and like the Exmoor, the Dartmoor’s chestnut calf is contrasted with the same Moorland Green tweed. The only difference is that it is a Gibson shoe and not a boot. So, if the Exmoor makes too much of a statement for you, my advice is to go with it anyway as you will not be disappointed; or go for the more subtle Dartmoor.
I have mentioned at the start why burgundy is my favourite colour. It goes with everything and will give you an edge if you decide to add it to your wardrobe. In my opinion, the only thing better than a shoe or boot in burgundy calf, is that shoe or boot in two contrasting burgundy leathers. Well, this is exactly what you get with the Coniston country brogue boot. It is stunning. All country boots have the quality of traversing boggy terrain with ease, the Coniston does this and traverses not only boggy terrain but bridges the gap between the utility of being functional with a rugged handsomeness.
If the Coniston were an actor, it would be the Hollywood legend and heartthrob, Errol Flynn. The handsome and debonair Gentleman Jim who was just as brilliant as the rugged and swashbuckling Captain Blood. The Coniston shares the same construction and chunky round last as the Exmoor and Dartmoor. These characteristics are the unique domain and beauty of the country brogue.
Notwithstanding, the real beauty and distinction of the Coniston is the interplay and harmony of the contrasting burgundy leathers. It is a thing of splendour with a perfect balance of not only the variations in the burgundy hues but also the texture of the leathers. The darker burgundy leather on the outer is a smooth calf and is contrasted with a lighter burgundy grain calf. This boot is simply exemplary.
Nonetheless, it may surprise you to learn that I do not have the Coniston is my collection, yet. The only reason is, like the Dartmoor, which is the smaller sibling of the Exmoor, I added the Coniston’s sibling, the Cliburn, to my collection last year. Alas, the Cliburn is no longer available, and the lesson here is, do not be slow to quickly secure a style that takes your fancy. The other reason, (which I initially hesitated to include), is that I already have two pairs of burgundy country boots in my collection.
The Langdale II possesses a more traditional or classic persona. It is rugged and tough and shares all the same trekking attributes as the Exmoor and Coniston but it is not as ostentatious. The last is long and slender with a toe more almond in shape, than the rounder and chunkier Exmoor and Coniston. It has a finer slimmer presence and is tight around the ankle.
While being a Derby style boot, it hugs the ankle like an oxford. The leather is a rich hand burnished mahogany grain. The mahogany is eye-catching and stands proud. With time it will develop a unique and coveted patina.
The Exmoor and Coniston are substantial where as the Langdale is more subtle and this is where its inherent qualities and appeal reside. On the subject of simplicity, I have to agree with Oscar Wilde, the simplicity of the Langdale’s character makes it “exquisitely incomprehensible to me”. Like the other two boots, the Langdale also has a sibling. The Grassmere II has the same exquisitely incomprehensible qualities as the Langdale in the form of a country brogue shoe.
Are you drawn to the warm colour palette and versatility of the herringbone weave of the tweed in the Exmoor, the interplay and harmony of the contrasting burgundy hues and textures of the leathers in the Coniston or the elegance, simplicity and exquisitely incomprehensible qualities of the Langdale?
Chances are, that if you are reading this blog, you already have a passion for shoes and most likely you have quite a few pairs that you have invested in. It is also a ‘sure bet’ that many of your family, friends and work colleagues know about this passion of yours.
My collection (I will admit) is rather extensive and eclectic. If you are starting out to invest in your collection, however, I recommend that you begin with the classics. A good place to start is with oxfords and the now iconic ‘black oxfords no brogues’. Even for James Bond, this is his go-to shoe and clearly, if that is the style that partners with 007 to save the world, it is a must for every man’s wardrobe. Notwithstanding this, as you build your collection, I suggest that you may want to extend your taste to include single or double monk styles. Some of the monk options like the Attlee double monks are in the ‘Oxfords no brogues’ genre but are a more sartorially bold choice.
I recently changed jobs and when I decided to invest in a pair of Attlee double monks, I had them delivered to my old work address by mistake. One of my ex-colleagues knew exactly what was in the brown box and figured I wouldn’t mind him have a bit of a sneak look. His taste is rather conservative, but he immediately fell in love with them. When we caught up for a chat (and, of course, to pick up the shoes) I told him that the monk straps were derived from the buckled shoes that the monks of old used to wear.
The Attlee has both black and mahogany calf options. Having already invested in a pair in burgundy, (when that option was available), I decided to go with the mahogany this time. The Attlee is stunning. It is the simplicity of its cap toe design that makes it both elegant and exquisite. The last is long and sleek with a graceful and timeless almond toe. The monk straps and buckles are subtle but still make an audacious statement. The mahogany calf is hand burnished which creates a depth and complexity that will only improve with age.
Now, if something more daring is your inclination, you may want to consider the Philip single monk. Like the Attlee, the Philip has two calf options, black and chestnut. Be assured, the Philip is a statement shoe! Like the Attlee the last is long and sleek with the timeless and gorgeous almond toe. But, where the Attlee draws you in with its simplicity, the Philip grabs you and demands your attention. It is a brogued wingtip single monk ‘bad-boy’. It is ostentatious, complex and will not be ignored if you are wearing it. The large single monk strap is also brogued and housed in a beautiful large buckle.
Given its classic and simple styling the Attlee is somewhat more conservative and, you may draw the conclusion, that it is the formal variant of the two. At first glance, I can see how some may draw that conclusion, but the Philip is a beautiful shoe and is very much at home in a formal setting. In fact, both are ideal dressed up in a suit for a formal occasion or can be dressed down with jeans or chinos.
You may be tempted to think that the only decision you have to make, is which style to choose, the Attlee or the Philip? I would encourage you to consider both. They are both quite distinctive and would in no way be a double up in your wardrobe.
The Philip has had two iterations. The current generation is the Philip II. Along with the current Attlee, I have the first generation of the Philip. It is in mahogany calf, but where the current generation has an almond toe, the Philip I, has a more traditional rounder toe. It is terrific and a testament to good customer service, that Herring is always reviewing their styles and not only introducing new styles but changing the styling of its existing range.
It is autumn in Australia and the cooler weather is bringing respite from the heat of summer. The fire fighters have also welcomed the cooler weather as it has provided them with some assistance in battling the fires in what has been an unprecedented and devastating bushfire season.
Melbourne is typically cooler than most cities in Australia, both in autumn and winter. With the change, my mind is beginning to think about my three favourite things, flannel, tweed and brogues.
Due to the milder winters, flannel suiting is not as popular in Australia, as it is in Europe and the UK. However, there has been a resurgence, especially in lighter weight flannel cloth. I love the richness and texture of the fabric and whilst some may remember reruns of the 1956 American classic film, starring Gregory Peck, ‘The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit’, my personal favourites are the venerable navy flannel with a wide chalk stripe and a Prince of Wales check.
Tweed is another favourite. The combination of colours and texture is ideal for layering and creating different of outfits. I encourage you to invest in a few tweed jackets and waistcoats, if you haven’t already. Vintage pieces are often superbly made and in excellent condition, testimony to the fact that tweed is not only beautiful but also hardwearing and will last longer than one lifetime. If you are fortunate, you can pick up vintage bespoke pieces that have been made by some of the most esteemed tailoring houses in England at reasonable prices.
Tweed outfits and brogue shoes are a well established combination. The colour and texture of the cloth balances with the brogue patterns of the shoes. They are in perfect harmony. And the ‘last for ever’ qualities of tweed are a flawless partnership with the traditional handmade goodyear welted indestructible Herring shoes.
So what can be better than a shoe that combines a country brogue and tweed? My latest Herring acquisition is the Bodmin II. It is an oxford spectator brogue in chestnut calf contrasted with Moorland Green Tweed. The herringbone weave creates a striking texture with a warm colour palette of green, yellow, orange, blue and burgundy.
The colours in the Bodmin tweed, can be paired with chinos, jeans, cords and of course tweed of various colour hues. Imagine them with a pair of navy jeans, burgundy cords or the many hues of tweed trousers. And, then there is the option of adding a contrasting waistcoat. As you can see, the Bodmin is a style that will prove to be very versatile in every mans’ wardrobe. I elected to pair them with a light blue tweed suit on their first outing.
The Bodmin II is only one of three options you can consider. There is also the Dartmoor Tweed country brogue and the Exmoor country brogue boot. All three are styled with chestnut calf and the Moorland Green Tweed. Unlike the Bodmin II, which is an oxford with sleeker lines and a slimmer last, the Dartmoor and Exmoor are the quintessential country brogue in a gibson or derby style with a rounder chunkier last and a storm welt and a go anywhere Dainite rubber sole.
All are tempting. Due to the relatively milder winters in Melbourne, I decided that the Bodmin would be the more appropriate choice for me. My son on the other hand, reckons I should have gone with the Exmoor boot. He is beginning to amass a collection of nice boots and with an upcoming birthday is dropping hints about the Exmoor.
Another birthday possibility my son is hinting at, is the Easby boot. Like the Exmoor, it is a country boot with a robust and generous last and a storm welted Dainite sole. It is a classy twist on a military boot with toe cap stitching. Complimenting the black calf is a gorgeous charcoal tweed. I think he may decide to go with the Easby as he really likes the strong presence and substance of the boot’s styling.
So, what will you decide? Which option suits your style?
This blog has been written by one of our longest standing customers, Jerry Tharapos. His insight is invaluable.
So, what is your favourite quote or anecdote about style?
Recently I came across a quote from the legendary and dapper, handsome Hollywood leading man Clark Gable, who said “a well tailored suit is to a woman what lingerie is to a man”. There is no doubt that he was correct, as he was never at a loose end when it came to having a beautiful woman by his side.
Is it really that simple? At a time when fast fashion and the sloppy hoody or sweat pant seems to be de rigueur, what drives us to counter the norm and wear a tailored suit, tie, hat or handmade shoes? We are all individuals and I am sure we all have many and different reasons. As for me, the French poet and playwright, Jean Cocteau said it best, “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.”
A man’s style says a lot about him. Colour, layers and texture speaks to depth and complexity. A bespoke commission suggests the desire to differentiate yourself from the norm and to make a statement about your individuality. There is definitely an eccentricity associated with cultivating and evolving a style that defines who you are.
But what about your workplace? how do you dress when you are in your 9 to 5 persona? Do your work colleagues view your style or eccentricity with contempt or do they enjoy it. My experience is both, but typically I have found that most welcome the eccentricity. Especially if you are good at what you do and get the results. Nonetheless, you will get the few (and some may even be your boss) that view you as self indulgent and in some cases ridiculous. My counter argument and defence, in these cases, is to be bold and back myself and say, “you like the results that I bring and change that I make but, it is those that are different that make the difference.”
Clearly it is easier to be yourself when you are in a familiar environment or workplace. But, how should you dress for a job interview? Recently, I have had to think about this. A few years ago, this was never an issue for consideration in a professional environment. In order to make a good impression, a suit and tie and beautifully kept shoes was the norm for an interview. This in not the case today. Few to no-one wears a tie any more and suits are also somewhat a thing of the past. In fact, even going to an interview unshaven appears to be the norm these days.
To my horror, I have found myself having to go from wearing a 3 piece tailored suit to chinos and an open necked shirt. Only then did I get some traction with interviews. But, I did make sure I wore a waistcoat, braces and my favourite tan Herring country brogues. I got the job.
There is a lot written about what to wear at an interview. Simple tips are, be cognizant of the culture of the organisation and don’t be too dramatic with what you wear. Comply somewhat but be true to who you are. Think about how to differentiate yourself along the lines of your cultivated style. For me, that was, the waistcoat and Herring brogues.
I start my new job in a few days and I need to start thinking about my wardrobe for day one.