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When I saw in you mention that women pay particular attention to men’s shoes – which, admittedly I pay little attention to myself – I began wondering what’s acceptable and not for shoes at a bar. If it’s a pretty laid back bar, are regular tennis shoes like Adidas Sambas okay with jeans and a shirt? Or are nicer shoes such as deck shoes or loafers expected? I’m in my mid-20s, so I feel like there’s a grey area for expectations.
Shoes, glorious shoes! At some point in my early twenties, it dawned on me that shoes were as important as any other piece of my wardrobe. Until that point, I’d only worn either black or brown shoes, in a low heel, without considering the silhouette. After it occurred to me that shoes were an integral part of style, I became much more choosy and found a lot of joy in wearing shoes in a variety of styles and colors.
Back to Matt: If you are old enough to be in a bar, I have to say that I think ANY athletic shoes are a lame choice. (And let’s make a distinction between going to a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon with your friends to watch a football game–in which case tennies are fine–and going out on a Saturday night hoping to score with a tall, leggy lady–in which case you want to make a little extra effort, am I right?)
True tennis shoes, like Adidas, New Balance or Nike are for sightseeing, going to the gym, and helping your best friend move. When you go out for the evening, wear something else. Loafers, boat shoes, or even sandals show a little effort in your footwear.
Finally, a word about “expectations,” which Matt wisely references. Think about why you dress the way you do. If you’re reading this column, this site, it’s because you care about what you put on your body, and what it says to others about who you are. Dressing well and carefully need not mean being uncomfortable, nor does it automatically label you as a self-centered douchebag. All it means is dressing for each occasion purposefully.
Sure, the other people at the bar may not blink if you wear athletic shoes, and they may not EXPECT you to wear nice leather shoes, but isn’t personal style so much more than just meeting the expectations of others?
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