Shoes – The $1500 Wardrobe Part II
Creating a versatile, sharp wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight. The best course of action is to go slow. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you need a major wardrobe makeover, stat. Over the next week we’ll see what a strict budget of $1500 can do.
Despite prices going up everywhere, we’re still sticking with a $1500 budget. (Which is the budget we started with, six years ago when this experiment began.) The outcome might not impress the menswear snobs, but why care? The goal is to balance quality with affordability… accessibility with versatility. Not every last stitch (like underwear) will be covered. We’re not burning the clothes you likely already have. The goal is to finish with a setup of clothes that can have someone looking great in most situations. The focus will be on affordable goods which can last with reasonable care. Also know that since tailoring costs can vary wildly, those aren’t a part of the final cost.
The Dark Brown Oxford: Jack Erwin “Joe” Cap Toe – $195.00
As much as I’d like to make the Allen Edmonds Factory 2nds play here, prices right now are currently a bit steep at the Shoebank (but waiting around until Black Friday / Cyber Monday might be well worth it). And it’s hard to argue with Jack Erwin when it comes to balancing quality and price. Under $200 for a made in Spain, sleek, cap toe oxford. Blake Stitched helps keep the shape streamlined. Ships and returns for free. In terms of suggesting dark brown over the more fashion forward “walnut” shade seen on many a dress shoe these days… dark brown is simply more classic. That, and you’ll be able to wear these with the charcoal sharkskin suit from Spier & Mackay. Can’t say that about a pair of lighter, walnut/cognac shoes.
The Black Lace-Up: B.R. Italian Leather “Shaw” – $88.80 ($148)
What?!?! A blucher instead of an oxford?? BLASPHEMY! Listen, a sleek blucher such as BR’s Italian Leather Shaw is going to be plenty formal for those times when you need to put on a pair of black dress shoes. Use bar lacing instead of the standard criss-cross method, and you’ll make em’ look about as close to a true oxford as you can. Remember, we’re on a budget here. And these are quite a nice value for just under $90. By the way, that price reflects when they drop to 40% off, which happens all the time. And in terms of how they look, the BR site does them no favors whatsoever. They’re sleek but not pointy, and the leather really isn’t half bad. Just a black shoe with a slimmer silhouette.
The Versatile Chukka: Nordstrom 1901 Barrett Suede Chukka – $125
Fantastic quality and great looks for a very reasonable price. Super versatile. Easy to dress up with cords and a sportcoat, or down with jeans, a t-shirt, and a sporty chronograph. Like the Loake Kempton, only much, much less expensive. Full review here.
The Classic Sneaker: Sperry Top-Sider Salt Washed CVO – $39.99
Built like a brick outhouse. Substantial, but still flexible canvas. Thick rubber out-soles. Reinforced eyelets and nicely thick laces. Leather accents. Plus, the extra cushioning around the tongue and heel area is a nice touch. Much, much nicer/more sturdy than far too many flimsy court classics.
TOTAL COST: $448.79
CASH REMAINING: $584.21
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