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, seven 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
Another year, another suggestion of the Jack Erwin Joe. And no, it has nothing to do with the name. 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 will almost certainly 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: Cole Haan Harrison Grand – $139.90 ($220)
Yes, I know that Cole Haan isn’t favored by some of you guys out there. But, I remember what happened last year when I suggested a sleek blucher lace-up from Banana Republic (it wasn’t the kindest response). So, this year? You get basic cap toe oxfords. And since money is tight, we gotta find something comfortable that’s on sale. Here they be. Ships and returns free from Nordstrom. (An alternative to this Jack Erwin/CH combo? Get two pairs of these Italian made, although almost certainly glued, Massimo Matteo cap toes from Zappos.)
The Versatile Chukka: Clarks Bushacre 2 – $44.93
Currently sitting at $79 at DSW, but they run $10 codes with some regularity. Available for $70 at Amazon, depending on the size. Reasonable price, good materials, and unlike the original desert boot, the sole on these can be dressed up a touch. Not much, but a touch. More so than the gets-super-dirty-super-fast, very textured crepe sole on the original desert boot. UPDATE: Looks like these are now available at NordstromRack for the crazy low price of $44.93 thanks to their “Clear the Racks” sale? Huge thanks to Joseph M. for the tip!
The Classic White Sneaker: Adidas Stan Smith – $60
You can keep the flimsy J. Crew Killshot. I’ll take Stan Smiths every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thick, yet still flexible leather uppers. Extremely well cushioned. Solid build quality. $60 direct through Adidas, which is a steal at this price. One of the best bang for the buck casual shoes in the entire men’s style world.
TOTAL COST: $439.83
CASH REMAINING: $626.17
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