Time to Reconsider Black Shoes
Black shoes have been tagged for years with the stigma of the duckbilled, corrected grain kicks that crawled out of the menswear dark ages of the 1990s and dominated business wear in the early 2000s. Ditching anatomically confusing and unappealingly dull shoes for the universe of brown or burgundy choices made on more traditional, rounder lasts has become a rite of passage for guys who decide to put a little thought into what they wear. But in shunning black shoes (except for formal and business formal wear), we’re missing out on one of modernity’s favorite colors.
Wearing black shoes in a nonstandard texture—scotch grain or even suede—makes sure they won’t be confused for interview shoes. The Tricker’s pictured are in black alpine grain (another word for scotch grain or pebble grain) and sit on a Dainite rubber sole. Although there’s some DNA shared with the classic American business wingtip, these are more closely related to English country shoes. The market for those old American wingtips, like vintage Florsheim Imperials, has gotten more competitive, so they’re not the value they used to be, but still a strong option. Finding a shoe with a natural midsole can ease you into blackshoes if you don’t want to go full murdered out.  On the other end of the spectrum would be something like a snaffle bit loafer, an undeservedly stigmatized shape. George Hamilton embraces their loucheness; I’d wear them with washed jeans and a small cuff.
While gray wool fabrics are maybe the most natural complement for black shoes (see Thom Browne), navy is another easy match for more formal dress, and tans, olives, and blue denim work for no-jacket-required wear, provided the cut is right (bigger shoes? bigger pant hem, generally). To state the obvious, black also goes with black (some designers and writers have made entire careers out of it), but different black tones can have varying undertones of green or red, and can in fact clash.
-Pete

Time to Reconsider Black Shoes

Black shoes have been tagged for years with the stigma of the duckbilled, corrected grain kicks that crawled out of the menswear dark ages of the 1990s and dominated business wear in the early 2000s. Ditching anatomically confusing and unappealingly dull shoes for the universe of brown or burgundy choices made on more traditional, rounder lasts has become a rite of passage for guys who decide to put a little thought into what they wear. But in shunning black shoes (except for formal and business formal wear), we’re missing out on one of modernity’s favorite colors.

Wearing black shoes in a nonstandard texturescotch grain or even suedemakes sure they won’t be confused for interview shoes. The Tricker’s pictured are in black alpine grain (another word for scotch grain or pebble grain) and sit on a Dainite rubber sole. Although there’s some DNA shared with the classic American business wingtip, these are more closely related to English country shoes. The market for those old American wingtips, like vintage Florsheim Imperials, has gotten more competitive, so they’re not the value they used to be, but still a strong option. Finding a shoe with a natural midsole can ease you into blackshoes if you don’t want to go full murdered out.  On the other end of the spectrum would be something like a snaffle bit loafer, an undeservedly stigmatized shape. George Hamilton embraces their loucheness; I’d wear them with washed jeans and a small cuff.

While gray wool fabrics are maybe the most natural complement for black shoes (see Thom Browne), navy is another easy match for more formal dress, and tans, olives, and blue denim work for no-jacket-required wear, provided the cut is right (bigger shoes? bigger pant hem, generally). To state the obvious, black also goes with black (some designers and writers have made entire careers out of it), but different black tones can have varying undertones of green or red, and can in fact clash.

-Pete

The Wool Herringbone
I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 
Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 
The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 
The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.
Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

The Wool Herringbone

I remember having this mid-grey, wool herringbone tie by Thom Browne when I was in my mid-20s. It was lightly lined, untipped, and featured handrolled edges. I wore it with everything back then - brown tweeds, navy sport coats, and a charcoal double windowpane jacket that I inherited from my father. It was one of my favorite ties, until it got ruined in a greasy lunch accident. 

Wool herringbones ties are still some of my favorites, especially for winter. Wool has the advantage of reflecting the season’s mood, just like how cotton and linen do for summer. Solid wool ties with a slight mottling to them, like these from Drake’s, are very versatile, but if you just want a bit more pattern, try herringbones. They’re good for when you’re not sure whether to go for something solid/ semi-solid, or a straight-out pattern, such as a rep stripe. This is helpful if you, like me, enjoy dressing well, but don’t want to spend too much time in the morning trying to figure what can be worn with what. Depending on the scale of the herringbone, these can be successfully paired with almost any kind of shirt and winter sport coat you can think of (barring except maybe a herringbone coat that looks too similar). Just stick with something mid-scale: a slightly noticeable pattern, but not so large that it could compete with other elements in your ensemble. 

The three best places I know of to buy one (at the moment)  are Drake’s, E&G Cappelli, and Marshall Anthony. The first two makers are pretty well known, but the last is a bit of a newcomer to the neckwear industry. I thought they made pretty nice ties when I first reviewed them, but they’ve come even further in their quality over this past year. 

The color selection for Drake’s wool herringbone ties is a bit limited on their website, but you can find more options through A Suitable Wardrobe. Linkson Jack also sells some E&G Cappellis at slightly lower prices if you don’t need something custom. For something more affordable, try Mountain & Sackett. They do pretty good end-of-the-season sales, though not all of their stock is always included.

Pictured above: First tie by E&G Cappelli for Napolisumisura; second and third by E&G Cappelli; last by Marshall Anthony.

Put This On Episode 5: Tradition

Jesse talks with Jay Walter, head of Made-to-Measure at J. Press in New York City about their classic American style. Then a talk with designer Thom Browne, who’s merged traditional aesthetics with fashion ideas, and become perhaps the most influential menswear designer of the last ten years.

iTunes / Vimeo / YouTube

Clothing Credits

Funding Credits

Related Posts

It’s On Sale
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Multistripe Oxfords
$75 from $250 at BrooksBrothers.com

It’s On Sale

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Multistripe Oxfords

$75 from $250 at BrooksBrothers.com

Episode 3: Clothing Credits

Intro:

Suit - J. Crew

Shirt - Thom Browne

Tie - Carrol & Co. (Vintage)

Square - Vintage (Courtesy: Grand-Uncle Philbert)

Shoes - Nordstrom

On Set

Suit - J. Crew

Shirt - CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Tie - Courtesy  of Berg & Berg

Shoes - Gieves & Hawkes

Square - Holland & Holland

Nerd Boyfriend Picks

Jacket - J. Crew

Shirt - Uniqlo

Pants - Hentsch Man

Shoes - American Apparel

On Roxana

Shirt - Marc Jacobs

Skirt - Marc Jacobs

Rudiments

Tie - Turnbull & Asser

Q and A

Blazer - hickey

Shirt - Lands’ End

Pants - Incotex

Tie - Benjamin Bixby

Shoes - Sebago (Vintage)

Square - Grand-Uncle Philbert

It’s On Sale
Black Fleece Scottish cashmere snowflake mittens
$62.50 (from $125) at Brooks Brothers

It’s On Sale

Black Fleece Scottish cashmere snowflake mittens

$62.50 (from $125) at Brooks Brothers

It’s On Ebay!
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Cashmere Cardigan
Starts at $295, ends Friday

It’s On Ebay!

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Cashmere Cardigan

Starts at $295, ends Friday