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

Sierra Trading Post: What To Buy

The online discounter Sierra Trading Post mostly sells outdoor gear. If you need a sleeping bag or a performance fleece at a discounted price, they’re your #1 source. Oddly, though, they also care a smattering of high-end menswear items. They’re not in the catalogs they send out, and they don’t have a special section on the website. You have to know what to look for. If you do know, though, you can find some great stuff.

What can you buy at Sierra Trading Post?

  • Isaia suits & sportcoats. One of the best Italian ready-to-wear brands often closes out stock at STP. Find suits and sportcoats for about $1000, and sometimes as little as $500.
  • Bill’s Khakis. The trads love Bill’s because their quality is consistently superb, but at retail, they’re expensive. Stack a few discounts at STP, and you can get their M3 fit (which is their slimmest, but isn’t that slim) for as little as $50-75.
  • Johnston’s of Elgin cashmere. One of the few reputable cashmere-goods makers left clears out tons of sweaters and accessories at significant discounts. Use coupons judiciously and sweaters will end up under $200. Scarves, gloves and other accessories sometimes dip as low as $20 or $30.
  • Pantherella socks. Want to buy fancy socks but don’t want to pay fancy prices? Play your cards right, and you can get these English-made socks for about $8 a pair. Sometimes even less.
  • Derek Rose pajamas. It’s tough to find good pajamas. These guys retail for about $200-250 a set, but with some couponing, you can get them for under a hundred at STP.
  • Tricker’s shoes and boots. Tricker’s might be the world’s top brand of country footwear, but they’re expensive. With coupons, you can grab a pair for about $300.

One note: using Sierra Trading Post to the fullest can be a bit tricky. Sales at STP stack with coupons, which are sent out daily if you sign up for their DealFlyer service. Coupons typically range from 10-15% off to as much as 35% off with free shipping. Sign up for DealFlyer, and your patience will be rewarded.

It’s On Sale
Tricker’s Wingtip Derby
Sierra Trading Post’s DealFlyer will give you at least and additional 20% and sometimes as much as 35 or 40% off this price. At the moment, they’re also offering 25% off if you “like” them on Facebook. 
This is one of several Tricker’s models on sale there at the moment. There’s also a plain cap toe, a very pretty brown saddle shoe and a big brogue boot. Note that all of these are very much country shoes - a little wide and bulbous, and very sturdy. Good for heavy pants and more casual outfits.
$385 from $550 at Sierra Trading Post

It’s On Sale

Tricker’s Wingtip Derby

Sierra Trading Post’s DealFlyer will give you at least and additional 20% and sometimes as much as 35 or 40% off this price. At the moment, they’re also offering 25% off if you “like” them on Facebook.

This is one of several Tricker’s models on sale there at the moment. There’s also a plain cap toe, a very pretty brown saddle shoe and a big brogue boot. Note that all of these are very much country shoes - a little wide and bulbous, and very sturdy. Good for heavy pants and more casual outfits.

$385 from $550 at Sierra Trading Post