My Favorite Thing is a column where Put This On asks stylish, interesting, and otherwise cool men to name their favorite item of clothing or accessory, past or present. For our first installment, we asked menswear author, journalist, and friend of the blog G. Bruce Boyer.
It’s not easy for someone like me who’s had so many clothes for so many years – sometimes I think I could have outfitted The Red Army – to focus on one item. After all, I’ve had suits from every virtually every great tailor in the world at one time or another. And, since my style and figure really don’t change all that much, I tend to keep things.
But if I must pick one item, I’ll going to make it my latest pair of brown suede lace-ups from G. J. Cleverley (pictured above). When I say “latest”, I mean they’re just five years old, which is nothing for either me or Cleverley. I’ve still got my first pair of brown suede Cleverleys, fitted for me by the estimable John Carnera and purchased over thirty years ago. And I’ve gotten at least a half-dozen other pair of wonderful shoes from the firm since then, most modeled on original Cleverley lasts, including three other pair in brown suede. You never forget your first, but it’s your latest you love best.
For years after that first pair, Carnera’s partner George Glasgow took care of me. George is such a delightful gentleman, full of hilarious stories, as well as expert advice and sound judgement. But this latest time I was in the shop, it was George Glasgow Jr., “Young George,” who took care of me. And, funnily enough, I got the same wonderful service and advice. Like father, like son.
While looking around the wonderfully Dickensian shop, I spied a pair of plain cap-toed derbies in a chestnut-hued Scotch grain leather with thick rubber lug soles. The perfect country walking shoe, I thought. But, I mused aloud to young George, might they look as handsome in a thick brown suede?
“Oh, I think we could run you up a nice pair of those in suede. But, if I may say so, Mr. Boyer, that rubber sole is particularly heavy. Unless you’re planning on stalking red deer in the Highlands, might I suggest a Dainite sole? Much more comfortable for you.”
To cut to the chase, I got the perfect pair of English walking shoes, but with my own personal twist, and completely comfortable. That’s what happens when you buy quality, and I expect to have these handsome shoes for years to come. – G. BRUCE BOYER
For those who haven’t already, check out Bruce’s new book, True Style. You can find it on Amazon.