A few weeks ago while out with friends and acquaintances I was asked a familiar question when the fact came up that I blog about men’s style: “How can I start dressing better?"
This isn’t an easy question for me to quickly answer and is beyond the attention span of most people in the course of a free-flowing conversation – especially over beer at a bar. While I’m happy to talk about the subject at length, I do try to avoid chatting someone’s ears off about my various obsessions.
Entire books are written about the subject and an overwhelming amount of resources are available on the Internet. Even Jesse’s 25-pieces of basic sartorial knowledge is tough to rattle off when you may only have enough time to tell someone a few sentences.
What I needed was the "elevator pitch” of how a guy can begin to dress better – an idea that he can act on and sets the ball rolling.
Now I suggest one simple thing: “Wear nice shoes.”
Ugly shoes can ruin an otherwise acceptable outfit and nice shoes can elevate an ordinary one. While it’s no shortcut to having better style, it does begin the process to get a man thinking about the subject.
Learning about nice shoes implants the idea of aesthetics and higher-quality purchases in a guy’s head. At the very least, guys who take this advice will stop wearing ratty gym trainers and rubber-soled “sporty” hybrid dress shoes.
I think that once a guy starts down this path, he will eventually broaden his view toward the rest of his wardrobe. If he’s wearing nice shoes, then perhaps he begins to think about getting a few nice shirts. Or a sport coat and proper fit.
And maybe one day he’ll become too self aware about his pocket square collection to know that he doesn’t have any seasonally-appropriate ones for his tweed jackets and spends an hour looking for the right one that blends burgundy and tan.
Or maybe not. It may just be enough that he’s wearing better shoes, which I think is a good thing. So, that’s my new pitch: “Wear nice shoes."