02 June 2012

Wet Feet, and How Not to Have Them

It should be clear to you by now that I have a strong tendency to like all things old, outmoded and archaic, most especially in matters of dress and general personal carriage. This may lead you to believe that I would be the sort of man to wear overshoes, or "rubbers", when Ole' Ma Nature throws us a distinctly wet welcome to June. You'd be wrong.
Over the years, I've had a few pair like the ones you see above, and I really tried to use them. I've also owned sock garters in the past, and tried to like those, too. In the end, I find both things to be just plain silly in the modern world, the exclusive province of guys who do old stuff just to do old stuff.
And don't even get me started on Swims, their overpriced and somehow fashionable off-shoots.The only thing sillier than rubber overshoes is overpriced pseudo-fashionable "cool" rubber overshoes.

So what, then, is a fellow to do? The answers vary. For many men, it's easy to simply take refuge in the fact that pyjamas now suffice as clothing practically everywhere these days and cover up in some high tech waterproof camping stuff. Or you could just stay inside.

Fortunately for me, I live in New England, near Boston, in the epicenter of that uniquely American style of dressing up with extreme elements of casual leisure thrown in, of combining proper dress with sensible dress in just the right way. Fortunately for the rest of you, this way of dressing not only happens to be enjoying a moment of fashion right now but is also far more generally acceptable in more places than ever.

To begin with, these are the shoes that will keep your feet dry. Bean Boots, Original Maine Hunting Shoes, Duck Boots, whatever you want to call them. In Winter I wear a high cut pair with woolen socks. On the second day of June, I wear slip on moccasins with cotton socks and cheap khakis.At work, I keep an old pair of penny loafers to change into. There is one and only one source for these shoes : L.L.Bean. Don't bother with any others. But of course, you knew that already.
Up top, a Brooks Brothers shirt and blazer with an tie from the Andover Shop are all kept dry and clean under a Barbour jacket. Yes, in Boston you sometimes find yourself wearing a jacket over a jacket over a shirt and tie even in June.

The whole thing enters near abominable territory with the addition up top of a ball cap to keep the head dry. Truth be told, a ball cap atop jacket and tie is a time tested option in foul weather in Boston. Tread lightly here. Ball cap and suit is likely no good; ball cap and blazer with khakis is manageable. Red Sox hats and their derivatives are best. Country club and gold course caps work too, but only if you belong or play golf there.

The overall effect is a perfect fusion of correct and sensible, if a little laid back in its way. But that is the very heart of what this stuff is all about. Don't forget that above all the clothes should fit well, if even a little slouchy. Remember that when this "preppy fashion" moment passes and you should be able to wear this stuff for the rest of your life. Then your boy can wear this stuff for much of his life.

Oh, and your feet will stay dry.


Svein Halvor Halvorsen said...

Wearing Swims or other overshoes casually is just plain stupid. But that's not to say that they don't have their place. When going to a formal event in rainy weather, they are the perfect solution. Just remember to give them to the wardrobe attendant when you arrive at your party.

Mike said...

Bean boots will sure do their job. But what if you have to wear a real business attire? Without chinos or Barbour? More like suit and chesterfield?
When I have a client meeting on a rainy or snowy day, it would be a big effort, to take a second pair of shoes to the client's office. So I do wear Swims. And after entering the building, I put them in my briefcase (covered by a plastic bag).
So yes, I do wear Swims. The rubber is extremely durable compared to other galoshes. You get what you pay for.

Giuseppe said...

Point taken, both of you. I just have an irrational hatred of overshoes, Swims in particular.

RJR said...

Barbour, Bean moccasins, and a Boston Braves ballcap are just perfect for San Francisco rainy days, too.

Unclelooney said...

My brother once had an escalator eat one of his TOTES that my Mother forced him to wear.

AEG said...

I can understand that with the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee etc people are striving to emulate TRH Princes Philip, Charles or William in what can be described as 'classic English style', but I think that wearing a Guards Division regimental tie is probably a step too far. Unless, of course, you have actually been in the Guards or Household Division? Whilst it is an unquestionably smart tie, you wouldn't want people to think that you're representing yourself as something that you're not.

On another note, your hatred of overshoes is, in fact, completely rational. They are never acceptable. Try a pair of Chelsea boots such as those by RM Williams instead.