21 June 2012

Breaking The Law

It's been a while since we had a post about flagrant disregard for self imposed sartorial law. Last time, I boldly suggested that maybe it was o.k. to wear a button down collar with a double breasted blazer. This time, things are far worse. Brace yourselves.

When you find yourself in a place like this, at 11:00 am, on a Thursday, and it's 100 degrees with 200% humidity...

...it's possible, just possible, that it is acceptable to wear shoes like this. Sit down, take deep breaths, it's o.k., I can explain.

I have no specific problem with Toms. It may annoy me that they are such a ubiquitous mark of abject pseudo-hipsterism, and while I think that the company philosophy is pretty good, I can do without the drum beating, flag waving self righteousness they've managed to build into every purchase.  However, they do look cute on girls. Mrs. G has numerous pairs, and sometimes she buys them for me, unannounced. I wear them around the house, and occasionally, albeit begrudgingly, in public. I cut the tags off, not to fool people into thinking they're not Toms (I'm not fooling anyone) but more to mark myself as the kind of jerk who thinks he's too good for what everyone else is doing (snark).

It helps to remember that these are just a version of espadrilles, a soft canvas shoe from Spain that is in fact a stylish Summer classic. Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, and Gary Cooper are just a few of the monoliths known to have worn them with great aplomb. True, the real version comes from Spain and is characterized by a sole made of jute rope. In preparing to write this post, I was planning to wish you all good luck finding them, then I found these:

Cotton canvas uppers with a jute sole, apparently hand sewn in La Rioja, Spain. $25.95 (plus $9.95 shipping to the US) from espadrillestore.com. Not only the real thing, but half the price of Toms. I just ordered a pair. I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out.

And so long as we're on the topic of hot Summer days and espadrilles and whether it's acceptable for a grown man to wear shorts, let me proffer this:
A certain painter from Spain via Paris taught us all that not only are shorts and espadrilles acceptable for men, under the right circumstances, they can be downright bad-ass. I dare you to find anything in this photo that doesn't make everything you have look totally lame. I can't compete with that, but I can try to be cool in shorts and espadrilles sometimes.

Dammit, it's so hot here right now! (melt)


Zach said...

Dude, wear those espadrilles with shorts and a linen double-breasted blazer and it's Pitti Uomo in Somerville.

Roger v.d. Velde said...

Break out the shorts. It's more than fine to wear shorts and a short-sleeved polo shirt in the searing heat. Picasso did wear short shorts (which to me are preferable) not those almost knee-length things with a gaudy pattern, but there's room for flexibility.

I was in Portugal for a week in May and I got two pairs of espadrilles. They were only €4.99 each.

ms. mindless said...

I actually prefer the Toms to true espadrilles because I find Toms more comfortable. The jute soled espadrilles are SO flat and after walking in them all day, my feet feel terrible. I have issues with Toms for their whole 1 for 1 philosophy, because it is actually not true - it's really 2 for 1, but, they get away with it. 1 for 1 is far better for marketing than being honest and saying 2 for 1. I still wear my gold glitter Toms.

C.L. Young said...

Hey G...espadrilles are cool! Definately rock 'em! You should get an authentic pair instead of only TOMS.

Last summer, I bought some black "Steve Madden" branded espadrilles for my wife and daughter but couldn't find any store (besides stores that sell TOMS) that had real ones. My order is my only option!

TOMS are nice, but I like the real espadrilles that are made in Spain and France! Personally, I like the navy and white striped ones.

I had a pair of white ones for years, that I purchased from the back of GQ magazine back in the late 80's. They get better with age and wear! I can't believe they were only around $12.00 then! How times (and inflation)changes!

Michael Forsyth said...

Rather than settle for cutting off the tags, I believe I'd rather gave myself spayed than wear those shoes!

I think a driving moc or white converse all star will do just fine at any occasion you'd consider wearing espadrilles.

I am sympathetic to your dilema with the clothing "gift" from the spouse, but sometimes a man has to draw the line.

Mike F.

Anonymous said...

Guiseppe, I've been going sockless a lot lately, but even in canvas sneakers my feet often feel a bit sweaty. I think maybe it's the synthetic sole (and extra-sweaty feet?). I wonder, are Tom's more breathable than sneakers? What about espadrilles, with those jute soles?

Kurt N

Philly said...

I am actually wearing my espadrilles from Espadrilles Store right now! The are the perfect summer shoe. Especially when we are having a heat wave in June. You will be very happy with them (and in my opinion they are better made and nicer than Toms anyhow).

Some Assembly Required said...

I cut the tags off my Vans for the same reason.

Anonymous said...

As far as wearing a button down collar with a double breasted blazer, I am sure that Italian fashion icon Gianni Agnelli has done it. He even wore his Brooks Brothers button downs without buttoning the collar! Rule breaking, certainly, but not crazy!

Anonymous said...

I got the blue jeans espadrilles for less than $20 shipped to the USA.


Great quality.

If you buy Toms you are buying the name not the shoe.

Andy N said...

I don't know who that old guy is, but he's got a great collection of Picassos.

fernando said...

its actual name in spanish is "alpargatas", it is a traditional shoe, with a lot of local variants in each region

If you google for "alpargatas" you can find a lot of online shops:






Anonymous said...

Will Boehlke over at A Suitable Wardrobe has some on offer for $45, which includes shipping, I believe.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

A lot of folks dump on Toms, and I partially understand it. I wear them when it's hot or when I am sailing smaller boats, and I like them enough. Sometimes, a light canvas shoe fits the bill, and they are certainly better than those awful fisherman sandals or whatever those horrid things are called. As for button-down collars with DB blazers, there is no issue in actual real life. I'd prefer a guy in that rig versus a guy in shorts and flip-flops at a restaurant in the evening any day.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Toms are gross and guys should never wear them out of the house (in public).....

JimW said...

I have to agree with the previous comment. It's like Seinfeld discussing sweat pants: "You're telling the world, 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'"

Stick with some simple canvas Tretorns (I like those new canvas sneakers from LL Bean, too)

Giuseppe said...

I was playing in the sprinklers with my children on a hot day. Wet feet in a pair of lace up shoes, even canvas, are very uncomfortable. Comfort itself is not the enemy, it's the idea that one can only be comfortable when dressed like a slob that I'm battling here.

Let's not forget that a big part of being well dressed is being dressed for the occasion. Rigid, unbending fuddy0duddy-ism is the oppsite, but equally bad, evil.

gem said...

Talk about cutting tags, my mother says it takes 30 minutes to remove the polo pony that comes emroidered on my dads shirt, and she does to every one. Likes the quality though.

Anonymous said...

A day of playing in the sprinklers with the kids (and most likely wet feet) would call for boat shoes, no?
I can't think of a time it would be proper for a man to wear Toms or any other shoe of that sort, They are very feme to me.
But that's just my opinion

Giuseppe said...

wet feet/leather shoes?

Lighten up, fellas. Don't forget that a relaxed non-chalance in the key to your treasured Ivy look. Or maybe that's just the Italian in me talking.