I know we keep saying it here at FashionBeans, but it is true (or at least we hope it is), summer IS hiding just around the corner. Let us not forget after all that British summer time actually begins 26th March – although I think you’ll agree this is something of a misnomer (it’s still bloody cold in Brighton). Sadly we will just have to concede that March and April still represent a fairly significant obstacle between our pasty sun deprived bodies and the first morsels of blazing summer sun we all hope and pray for. But let us not dwell hopelessly on this depressing information; we fashionable gents must cast it from our minds and return to work, for I am yet to meet a person with the perfect wardrobe and the perfect wardrobe is what we should all be striving for. So, shun your winter blues and embrace the time we have left to invest in the key items that will become your fashion staple for the coming season.
I think we can all agree that every fashionable man loves shoes. We love them just as much as women; we just don’t have the quite frankly ridiculous level of choice they do. If I had my way I would fill my wardrobe, or at least the floor space, with shoes but that doesn’t mean we can create something like those fancy, rich rappers on MTV cribs with their rows of hideous trainers. Our vast shoe collection must be comprised of timeless, classic and elegant footwear, with perhaps the odd casual trainer squeezed in for good measure.
Summer footwear is perhaps the hardest to decipher. Do you wear sandals or flip flops? Do you wear boat shoes? What about espadrilles? Are there any other altogether more substantial summer alternatives? What style is most suitable for a more formal environment? Summer is the domain of colour, so we must decide whether to make our shoes the statement or blend them seamlessly into our outfits. And of course we all want to avoid the sweaty feet scenario. These things all affect our footwear choices and we should ensure we make the right one.
If you haven’t tried suede you may well be wondering why you should invest. For a start it means I won’t bang on and on about polishing your damn shoes; suede doesn’t need polishing. It does however mean I will bang on and on about using a suitable suede protector on them. Well maintained shoes are a godsend and should last for years. Secondly they are cooler and more comfortable in hot weather; leather is by its very nature a material more suited to the wet, cold and windy months of autumn and winter. Therefore, when the temperature (eventually) starts to rise you will probably find yourself having some heat issues, and suede serves much better as a summer fabric. However, you should still – regardless of material – invest in some secret socks, or shoe liners, as these will protect your shoes from those sweaty paws of yours thereby increasing their longevity and keeping that dreaded pong at bay.
Essential Suede Footwear Accessories:
The third reason you should invest in suede is variation. Nearly every style of shoe imaginable has a suede variant, from boot to plimsoll, trainer to brogue. If you like a particular shoe there will probably be a suede version somewhere. Neither are you limited by colour, the LookBook below will give you some idea of what is available, with bright colours such as purples and blues allowing you to make your shoes the focus of your outfit and more subtle shades suitable for sophisticated seamless class.
To help you along here is my round up of suede shoes.
Investing in a pair of brogues guarantees you a winner every time. After making a big comeback in the last couple of years, these beauties look like they’re here to stay. Having a pair in suede means that you can wear them a pair all year round, just switching material according to season. Huge varieties in colour mean you can also get something really unique to you, a defining factor in any outfit.
Pair them with slim jeans or chinos, crisp white or gingham shirt and soft blazer for a smart yet laid back spring/summer look.
As with brogues, loafers are a timeless classic, their versatility and subtle style means they will be an enduring feature of future trends. Whilst leather version can be used for formal and informal outfits, suede loafers should really remain in the sphere of casual attire.
Perfectly at home with jeans, chinos or shorts, just mix in a polo shirt or plain tee, cardigan, straw trilby and wayfarers for that quintessential chilled out warm weather look. If you wish to add a touch of flare, roll up your trousers to reveal some carefully chosen bright socks or a little ankle flesh, or alternatively turn up your shorts a little for a truly dandy-ish look.
Boat shoes are undeniably something of a fashion behemoth circulating through the current trends; hugely popular, very versatile and suit a number of different looks. You could use them with your chinos or tailored shorts, graphic tees and denim jacket, perhaps throw in a paisley scarf or neckerchief for a great bohemian look. Alternatively switch out your more formal work shoes and pair with trousers and blazer for a more relaxed and dressed down formal outfit.
Perhaps not quite as popular as the other styles but still a great footwear choice with a lot of potential. Better suited to a more formal, classic style with nods to mod heritage, pair with trousers or jeans rolled up to the top of the boot (or a little further to reveal the socks), and wear a checked/oxford shirt or Fred Perry polo done up to the top to add some proper mod class. Remember to utilise your Harrington jacket with your desert suede’s if that is your outwear choice for the season.
Best used in much the same way as brogues with slim/skinny jeans or chinos, but feel free to switch the blazer for a denim jacket, Harrington or leather over a plain or graphic tee.
The outside choice in footwear for most styles in my opinion, but still a very necessary part of every fashionable males wardrobe. Follow Matt Allinson’s advice and invest in high quality simple, clean trainers, as these will be the most versatile and transitional – dressing down smarter looks or making casual looks more functional and comfortable.
Now, this list – as with almost any list – is not a comprehensive one. There are other styles out there, this is just a round up of the main styles, you could of course add Derby styles or other kinds of boots, it is entirely up to you which you choose. Just remember to look after them.
So, what do we think?
I personally have my eye on a pair of brown long wing brogues from Swear and some light tan suede loafers from A.P.C, but what’s on your mind?
Let me know in the comments below.
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