Brogues for Broads

October 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Photo courtesy of F.E. Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep

As a lover of undeniably feminine clothing and accessories, I am just as much an admirer of unisex staples. I’ve yet to meet a button down I didn’t wear threadbare. The same holds true for shoes. I adore a curvaceous heel or bow-laden ballet flat, but have a sweet disposition for traditional men’s shoes: oxfords, bucks and Weejuns—a preference likely nurtured during my private school years. With the resurgence of menswear for women over the past several seasons, designers have re-imagined mens’ classics for the fairer sex in tailored, slim versions. I’ve recently stepped into this gorgeous pair of Ralph Lauren Collection Quinton Oxford, made in Italy. They will break in nicely and only get better with age while anchoring my wardrobe’s most feminine ruffles and florals. (I’m a sucker for the juxtaposition of feminine clothing and masculine details) My first pair of oxfords since prep school, and paired with them, my first set of cedar shoe trees (monogrammed, of course). A handcrafted, sartorial investment I fully intend on handing down someday. Of all the shoes I own—and you know there are numerous—only a select few cause me to truly swoon. This is one such pair.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Fall 2010

Circumstances: There was a large gap between desire and actually owning these shoes. A multitude of brands took a stab at the oxford in one iteration or another. I scouted several different options, purchased a few, returned them (you can read that full store here). The Ralph Lauren Collection Quinton Oxford appeared in my Twitter feed, mentioned by a gent actually. One click and I was smitten. The wingtip detail was perfect, as was the burnished cognac brown. The price, however, was not. I pursued less expensive pairs, occasionally sending photos to my friend F.E. Castleberry who continually preached holding out for the best quality pair possible. I hold that same belief, but I also explore all my options. I hunted the pair down at a local Ralph Lauren and slipped them on. As predicted, one foot in and I knew there was no going back. The difference in quality was obvious. Eventually, they were ordered and on the way, as was a set of monogrammed shoe trees. Purchase the best quality you can, and then take the best care possible. I plan on handing these down one day.

Compliment Meter: 4. Lots of attention, mostly curiosity from the boys, compliments from the girls. Quote of the day (from my boss), “You’re looking very Annie Hall today.” Shoe confidence level: High.

Comfort: As is normal, the leather is a bit stiff on first wear. Over time they will wear in nicely and are still very comfortable. Overall: 9 out of 10.

Worn with: Navy and cream shirt dress, brown leather belt, pearls, Randolph Engineering aviators, vintage Coach bag.

Thoughts: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” ~Coco Chanel


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