Shoe Recrafting

It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes. Hardy Amies* said that. We believe that. Now you know that.

No matter what you’re wearing with them, an English bench-made shoe is what separates the men from the boys. As the name implies, bench-made shoes are hand-tooled on a craftsman’s table or cobblers bench as they undergo up to 250 different operations. A single shoe will pass through an assembly of English artisans with names straight out of a Harry Potter film—the last-maker, the pattern-cutter, the clicker, the closer, the maker, the socker, and the tree-maker—before eventually landing in the inky embrace of the polisher. Have we worn bench-made penny loafers with sweatpants? Absolutely. You could dress like a juvenile in a pair and discerning types would still know you’re a man with his priorities in order.

Expensive Goodyear-Welted shoes can last almost as long as you do if you take care of them. The key is in their ability to be re-crafted. Whether you’re sending off a pair of Alfred Sargents, Church’s, Aldens, Crockett & Joneses, or Allen Edmonds, each cordwainer’s process is similar. Shoes are stretched over their original lasts (to retain shape and appearance), soles are replaced, welting, laces, and heels are replaced, and the uppers are refinished—they essentially look new again, all for about the price of a cheap pair ($125-$200).

We sent off a pair of Fred’s well-worn Allen Edmonds’ tassel loafers to be recrafted ($150, Prestige Package) in Port Washington, Wisconsin. They came back four weeks later looking brand new, yet feeling as familiar as the back of his hand…oh, and they’ll last him at least another 5 years.

*Not some random Englishman with a fancy one-liner. Amies was a fashion designer and dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II. He knew a thing or two about being well-dressed. As if that wasn’t enough, he designed the costumes for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (one of the greatest and most influential films ever made). So not only did he know about being well-dressed on Earth, he knew about being well-dressed in space too, in case Earth wasn’t impressive enough. Ok, enough vouching for Sir Hardy Amies. Ooooohhh—he’s knighted!

Women We ❤️ Taylor Reynolds

Women We ❤️ Taylor Reynolds

Women We Love is a chance for us to sit down with the women in our lives whose style we love, work we admire, and heart we adore. We give them the celebrated Proust Questionnaire—which dates back to 19th-century Parisian salons—and throw in a few of our own. Grab a coffee, something to take notes with, and get to know the women we love as they ponder love, death, and the meaning of life.

Without further ado, Taylor Reynolds...

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Penhaligon’s Sartorial Eau de Toilette

by Joseph Bullmore

A good scent will take you halfway across the world. A truly great scent will take you back in time (just ask Marcel Proust). But Penhaligon’s Sartorial fragrance, a modern brut modeled on a traditional fougère, might just do both. The final destination, in that case, is the cutting room floor of Savile Row’s Norton & Sons around the turn of the 19th Century. Can you smell the wood of the tobacco tinted cabinetry? The whiff of steam-pressed tweed? And then that final drop of honey, like beeswax drawn across the thread?

It’s not an altogether arbitrary terminal, either. Penhaligon’s, the holder of two Royal Warrants, grew up on Jermyn Street, just a needles throw away from Savile Row. As such, its master scent-makers know well the heat and spice of those famous workshops, while its clientele are no strangers to the bespoke experience. So synonymous, in fact, has this marquee scent become with the clubland of St James and Mayfair, that outsiders—stepping into those ancient, paneled chambers—might well find themselves asking aloud the old question: Does Sartorial smell like gentlemen, or do gentlemen smell like Sartorial?

The Moc-Toe Penny Loafer

It is totally impossible to be well-dressed in cheap shoes. YES GOD. Hardy Amies, the English menswear designer and official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II, preached that (he’s dead now, God rest his soul). Around here, it’s as much gospel as Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.

We tend to dress up our sportswear and dress down our formal wear…but usually always with a well-made shoe. Why? Because we’re not 10 years old anymore. We take our shoes very seriously (just not ourselves). The moc-toe penny loafer is one of our essentials.

Originating in the 1930s, somewhat unbelievably, the moc-toe penny loafer was born when the Spaulding company produced shoes styled after those of Norwegian dairy farmers that had appeared in an article in Esquire Magazine. It’s become the closest thing to a shoe suitable for any occasion. Sure, they can feel very Thurston Howell III. We tend to think they’re more Miles Davis. Most importantly, they’re unapologetically American.

Allen Edmonds’ moc-toe penny loafers boast a sleek last with a soft round toe (you’ll love that), an elongated penny tab at the vamp (you want that), and Goodyear welted construction (you need that). They’re handcrafted in Port Washington, Wisconsin via a process consisting of 212 different steps.

[Sidebar] Expensive Goodyear welted shoes can last almost as long as you do if you take care of them. The key is in their ability to be re-crafted (and Allen Edmonds’ most certainly are). Shoes are stretched over their original lasts (to retain shape and appearance), soles are replaced, welting, laces, and heels are replaced, and the uppers are refinished—they essentially look new again, all for about the price of a cheap pair ($125-$200). [End Sidebar]

It’s no secret we like clothes...a lot. But we love taking care of people. And it’s because we love taking care of people that we’re going to get one of you into a pair of Allen Edmonds, on us. That’s right, lucky you. Enter to receive our email newsletter (which you want to be getting anyways) and one of you will be chosen at random on Thursday April 14th. For the rest of you, you can invest in a solid pair right now at a great price during Allen Edmonds’ Anniversary Sale running until April 25, 2016.