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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Black Tie Patent Leather Shoes - What Is The Right Shoe To Purchase

For years now I have only ever worn slipper styled shoes for formal evening wear. Slippers have a wide and varied ambit as to what constitutes a slipper. By my reckoning it is a shoe that has no laces and a small and less pronounced heel. Slippers can come in a variety of forms, from 'at home' velvet slippers, which have become very fashionable in recent years, then there are regular leather slippers which are also called loafers but effectively they are of a similar format to a slipper, and finally you have evening wear slippers, which are effectively patent leather loafers, but at other times they can be referred to as pumps. 

Of course this is just my opinion - there will be shoe specialists that will tell you that I don't know what I am talking about - but across the internet and from my interviewing shoe makers I will say there is a fair bit of ambiguity in terminology. For example, an Italian loafer for evening wear is usually constructed in the blake-rapid methodology whereby the sole is attached directly to the upper with no Goodyear welting. These are made more like 'at home' English slippers but for Italians they edge more towards loafers. Some, especially the English, consider this an under-constructed shoe, but the results can be very sleek and in fact my staple evening wear shoes for the last decade have been blake-rapid evening patent slippers by YSL.

But over time I have wanted to replace these slippers because they were getting old and my style had evolved. I used to love a more pointed shoe for evening wear but as my style changed I had wanted a more rounded and classic toe box. I also wanted what I considered a more robust English construction.

In my search for shoes in Sydney's CBD I found that there were few companies that offered luxury patent leather shoes for evening wear and still fewer that offered that kind of Northampton English construction that was famed by makers such as Foster & Son, Gaziano & Girling, Edward Green and George Cleverley. Although I am sure that you could find them at Double Monk in Sydney's Strand Arcade, it's not often that they hold a deep amount of stock because the price of such shoes is prohibitive and because they often offer bespoke and made to measure services for such shoes.

Recently I settled on my evening footwear. Gaziano & Girling make wonderful evening shoes and whilst my preference would have been to get them to make a custom made pair of their Sinatra model shoes for me, I was not in the least bit worried about compromising with their Forsyth model of shoe. Sleek but classically elegant, the top line and quarter of the shoe are edged with grosgrain whilst the throat is met with only two eyelets on the quarter. And whilst my favourite toe box in the world remains George Cleverley, I am actually quite glad that these shoes are less bulbous on the toe box and relatively understated (they are still patent leather shoes).

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