AW18 Arrivals – The Ecco Crepetray Hybrid Chelsea Boot

Not so long ago I rhapsodised (rather eloquently I might add) about the Ecco ST1's. I called the founder Karl Toosbuy the Patron Saint of shoes after introducing me to footwear that didn't need breaking in at all!  

The life of a fashion blogger is demanding on your time and your feet and when you merge the two you’ll need a pair of comfortable shoes to get you through day. A typical week  would see you traipsing around the streets of London from meetings to press days then photo shoots. In fact yesterday (true story, promise), I was doing a photo shoot with another blogger who was tiptoeing around because her new shoes were rubbing. Of course wearing Ecco shoes, I knew that they were designed to negate the ‘wearing in’ process, so I gave her my socks and I went bare-back for the rest of the day. It sped up the day and gave my ears a rest from the complaining about how much her feet were hurting therefore a massive thank you to the Ecco Crepetray Hybrid Chelsea Boot from both of us!

My feet feel incredibly secure and protected in this Ecco Crepetray. I love its simplicity, it's refinement; its definitely going to get utilised more and more come the colder months. 

Inspired by workwear of the past, this classic Chelsea boot can transition from the office to evening drinks with minimum effort. It's understated with elastic sidings, the high-shine leather uppers and delicate stitching are supple and it moulds to my foot without compromise. 

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Carl tell us what is a Crepetray? 

I know it sounds like something I'd set up for Charlie if he started losing the use of his faculties.

In fact the Crepetray outsole is a revolutionary update on traditional crepe soles that benefits from being a lighter and responding to the shape of the foot, offering a more natural feel. It also doesn’t have any of the complications traditionally associated with the material, such as stickiness in the heat and stiffness in the cold.

I'm lucky in that I'm quite a block size, though I have some friends that fall between stalls. Ecco manage to negate most of those 'betweeners' by including removable insoles that also delivers optimal in-shoe comfort. 

My Ecco ST1's are still going strong so I'm happy to champion the quality of this brand. Initially I thought the price point might be a little high for essentially, a non-marquee brand. Ostensibly, of course, these Ecco Chelsea boots are an investment piece. One that delivers in style, comfort and versatility. 

Expect to see plenty more of this boot in my Instagram feed. 

 

Small Details, Big Differences | Men's Shoes

Shoes After a good shoe shine.

Shoes After a good shoe shine.

No matter how well your suit fits or how many folds there are in your hand-made Neapolitan tie, it will all be in vain if your shoes are dirty. Well-cared for and polished footwear is the simplest way to improve your appearance. Handmade shoes are expensive but their value will be eroded if they are not properly cared for. On the other hand, a well-polished pair of shoes from the High Street will look significantly more expensive. If you value your appearance, you must take care of your shoes.

You need time, patience and the right kit.

Good quality polish is vital and I strongly recommend the products by Saphir. These are significantly more expensive than the usual supermarket brands but you are buying the absolute best and, compared to new shoes, they are a worthy investment. Also, these polishes will last a long time. Even when they appear to dry-out and there is little left, you will still be able to use and get many more shines from it. Never use “hi-shine” sponges….these contain silicon and will ultimately dry your shoes out. You will also need shoe cream, again Saphir produce some good ones but I also like the ones by Meltonian. To apply the polishes, I like an old poly-cotton t-shirt…the older the better. You also need brushes. I do not see the value in expensive brushes and use entry-level versions although some swear by horsehair.

Shoes Before they have been polished.

Shoes Before they have been polished.

To polish your shoes, make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the laces and either put in shoe trees or stuff with old newspaper. Brush vigorously and then apply shoe cream with your rag. Creams come in various colours but you could get by using black and neutral. Once the cream is applied, allow to dry before polishing with your wax polish. It is important that both products are used. You should think of shoe cream as moisturiser and wax polish as make-up.

By applying small amounts of polish with a slightly dampened piece of cloth, you can obtain a mirror shine. Keep applying small amounts of the polish in small anti-clockwise movements and see the shine develop. To “finish” off, you could buff with a selvyt cloth. Selvyt is a specialist polishing textile and is not cheap but will last years. It can also be used to revive the shine between polishing. Do not neglect the heel or welt (where the upper is attached to the sole) and specialist welt brushes are available…but an old toothbrush works just as well. For cleaning heel the and side of the sole, you can buy “edge cream”…or you can use a black marker pen.

If your shoes are scuffed or scratched, they can be repaired by using “mirror gloss” by Saphir (I am not sponsored!). Mirror gloss is a harder wax that when mixed with water creates a hard finish, ideal for filling in small flaws. It can also be used, as the name suggests, to create military-grade shines. Once you get into the habit of polishing shoes, you will start to quite enjoy the process as it can be quite therapeutic and you will also enjoy the admiring glances your shined shoes will attract. But you might want to take it to the next level. You can experiment with brown shoes by using different coloured polishes…I would always suggest using a little black on your brown or burgundy shoes to give them an “antiqued” finish. But to really make an impression with your footwear, you need to seek the services of a “patina artist”. Not to be confused with the bootblacks you sometimes see (although they also offer a valuable service), the patina artist can re-colour your shoes and add all sorts of depth to the leather.

The Jaunty Flaneur on London’s Savile Row is one such service. For a small fee they can give your shoes a military shine or a full re-colour. To try the service, I gave them a pair of old Edward Green brogues I purchased back in 1992. I paid £95 for them back then but to replace them with a similar quality would cost me nearer £950 today! The result was impressive and I have gained a few more years wear out of them. I would highly recommend the service. Tom and PJ are both passionate about shoe-polishing and will happily pass on their knowledge and expertise.  They also stock the right kit to maintain at home. This isn’t a quick service, so be prepared to wait a few days but the results are worth the wait. They will often strip-off old layers of polish, this can be achieved at home but something I would prefer to leave to the professionals.

If you have a special occasion such as a wedding, an artisan-level shine will take your outfit to the next level.

Clergerie launch new AW18 collection for MEN

Clergerie has launched a brand new AW18 Collection for men and in this article I'm going to be giving you a sneak preview and some styling guides. The first men’s collection designed by Creative Director David Tourniaire-Beauciel represents a fresh start for Clergerie. 

 

Who are Clergerie? 

Clergerie is a French show brand founded in 1981 with ateliers dating back to 1895 blending a continuous research in design with outstanding manufacturing techniques and feminine shapes with masculine details. (Sounds like Caitlyn Jenner's Tinder profile). 

Men’s shoes are a natural expansion of the brand, which was founded on the dialogue between masculine and feminine and made in its ateliers once dedicated to men’s shoes in Romans-sur-Isère, in Southern France.

The brand DNA was therefore the starting point for Tourniaire-Beauciel for designing the collection, which includes some cross-over styles with the women’s line.

The highlight of the season is the signature articulated sole, available in stacked leather and an extra light version in micro, on brogues, moccasins and boots, available in calfskin or metallic leather.

 

THE SILVER SHOE

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I've highlighted the ARY Specchio Calfskin Silver Oxford with brogue detailing around the toe cap. I'm loafed to see any Oxford styled with joggers, although I respect my contemporaries for doing so it's not a style choice for me. 

The Oxford is still a formal shoe and should be treated as such. However, the colour, the brogue detailing, lends itself to a more casual look so you can afford to go sockless and style with a cuffed hem. Try and deliver some contrast to the silver with a black jean or chino. These are currently available for £525. 

 

THE PLATFORM

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The Handwoven Raffia is a basket weave derby with an exaggerated elevation. Perfect look for the short guy. 

The platform or elevated heel is a tricky one to pull off as most shoes will try and conceal the fact that it has a prominent heel. Here Clergerie is encouraging you to own your height by drawing attention to these ostentatious shoes. These are currently available for £445. 

 

THE BIKER BOOT

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The Callum Camel vegetable-tanned/black calfskin Biker boot has been produced in the classic style. With supple leather uppers and no gimmicky side zips to break the silhouette. 

It's Goodyear welted with a round toe and if worn will sit perfect with any other leathers or paired with a classic denim look. These are currently available for £645. 

 

The Clergerie’s FW18 men’s collection will be sold worldwide online and through selected retailers.

Introducing Lanx Shoes | Proper Shoes for Men

As far as marketing campaigns go this one from Lanx Shoes is probably the best thought out one I've had in years. A year ago I started getting obscure postcards from all over the world. Sri Lanka, Paris, Italy, all saying the same thing, 'One sole purpose'. At first I thought it might be an ex-girlfriend that was on some personal crusade to mess with my mental wiring, but when Lanx Shoes finally launched their new website, the jigsaw fell into place. 

They are currently running a competition through their Facebook page where you can win a pair of Proper Shoes and 2 x £50 Gift Cards for your friends. 

I was kindly gifted a pair of Dibnah Brown and Whittle Tan Business-Casual shoes and they're proving to be a very versatile shoe. I've had a few meetings, some client dinners and even the odd date. 

What I like most about the brand is that it's highly personalised. We're currently in a climate where every brand and business has to be accessible and customer focused. 

You have direct access to the cobblers, to the sales team and you only have to look at their FAQ page to find out they're having fun with their brand. I particularly liked the 'we no longer use pigeon to exchange your orders'. Might use that one for my site, you don't mind do you boys? 

The founder Marv has a very enviable back story. The colourful pictures on the site and the promotional video also delineate what a wonderful journey this must have been. Marv has covered a lot of ground in his research to make the perfect shoe. From China, to Cambodia and a personal place on the bucket list for me, Vietnam. Purely because I would love to visit Hoi An where I'm told they have over 400 tailors on one street! I've travelled Vietnam about 10 years ago north to south but some how missed Hoi An.

All the best with the business Marv. You have a great product; I hope this is just the beginning of another whirlwind journey for you.