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Shoe Follies

shoesI really should know better.  It’s not like I’m a child.  I am aware of the Santa situation and I know a deal that sounds too good to be true is.  Yet somehow I cannot really keep myself from falling victim where fashion is concerned.  There are many examples from bad perms to leg warmers.  Some are just financial losses, some also require time to for recovery.  I do wonder if I’ll ever learn.

My latest disaster was the result of joining twitter.  Of course it’s not the fault of twitter, or even the person who passed along the link.  Somehow I found myself reading a NYT article on women’s shoes.  The specific article was from a woman who gave several shoes a test and found heels that could be worn without pain. 

I know, I know, I realize now that this was stupid to believe but alas I really do want to wear cute shoes!  So I found myself buying two pair of heels to match my new pantsuits.  Both were cute, both were expensive and both were a really bad idea. 

Armed with my fantasy, I went to Zappos and stupidly ignored the reviews, jumping in and buying them right away.  Next I hemmed my pants to a longer length than usual and tried the outfit on to great joy and amazement.  Of course, I’m not a complete novice, I wore the shoes to work first to get over the inevitable blisters.  It was during the walk from the parking garage that I knew I was in trouble.  Of course I didn’t stop there, I decided to follow the advice from the review and put in some extra cushion inserts.  That sealed the deal that there was no way I could return them.

Now a few months have gone by and I have yet another thing in my closet that I cannot get rid of (I paid a lot for those cute shoes!) but I’m loathe to wear.  Since I live in the Bay Area my closet is the size of locker and this is a real problem. 

I intend to keep these shoes, and even wear them on occasion when I don’t have to a) walk anywhere or b) wear them too long.  I will keep them as a reminder that my true authentic self has serious back and foot pain issues and has no business wearing heels. 

Any recommendations for cute flats please do send them my way.

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Shoes maketh the man.

DFOF would not dare to discuss women’s shoes. He leaves that to either his co-editor or she who must be obeyed. But on topic of men’s shoes, he is intrepid.

 

It is not often that one reads a post from graphics geek at Adobe on shoe etiquette.  (Thanks James)

But, gosh, Chet’s post is a gem  

In Corporate War-drobe, it’s all about the shoes.

  • The shoes are what your minions see when, awestruck by your power, they look down at the floor as you walk forcefully by.
  • The shoes are the only article of clothing you wear that sounds with each step (apart from the chain mail girdle), announcing to everyone around that You Are Walking.
  • The shoes, when shined appropriately, can reflect your visage enough for you to be able to tell in an after-lunch meeting whether you have any of that chili verde burrito left on your face.

Profoundly sound advice for any person attempting to climb the greasy corporate pole. It is maternal in its wisdom, only funnier. Chet’s whole post is a must peruse, more than that, it is a clarion call.

It has inspired DFOF to do two things.

1. Commit to write more about the importance of the shoe, yes, we have discussed  Converse, the Doc,  and  New Balance, and we briefly touched on the Oxford, but it is high time, dear reader, that we introduce  you to some serious shoe theory. Crockett and Jones, John Lobb (one day, when DFOF is rich), Church’s, Paraboot, Loakes, Oliver Sweeney’s.  For the geek readers out there,a Lobb brogue is like an Apple MacBook Air, only more elegant, and without the design flaws. Oh, and  DFOF requires an Australian guest to write on Australia’s national treasure, R.M.Williams. You have been warned.

2. Pause while he polishes his favourite shoes; a pair of Jeffrey West brogues. They are about 10 years old, and have had 3 sets of new soles and heels. He guesses that they have been worn roughly 1500 times (3x52x10) and have probably walked at least 2000 kilometres.

 

brogue

DFOF has one point of dissent with Chet.

He suggests

Now that you have the shoes in your hands, take them. It’s not good enough to just copy what they wear – you need to wear their exact shoes. The Corporate Warrior’s version of the old saying goes, “You can never be the boss until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” It’s not a metaphor.

DFOF suggests that one’s shoes should be better than the  manager wears. This will ensure that one day, the manager will be reporting to you instead. Forget polishing the résumé, polish one’s shoes.

(photo from the CC of Christian et Cie. merci!)

 

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But I need to tell you about a pair of John Fluevog shoes I bought in New York in November.

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Now, out of our five or six readers, I expect that about 1.4 of you are not aware that I am Canadian. Did you know that John Fluevog is also Canadian? No? Well, then you are stupid. Just kidding. But seriously – do you live under a rock?

Actually, the reason I’m sharing this with you is, as I mentioned, I bought these fair shoes in NYC. Not T-dot, not Van, but south of the border. Which seems odd, doesn’t it? Well, what with taxes, import duties and the phases of the moon, buying even Canadian goods is cheaper in the good old U-S-of-A. So that’s what I did. Sorry, Canadian GDP – you can’t argue with a 30% price difference.

Anyway. I’m also highly aware that if I post too much about shoes, we may attract, how shall I put it? The wrong sorts of people. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but, um, it makes me slightly uncomfortable. So I’m going to imagine now that you are reading this because you appreciate the incredible Fluevog quality, the boho-meets-Les Liasons Dangereux styling, leather-wrapped heel, stamped and antiqued cordova leather and ribbon tie-up (also a big trend that I’m all over).

These babies are also a full 4″ which has taken a little getting used to. I had originally hoped to get them in red…

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(everyone should have a pair of red shoes, period.) but I love, love LOVE the brown I had to settle for. They’ve become everyday for me, though if I don’t concentrate fully while wearing them, I tend to totter a little.

So there you go, Dear Readers – more fascinating insight into my shoes. I know you live for nothing else. Happy holidays!

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Sublime elegance from Xavier of Geneva.  DFOF has met him on a number of occasions, but alas, without a camera.  DFOF stole one on this particular evening in Stockholm, but you will agree it was in a good cause.

Here,  at the end of a very long day, Xavier  immaculate  in an  ‘old’  Corneliani Suit.   Please note the cuff length. He obeys the first rule of suitdom;  make sure it fits.  The starched but unbuttoned cuffs add a deft touch,  finished off with a neatly tied scarf.

He takes the DFOF award for the Most  Sartorially Adept  IT project manager.

And here, the perfect winter boot, in this case from Prada. A blot in the copybook as they could do with a shine, but in Xaiver’s defence, he’d walked through the worst that a late November Stockholm  could throw at him. Also the carpet wasn’t his fault. Note the sock length – no winter shins peeking out here, even though the legs are crossed.

DFOF is attempting to snare him as the French speaking correspondent. 

By the way, Xavier’s project was a great success with ROI galore, but that would be for a different blog. 

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Some of DFOF’s enterprise irregular blogging cohorts recently attended Oracle Open World. As the eagle-eyed Zoli noted, the EI dress code was a small notch up from their usually rather dire threads.

DFOF is rarely to be seen in a blazer or sports jacket himself, but he is pleased to see his fellow EIs at least making an effort. However, it does seem that Josh Greenbaum is having trouble keeping his trousers up. Despite this improving effort from the American EI contingent, Sig remains the king of the blazer.

Charles Phillips is absolutely impeccably dressed. DFOF will need to do more fashion forensics on the Oracle President. Perhaps it is the rather scary combination of background in investment banking and the Marines, but DFOF is mightily impressed. Never a thread out of place. Masterful.

The sports jacket / blazer was obviously in strong demand in San Francisco.

Here Michael Dell. thanks to amorimur’s photostream

If one is going to do the navy blazer and jeans thing, make sure the shoes are sparkling and the shirt crisp. Full points to Mr Dell here. The two tone effect does make his legs look shorter than an suit would.

An interesting choice for a keynote presentation, as it lacks the coolness of the Steve Jobs casual look, but it is not as sharp nor as imposing as a suit.

Larry Ellison, like Steve Jobs, has a look that he has made his own. For years he has worn the turtleneck cashmere with a suit, and it works very very well. It is far more elegant than an open neck shirt. Double Breasted Jackets are rare these days, but Mr Ellison cuts a fine figure in one here. Google tells me that his suits are handmade in Italy, but more info would be appreciated. They fit him precisely. He is not a Larry Laffer.

Photo courtesy of Lou Springer’s flickrstream

Different shades of brown – Larry pulls it off with aplomb.

Returning to the sports jacket- blazer theme…

More brown. This time, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, looking smartly professorial. Tie is super, the blue and red lifting the brown, but DFOF dislikes the button down collar with a tie, it is an evil trend. A two button brown sports jacket is a good wardrobe staple if you are a lecturer in 18th Century English literature. Shoes impeccable. Trousers are almost too long.  (Cote, please comment on the Vaio).

Thanks again Lou springer‘s flickr.

Update: upon reading ZDNET, dfof was shocked to see JS from this angle, not because he was breaking bread with Michael Dell, but those trousers are too long. Way too long.

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Thomas Kurian, yet more brown. Ensemble fuses together rather well. Double cuff shirt is excellent, but the jacket seems the wrong size, too tight on the chest between the two top buttons, yet far too long in the sleeve. High-waisted, pleated trouser. Patterned tie and jacket perfect in an American setting, or on a grouse shoot. Immaculate knot.

Here he is again, this time looking a far smarter in a charcoal suit, bold red tie, white shirt, just a little cuff showing.

Photo thanks Dan Farber.

Again, impeccable knot. A 4 in hand, the simplest, but most elegant tie knot. For a presentation, a well ironed white shirt and plain bold tie is tough to beat. It is the Occam’s razor of business dress. It is timeless. The narrower tie suits him better than the broader tie in his brown ensemble did.

If, dear geek, you only have one formal outfit, make it this one. Only once you own 10 jackets, buy a brown one.

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DFOF is impressed with the humour of Loic’s new hire at Seesmic, Vinvin. His  Bonjour America vlog  is seriously funny.

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Typical french business look, dark blue suit, straight and narrow trouser, narrow suit lapels. White shirt, subdued, relatively narrow tie. Conservative but elegant.

The shirt, though, is too long in the sleeves, and is a little loose around the collar.

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The America meets France and the socks are the ocean comment  is up there with Eric Cantona and the Seagulls.

DFOF wishes Seesmic success and riches.

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This may or may not turn into a series on fundamentals.

ETech 2007 (Wednesday)

From Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

His flickrstream is a prime source for “geek celebrity” fashion successes and blunders. His laughing squid blog is rather good too.

DFOF is a big fan of the Converse Chuck Taylor. He is not totally convinced about the rather lurid colour scheme shown above. Perhaps they signify support for a sports team? Or they were in the deeply discounted section of the shop?  Or are they being worn for a big bet?

Nevertheless the classic Converse All-Star should be part of the geek wardrobe.

A bit of history, enter stage left,  Wikipedia.

Chuck Taylor All-Stars are canvas and rubber shoes produced by Converse. They were first produced in 1917 as the “All-Star”, Converse’s attempt to capture the basketball shoe market. They were not particularly popular until basketball player Chuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was so impressed with the design that he became the shoe’s leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor’s signature on its ankle patch.

Converse now is a subsidiary of Nike, so those that wear them as a protest against the evils of global capitalism etc are well and truly deluding themselves. One can however, buy a pair as part of the excellent and worthy (PRODUCT) RED programme, though DFOF suggests one avoids plastering the RED logo all over the said custom shoe. The aging punks amongst us could, one supposes, get a pair of these.

DFOF is a recent convert and only owns one pair of high tops. He is likely to buy more though, as they are a) comfortable  b) rather cool c)timeless d) design icon e) very cheap.

shoe

 

Serious Fashionistas wear them too, but don’t let this put you off.

BTW. DFOF seeks guest posters to write about jeans. Levi 501’s good or evil? discuss, with photographic evidence.

Author: Thomas

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