Tag Archives: men’s shoes

Chop on the Spot: Dan Brothers Shoes

Now that the holidays have come and gone and the dead-of-winter hibernation period has fully set in, we’re beginning to make subtle preparations to go a-traveling again. One of the most important of those preparations is the acquisition of a new pair of solid-yet-comfortable everyday shoes that can withstand many hours of standing still in comfort.

We settled on these chukka boots from Johnston and Murphy, which feature a crepe rubber sole and sheepskin lining, and which were comfortable the moment we tried them on, and won’t really require any breaking in at all.

These boots were made for... standin' around.

This isn’t a post about shoes though: it’s a post about a shoe store. When we first set out to shoe shopping, we began by going into Benjamin Lovell in Harbor East, and were sorely disappointed. Their stock was so depleted, and the store featured so many empty shelves that in another neighborhood you might think it was a drug front. As the only customer in the shop we were double-teamed by the staff, who after not having our size of the one shoe we sort of liked, made a point of saying “Well, if there’s something else you need we can order it for you.” Really? No shit? There’s a new invention called the internet. We can order shoes from it without you, thanks.

Since we were downtown anyway, and already had one of those little parking meter slips for the dashboard we stopped by Famous Footwear and, well, that’s 3 minutes of our life we’ll never get back. Don’t ever go to Famous Footwear. Unless you want to buy a pair of Sketchers. Then go.

Which brings us to Dan Brothers. Over the years, we’ve been by there dozens of times, but never really been drawn in. (There’s not much in the way of window displays.) We’ve even been to their website, which is not a particularly good website, and could use a redesign.

The store itself though is outstanding. The large inventory is beautifully displayed and runs the full range from smart-casual to business to formal, even including exotic skins and boots, and a clearance section with shoes you might actually want to wear. Dan Bros is about as old-school Baltimore as you can get, and the friendly, local staff gives the place more the feel of a neighborhood barbershop than a shoe store.

In 70 years they claim to have sold shoes to everyone from William Donald Schaefer to Muhammad Ali, and we can see why. If you want to be the sort of bastard that walks in someplace, orders a good Scotch, puts your feet up on the table and hears someone ask “Whoa, where’d you get those shoes?” Then you’d do well to swing by Dan Bros. It took some self-control for us to walk out of there with only one pair, and we’re certain our first visit will be the first of many.

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Chop Style: Socks Are Not Optional

This image came from The Sartorialist, and it’s the perfect illustration of some of the shite that flies in NYC and Boston (and hell, maybe Atlanta, we don’t know) but will never, ever, ever be acceptable in Baltimore. It’s also one of the many reasons why we stopped paying attention to the Sartorialist a long time ago.

If you're wondering whether you can pull this off in Baltimore, you can't.

To reiterate: this look is dumb, Baltimore. Don’t do it. Don’t do it this summer or any summer. It doesn’t matter how nice the shoes are. It doesn’t matter how nice your feet are. It doesn’t even matter if you’re only running out to Whole Foods for a minute for whole grain donuts and the Sunday Sun. You must wear socks!

This doesn’t work on the Canton Square. It doesn’t work in Mount Washington Village. It doesn’t work in Locust Point, and it doesn’t even work on Light Street.

But if for some strange reason you simply must go around without socks, you’d do well to do it in something like these.

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Chop Style: Summer Shoes Do’s and Don’ts

Time to get serious Baltimore… serious about summer. The snow is a distant memory, the random rain showers are just about over, and daylight is stretching ever longer. Those trusty old Doc Marten boots you’ve been stinking up all winter aren’t going to cut it anymore. You need to get yourself up to Van Dyke and Bacon or down to Benjamin Lovell or someplace and get your feet right.

Lucky for you, the Chop is here to tell you how to get your feet right. Seeking style advice from GQ, Esquire or the internet at-large is a good start, but these sources are full of effete New Yorkers, Miami Beach wannabe’s, and of course, shoe advertisements, which are not quite the same as advice. In Chop Style, we’ll be telling you from time to time how to dress for Baltimore City since that’s where you live.

So without further ado, the Chop is glad to give you summer shoe choices that will take you from Canton to Hampden in style. (All images and prices are from Zappos.com and all pictures link to purchase page.)

Do’s:

Casual Loafers: Loafers like these Suds by Ted Baker ($135) are a great choice. These were made for pairing with chinos but can go with jeans as well, and they’ll show up without showing off.

Bucks: It’s a shame you don’t see more of these in town, since they’re a classic and they embody the property that all Baltimoreans demand from their clothes… they look better with age. These Kearneys ($89.95) from Florsheim will hold up well. True, Florsheim isn’t the most modern of brands, but they’ve been trying to resurrect their image by bringing Duckie Brown on board. The Kearneys are much the same as the Duckie lace-ups, but with a more classic sole and at fraction of the price.

Desert Boots: We proclaim 2010 the year of the desert boot. It’s hard to go wrong with Clarks ($95), who invented the desert boot, but most any brand will foot the bill. The sand suede pictured above is a little conservative, since one of the best things about desert boots is that they look flash as hell in any color of the rainbow.

Classic Sneakers: We know some of you out there are sneaker freaks. That’s all well and good, but we’re just not big on them. They are handy to have around though, especially during the summer. We say keep it classic, but maybe give the Converse a rest this year, huh? For us these Tretorn T-56’s will do the job, and we strongly recommend buying sneakers in dark colors, since white always goes dingy way too quickly. The best part about these? On sale for $44 (from a mere $55 original sticker).

Don’ts:

Running shoes: Compare these to the T-56’s above and you can easily see that all athletic shoes are not created equal. These are great shoes for running (we suppose) but you can go ahead and leave them in your gym locker, because they just look out of place in a social setting. (New balance MR760, $99.95)

Sandals: These Kenneth Coles ($78) are actually pretty nice sandals. Problem is, you can really only get away with sandals at the water’s edge. Poolside is okay, an open fire hydrant on Montford Avenue is not. Down the ocean is okay, the inner harbor is not. You also have to be very careful about what pants you pair sandals with, since the Chop does not approve of short-pants on grown-ass men.

Clogs: Just don’t. We don’t care if your girlfriend bought you these UGG Heralds ($120) for your birthday. We don’t care if they kind of sort of look like real shoes. Just don’t wear them, because when you do, you make all men everywhere look like schlubs.

Sanuks: Yep. We saved the worst for last. Your shoes say a lot about you, and these things say “Hey Brah, let’s drive the jeep up Gunpowder, put on a Badfish record and get fuuucked uuup. We can always find a job tomorrow, right?” From the quasi-gator green color to the flat foamy soles to the shoddy construction to the Name “Kerouac” ($54.95), these things look like they came straight out of a communal factory run by retarded hippies. The overall effect is similar to the clogs, but they only make you look like a shart, not all mankind.

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