Tag Archives: Shoes

Chop Style: The 10 Second Shoeshine

Maybe you’re the type that doesn’t dress up a lot. Perhaps you’re a lot more comfortable in a pair of Adidas or Converse than brogues or boots. Style is a matter of taste and lifestyle, and at the end of the day it’s to each his own.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and for a lot of you it will represent one of the two or three times you’ll see the inside of a church this year. Or you may just be getting together with family. Or your girlfriend’s family. For most people, whatever they’re doing, Easter is a prime day for wearing the best pair of shoes you own.

Now go home and get your fucking shinebox.

There’s no substitute for a proper shoeshine, but if you’re the sort who usually takes to shoes that don’t need polishing and has only one pair of dress shoes buried way back in the bottom of the closet and reserved for weddings and funerals, you may be caught out tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning when you wake up all hungover and reluctant and pull out your sad sack of a suit and try to remember how to tie a four in hand, you may then notice that your dress shoes have a nice patina of dust, cigarette ashes and beer foam stains, and you’ve got to be out the door in 10 minutes because you hit that snooze button too hard. Even if you had the time to give your shoes a proper shine, you don’t have brushes, cloth or polish, because after all, who the hell keeps that on hand all the time?

Fear not, slovenly friend. The Chop has you covered.

    The 10 Second Shoe Shine

  • Gather 4 paper towels and a can of furniture polish.
  • Spray one towel liberally with furniture polish and coat your shoe leather evenly.
  • Buff it lightly with a dry towel.
  • Repeat both steps on the other shoe.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Your shoes aren’t going to pass Marine Corps muster, but they’re going to look a sight better than they did 10 seconds ago, and probably even be presentable. Furniture polish is all wax based, as is shoe polish, so there’s no need to worry about harming your shoes. If they’re in a very sorry state with quite a bit of dust and dirt present, you’d also do well to wipe them down first with one end of a slightly damp cloth or towel and dry them with the other side.

It may not be ideal, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and more sensible way to clean your shoes than wasting perfectly good Champagne on them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chop Style

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Chop on the Spot

Chop Style: Best Boots Under $200

After a few fits and starts, it’s about to turn genuinely cold and gray here in Baltimore. Leaves are falling, rain is falling, and soon enough there may even be snow falling. Add that to the year-round hazards that pedestrians encounter on Charm City’s streets (glass, chicken bones, strip club flyers), and it’s clear that your stylish summer shoes just aren’t going to cut it anymore.

You need a pair of boots, Baltimore. But maybe you’re afraid to pull the trigger? You want something you could shovel a few inches of snow in, if it came to that, but they’ve also got to serve for everyday wear. Hell, you might even want to throw them on under a suit for the odd holiday party that’s bound to pop up. Clearly, not just any boots will do.

And you probably don’t want to spend a fortune either. Don’t worry, the Chop’s got you covered. We’ve scoured the net and narrowed it down to half a dozen solid choices, all of which are high on style, suited for winter wear, and at or below $200. It’s hard to go wrong with a basic black Chelsea boot, but when you want to step it up a bit, you might consider one of the following options:

Fratelli 8012. $99 at Zappos.com

Fratelli 8012

We’ve got kind of a love/hate relationship with zappos. You’ve got to look through a lot of crap to find anything that looks good, but once you do, it looks like this. These Fratelli’s are unconventional in a lot of ways. They’ve got buckles, which we’re not usually a fan of, they’re cut low on the ankle for what they are, and they’re blue (but available in 3 other colors). Somehow they pull it all together though. They may not be the ideal choice for everyday wear, but they’re definitely going to stand out. $99 at Zappos.com

Mataalii Wingtip boots: $150 at Aldo.


Mataalii wingtips

Wingtip boots are having a moment right now, and we’re all for it. Make sure you’ve got the stones to pull these off though, because they’ll be in your closet for years to come. Don’t worry about it; they’re definitely going to wear well with age, and after your first winter in them they’re going to look a lot less dandy and a lot more pedigreed, which is as it should be. $150 at Aldo

The Denver Boot: $160 at Banana Republic

The Denver Boot

We’ve got a soft spot for Banana Republic, and when they offer things like these boots, it’s not hard to see why. Their Denver boot is tough enough for most anything, and genteel enough for a garden party. Swap out cleats for the uppermost eyelets and hide a zipper inside the ankle, and they’ll even kick off easily if you happen to be lucky enough to escort someone home from said garden party. Now that’s good design. $160 at Banana Republic

Brinley cap toed boots. $185 at Johnston and Murphy.

Brinley cap toed boot

Perhaps you like the wingtip boots above but you’re not ready to commit to the style? A cap toed boot provides a nice middle ground. It’s every bit as classic, but not quite as ostentatious. Once you’ve outgrown your floppy old chukka boots, you may be ready for their grown up alternative. These particular boots are also refurbishable, which few shoes are nowadays (and even fewer under $200) So if you like them, you can literally keep them forever. $185 at Johnston and Murphy

Frye's Arkansas mid-lace boot. $198 at Macy's

Frye’s Arkansas mid-lace boots

If you’re planning to actually work in these boots (whether in the backyard or at an actual job), Then Frye’s got the boot for you. An American company with all the heritage and quality of a Red Wing or Carhartt, Frye’s Arkansas boots are a pretty rare find: a genuine, bona fide work boot that actually looks good enough to wear out on the town. They’re even made right here in the good old US of A. $198 at Macy’s.

Bed Stu 'Post' boots. $200 at Nordstrom.

Bed Stu ‘Post’ Boots

If Frye is something of a throwback, then perhaps Bed Stu is what we can get used to in the 21st century. A lot of talk about humble roots and honest work and good design and quality materials, from a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters who design in some charming old salvaged warehouse building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but send those designs overseas to be produced and shipped back. Pair them up with an established national high end retailer who wants to foster something of an ‘artisan’ or ’boutique’ feel, and you’ve got fashion’s dominant business model moving forward. This may or may not be an overly jaded view, so we’ll put it aside and look at the boots themselves.

Yeah. Those are pretty fucking nice boots. $200 at Nordstrom’s

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

There are no fashion or style categories in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies Contest, so you’re just going to have to vote for the Chop in those categories where we are nominated, namely Music/Nightlife, Personal, and Misfits. We’ve been holding our own thus far, but we’re going to need a hand if we want to crack one of those top spots. Head over there and vote now. We’d be much obliged.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chop Style

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.

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Chop Style

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.

Share

1 Comment

Filed under Chop Style