ASK DAN: Commuter Shoes, Comparing Brands, Menswear Books
May 14th, 2015
Shoes for Biking to Work
Q: I regularly take my bicycle to work which I very much enjoy. However, I’m a bit puzzled of what type of shoes to wear. I don’t like using dress shoes as I think the heels makes it uncomfortable on the pedals. Sneakers are more comfortable but doesn’t always feel appropriate when I want to wear a smart outfit with a sport coat for example. Do you have any recommendations for shoes to wear when biking that are both good on the pedal and somewhat stylish?
A: Hmm. Do you carry a bag with you to work? Perhaps you can fit your dress shoes in it and change out of your sneakers when you arrive to the office? Or perhaps you can consider leaving a versatile pair of dress shoes (dark chocolate wingtips or loafers) at the office, and you can do the work shoes/commuter shoes thing. If changing shoes is not an option, I would suggest looking for dress shoes with rubber soles as opposed to leather – they will grip the pedals much better and perform more like sneakers when you’re up and down weaving through traffic. Ride safe my man.
Comparing New Brands
Q: Dan, with so many new affordable brands starting on platforms like Kickstarter, it seems to be harder and harder to decide where to spend my money. My question is; how do you compare quality from brands you’ve never seen before? For example, I’m looking to take the next step up from my Levis 511s (though they’ve served me well). After some online research regarding affordable selvedge denim, I’m caught between Gustin and Brave Star… Thoughts?
A: Great question. Firstly, I would avoid jumping on the bandwagon of all these crowd-funded first-time menswear producers. Entrepreneurs mitigating their risk by not properly testing their capacity (or even manufacturing a full size run of sample products) makes me wonder if they’re out to deliver lasting menswear, or just looking for a low-risk cash grab. But that’s a story I’ll cover more in-depth in another article. As far as comparing new brands, in my opinion it’s all about attention to detail. Take a close look at everything the brand is putting out there. What does their website look like? The branding? The font? Do they style their products on models? Do they look good? Do they fit the models well? Where do they produce? Are they transparent about fabric sourcing? What’s their return policy and customer service like? Etc… We get countless emails from new brands and I usually make a decision within five seconds of visiting their website as to whether or not they have the taste level and attention to detail needed to earn my money and deliver me a product that will be a go-to in my wardrobe. Good luck out there friend.
Q: Hi Dan. I just redesigned my condo and I’m looking for a couple coffee table books that are menswear related. Maybe one that’s a little more classic and technical, and one that’s a little more photo-based and cool to look at? Thanks!
A: Smooth move. I like the idea of something text based with a little more info along with something picture focus and a little more splashy. It could be interesting to see which one your guests reach for… For the former, I recommend Alan Flusser’s Dressing the Man – it’s one of the foundational texts that outlines the rules of classic menswear. For something a little more visual and artsy, I just picked up Fashion Illustrations by Richard Kilroy and the art and talent on display within those pages is truly amazing. Enjoy that new bachelor pad and keep stylin on ’em!
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Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,