womens black timberland boots A boat shoe for all seasons
For most of us, the boat shoe has summer connotations, and not necessarily good ones. Conservative types with jumpers in lemon or mint green, thrown over their shoulders with the cuffs tucked in to one another, paired with some ‘dad jeans’ or chinos for good measure.
The new breed will have you eschewing the stereotype for colourful leather with white laces and contrast eyelets. They need not be clown shoes, just a nod to a trend that happily bridges the cutting edge with the conservative. There room for all with a classic like this.
As I wrote this piece, I was thinking of the ways the boat shoe and moccasin could be worn in summer. The low cut style is perfect for dressing up casual summer clothes. But what good is it with winter approaching?
Then I came across these very cool Blucher versions, which I could definitely see working with a pair of bright red woollen socks and a navy wool suit. Or maybe some dark khaki trousers or cuffed woollen tweed, the kind Ralph Lauren romances in his campaigns. Be careful though, too much reference and you guy with the cuffed sweater around your neck. Let that guy be that guy and you focus on slim shirts of check flannel and a tongue in cheek approach to preppy dressing.
The boys at Incu know this look extremely well, pairing Band of Outsiders gear with their Vanishing Elephant shoes. Or try the Swedes, because Euro preppy is 10 times the cool of Long Island. Acne trousers in navy or overdyed denim with turn ups, some block coloured socks and a deep neck t shirt with a blazer should compliment your new boat shoes well.
Quoddy is located on the 45th parallel in Maine, which is very north eastern USA. Its climate would argue the point for year round wear and let not forget that it is a shoe in the old school, worker sense of the word.
Think about the men from Maine and their need for safety and things that work in extreme conditions. Born of necessity, the brightly coloured, sturdy and hard wearing gear had to be highly visible and survive in whatever the seasons could throw at them.
How about a lighthouse keeper knit, like that of SNS Herning or something from APC, thrown together with some dark denim? This is absolutely simple, but completely contemporary dressing. A cotton gab coat from Mackintosh or a Paddington Bear style raincoat is the perfect addition. Finish it off with a Dr Who style scarf, now that you thinking about it.
Just remember to leave your tongue firmly in cheek. It looks better that way.
Thongs are useful, but don’t belong far from the beach, let alone in a bar or restaurant! The stand in is the boat or canvas shoe, sockless of course.
On a side note, the overriding feeling I have in Melbourne (let alone out of melbourne) is that girls will dress appropriate for the occasion, whereas most guys will rarely put any effort in unless for a wedding.
This disappoints me because taking pride in the way you look should not be seen as a crime (regardless of what Exodus says!!!). Suede boat boot for the win!
Don’t forget there’s an unwritten law to this and its hard to articulate. You can’t just walk in to your average shoe store and grab a pair of brogues or in this case boat shoes and voila, problem solved. This is largely age irrelevant and more an attitude thing. Not all jeans are the same, nor are khakis/chinos. Avoid the stereotypical beige and go a darker, slim at the top, no pleats. You don’t have to roll the cuffs up like the kids are doing but worn like jeans, this is still very suitable for a (near) 40 year old.
So for shoes, the same idea applies. Docs are ok, but they might seem a little clunky. Take a look at the styling of Opening Ceremony, Band of Outsiders, APC even Paul Smith or Junya Watanabe to see what I mean. I don’t want to drown it in designer over styling, but these guys keep the idea fresh and is enough to suggest what I mean.
APC’s Derbys might be a good idea. Take a look at them
I’ve been wearing boat shoes since Prep school. I am now 35 and still wear them. For me, they are not a fashion trend. They are not “so last year” or “2005”, they are a classic, like jeans or flannel. The fact that they have been adopted by the “Preppy” set was simply a function of geography, with most of the Ivy League colleges in the United States AND most of the boat shoe manufacturers being located in New England, ergo a geographical union of supply and demand. From there, it just propagated. And because it’s a classic for us, we have boat shoes that are for summer, winter and everything in between, lo cut, high cut, cup sole, waterproof, etc. For the poster who ignorantly surmised that they are associated with wealth, you won’t find a $600 Gucci cashing in on the trend version on anyone from Augusta to Boston, what you will find are $60 80 dollar pairs from Sperry, Sebago or Dexter. But I can certainly find lots of the former walking down Martin Place or Pitt Street. I even saw a pair with squarish toes, one of the most idiotic shapes you can wear on a boat (yes, we actually do wear them on boats).
I couldn’t disagree more with your readers who comment that boat shoes are ‘posey’ or (heaven help us!) a ‘bit last year’. Fashion classics are timeless for a reason, and the deck shoe is definitely one of those.
Do I detect a hint of inverted snobbery in the comments about wealth, private schools etc? Let’s not forget boat shoes are designed for practical outdoor pursuits. And nothing broadcasts a lack of self confidence more clearly than the need to dress like everyone else and frankly the t shirt, shorts, flip flops uniform beloved of so many twenty something American men leaves minimal room for self expression.
While you lot ‘down under’ are heading into winter,
here in the US we’re just emerging from it. And as we creep out of our recession inspired winter wear, it would be great to hope that this summer will see men’s footwear fashion taking a giant leap forward. Boat shoes get my vote any day.