ASK DAN: Used Shoes, A New Look, Beach Style
June 9th, 2015
Buying Used Shoes
Q: Yo, Dan. Longtime reader here since the old Blogspot days. I know some of the posts here have featured pieces scooped up from vintage shops and eBay (thinking of a post in particular from Wes). What’s your position on buying used shoes on eBay? Some people cringe at the thought of wearing other people’s shoes, while others think it’s a good way to score some good shoes at great prices. What should you do when you buy used shoes to make sure they’re as fresh as can be?
A: Whoa, that’s way back man! Thanks for sticking around… So you already know that I love eBay. There was a time when I wasn’t buying menswear unless it involved an online auction. I was on a tight budget, ya see. Then I moved to NYC and discovered vintage and thrift shops. Needless to say, I’ve worn many used shoes. The thing is, well-made shoes are one of the best items to buy pre-owned since they hold their quality and can be almost fully refurbished for a fraction of their original retail cost. It is a great way to get good shoes at great prices. It’s an even better way to get great shoes at good prices (think Alden for $150 over Kenneth Cole for $15). When you’re shopping for used shoes, take a close look at the condition of the soles, especially the toes and heels. If you have to re-sole them, your going to be down another $50 or so (which may be more than you’re paying for them, and that’s okay). A full “tune-up”, or “refurbish”, with a decent cobbler would involve setting a brand new sole (preferably with protective taps), cleaning and polishing the leather, and hooking them up with a fresh pair of laces. You’d be shocked at how great old beat-up shoes can look after a good treatment. If they’re in decent shape and all you’re worried about is foot fungus or stink, than that can most likely be solved with over-the-counter sprays or powders… And if they’re that funky, well than that seller deserves a negative feedback. Cheers mate.
A New Look
Q: Hi Dan. I stumbled upon AoS a week ago and I’m in the process of reading every word of the archives from today to the very beginning. In one word: I’m HOOKED! The thing is, I just don’t have any style right now. I just got out of my teenage-black-rock-bands-tees-with-torn-blue-jeans-and-sneakers phase of life a couple years ago (thanks to my girlfriend who helped me infuse some color in my wardrobe). How can I gradually transition to a more dressy style without standing out too much? People don’t dress up much where I live (especially at my age, 26) even wearing a tucked shirt in jeans is seen as dressy by some…
A: Hey man, welcome to AoS! I’m sure some of our faithful readers can help with this as well, but I think when you start to re-invent your style/look/wardrobe, it’s important that it still feels like you. My advice would be to take it slow and hold on to the elements that make you most comfortable and confident. Take a close look at your current style, or the look that you’re most comfortable in, and think about how you can sharpen it up a little. In your case (a black tee, distressed rocker jeans, and sneakers) I would keep it dark, casual and cool, but just add a couple elements to give the look a little more structure and maturity. It could be as simple as updating the jean to something a little crisper and better fitting, throwing a dark slim-fit oxford over your favorite band tee, and trading the sneaker for an ankle boot. That way you can keep that cool rocker feel, just lean it more toward late-twenties rocker rather than early-twenties rocker. Na mean? Ultimately just invest in smart versatile pieces (this website will help a lot with that) and remember that fit is everything. Now go find yourself a good tailor and a great barber.
Q: I came across AOS a couple months back. Love the articles! I’m going on a trip to Hawaii for ten days at the end of June. I’m a skinny, chicken legs and arms sort of dude so rocking shorts and tees isn’t my preference. I look better in layers, what can I say? That being said, it’s Hawaii. I don’t wanna burn up. Was wondering if you had any tips about how to rock a pair of shorts better or about how to look my best in a tropical environment, without forsaking the occasional jacket or blazer. Thanks!
A: I fee you. I’m not much of a shorts guy either. Not so much chicken, more so just pale. When I’m vacationing near the beach I usually wear unlined linen trousers the whole time, unless I’m sitting out by the water or doing something active. I sometimes even wear them over my swim trunks, which are trim and cropped. I suggest looking for a pure linen trouser in a darker color that won’t show water marks, and have them tailored trim and slightly cropped. On top I’d suggest an open linen shirt (short-sleeved or rolled up) layered over a simple patterned tank top. Finish it off with a straw panama hat, a great pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses, and a simple pair of beach sandals. That’s vacation layering that will keep you cool, protect your skin, and take you from day at the beach to diner at the resort (adding a lightweight jacket at night, optional). As far as swim trunks, I say wear them trim and cropped and embrace your chicken legs with confidence; slim is in and the skinny-legs-oversized-top look has never been cooler. Enjoy Hawaii!
Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a question? Hit us on the AoS Contact Page.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.