Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shells...Horween's and Mine

I love suede shoes. I wear them in every mode-season-circumstance and have used two feeble planks for my defense of year round dress and casual suede shodding. Plank one is that good ole houseguest of the world, dethroned idler The Duke of Windsor and the other is Tommy Killian from Bonfire of the Vanities. Told you that the planks were flimsy. Shut up.

I dislike for the most part, black shoes of any type. My exceptions are two…a pair of Belgians that have brown piping and the little sissy bow in brown…the other is a pair of black suede Gucci bit loafers with lug soles and silver snaffle. Oops…there’s a third…Purple Label boiled wool formal slippers. Otherwise, black ain’t beautiful south of my ankles. So all of my black shoes have some appendage, adjustment or tweak that makes them not purely black…ersatz black maybe.
But my real weakness manifests in Shell Cordovan. Unless you’ve scratched the shell with your fingernail and then rubbed  the patina in compensation-watching the scratch kind of morph and heal itself…unless you own a pair…you won’t get the intrigue. It’s in the patina-there’s no other way for me to characterize where the allure manifests.
The Alden Full Strap Cordovan in Color #8. Owning that one pair-that representative pair should be enough for any reasonable man. God knows I’m not reasonable. I would have been fine if the shell options had remained limited. 
Color #8 in Full Strap and Tassel-that's sounds reasonable.
But no, Horween-the sole provider of cordovan shells to the world has seen its way to provide more options. With an MSRP of at least double most cowhide contrivances, this can be an expensive addiction.
Here’s why…shell cordovan comes from one place-the rump of a horse. As a result, one horse provides usually two pairs of shoes at best. Couple that with the tanning-dying-curing process and you’ve got yourself some expensive material for shoes. If you're interested, take the time to watch this Horween clip…
These John Deere green babies are courtesy of a Horween-Yuketen conspiracy and delivered to my attention by a damn cannonball. I had to sell some collectibles to get the dough for the down payment so that they'd agree to make me a pair. 
And then Horween does it again. A lighter version of their Whiskey hue...something they call "Natural". Just a shade lighter...enough so to get me thinking about them. I wonder if I can buy Shell Cordovan futures...maybe a Derivative of some sort or barring those options...a Cordo Default Swap. Until I figure out my Natural options, I'll just wear the evidenced in the many photos below.
My Whiskey A Go-Go's are courtesy of Ralph and his pals across the pond...Crockett and Jones. Slicker than snot on a doorknob.
The a minimalist design. Nice. I'm thinking two toned Cordovan in some combination. This Natural minimalist may not be fuzzy enough for me.
But let's not stop just yet. What about shell cordovan watch straps and wallets?
I'll be pouncing on the NATO strap. Stay tuned you budding students of cordo-patinalia.
Again folks, it's about the patina...the depth of color that only shell cordovan will manifest. Everything else attenuates in comparison.
Speaking of an attenuated shell, I realized yesterday evening in the grocery store that my life sans LFG sometimes approximates one. When I'm with her I'm a man in Alden Full Strap #8. When I'm travelling and speaking to clients the distraction and ego stroke deludes me into Full Strap #8 thinking. Home alone and I become that cowhide Bass Weejun in the picture above...not too bad...made in America...a good old standard but nothing compared to the Alden #8. I mean look at the contents of this shopping basket...I ended up buying a few more things just so I didn't manifest "divorced and alone man with nice shoes" to any greater degree. Don't pity me for a moment...I'm blessed beyond measure-even though I embarrased myself in the grocery store.

Onward. Naturally. With a T.V. Dinner...


PS...Just finished watching The 39 Steps on WETA. I thought, at least for a while, that Public Television might be worthy again.

PSS...Horween makes all the footballs for the NFL. Watch this...


Anonymous said...

I am your colleague in appreciation of this fine American product.

I would love to have a shell cordovan leather sofa. I know; the pieces are not large enough. And, the sofa would cost more than the house.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Swanson Hungry Man TV dinner...really?
Shame on you. I expect far more from a Gent of your discriminating taste.

Toad said...

It appears they will begin slaughtering horses in Missouri in several weeks. That should aid the domestic supply a bit.

JDB said...

I'm a married girl and all. But the sight of your grocery basket (AND the fact that you could make all of my high end driving moc dreams come true) makes me want to come take care of you.

Preppy 101 said...

Actually encouraging to watch that video. I am dying over those green loafers. {I appreciate the clarification on suede. :-)} xoxo

Anonymous said...


Shell is awesome and the Horweens are good peeps. I have a shell watch band on my '40s Breitling and there is nothing better.

heavy tweed jacket said...

Wonderful post. Every time I wear shell it's an A+ day, even if it's not always an especially 'fun' day. Shell is like a security blanket for the feet. Having visited the German deli earlier today, we should have had you over for dinner. You're makin' me feel sorry for you.

Richard said...

I take a lot of criticism for my disgust of black shoes. I also only own three pair of black shoes which includes black suede bit loafers, purple label little horsey shoes, and a pair of Allen Edmonds captoes. It is nice to know, others share my disgust.

Curmudgeon said...

Am I the only one who feels that black shoes aren't made of the same quality leather as brown ones? Even when I look at two pairs of shoes in the same model from the same manufacturer, the black shoes always look as if they've been spray painted.

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - even if you have to eat Hungry Mans and Oreos for the rest of the year it'll be worth it for the green shell cordovans. They're total chick magnets - trust me...

ELS said...

AEF, possibly if you are a mick chick with a thing for the Little People. If yer man turned up to work for me in those green ones, he'd be forced to spend the day in a large emerald hat with a buckle on the front and bright-bog-green trousers.

Oh, come to think of it, I think that's how he dresses in real life..

Lisa said...

You’re still toying with me: ersatz black??? There was one spot in your blog post that the use of ‘ersatz’ would have been appropriate/clarifying. That word placement would have been prior to “T.V. dinner”. Ersatz food if ever there was such a thing. I think they use horsemeat in the things. I’m just sayin.

Laguna Beach Trad said...

I don't understand all the anti-black hatred. I work in an industry where black shoes are the norm. And anything else in the City, is anathema.

I get annoyed at fancy chaps who wear brown shoes to the office here (what, do they think they are too good for black shoes? Ain't dat a bit racialist?), but, again, it all depends on context. I think the pretty boys at StyleForum are partly responsible for the obsession with brown.

Given your Cordo love, we could probably do quite well by buying some Cordo calls.

I too sometimes get that slight hollow feeling when I'm without my bitches, but it quickly passes. It's time to get used to it, as far as I'm concerned.

Forget about the dinner-in-a-box. Learn to cook, man.

Will said...

Dear God, man. Hungry Man???? We need to work on this. There are better frozen meals, if you insist. (actually, the Amy's Organic cheese enchiladas are off the hook, and that comes from a guy born & bred in Tucson)

TWA said...

How do you feed a Hungary Man!

ilovelimegreen said...

ADG- You do need major help (outside of the sartorial realm) when you are buying Hungry Man dinners!
Love those Fair Isle socks...can't wait until the arrival of the green loafers. I'll keep my father's opinions about brown shoes to myself for the time being.

ADG said...

AnonymousColleague...Cracked me up about the sofa. Let’s go in and do a time share on one.
Main Line Sportsman...I’m a redneck from South
Carolina and sometimes my trailer trashness is just gonna out itself.

Toad ...Thanks goodness. For shells and dog food.

JDB ...Thanks. You and your husband could adopt us.

Preppy 101...Don’t die-just have a pair made.

AnonymousWatch Band Man...NATO shell is en route to me.

heavy tweed jacket ...Don’t feel sorry for me…even for a minute. God puts examples in front of me daily to remind me of how comparatively blessed I am.

Richard...I like what I like and black shoes ain’t on my “like-list”

Curmudgeon...They are spray painted.

AnonEngFem...Oreos are chick magnets too. Just ask LFG.

Lisa...Yes I AM toying with you. My goal is to use the word ersatz in every post for the rest of 2010.

LagunaTrad...You are 100% correct…it’s a context issue. If I was in banking/investments/law/clergy I’m sure I’d own a pair of black Alden Full Strap in black cordovan and a pair of black monk straps. However, I consult into an industry that has essentially taken a hygiene holiday. As for the StyleForum Fops…I was a suede only man before those nancies started cocking off about the merits of suede. I’d be all in for some kind of covered cordo call. And I CAN cook.

Will...I rarely do the frozen meal thing-I cook and cook often. Sometimes though-I just HAVE to have that frozen turkey dinner with the fake mashed potatoes, the mucilage gravy and the papier mache turkey. I’m living a white trash dream over here.

TWA...Frozen Turkey…does it for me.

Ilovelimegreengal…there is no help for this widow’s child.

Just Some Guy said...

great post. very informative!

Mal said...


I have issues: You complain about shelling out funds for the CJ White Bucks but are more than willing to sell earthly possessions to purchase the John Deere loafers? You mean you'll get more wear from those than the bucks?

In so far as the Hungrey Man Frozen dinners..guily pleasure, nothing to explain.

Laguna Beach Trad said...

I really do want to hear what the father of 'Ilovelimegreengal' has to say about brown shoes. It'll probably make me feel better about some recent purchases.

Lisa said...

ADG re: These John Deere green babies - living smack dab in the middle of John Deere country, those are clearly ERSATZ John Deere green. The only thing that would redeem them is IF there was also a color option of John Deere yellow. (Take that!!!!)

Scott said...

I'm with Laguna Beach re black shoes. A dark suit requires black shoes. Otherwise a man comes off looking like a Sophomore in college - Not quite fully kitted out yet.

There are those, of course, who can flaunt conventions. Those people are rare, and own John Deere loafers.


ADG said...

ELS...missed your comment there baby....careful now...I actually bought the green shoes!

ADG said...

Scott...I'm sure I've just not been looking in the right places but the Sophomores I see are light years from simply having a shoe deficit characterizing their sartorial gaps.

Lisa..ok, ok...I give.

LuganaTradmon...I'm sure the feedback with be some kind of "no brown in town" philosphy...something you already align with.

Mal...Absolutely. Are you kidding? The John Deere babies will be 24/7/365 Bucks are 90 days at best.


K.S. Anthony said... va voom!

"No help for this widow's child?"

Are you a traveling man, Max?

ADG said...

K.S.A. ... I am-try me.

Patrick said...

I'm with you on suede, I wear 'em year-round.

K.S. Anthony said...

Then I suppose we're brothers of an apron cut from a different cloth.

Will said...

Ahhh...craving for crap food. All good then. I get that myself, once in a while.

ilovelimegreen said...

Laguna Beach Trad - My father is a bit on the legendary side for his grand generalizations....something to the effect of idiots with no style wore brown shoes. For that very reason, I've had very pairs of brown shoes in my lifetime.