Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Windmill Jousting...at the L.L. Bean Blucher Moc

I don’t want to give up on L.L. Bean but I feel like my decision to pull the trigger on a pair of Blucher Mocs was a bit Quixotic.
Windmill jousting at seventy bucks is for me, essentially a low risk endeavour. Besides, it gives me something to complain about. Toad needs a contrarian successor and I might as well step up and shoulder the mantle. The Quixote image above you ask? I'm gonna do a story someday on William Nicholson and his brother-in-law James Pryde, aka The Beggerstaff Brothers. Be patient.
Why do these have to be L.L. Bean Signature? Why can’t these be the only version they offer? What’s with...Signature?
Why do they sell this pair on the regular side of their shop yet the aforementioned are somehow special? Special for the same price...
I wore a pair like these in college. Back when L.L. Bean offered one version...and they were made in the States. Even the Signature ones are now made out of state.
And these seem to possess formidable newness. How in the world can I knock some of the new off of these babies? Beer and pee would be unintentional new-knocking solvents if I still lived in the KA house. I don't drink beer anymore but word on the street is that sometime in the next ten years, I'll pee more frequently. Shut up.
Surely, if I was that concerned with the loss of homegrown quality goods, I could pop the dough for a pair of Maine’s finest hand-sewn mocs from Quoddy. But at a couple hundred dollars a throw…a well-worth throw I’d bet…I’ll simply buy Bean and lament.
L.L. Bean Signature. For me that’s simply code for “L.L. Bean the way it was…L.L. Bean the way it should be…” With my code as context, every Bean shodding shown above is Signature.
Signatory to a better time…a time when the good ole USA didn’t have to borrow forty cents of every dollar spent by the government. Stop me. Stop me now before I begin to sound like a damn Tea Party Maitre’d.  Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. 
Signatory to a time when sequential orders for the iconic L.L. Bean Camp Moc manifested a consistently styled shoe with an identical fit. I’ve had five pairs of these over the last thirty years…in three different sizes…with three different vamps.
So here’s to what’s left of L.L. Bean. Onward…with one foot in 1979 and the other…right here…right now. Present. And jousting.


ADG, II



25 comments:

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

I caint keep up with all them book-readin' reff-rinces, man. Is Donkey Hoady that one 'bout grape pickin' in Califurnya?

Easy and Elegant Life said...

I can't do it. I saw them and I just can't bring myself to order. They look plastic. I wore one pair for four years straight through high school. (Well, to be fair, they alternated with a pair of cordo penny straps and some duck shoes, depending on the weather and occasion.) They were great, fitted like a glove, thanks to the leather. I'm not sure the new ones will do that. Keep me informed as to their progress. Wear 'em in the rain a bit, maybe. Or for two weeks straight.

LPC said...

Signature indeed. Marketing euphemisms abound these days. Maybe they ought to call them Good Old Days. Or When We Ruled The Globe. Gad it's good to have your verbal pyrotechnics back to enliven a morning.

Cecelia said...

Ewwww... They're icky!

I wouldn't have guessed that you'd make a compromise of this caliber.

Well, I don't know, really. Perhaps it's not a compromise of what I had gauged as your level of passion for trad stuff, but a sign of its fervor.

Guess I'll have to ponder that some more...

Anonymous said...

Mixed feelings about that shoe but I will probably pick up a pair. Nicer weather will soon be here and my old bluchers are getting a bit ratty looking.

Best regards,

JRC

tintin said...

I'm guessing the trick to selling you shoes is to put a little bow on 'em.

Patsy said...

The signature pair appears to be pebbled leather - my three pairs are all smooth leather.

Looks like you can't even get non-signature bluchers for ladies anymore. Good thing I have a lifetime supply.

ilovelimegreen said...

I got a pair of the Bluchers in the fall of 1982. My mother said they looked "orthopedic" and couldn't figure out why I was begging for them. I have had many pairs of camp mocs myself and I just love them. Yes, rain is a great way to break them in.

T said...

a) Good Lord, man, you have some tiny feet. What are those, a size 6?
b) the Quoddys are worth the expense, but it is hard to justify spending that kind of loot on what is essentially a casual shoe.
c) if you DO pull to pull the trigger on the Quoddys, I'd definitely go for the lined bluchers. Me? I'm a dumbass: I have a pair of their unlined bluchers which I wear in the fall, and a pair of their lined boat shoes which I break out for spring/summer. Clearly I was high when I placed those orders.

Matt said...

What I like about the Signature bluchers is the old school camp sole, and the oily looking leather. What sucks beyond all recognition is the fact that they do not come in wide widths! WE HATES THAT!.

The standard had a more functional (better shock absorption, much better traction) yet ugly sole (if not soul) and over-sanded flawless leather uppers that look spray painted and fake. But they do have wide widths.

I am at a loss. I have been eyeing the Quoddys, but unlined, but holy crap, that's a lot of money for someone in my income bracket, especially for a casual shoe as T mentioned.

longwing said...

A few less Belgians and you could have had the Quoddys.

tintin said...

Well said, Wing. BTW, Quoddy will resole for 80 or 90 bucks. Bean will not. Happily, I have no idea about Belgians.

Anonymous said...

Other Maine Mades on eBay at and under $100, though not necessarily handsewn. Me, I got a bunch of Bass ones (with darker leather) at their outlet, allegedly made in the US. With that same original blucher sole. I speck I paid under $30 a pair, so you know it wasn't recently...


your pal willie

ADG said...

Anon...those on ebay look funny.

tintang...you so rarely comment on my blog and when you do, wouldn't you know it, you have to play the race card. And stop calling LongWang "wing" It sounds faggy. No bows for you? What's with the avatar high heel shoe. Is that some kind of bauhaus shoe thang? Your pal.

LongWang...I'm buying Belgian futures.Plus, I'm about to pull the trigger on a 560sl

Matt...I know you hates it.

T...damn. You gots a half grand worth of Quoddy.

LimeGreen...good thing it's gonna rain this week. I peed on these five times today and they don't look any different.

Cecelia...shit you don't know me. I'm one big ass compromise.

LPC...slow morning huh?

Eleganto..I wouldn't have either but I was drinking and clicking the other night.

Yankee....Donkey Hoady...freakin' classic man. I'm stealing it.

T said...

Geez. Don't make us break out the calculator to tally up that bevy of Belgians you have in the closet, Dustin. In fact, I think it's high time your readers staged a Belgiantervention. It's painfully obvious that you CAN'T stop any time you want.

Granted, at this point you've probably come up with some sort of trade agreement with your slipper vendor of choice that may or may not involve 3 poodles, a stack of Jacques Brel LPs and a wheelbarrow filled with the finest honeyed Greek yogurt. Regardless of this purported arrangement, you can't convince me that 2 pairs of those elf shoes you fiend so much for cost less than 2 pairs of Quoddys.

longwing said...

A 560sl will not make up for the Belgians.

j.mosby said...

I don't know about you I'm finding it hard to judge the sizing due the width of Bean shoes lately. I have a wide foot when I order the size I ordered 20 years ago the fit is different, they run smaller, so they're tight when wearing socks and loose when not wearing socks in the summer time. I'm guessing with the new dark pebble grain leather I'm not giving it time to stretch?

Upwith Olives said...

Eastland Made in Maine 4-eyelet in navy with red sole - 'nuff said...

ADG said...

Upwith..ok.

j.mosby...I've had three different sizes of the same shoe over the years.

LongThangWang...perhaps not but it will go a fairly long way.

t...Damn man. Don't be hatin'. That's harsh but I can take it. And you are right...it's a matter of where one wants to spend the dough versus if one has the dough to deploy. The yogurt/poodle thang creates bad images.

JMC said...

still looking for the LL bean pull-on boots above....

Upwith Olives said...

I apologize for the brevity of my previous comment. What I meant to convey was that with the love shown to the navy blue weejuns, one may want to check out the Eastland navy blue bluchers, made in Maine from Horween hides...

Ebenezer Howard, Jr. said...

Is there such a thing as an original Don Quixote poster? I think I've only seen fakes--advertised, of course, as original prints--and this has to be the most reproduced unknown poster ever. If you have any books illustrated by Nicholson you want to sell, let me know.

ADG said...

EHoward...you'll never find an original Beggerstaff...or at least not an affordable one. Pryde and Nicholson literally cut and pasted many of the components of the posters and they are fragile as hell. I don't have any nicholson books for sale. I'm still looking for The Book of Blokes but not the standard one...I have that. I'm looking for the rare ones where Nicholson added a hand sketched original caricature to the book.

tintin said...

Maxobsequious- Been slammed. Can't get to nobody's blog. You know how it is, buddy. Love yours though. Did you take a photography class? Your pictures are awesome.

Anonymous said...

To Sir - great post -love the blog... i got a pair of regulation bean bluchers about 3yrs ago. they were "new" as hell when i got them. first thing i did was coat them with SnoSeal in the texas summer sun - then went fishing - (for carp so its not really fishing). anyway they broke in real fast after that and were the most comfy shoe i owned...
so now... i got a gift card to bean and tried the camp mocs. size was weird but bean sent me the next down and its all good. but they are really "new"... so i'll be hitting them up with some mink oil tomorrow morning...or whenever... and they'll work great for the summer and probably last at least 4 years or until they start to stink (nov) and i get sick of them... no socks in TX will do that... i know they are not the "same" as the old ones but the leather is thicker than the blucher and i wore them for about 5 minutes and they're more comfortable than any other shoe i have. so i'm looking forward to the summer...

later, DinTX

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