Its Belgians time again y’all. I got a Belgian question over at tumblr that sought clarification regarding which Belgian shoe options are best. Surprise...you’ll get one man’s opinion but let’s not kid ourselves here. My Belgians opinion is the only one that counts. I’ve led others to the Belgian Truth and am pleased to be the Pied Piper of Belgian Pedal Preening for the rest of you.
In addition to the tumblr question, I received this email a week or so ago… “Incredibly, from the date on your note below I find that it has taken me three years, but the week before last I finally acquired a couple of pairs of Belgians. The Mr. Casuals have changed my life. The comfort level is outrageous. And of course because they are a bit flimsy, one needs many different pairs…” Folks, there’s no greater advocate than the newly converted.
When darkening the doors of Belgian Shoes in New York, a man has only one option. Let me repeat this…a man has only one option. One more time…a man has only one option. “But how can this be, oh ADG? If there was only one option, your pontificatory drivelessence would be superfluous. They offer several options and styles for men.” First, shut up. Next, let me say again…you have one choice. The Mr. Casual option should be the only thing considered when buying Belgians from the Mother Church. End of story. Oh, and for you ladies, it's the Midinette only. That rubber wedged soled thang they offer the ladies looks like a corrective shoe.
The full experience involves buying the soft bottomed, effeminately curious shoe and wearing them for a month before having the rubber bottom attached. Period. If you’ve never owned any version of Belgian shoes, this must be your maiden plunge.
Based on your height, weight, gender, net worth, degree of sun damage and implants no larger than an appropriate-to-your-body, size C, I’ll meet you in NYC and shepherd you through the Maiden Belgians Procurement Process. The ADG-MBPP isn’t offered to just anyone. Go ahead. Count your blessings in advance.
Afterwards we’ll head over to Jack and Charlie’s 21 and have some hooch. Based on the degree of and types of cravins you have, we’ll take it from there. We can sip see-throughs and you can try on your Belgians. Then if you behave yourself, we can see about buying you some dainty little see-throughs. Oh lordy what a digression. I’m about to turn a Belgians post into an ADG Noir Gotham Erotica thang. Sorry. Shut up.
“But what about the aesthetically similar hard-soled, sturdier version? Can’t I buy that one and enjoy the look of Belgians with the assurance that they’ll last longer and offer more support?” Are you not hearing me? I oughta use my pimp hand on you right now for even asking the question. Sure, they’ll sell them to you. But what you’ll have is a non-experience. The resultant attenuated, hollowed-out foray into Belgianessence will be for naught. Ersatz. First, you’ll miss entirely the eccentricity of it all. Second, the Belgian Shoes NYC hard-soled version looks just a bit … I don’t know … “off”. So click your heels together three times and repeat after me..."Henri is a no-no...Henri is a no-no...Henri is a no-no.
“Liar ADG…you have a pair of hard soled Belgians…” No. I don’t. And here’s the one and only hard-soled option that I will allow you. If you are going to deviate from the pure Belgian experience, then go where the hybrid…the alternative…is unique and truly not an in-house aberration from Belgian Central NYC. I do not have hard soled Belgians. I have suede shoes from Will over at A Suitable Wardrobe and they are just different enough…just nuanced ever-so-slightly…that they are unequivocally the better option.
Will and Rubinacci in London offer their suede versions in tastier colors and with a slightly different enough morphology to be a welcome adjunct to the twee-bowed core of original Belgians.
Will's interpretation offers incremental fuzziness that counts. The bow is mildly tumescent. Just so. Not chubby...not larger in a "look at my guns" kinda way. Just slightly more present. But hold on a minute. For those of you who think that the almost not noticeably larger bow will make these shoes less faggy looking--forget it. Twee bowed shoddings are and always will be the anti-cowboy boots. Tim Twee Bow. I'm on to something.
I can hear the tisks-tisks already on this one. I also like Will’s Sloop model shoe and I think his 2012 spectator version is a winner. If you behave yourself and axk nicely, Will might sell you a pair.
So for first time Belgianeers, don’t wait as my correspondent did and go three years before jumping in. Buy a pair of Mr. Casuals first. Get the requisite soft soled cred from Belgians Central in Gotham and then get a pair of Willgians from A Suitable Wardrobe.
Oh. And here’s another thing for those of y’all who are dead set on having something “different.” I get it. ADG loves a little strange almost as much as Peter loved the Lord so I understand the need for variance. But when it comes to Belgians, you can probably quench your thirst for variation…your hankerin’ for the different…by purchasing your first three pairs bow tied dubiosities from the Belgians in-stock selection.
Thereafter, you can special order any color, contrast piping and leather combination you desire. Something like the above examples maybe...if you are a woman. Or Issac Mizrahi. Be warned though. One of the many eccentricities about the store is that their special orders take between six weeks and one year. Don’t ask them for a confirmation number or a tracking “anything.” The Belgian Potentate will take your card number but won’t charge you for the shoes till they come in from Belgium and are forwarded to you.
My bow-less Belgians pictured above arrived in record time—about five weeks. A pair of green suede babies rolled in many years ago so long after I ordered them that I’d forgotten I’d done so. And one friend whose Maiden Belgian Procurement I participated in over a year and a half ago has finally given up on ever seeing hers in situ. Ok. That’s enough Belgians tutoriation for now.
Onward. In Belgians. Completely off the see-throughs.
At least one kind. ADG II