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Saturday, September 29, 2012



According to the dictionary, footings are the foundations on which things are established or built, but I think this definition applies to things beyond architectural structures.  For me, this applies to dressing as well and there are certain elements of an outfit that are foundational.  It’s the smallest details that can make or break an outfit, and those same details that can give it a spark of life. 

Over the years I’ve learned that one of the best ways to add a spark of life to any outfit is to choose the right pair of socks.  Socks are wonderful.  They can add that sudden surprise of color that will make an outfit “pop” and make people take notice.  They also help to tie the whole look together.

Fortunately, men are no longer saddled with only tired, boring colors like black, brown, navy and grey.  Don’t get me wrong, those colors definitely have their place, but there is a much wider pallet of colors for men to choose from nowadays, which makes it much easier to pull together outfits that are fresh and smart.

Years ago, fresh out of college, I discovered crew socks from Ralph Lauren Polo.  I immediately fell in love with all of the colors and how I could use them to create looks that were crisp and finished, and in my opinion, awesome.  That love of these socks has continued over the years and as new colors are introduced they often find their way into my wardrobe.  At this time of year those colors reflect the beautiful hues all around me in nature.

Pictured above are some of my favorite Ralph Lauren Polo socks in wonderful fall solid colors.  From left to right we have denim, rust, eggplant, olive, and red.  All of these shades give a warm and rich accent to all of my outfits.  They are versatile, and lend themselves perfectly for any occasion, from casual to a bit dressier.  They work equally well with jeans, chinos or dress pants while adding a refreshing touch of color.  Pair them with a matching or coordinating sweater, shirt, or tie and the look is complete.

This time of year is ablaze with color so why not let that be your cue when dressing.  By adding socks in a variety of fall colors you’ll definitely establish great looks and be on solid footings for the whole season.

Monday, September 24, 2012



The one shoe that represents fall to me has always been the classic “dirty buck”  - that country cousin of the refined and epic “white buck.”  Its wonderful shade of tan gives me a sense of warmth as I make the transition into the cooler months, and its traditional suede body is both comforting and familiar.  This shoe gives me that sense of “home” as I rustle through the fallen leaves amidst the bright colors of the trees.  Yes, for me, this is the classic fall shoe.

I really do like fall.  The fresh crispness in the air, the opportunity to layer on a warm sweater, and of course, the beautiful colors that appear all around me in nature.  Most of my friends will tell you that I’m all about color, so when those wonderful, rich fall colors are teamed up with that classic suede icon I’m in my element!

Nowadays, suede shoes are no longer limited to the traditional white and tan colors, and we have a virtual artist’s pallet to choose from, including suede shoes in the wonder hues of fall.  With that in mind I thought I would feature a few from my own collection.

The first, pictured here on the left, is the classic “dirty buck” that I have come to love over the years.  This one is from G.H. Bass and is a constant in my wardrobe.  A variation of the “dirty buck” can be seen on the right in a saddle format (also from Bass).  I have rediscovered a love for saddle shoes and have several in a wide variety of colors (they allow me to add my own personal sense of flair, color and fun to any outfit).  The one pictured here is more traditional. 

The shoes in the middle are from Calvin Klein in a wonderful mustard yellow color.  Originally these shoes came with white laces that I have traded out for sage green laces for fall.  One of the easiest ways to extend your shoes and look is to simply trade out the laces.  It gives the shoes a fresh look and makes them more adaptable from season to season or from event to event.  I also have this same pair of shoes in red (they came with white laces too) but didn’t picture them here because I haven’t had a chance to trade out the laces – perhaps in a future post.

Other variations on the traditional “dirty buck” can be seen above.  I try to make sure people “don’t step on my blue suede shoes” when I wear the pair on the right (from Bass), and so far no one has.  In the middle, is the same shoe (from Bass) in a rich shade of orange/rust that is perfect for fall.  These shoes, like the blue ones, came with laces that matched, but I traded out the rust colored laces for the green laces and they look great.  The color combination just pops! 

The last pair, on the right, is probably one of my favorite pairs of shoes.  The Sperry Topsider’s suede boat oxford wingtips in an awesome shade of olive/moss green.  The backs of these shoes are soft, supple leather that molds around my ankles for maximum comfort.  I like that they come with leather laces too which is another reason they are perfect for fall.

So there you have it.  A few of the suede shoes from my closet in shades that are perfect for fall.  As we transition into the cooler weeks ahead, don’t just limit your bright color options to Fair Isle and Shetland sweaters.  Be sure to also give some serious thought to what happens below your ankles, and, above all, have fun!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Many years ago while I was in college, I discovered Lisa Birnbach’s book, The Official Preppy Handbook, and my life was changed forever.  OK, maybe my life wasn’t actually changed and transformed by the book, but it did give me a grounding sense that I was home.

Growing up in rural Iowa, I was fortunate to have a father who taught me the importance of good dressing.  My dad, a part-time farmer, was also a salesman.  Although he didn’t need to wear them, ties were always a part of his wardrobe, and I credit him for my love (read that obsession) for ties today.  He also taught me the importance of wearing sport coats and suits, and the ever present wingtips.  In short, my dad taught me the importance of dressing right and I took it to heart – I didn’t even own a pair of jeans until I was in college because I would rather wear chino’s.

Following this initial upbringing, I soon became obsessed with men’s style and fashion magazines as I fine tuned my own personal style.  Over time, I learned to add my own personal flair and twist to make the look mine, careful to always root it in a traditional foundation.

So finding Birnbach’s book confirmed all that I had been taught as well as the things I had picked up on my own.  Not only did it give me a grounding for what I was already doing, it gave a more focused springboard from which to broaden my look out even farther.

With all of that in mind, my hope is that the entries I make here will resonate with others, and  that they can become a celebration of our shared love of that classic, traditional, preppy sense of style.  Keep in mind though, that from time to time you’ll be seeing my own personal twists incorporated into the looks.  Now, having said that, let’s begin!