First Thoughts: Loake and Herring Shoes

Herring Shoes

So after being disappointed with the price and range of shoes at David Jones (and Australia in general), I turned to Herring Shoes; an online, UK-based shoes store that stocks a large range of shoe brands, at pretty awesome prices. A pair of Loake 202’s (which I bought), cost $369 at David Jones; including postage, and my $10 off coupon, the same model was only $220 at Herring.

Not only do they have great prices, they have a massive range of shoes, including Loake, Church’s, Barker, and their own house brand; as well as a range of accessories.

The best part for me however, was the postage; from when I ordered them, they only took 5 days to arrive. That alone is enough for me to be a return shopper, but the range and prices that are offered make me think that I have found my new shoe supplier.

The only negative that I can find is that, because I live outside the UK, if I ever do have to return a pair of shoes, I will have to pay the postage costs; still, I can avoid that by not returning anything.

The shoes also came with a Herring branded shoe horn, and a tin of polish matching the shoes, as well as info booklets for Herring and Loake. The shoe horn is nothing special (but still definitely appreciated), but the polish is a nice touch, and I look forward to seeing how well it works.

Loake Shoes

Style wise, the shoes look great, and they fit perfectly; a dark brown wingtip, in a size that fits my foot, the only flaw that I can find with these shoes is that they are corrected-grain leather. I knew that going in however, and I wouldn’t expect any different from a shoe at this price; at a total of $220, they are only slightly more expensive than my Charles Tyrwhitt shoes, and at least as good. I’ve only had them for a few hours now, so can’t speak to the long-term quality, but I will have a proper review in a couple of weeks. My first impression is that I love them, and I’m hoping they will hold up well.

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Fresh out of the box, in direct sunlight

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With a light coat of polish

 

 

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A Guide to Cufflinks

I love cufflinks; all but one of my dress shirts have french cuffs. As a matter of fact, unless I absolutely love the rest of the shirt, and I’m buying it at a discount, french cuffs are a prerequisite. I covered the different types of cuffs in my Guide to Collars and Cuffs, but as a quick refresher, this is a regular button cuff:

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Single-Button Barrel Cuff

And this is the french cuff:

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The French Cuff

 

When in doubt stick with the basics.

My favorite cufflinks are a pair of plain silver-coloured ones that I bought on eBay years ago for about $7; I wear them most days, they are simple, elegant, formal, and match with my other accessories.

Silver Square

For more formal occasions I have a pair of black and gold cufflinks (similar to the pair pictured) that I picked up for $10 at a thrift store.

Black Gold

 

What they have in common is that they are both subtle, and simple designs; things that don’t stand out or draw attention, but will still work with most outfits or occasions.

A bit of subtle flair

The basics are good, but cufflinks are a perfect way to add a bit of flair to an outfit, without being over the top. I’m fond of adding a bit of colour with glossy enamel cufflinks; I like a Fleur-De-Lis motif, but you can also show off your patriotism with flags, or your school pride (assuming you went to a school fancy enough to have its own cufflinks). Old coins can also be turned into unique cufflinks.

Cufflinks

A Little Novelty

Novelty cufflinks are a great way to subtly show off your interests, and can work as good conversational pieces (just don’t be the one to draw attention to them). I have three sets of novelty cufflinks; a pair of playing cards, dominoes, and a pair that are actually 8GB flash drives (so that I can pretend to be a spy).

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These types of cufflinks are fine for everyday office attire and more casual events, but I wouldn’t bring them out for formal occasions or first dates (the second or third date should be fine). If you do have a formal occasion, your best option is…

Black and White (and Gold)

When it comes to black tie events, your best option is either Mother of Pearl, or black Onyx; the setting should either be Silver or Gold. I prefer Silver with Mother of Pearl, and Gold with Onyx.

Black Tie

Notice the cufflinks in the image above are double-sided, and joined by a short chain; these are considered the most formal type, and are the best option for Black Tie.

When To Wear Them

French cuff shirts are generally perceived as more formal, but the truth is they are acceptable in every situation that regular button cuffs are; the degree of formality would be determined by what else you are wearing (suit, sportcoat, blazer, etc), and the cufflinks that you choose. Ultimately, wear them when you have the desire.

Recommended Reading

If you are looking for a more in-depth guide to cufflinks, check out this article by Real Men Real Style; it goes into great detail about the different types and styles of cufflinks, and I recommend reading it. It also has lots of pictures.