I have exciting news to report. On the advice of some internet chums who know much more about these things than I do, I have just taken delivery of a new pair of spectator shoes. As you know, I long resisted spectators, as I considered them to have an unwholesome Jazz Age appeal. They certainly have enjoyed an unsavoury reputation in England where they are known as co-respondent shoes, a name derived from their association with divorce cases involving adultery. I personally would not choose to wear spectators in court; a respectable full brogue such as the EG Malvern or Crockett & Jones Downing handgrade model are more appropriate, in my experience, particularly when one is trying hard to convince the judge that one is not a liar, thief, or drunk.
After a comparative analysis of the spectator shoe market, I settled on the offering from Brooks Brothers Peal & Co. (see photo), for two reasons. One, the Peal & Co. spectator is constructed of leather and canvas. In my case, chestnut brown leather and beige canvas. I find the contrast between the two materials highly compelling. The canvas is surprisingly durable. Two, the Brooks Brothers spectator lacks a leather 'racing stripe' along the side, a feature found, for example, on the sportier EG Malvern III model, which I also considered. My research into the historical archives indicates the absence of the racing stripe conforms to standard type.
As a new season is almost upon us, I am making plans to pair my spectators with linen trousers in a khaki or British tan colour, or maybe white flannels from Grass Court. Definitely with seersucker trousers. I am misty-eyed just thinking about the possibilities. My former prejudice against them notwithstanding, I am prepared to concede that spectators are indeed fun shoes. And what is the point of all of this, if not to have fun? The world may end tomorrow, but at least I will go out in style wearing my Peal & Co. spectators.