06 February 2008

Young Men in Spectators

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.

9 comments:

spectators in Laguna Beach said...

Trad, you will be the hit of Laguna Beach. Very nice shoes and good luck with them. I am thinking of going for a pair myself in perhaps an EG loafer style.

Benedict said...

Good show, LBT. I have considered spectators previously - Crockett and Jones offered an interesting RTW model, but the racing stripe put me off. Once, in the Galeries Lafayette, I saw a tempting pair by Church's - but they weren't quite me, either. The hunt goes on...

lbt is the shizz! said...

those are quite spiffy! it's not everyday that you see a handsome gent in spectators, in the OC or LA.

a less exciting topic: i was getting my coffee this AM and saw three young men in black suits. i know that you, john, richard, et al. would be scoffing loudly in their general direction.

Richard said...

I own a pair of the Peal & Co. spectators as well. I bought mine at Brooks Brothers last summer, and I wore them with seersucker, white/cream linen, and khaki linen. I also love the contrast between the leather and the canvas, and I believe the shoes will age well. Excellent choice, you will love them!

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Welcome to the club LBT! You will get a lot of use out of them, and a few looks (some, even, of envy.) They also look very well with dove grey trousers, an open necked, white collared, striped shirt, and sweater thrown about the shoulders. Twenty years down the road, whey they are very beat up and grass stained from romps on the errrr... croquet pitch, they will look even better.

shotcouture said...

I stumbled across your blog while surfing around, and I must say it's one of the better ones.

Those shoes will make heads turn. My father had a thing for footwear, and he has never been able to understand where genetics missed in my case. But it's not entirely true. Something like this pair will make people notice. I did.

tintin said...

I purchased a pr of the Peals last summer from Brooks. And returned them. The quality was just not there. So, I'm holding out for the EGs. Or Purple Label on sale for $450. Or the C&J in the Ben Silver catalog. I like that racing stripe. It breaks the shoe up but probably makes it a mother to shine. Congrats on your purchase.

Anonymous said...

You can never have too many pairs of spectator shoes. They look awesome and the comments will never end.

Anonymous said...

I am reading these things because, now, I'm curious. Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. Sorry, but I also keep thinking OCD,OCD, and OCD. Clothes, too but you seem to be worse with shoes. Shoes are important, but shoes don't make the man; the man makes the shoes. It is all in your carriage.