06 October 2010

Well-Heeled: LA versus NYC

Los Angeles versus New York City.

A rivalry imagined rather than experienced. Both cities occupy top billing in the 'pop' culture and both are known for attracting social-climbers, provincials, rubes, frauds, and aspiring sharks.

But there is an important difference that immediately distinguishes itself to those interested in details of style.

The latest issue of The Rake (Issue 11 Volume 5) contains a brief article on my favourite bespoke shoe maker, Cleverley, in which is repeated the old saying:

How do you tell the difference between a man from NYC and a fellow from LA?

The New Yorker has laces in his shoes.

How amusing. Although it is true I am not from LA and have actually lived in both this area and NYC for an equal number of years, I am close enough to LA today to feel an obligation to respond to this jibe.

Is there some truth in it? Yes, I think so. Certainly in my business and social dealings here in Southern California I notice that most of the other chaps wear loafers and other slip-on shoes.

And when I analyse my own collection, the numbers indicate that currently 67% of my shoes are of the slip-on variety. This number is set to increase, as I gradually replace my older oxfords and brogues with newly-acquired bespoke and MTO slip-on shoes.

Do you prefer loafers and slip-ons? If so, say it loud and proud!

After all, the New Yorker, living in the dangerous crime-infested environment for which his city is famous, has a very good reason to stick to laces.

The laces deter urban street thugs from stealing his shoes.


Main Line Sportsman said...

Slip ons...all the way!!

John Wesley said...

Another reason:
You can run faster from your friendly neighborhood mugger/assailant without losing a (slip-on) shoe.

Anonymous said...


I don't believe I own any shoes with elastic in them, as in your picture, but I do prefer loafers to lace ups, and ideally in suede, so no faffing around with polish.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the scene in the movie Frost/Nixon where Nixon looks at Frost's Gucci loafers with apparent bemusement and harrumphs "Men's shoes should have laces."

(I mention this scene only for it's humor- I'm a big fan of the Alden LHS and tassel.)

v. Braun. said...

Interesting observations. I have also always preferred slip-ons, actually, in recent years even moreso. There are more important intuitive reasons for it, but some I could rationally express would be their feel of practicality and youthfulness.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral - Monkstraps.

Anonymous said...

Elastic is the new lace.

Anonymous said...

Phatfriend - surely the correct spelling is 'phaffing' ??

Anonymous said...

I prefer slip-ons in the form of velvet slippers and jackboots and lace-ups for all other applications.

Anonymous said...

Watch out my lad, I've just read a report about shoe horn wielding toughs in LA.

Anonymous said...

My bad.


Belle de Ville said...

This laceless thing is all over the place. When I was just a young lass I worn my converse all stars properly with laces. Now my LA slacker daughter wears hers laceless.
The further dumbing down of sartorial style.

Proprietor said...

Hmmm.. Living in Chi-town, I am able to wear both... Although, leaning toward slip-ons - which won't change until my friends in Firenze stop coming out with delicious new suede concoctions...