Chances are, that if you are reading this blog, you already have a passion for shoes and most likely you have quite a few pairs that you have invested in. It is also a ‘sure bet’ that many of your family, friends and work colleagues know about this passion of yours.
My collection (I will admit) is rather extensive and eclectic. If you are starting out to invest in your collection, however, I recommend that you begin with the classics. A good place to start is with oxfords and the now iconic ‘black oxfords no brogues’. Even for James Bond, this is his go-to shoe and clearly, if that is the style that partners with 007 to save the world, it is a must for every man’s wardrobe. Notwithstanding this, as you build your collection, I suggest that you may want to extend your taste to include single or double monk styles. Some of the monk options like the Attlee double monks are in the ‘Oxfords no brogues’ genre but are a more sartorially bold choice.
I recently changed jobs and when I decided to invest in a pair of Attlee double monks, I had them delivered to my old work address by mistake. One of my ex-colleagues knew exactly what was in the brown box and figured I wouldn’t mind him have a bit of a sneak look. His taste is rather conservative, but he immediately fell in love with them. When we caught up for a chat (and, of course, to pick up the shoes) I told him that the monk straps were derived from the buckled shoes that the monks of old used to wear.
The Attlee has both black and mahogany calf options. Having already invested in a pair in burgundy, (when that option was available), I decided to go with the mahogany this time. The Attlee is stunning. It is the simplicity of its cap toe design that makes it both elegant and exquisite. The last is long and sleek with a graceful and timeless almond toe. The monk straps and buckles are subtle but still make an audacious statement. The mahogany calf is hand burnished which creates a depth and complexity that will only improve with age.
Now, if something more daring is your inclination, you may want to consider the Philip single monk. Like the Attlee, the Philip has two calf options, black and chestnut. Be assured, the Philip is a statement shoe! Like the Attlee the last is long and sleek with the timeless and gorgeous almond toe. But, where the Attlee draws you in with its simplicity, the Philip grabs you and demands your attention. It is a brogued wingtip single monk ‘bad-boy’. It is ostentatious, complex and will not be ignored if you are wearing it. The large single monk strap is also brogued and housed in a beautiful large buckle.
Given its classic and simple styling the Attlee is somewhat more conservative and, you may draw the conclusion, that it is the formal variant of the two. At first glance, I can see how some may draw that conclusion, but the Philip is a beautiful shoe and is very much at home in a formal setting. In fact, both are ideal dressed up in a suit for a formal occasion or can be dressed down with jeans or chinos.
You may be tempted to think that the only decision you have to make, is which style to choose, the Attlee or the Philip? I would encourage you to consider both. They are both quite distinctive and would in no way be a double up in your wardrobe.
The Philip has had two iterations. The current generation is the Philip II. Along with the current Attlee, I have the first generation of the Philip. It is in mahogany calf, but where the current generation has an almond toe, the Philip I, has a more traditional rounder toe. It is terrific and a testament to good customer service, that Herring is always reviewing their styles and not only introducing new styles but changing the styling of its existing range.