Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's that time of year again.  Men everywhere are being asked what they want under the tree and they're stumped -- totally speechless.  They can't name a thing.  (For many of us guys, it's the only question all year that we can't answer with complete certainty, if not necessarily a statement of fact.)  My dad always used to answer the Christmas List Question with, "Peace and quiet", which he never got.  So here's some advice on what to ask for, or what to give, this year...

My #1 pick in our shoe line is the new Patriot penny loafer. It's just a great fitting shoe with a real masculine look.  For the football fan, the Patriot in real football leather is an especially good option.  Our friends at the Horween tannery in Chicago are the sole supplier of that leather for Wilson's "Duke", which is the football that the NFL has used for decades, and we've now put it into our Patriot options.  I've been wearing a prototype of the football shoe this fall and getting a lot of good comments, from both men and women.
Another good shoe idea could include one of his favorite AE styles in our new Bourbon calfskin color.  Brown is all the rage in both dress and casual shoes these days -- great for wearing from suits to jeans -- and this new brown hue is strikingly cool.  When we introduced it to our internal team earlier this year they were unusually impressed.

Or get him a Timeless Classic shoe with our new V-tread sole, which we developed for guys who want a little more cushion and all-weather wearability.  It's amazing how a rubber pattern this compact can really add softness to the sole without changing the formality of the look.  Similarly, if he's a golfer, our Honors Collection golf shoes with the SLV sole ("SLV" = spikeless versatility) are terrific for on and off course wear.
Finally, in shoes, think about a pair of distressed leather wingtips to wear with cords, khakis and jeans.   Our McTavish style has been out for a little over a year and is already our 3rd bestselling shoe style.  We've never had a style jump into the top five that quickly after introduction.  It's available in two brand new colors of leather that look great from business casual to totally casual, from college kid to still-active mature adult.  Really, the shoe crosses the age spectrum like few before.  It gives the younger man a little mature savoir faire, and the older guy a look of slightly-hip relevance.  At Allen Edmonds, we think we understand that most men like to look updated and relevant without looking like they're trying too hard to follow fashion.  The McTavish hits the center of that bulls-eye across an unusually wide demographic.
If his blue blazer is getting a bit tired from overuse, try out one of our curated collection of sport coats.  Chosen by our lead designer whose career has been spent completely immersed in professional men's attire, we have three very classy but contemporary looks - a great blue and black pattern wool, a brown and black checked wool and a rich brown suede.  All three styles have been picked by a lot of men shopping for themselves over the past few weeks.
My favorite apparel item for a really good look is our new brown suede vest.  It's leather front and back, meant to be worn solo over a colored shirt with jeans or dark pants.  I wore my prototype to a casual dinner a couple weeks ago, and my friends immediately ordered one for their college-aged son.  We've got shirts that go with it, too, especially the blue chambray shirt.  And we have a new scarf for colder weather that is my personal all-time favorite.  It's made in the great woolen mills in northern Scotland of merino wool (soft and much better than cashmere when it gets wet) and this one is a demur version of that  intense blue color we've seen all summer on the Golf Channel.  It brightens up a black or gray overcoat or a brown leather jacket. 

For smaller boxes that Santa could fit into a stocking (or that make great gifts for esteemed colleagues), try our cufflinks collection.  Really, a guy should wear cufflinks now and then, and they should say something about him.  My game-used MLB baseball cufflinks -- with the actual laces down the middle -- get "those are so cool" comments every time I wear them.  My dark blue Fenway Park box seat cufflinks work for the most formal of occasions, but they secretly remind me of my first game in that storied park as a visiting eighth-grader, sitting just a few yards away from the great Yaz (and a few feet from a drunk yelling obscenities).   I like the Chicago CTA and San Francisco cable car tokens because they remind me of my days spent in those two great American cities.  The East India Company coins and Mercury Head Dime cuff links are perfect for the history buff.  We also have bottle openers made from bats used in MLB games and some great leather-bound books about golf, cocktail recipes and collected classy toasts.  They make great smaller gifts.  Nice leather wallets are always good, too, and ours are among the few still Made in USA.

Finally, if your recipient is often wearing some unflattering dime store reading glasses, get him a pair of stylish Eye-Bobs with some pizazz.  Most men over-40 don't realize (or want to admit) how much time they now spend wearing those things, or how the flimsy metal glasses say "I'm heading over the hill and fast".  He should spruce it up with Eye-Bobs, maybe a couple different pairs for variety.  They're affordable and it's not the end of the world if they get lost or crushed, as reading glasses often do.  If he's not a dime store kind of guy -- he shouldn't look like one across his face in every meeting.

So toggle between this blog and our website, or print it out and hand it to your family, or take it to one of our 40 stores across the U.S. and energize your festivities this year.

From all of us at Allen Edmonds ... we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday Celebrations of All Kinds, and Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity in the New Year!!!

Warm regards,

Paul D. Grangaard

President & CEO

Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation