So I picked myself up a new pair of dress shoes to compliment my wardrobe. I had been looking and looking for just the right pair of dress shoes in a nice, walnut-like color and, after trial and error with some pairs, I got lucky.
I was returning a pair of this "error" variety that I had ordered online to a brick and mortar location, and lo and behold, these Bostonians jumped out at me. They are their "Fremont" model in brown (I would call it a "walnut" or "oak" even). I had not seen them in store before (believe me, I would remember). So I tried them on, and jackpot. The right color, the right look, and- most importantly- the right fit. They go great with navy and gray suiting and are a great addition to any wardrobe.
Upon browsing some more of Bostonian's other offerings I also caught site of my next pair of true Oxfords. By "true Oxford" I mean the vamp (tongue and "upper" of the shoe) has only a slit where the laces attach to tie the shoe versus 2 separately stitched pieces of leather attached to the vamp. That type are called "Bluchers"- like the above Fremont model I purchased. A lot of companies today market shoes as Oxfords, but in reality they are Bluchers ("open laced"). Here's the "Canton" model I am considering. See how the vamp (upper) is one piece with the laces going through it? That is a true Oxford and not a Blucher. You may also notice I have a thing for details on my shoes. While neither of these pair are full out "brogues" (think wingtips), I do prefer a little detailing to give the shoe a little oomph. The first pair- the "Fremont"- has a little more to it beyond just the cap toe being perforated. But the sleek look of the black "Canton" Oxford model is not lost with lots of detail- minimal perforations on the cap toe and along the side accent this great looking shoe, but do not overwhelm the beauty.
The best part? Bostonian makes these quality shoes for anywhere from $75 to $130. For a good dress shoe, that's cheap. How long they will last remains to be seen, but they do have a sole that seems ripe for replacing in the future so I just have to keep the upper nice (read: shoe shine periodically). You can find them at Bostonianshoe.com (powered by Zappos) or any of their affiliated partners. You can also find Bostonians at their eponymous brick and mortar stores or department stores like Macy's carrying their line (click on the "Where to Buy" tab at the Bostonian website for a store location near you). Many of these sites and stores I am sure will also have some discount, coupon, or other deal at any given time (I got $10 off at the time), so the price point may be even sweeter.
Remember, if the shoe fits, it doesn't mean you should buy it. Think about the fit absolutely, but also make sure you are getting a style you like and one that wears well both in style and color with whatever clothing with which you are trying to pair them. Lastly, the quality makes a difference. Pick up a decent pair like these Bostonians or even Florsheim, Johnston & Murphy or Banana Republic for fair money. You can also go high end on the likes of Aldi or Ferragamo, but then you are talking an entire other post on price vs. quality and I am out of time.