It has been a hectic past 3 months and this year looks to be longer and more grueling. I am, however, preparing and will no doubt be ready for it. I had the privilege and honour to work in Johannesburg from October to December last year and one thing I know about Joburg, it is a gold mine, just like the name eGoli suggests. In terms of style, sartorialism, thrifting and so forth, Joburg is a style aficionado's playground. Everywhere you go you are bound to find something that will pique your interest and eventually arrest you. It was on one of those weekend's that I decided to visit the United Fashion Brands outlet on Marlboro drive Woodmead. And true to form, I was ready for what my eyes would feast on that morning.
I got introduced to two brands of shoes that I'd never heard of or seen before; Vinzano and Blackinc. Occupying the commodious top floor in the UFB building I had enough time to admire and perused at leisure what I think are shoes any gent could use in summer. I haven't done much research into the brands because there isn't much on the internet about them, however, I'm sure you'll agree that the visuals are enough to convince any shoe lover of the beauty and necessity for such shoes. The black suede tassel loafer with a high vamp by Blackinc is perfect for black tie in the summertime. I also like how a little rugged the suede is, thus shedding any notion of the shoe being dainty and fragile. A rough suede is better than the brushed kind simply because the cleaning and maintenance of the material is a lot easier and consistent with the former.
The tan slip-on is right at home with casual suiting; a dark navy or khaki linen suit. With a casual suit the sockless trend is very welcome because if the suit lets you breathe, then your feet might as exhale as well. It's not a fussy design and this calls for even more restraint in your outfit. I used to like the idea of a slip-on or loafer with shorts but I think there are designs that go with one or the other. The penny loafer kind is not suitable for shorts, it's slightly more formal and has no casual instincts. The tassel loafer kind is more casual and holds up pretty well when paired with shorts. That tan colour is just inviting to be dressed up.
I would agree with anyone who said that bright blue penny loafers are gaudy in an inland region. For a coastal gent, your shoe wardrobe is incomplete without a pair. That bright blue penny loafer is a fun shoe, both in colour and in wear. And I surmise that the folks at Blackinc had shorts, the seaside and sundowners in mind when they designed this shoe. For the fastidious who are not satisfied with the casual mien of boat shoes, plimsolls or espadrilles at the beach, this is the quintessential shoe for them.
Now we get to my favourites; and let's start with the tan whole cut. If you're struggling for suitable, comfortable and acceptable suiting fabrics to counter this scorching heat then you can continue to ruminate on that issue, but allow me to suggest this tan wholecut as a starting point. This shoe is made for the business man who is fond of light coloured suiting fabrics both in business and leisure. Think of a blue suit for business, this shoe is the ultimate addition. And when you think of a tobacco or terracotta suit for leisure, this shoe is still the business. This is the Vinzano brand and I think they did a great job of incorporating all the aesthetics that afford the shoe both business and leisure time appeal. It's the ultimate shoe for displaying both uniqueness in style at a meeting and a wedding. Consider it my top pick. The stone coloured, brushed suede tassel loafer is also a favourite, and the casual clothing options are infinite. I think the one item of clothing it would pair well with is a pair of white jeans or chinos. It felt comfortable when I fitted it on and the soft suede material was just wonderful to the touch. Vinzano did great with these designs.
I threw in the bright blue full brogue with a medallion for good measure, just to balance the equation in as far as the other blue shoe is concerned. This is also a Blackinc design and I think where the penny loafer doesn't fit in and what it lacks in semi-formal qualities, the full brogue picks up the slack, open doors and fits right in.
I can't elaborate on the quality of the shoes or the construction but I would hope that at R1700 a pop they more than hold up in terms of durability and wear. That's the only draw back when dealing with unknown or untested brands. If I had all five though, my summer would be made for decades.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.