Sunday, September 13, 2009
Open Love Letter: Clarks
[Pictured: Sartorially Inclined's current collection of Clarks Originals. Not pictured are my laceless Desert Treks which are quarantined back in NJ]
My love affair with Clarks Shoes began in 2005 when I purchased my first pair of Desert Treks. I had no idea the brand even existed until my freshman year of college at Wake Forest University. Every single southern kid was rocking Clarks Wallabees and I wanted to get in on the trend, but decided to branch out a little and for a while I was the only kid on campus with Desert Treks. Since that defining moment I've purchase 3 pairs of desert boots (1 pair was a gift for my father) and a pair of Wallabees. No other brand of shoes, outside of Sperry Topsider, will come more highly recommended by yours truly. I love all of the Clark's Originals for their classic/timeless style and versatility. Every one of these shoes could be worn with a suit to your cousin's wedding or with chinos/denim out to the bar on Friday night. I am going to do a run down on all three of the major styles of Clark's Originals and talk a little about each and why I love them so much.
[All pictures courtesy of clarks.com]
The Desert Boot
My current favorite out of the bunch and many in the fashion world share my sentiments. Dessert Boot style shoes have been popping up all over the place since their re-entry into the public consciousness around a year, or so, ago. The Dessert Boot has been a staple for close to 60 years and has been favored by guys like George Harrison(look at the shoes all the way to the left) and Steve McQueen. I have yet to find anything these boots don't go well with and no matter the season my Desert Boots always find their way into my wardrobe rotation. Yes, even with shorts (sans socks). My favorite colorway is the one posted above...I love the sand suede with the crepe sole. Not many shoes can offer everything encompassed within the Desert Boot. It possess a refined ruggedness that can be as informal or formal as you choose.
If you've seen my profile picture you know I love me some Wallys. It is rare you find a pair of shoes endorsed by guys ranging from Ghostface Killah to JFK Jr. The Wallabee is a tad less formal than the Desert Boot, but just as versatile and clutch. It is another all season shoe, with a great weight/bulk to it. The "chuncky-ness" of the Wallabee instead of being cumbersome adds an almost endearing quality to the shoe. In fact, I find the boxy and geometric shape of the shoe very refreshing considering today's obsession with streamlined silhouettes. Lacing them loosely or not at all can add such a great nonchalance to any outfit. A favorite of southern frat boys, the Wallabee is just at home in Nantucket or NYC. My Wallabees are the boot version, but I am currently enamored with the original model seen above. They look great in suede and are just as dashing in leather...no matter what kind you gravitate towards they will most definitely end up being the most comfortable shoes you own.
The Desert Trek
The shoe that sparked this whirlwind romance 4 years ago rounds out this foray into the Clarks Originals. Considering the popularity of the Desert Boot and Wallabee the Trek is your best way to get into the Clarks action without overplaying your hand, though recent face time at the Gilded Age Spring 2010 presentation may change that. These center-seam shoes take ques from moccasin design and deliver an understated, relaxed look...and with only two eyelets for laces the Trek delivers a slip-on appearance when wearing pants. I recommend the brown leather ones seen above, and while the suede Trek's are just as nice I believe the leather lends itself much more to the center-seam design.
So go buy a pair, or two, or three and wear them with everything. You'll look great, stand out and your neglected sneakers will probably cry a few tears. All of the Clarks Originals are reasonably priced (Desert Boot = $95, Wallabee = $120, Desert Trek = $100) and can be found at Clarks/Zappos online store. Take my word (and JFK's and McQueen's) for it and add any one of these to your collection and it wont be long before you add another, and another, and another...