Gaziano & Girling bespoke loafers (and the beauty of refinement)

Friday, September 23rd 2016
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The older I get, the more I wear well-made clothes, and (most importantly) the more I think about clothes, the simpler I seem to dress. 

I am rarely without my navy grenadine tie. I now have Crispaire trousers in three different shades of grey. Everything above the waist seems to have its first iteration in navy (only later being bought in other colours). 

I'm packing for a week-long trip at the moment (to Japan!) and the clothes I've laid out are almost embarassingly subtle and conservative. 

Navy or dark-coloured jackets; grey or cream trousers; dark-brown shoes in various shades and textures; most colour and variation is in the hanks, ties or scarves.

gaziano-girling-bespoke-fitting

Of course, there is a particular virtue to such a restrained wardrobe for travel, where it's helpful if everything goes with everything else. 

But this approach also focuses more on the subtleties that first got me hooked on bespoke: the elegant flow down the back of a jacket; the precise sweep of a shirt collar; the patina of a well-made (and well maintained) leather bag.

It is these points of fit, texture and quality that encourage a refined style. One that has probably always been my aim: to give the impression to a casual observer (as I have said before), of simply being well-dressed.

gaziano-girling-bespoke-shoe-last

All of which is mere preamble to the commissioning of the brown-suede slip-ons from Gaziano & Girling pictured here. 

I have several other pairs of brown-suede shoes: round-toed lace-ups from Edward Green; square-nosed slip-ons from Stefano Bemer; pointy derbys from Corthay. 

But none of them fill the precise place of this G&G pair. And rather than expand the wardrobe into different colours or constructions, I choose to retain the same material and shade, but fill in small 'gaps' in style. 

gaziano-girling-bespoke-shoes

This attitude of refinement and simplicity extends to the style of the slip-ons as well.

They will have no decoration - no band, no medallion, nothing. 

The beauty of the shoe will be in the shape of the last, and the bespoke make through the waist and heel. This is my first pair from Daniel (pictured) having had my other G&G slip-ons made by Tony, and I'm very excited to see the results. 

At this first fitting, we had some issues with tightness in the heel and across the joints, but otherwise they looked good. 

The prominence of a Frank Clegg bag, by the way, is down to the photos being from a Clegg photo shoot we did recently. You can see the bag itself, which is both beautiful and practical, here.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

Other items in the outfit can be seen in my Dalcuore review here.

gaziano-girling-shop-and-frank-clegg-bag

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Sam

Hi Simon – what brings you to Japan? I don’t suppose you are planning any events that readers can attend?

Néstor

Any insight about the makers you are visiting?

Fukuda? Marquess? Fugee?

🙂

Anonymous

Generally, and please don’t take this the wrong way, do you know much about Tokyo? Can you give a preview of where you’ll be checking out?

Hugh

Can I ask why the choice to go back to G&G after the “perfect fit” with the Bermer shoes? Is it a style matter? Or the convenience of a London shoemaker?

M

Hey, is the price at G&G still 4,000 GBP (incl. VAT) or has it increased?
How come there are some ‘obvious’ small issues at the fitting given you have had a couple of bespoke G&G pairs which fitted you very well already? Is this because you are changing the last shape vs. your other commissions?
Cheers
M

M

Thanks Simon – in general, do you feel like if there are issues like that during the fitting, the final result will likely be imperfect? Were there any small issues during the fitting when you had your perfect SB pair done? Also, I understand that you would typically have only one fitting before the final pair is made; when issues like that are spotted, why would not you have another ‘mock’ fitting before the final pair is ultimately made (comparatively, this is what would likely happen with a baste fitting if we were talking suits, i.e. the cutter would re-cut again until the fit is right)?

Kindly let me know re: pricing when you hear back (still hesitating between G&G and SB for my first bespoke pair).

Cheers

M

Bertie Wooster

Think you touched on this somewhere but apologies I can’t find it. Can you remind me the pros and cons of Crispaire vs Fresco? Appearance wise Fresco looks more open weave and rugged. How do they feel different when worn, and creasing and durability?

LM

These slippers look great Simon and I absolutely agree with your philosophy of subdued textures. My own style is still a bit ‘loud’ but working on toning down the palette currently. Judging from the pictures, are you still at the trial pair? Because it very much looks like a slipper with the glued sole – so what final style is it going to be, and how can the waist be sculpted if they end up being made with glued soles?

Cheers, Laurent

Gus

Tom Ford tie?

Anonymous

Whilst muted colours and understated style have their place it is also a reflection of location (cool temparate climate) and, forgive me for this, your age. I recently watched a documentary on Ozwald Boateng; the colour palette was, by turns, daring and sublime. I understand, from the perspective of complimentary tones and shades, that you have designed your wardrobe accordingly but I ask you to also consider other avenues. The conservative, considered approach to style needs, occassionally, some balance with more daring expressive colours – that display themselves outside the restraining boundaries of a hank or tie. Brighter colours are energetic and align themselves with a more vital, dynamic and youthful appeal. It is worth looking at his use of colour and tone across suits, shirts and ties – its a demonstrative change from anything found elsewhere.

Nick Inkster

Not sure I get the link from Boateng to Naples, but the ability to pull off a fit with the pastels of the Med starts with skin tone, and clearly the more olive/swarthy you are, the easier it gets. The lily white legs of a typical Brit in shorts is proof.

M

I know what you mean; I have put together an outfit with different shades of blues for the summer (designed it with W&S) including a light blue linen jacket and a bright hank. For the reason we are all looking for , it has felt so much more natural, stylish and in-context during my holidays south of the Meditteranean sea rather than in London!

reuven lax

Oddly enough, despite never having made bespoke shoes, I recognize Daniel. I believe we both used to be regular attendees of a swing-dancing festival that takes place in a small Swedish village. Small world!

Rups

Simon I’m travelling next week and was planning to take a beater sports jacket to avoid it getting worn or damaged in holiday. I’m tempted to take a bespoke one instead. What do you think and any tips to avoid destroying through an economy airline seat/taxis/public transport in e Europe? I was planning on wearing through the airport to avoid folding in bag but this brings with it certain indignities like putting it into a filthy black tray which is scanned by security. Yuck.

James

Great looking shoes Simon. I think I could happily spend the rest of my life wearing black oxfords with suits and brown suede for everything else. Would you ever consider doing a post on your entire shoe collection?

Eric

Whole loafers, my favorite style of shoes. At some points in last summers I worn my navy suede loafers 3 times per week (I have 11 pairs of dress shoes). Go well with chino shorts to suits; without socks or to show the bold socks.
I also like the whole cut oxfords. In my opinion, whole cuts are some of the hardest styles to make it right. Since there is nothing on the shoes, you must rely on the last and quality.
By the way, I’m planning to have pair whole cut loafers made for me too (would be my first bespoke shoes). Do you think if it is easier to fit loafers than oxfords for first time customer?

John

Hi Simon,
I greatly appreciate your “preamble”. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and experience.
Among your suede shoes, the ones I love the most are the exquisite loafers made by Bemer and the single monk strap by AS.
I just wonder what kind of “‘gaps’ in style” have you spotted in your wardrobe that’s led you this specific pair of austere loafers.
Anyway I look forward to reading the post dedicated to them.
John

Peter

Simon, whilst you start your article about simple and classic dress, these shoes seem to be the exact opposite – cant help but think a pair of suede laces in a very dark brown would have been the way to go. It`s really difficult to imagine how these loafers could be used outdoors – perhaps in a hotel bar only?

John

By the way, while in Japan I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you happened to see or even meet guys (perhaps more there than here in Europe) who share the same understanding of style as the one laid out in your preamble. If an opportunity arose to meet one, of course an interview could be of interest to PS readers.
John

Adam Jones

I do agree with keeping any medallion and heel counter etc off of a suede loafer like this. I have a G&G loafer (nice) and you can barley see the medallion and the counter adds nothing. However being so plain I feel the one small decoration(mine is tassels) do help to break it up. would a penny strap or something not make the shoe more versatile. I sometimes find wholecut loafers too slipper like if they are plain and mean they don’t quite work as well as I want with some outfits. Then again I suppose adding a stamp would make them identical in style to your others.

Anonymous

What brand is this tan bag? Do they have this in dark brown?