A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Consider the Spectator: The Hutton for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label

Rita Hayworth & Fred Astaire on the set of You Were Never Lovelier (1941) (photo by John Florea)
Rita Hayworth & Fred Astaire on the set of You Were Never Lovelier (1941)

          As the spring thaw commences, its time to unpack and air out the linen, poplin, and seersucker. As far as footwear goes, shoes in lighter shades of brown or tan are always a good bet for this time of year. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, consider adding the spectator shoe to your wardrobe. Long considered to be firmly within the province of the well-heeled dandy (see Fred Astaire, pictured above), a nice pair of spectators can serve to effectively punctuate your sartorial statement.


          The spectator or correspondent shoe's most famous iteration is that of the oxford, semi-brogue, or full brogue style constructed from two contrasting colors, typically having the toe, heel cap and lace panels in a darker color than the main body of the shoe. Said to have first been designed by John Lobb as a cricket shoe in the nineteenth century, common color combinations generally include a white shoe body with either black, brown or tan toe and heel caps, but other colors can be used. The spectator can be made entirely of calf leather, but in an Uptown Dandy's opinion, the classic spectator will be brown leather on the toe box and back quarters and along the lace panels, with the body of the shoe being white suede.

          Many companies produce a spectator or some type of two-tone shoe; however, finding a well-balanced pair of spectators in the once ubiquitous brown or tan calf leather with white suede can slowly devolve into a search much like Sir Percival's forlorn quest for the Holy Grail. Crockett & Jones make a lovely spectator shoe for Ben Silver, named the Hampton, but the upper on the shoe is made entirely from calf leather -there's no suede.

C&J Spectators


          With all of this in mind, any dandy who is a stickler for the classic brown and white spectator with the calf and suede leather combination should look no further than the Hutton, an offering from Ralph Lauren's Purple Label. Purchased a few seasons ago at Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue a few seasons ago, it is definitely one of my favorite pairs of shoes.

Ralph Lauren's Purple Label Hutton.

A lovely patina on the dark oak calf leather.

Already a broguing addict, the white suede beautifully accents the punching on the dark oak leather.

Baring my sole: Edward Green's channeled soles.

          Made by Edward Green in Dark Oak calf leather and white suede on the 89 last, the shoe has a lovely silhouette by virtue of its somewhat slender shape and slightly square-toed appearance.
Unfortunately, its hard to make out due to my terrible photography skills,
but there is broguing along the white suede portion of the shoe as well.

Your inner Gatsby is calling to you . . .
or I just thought I'd throw in another picture . . .

          I'm not sure if its the suede or just the full brogue but the Hutton just does it for the Uptown Dandy - literally the perfect shoe for loitering on a bench by the pond across from the Canfield Casino in Congress Park whilst you pick your winners from the Daily Racing Form before making your way down Union Avenue to the Racetrack on a lovely August morning at Saratoga.


  1. I have a pair by Vass, former sample shoes with impeccable stitching - but they don't get much work - have trouble deciding what to wear with them. the EGs are spectacular

  2. Thanks! I understand where you're coming from - in my case, I know what I'd wear with them, but its more a question of finding enough events where it would be appropriate :-)

  3. Wonderful specs there. I recently scored a beautiful 1940s pair.