Once upon a time in the laugh-a-minute 2000s, high end men's retail shops were raking in so much money that a few of these retailers decided that it made fiscal sense to rent a huge warehouse site and sell off overstock at fire sale prices. One always comes away from such events with a story or two to tell, but even after all these years, the Paul Stuart warehouse sales still hold a special place in my heart. This is almost certainly because, to this day, I have never entered a warehouse or sample sale with such a jaw-dropping display of high end men's shoes at such low prices.
In recent years, Paul Stuart's Stuart's Choice line has been made in England by Grenson. The shoes were made to the Grenson's highest standard - the Masterpiece. The shoes were made with soles that were identical to those used by Edward Green, and were of the highest quality, at least on par with Crockett & Jones (if anything, Grenson's leathers did not seem to be of the same quality of an Edward Green or John Lobb, but, in fairness, the Masterpiece shoes sold at a fraction of the retail price of those other brands).
Loafer in tan suede with calf trim. Note the Edward Green-like sole with the black treatment at the waist.
If I recall correctly, the German-made double-barreled shoe trees were about $20.
I purchased my first pair of Masterpieces during one of Bennie's (of Atlanta) massive sales but we'll have to save that particular stroll down memory lane for another time. Suffice to say that the experience left me enamored of the Stuart's Choice shoes. Of course, one can't expect to just pick up Masterpieces for $250.00 anytime, so imagine my surprise when the news started going around that Paul Stuart was having a warehouse sale.
My surprise turned to ecstatic delirium on that morning when, after waiting in a winding line that slowly crept its way to the second floor, I made my way into the sale and saw table after table of the Stuart's Choice Masterpieces on sale in a variety of colors and models for about 1/4 of the $698 retail price.
Looking back, if there was a drawback to being unleashed upon that sartorial Garden of Eden, it was the ease to which one succumbed to the feeding frenzy. I believe that I left that first sale with 5 pairs of shoes, including a pair of black semi-brogue/captoes in a hard-to-find wider width for my father. I did come away with a pair of brown blucher wingtips for myself, in addition to some other less conservative styles.
Ah, the good old days.