75 Minus 23 Equals 4

IMG_3788I woke up last Saturday feeling like death. I had just returned from Italy, and it felt like the past year had finally caught up with me. But I already had a trip to Atlanta with 3 friends scheduled, so I decided to carry on as planned. Fast forward to yesterday, I had a nice pre-Panthers party at my house, followed by a quick walk to the stadium for the game, and then back home. The Atlanta trip took me to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium to see the Atlanta MLS team play in front of a record 70,000 people. The whole thing was awesome (minus the sick piece). The Panthers game yesterday was the complete opposite. Dreadful. And in between those two events I had strep throat, and I literally did nothing all week. I tried. I just couldn’t. Not exactly ideal to not move all week 5 weeks from my marathon, but I can’t control what I can’t control.

IMG_3773As I sat around all week, I had plenty of time to think, which can be a dangerous thing for me. But this was good. My body was telling me to cool it, as I had been going nonstop nearly all year long. I needed a refresh, and interestingly, last week coincided with the start of fall, which is the ultimate refresh season. Fall is my favorite. The beginning of school, soccer, and football. Basically a new year. See, my parents are teachers and I was a soccer player, so the new year for me starts in August/September. January 1 means nothing to me. As I sat around last week, I watched the newest version of The Equalizer with Denzel, and I just love one of his quotes. He’s talking to Chloe Grace Moretz’s character who desperately wants out of her existing situation, and he simply tells her “Change your world.”

IMG_3801Combine all of that above, and here is what was on my mind. It’s fall. It’s time to hit refresh, and start going strong again. If there are some tweaks to be made, make them. And it’s also the best season of the year to go through your closet, throw some junk out, and restock. I told you all a few weeks ago that I was going to do a fall style series from head to toe. And we are going to start today with the most important part of all: shoes (and socks).

I currently have 23 pair of shoes, which remarkably is down from about 75 pair a couple of years ago. It’s still too many and completely unnecessary. I have retro Jordan’s, blue suede shoes, turquoise high-tops. Cool, but unnecessary. When I meet someone, I look at their eyes first and then their feet. Other people do also. So if I were building a closet of shoes for a man, I would make sure to include the following (see picture below). Dark brown lace-ups. Tan loafers. Black modern sneakers. A pair of athletic shoes. There you go. 4 pair. Throw in a pair of flip flops, any sports specific shoes that you play, and possibly a pair of simple black lace-ups if you frequent black-tie events, weddings, etc. That’s it, and you are set. If you notice nothing else in the picture below, take note of the colors and shape of the shoes. There are so many options out there…just look for something in the middle. Not too chunky, not too sleek. Not too pointy, definitely no squared toes. Spend a little money. Keep them clean. Keep them shined. I have had the dark brown lace-ups below for 5+ years. They’ve been resoled a few times and shined countless times. Daniel at Emerson Joseph uptown is my man for shoe shines. And the small store in the back of Park Road Shopping Center is my go-to for repairs. These shoes were expensive, but they are going to be around and look great for quite some time.

IMG_3823Since we are talking feet, I have to briefly chime in on socks. Three things here. One, if it even has the beginning of a hole in it, throw it away. No questions asked. Second, a good rule of thumb is to have your sock color and pant color match. Dark grey pants. Dark grey socks. And third, I’m going to let you make your own decisions on the crazy, colorful socks. Not my style, but I’m not a dictator here. Just know that if you are wearing wild and crazy socks, people are forming an opinion of them and you based on those socks. Just make sure that the image you are trying to convey to the world is in line with those socks. No one pays any attention to my navy and gray socks, which is how I like it, because I likely want them paying attention to something else.

IMG_3842I sincerely hope no one gets strep throat this week. It sucked, but served a great purpose. As we enter into fall, do send some old stuff to Goodwill, get some new stuff, and refresh the mind, body, and soul. And guys, if you are going to truly invest some real cash into any wardrobe upgrades, start with your shoes. Message me or comment if you want store and brand recommendations. I’ve got tons for every budget.

Have a great week.-Benj

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