08 June 2011

Off The Reservation -- Espadrilles

I've always associated espadrilles with a European who would wear a pencil thin moustache and an ascot. Or, a Frenchman who paired espadrilles with a boat neck, navy stripe shirt and white capri pants. Images of Sonny Crockett's espadrilles with unstructured pastel linen jackets are as hysterical as a cop in Florida with a yacht and a Ferrari. But never say never and like all things sartorial -- the slippery slope, at least for me, almost always starts with an image.

Granted, I wasn't thinking of espadrilles when I first saw this photo of, and taken by, Alice Olive (her blog here). I wasn't thinking of how well the photo was composed or how she nailed the exposure or how she set the shot up. But as the image burned into my brain -- her navy espadrilles must've followed. Still, my issue with espadrilles isn't about women wearing them.

How does a man pull off the espadrille without looking like...Well, what Tom Waits called, "...a spent piece of used jet trash." I think Alice's photo helped soften my aversion and made way for these Souleiado espadrilles I saw yesterday afternoon.

With vintage J McLaughlin GTH pants they certainly make a statement, but it's one of humor, wisdom and experience. This is not the parvue of a 20-something college kid whose idea of cutting edge is Vineyard Vines and Tucker Blair. This is for the grown ups.

The more I look at these the more I'm drawn in. Maybe that's why the older man can pull off brighter "Off TheReservation" colors. The style is very traditional. What Alan Flusser called, "king of the hill party clothes" in Style and the Man. I like my description better. OTR. It has a ring to it. I'll have to call the lawyers.

Anyway, here are some examples of interesting espadrilles. $12 a pair (or less) and available here. Granted, I've never dealt with the company and it is in Argentina (thanks, Charlie G.) but like I said, We're going O.T.R. here.


Anonymous said...

Alice's legs are killer! Killer!

Mark said...

These Arandus look just like Argentinian versions of Toms! Or is it the other way around?

Anonymous said...

So how long till we talk about Toms?
My good man, I am a hard student.

Dallas said...

two posts now that align with my south american experiences. the best are the ones sold at the markets down there with straw soles.

Unclelooney said...

I'm 50. I'm in my heart attack years. I'm also in my toe stubbing years.

Danger Will Robinson!

Anonymous said...

I think some people can pull these off, but those are usually the people that can pull anything off and have confidence doing it. For me however, every time I see these I feel like they should only be worn when delivering a swift roundhouse kick to the head while wearing a Gi.

I am also around 60% sure these are what Ninja's wore in the 14th century while stealthily running across slate shingled roof tops in the middle of the night.

David V said...

I bought a pair of espadrilles in a small shop in old San Juan whole on a cruise this past Christmas. Primarily, the shop sold blocked-while-you-wait Panama hats.
I wore the espadrilles on board the ship to the pool but have not worn them on the street here in the good old Midwest.
We'll see.

Kathleen said...

I'm with The Butler...

those tricks said...

Summer months?
Open season on espadrilles, male or female.
BTW - have never checked out Alice's blog before.
@Alice: Love the shots of your sis from 1989.
@TinTin: I agree. Grain is good.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Step away from the Espadrilles.
This is the footwear that helped coin the phrase "light in the loafers"....and you ain't.

Patsy said...

Alice & I have the same outfit, 'cept my espadrilles are red and my legs are, well, not those.

Anonymous said...

Why not just put on a pair of panties and a sun dress and be done with it.

Oyster Guy said...

How many times have I seen this happen before...a good man sucked into dangerous waters by a beautiful woman who can pull anything off by her sheer grace and femininity.

I suppose it's fine as resort wear or at the beach house but otherwise I (just me now) would be (with the greatest respect and admiration for you) very sus. At times like this, I ask myself: 'would the Chairman of Boeing wear this?' No one can tell you that you can't...

BCM said...

Petite females can wear these. Big fellas like you and me.......not so much. We need larger, heavier shoes/soles to anchor the outfit. You wear these down Park Avenue and people will think you're sporting ballet flats.*

*(And then followers of The Sartorialist will fall all over themselves claiming you as the most chic and cutting edge in Manhattan.)

Enzo AGC said...

Like all things, there's a time and a place. The time is the summer and the place is the water or darn close to it.

Brummagem Joe said...

Espadrilles. I've been wearing them for years. Bogie used to wear them and he didn't have a pencil moustache. I do have a facial adornment but it's not a pencil type. Not that I think that pencils are that bad, David Niven and Ronald Colman both wore them. The problem with espadrilles used to be the rope soles which wore out in no time. Now they've got around that problem and my esp of choice is Toms. Cheap, cheerful and comfortable.

Anonymous said...

These are pretty close to aqua slippers now that I think of it.

GSV JR said...

Every time I see a guy wearing these things I'm like, Oh, look, that guy's wearing women's shoes. And then whomever I'm with looks at me and says, No, they're Espadrilles.

GSV JR said...

Every time I see a guy wearing these things I'm like, Oh, look, that guy's wearing women's shoes. And then whomever I'm with looks at me and says, No, they're Espadrilles.

Anonymous said...

Please get out of the sun immediately. The heat has clearly gotten to you.

Anonymous said...

I've got a red pair with the Hackett of London Crown on each one- seemd like a great idea in London-Stanstead duty free, now not so much.

Hazen Pingree said...

Men's espadrilles are fine, provided they are relatively plain and have a slightly thicker sole. Paul Stuart and Castaner (sp?) make very nice single color versions.

Anonymous said...


cc said...

et tu, tin tin?

Sean said...

I owe you one- was thinking about a pair of espadrilles for a beach vacation later this summer.

Other comments may mock you for this post, but I tip my hat to you

tintin said...

Joseph the Butler- I think that's a fair observation.

Mark- I think that's a fair observation as well.

Bro - Toms? What'd peanuts and pork rinds got to do with espadrilles?

Dallas- And it wasn't planned.

Unc Looney- as always you're practical insight is dead on. I'm a klutz too but I figured espadrilles would finally require me to trim my toe nails. I just need to find a Mason jar to put 'em in.

2 button- Check this out:


David V- Not sure I'd wear 'em anywhere I didn't hear the sound of waves.

Anonymous said...

Espadrilles? What next? Shark jumping?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that they would cut it at Airborne school.

tintin said...

Kathleen- Me three.

Those Tricks - I thought you and Alice had met?

Main Line - "Drop your Hermes bandana, sir and step away from the espadrilles or I'll have to shoot."

Patsy- I think Alice stays away from red for fear it will clash with her freckles. I think she's wrong about that.

Anon 15.20 You're impatient.

Oyster Guy- It happens. I'm impressed with crotchless panties but I'd never wear them. Not unless I had a really nice sundress.

BCM- Maybe Red Wing could so a pair of espadrilles in a boot.

Enzo- I wouldn't wear these in Jacksonville, FL and it's near the water.

Joe- But you're not Bogie. Or Niven or Colman. A common mistake by the young (Steve McQueen looks good in nomex so I will too). Toms are $54 a pr. These are $12. I'm curious about the difference.

2buttonswag- cept aqua slippers stay on and I understand these don't. I was ready to pull the trigger on espadrilles but Joe's comment has me rethinking.

GSV- Damn it. That hurts.

GSV- Damn it. That hurts.

Anon 16.52 - But I'm wearing a big straw hat.

Zambo- Real men only buy booze in Duty Free.

Hazen Pingree - Do they stay on your feet? I understand they keep slipping off. Maybe they're trying to tell us something?

Flo- I've seen those before. Not in real life though.

cc- I'm not there yet.

Sean- We'll see. I was thinking of sewing Canadian jump wings on a pair.

Anon 1.29- Why not. I think the Fonz wore a pair.

Anon- A pair in maroon and infantry blue would look smashing in the saw dust pits during ground week.

Unclelooney said...

Espadrilles would also look good in a French New Wave Film.


On second look those are some kind of pump but my intentions are well placed.

Anonymous said...


I will have to check that book out. Bruce Lee could pull off Espadrilles.

I do have to admit, when you said "Joe's comments have me rethinking", I spent a bit of time wondering why Alice's "killer legs" would keep you from buying them.

I will say, go for it. Usually, when I like something and other people don't, it gives me even more of a reason to buy it. I like proving I can pull things off, even if it takes a while for them to get used to it. I say $12.00....buy em!

Anonymous said...

I asked my husband if he ever saw a man wearing espadrilles during the two years he lived in France. I got just the response I had hoped for, which was, "What are espadrilles?" When I described them he did not disappoint again, with "Of course not. Those are women's shoes."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Flusser, is the picture above of his feet, or does what he's wearing in this pic just bear a striking resemblance:


Linus412 said...

Tintin, 33 years on, most everyone in these poignant photos taken along the RFK funeral train route looks good. Chinos, buttondowns, 501s. Chuck Taylors, boots, Weejuns. No man is wearing espadrilles. http://todayspictures.slate.com/rfkfuneral/ Just saying.

Brummagem Joe said...

"A common mistake by the young"

Nice of you to say so but I'm somwhat older than you. But look younger of course.