Paul Galvin on finding, then trying not to wreck, the perfect winter shoes
I'm on the hunt again for new shoes. Like a hominid on the hunt for fig leaves or animal pelts, which were the very height of fashion back in pre-history.
Fishbone for a needle and sinew for thread, early man was fashion's first designer.
Winter dressing today brings its own particular set of challenges when it comes to shoes.
Out go the trainers, the plimsolls and the 'mandals' (man-sandals, of course – another abomination of a word spawned in fashion, just like 'mangles' for man-bangles, and the rest) and in come... well, in come what exactly?
Leather shoes and boots are a must in winter for obvious reasons, such as the inclement weather, but also because, if you're like me, you want to wear casual shoes or trainers with knitwear or smart overcoats.
Added to this is the onset of party season and the need to dress appropriately for all manner of office parties and events.
Ah yes, party season – that time of year when absolutely no one gives a rat's ass what kind of lovely shoes you're wearing as they're too gee-eyed to see.
Still, it's hard to beat the feeling of stepping out in a new pair of strollers. You're king of the castle and can't help but stare down at them as you walk along.
You rock up to the scene, shake hands with the bouncers, who wave you straight in, you buy everyone a drink, have a laugh with the lads, have a drink with the ladies, maybe even have a dance with one of them.
You didn't buy new shoes just for walking around in, did you? That would be a waste of new shoes. You wanna get dancing in them to break them in and show them off.
The next morning you wake up and look at the same abused, discarded shoes covered in beer and think to yourself, 'It's tough being me, but it's a whole lot tougher being new shoes in party season.'
I can picture exactly the shoe I'm after, but can't find them. What a great store my mind's eye would be. I'd have everything I'd ever want to wear and for free.
They turned up eventually in Debenhams. John Rocha came up trumps. His Rocha. John Rocha collection as a whole caters for every man's dress needs, from pyjamas to outerwear, boxers to belts, denim to shoes, as well as homeware.
Suede shoes might be ill-advised for winter, but these grey suede brogues by Rocha for Debenhams are a worthy exception. Classically perforated, the colour is versatile and the little details make it a great Irish shoe. Or rather a great shoe for Irish men.
What exactly makes a great shoe for Irish men? A round toe, for a start. Rocha knows well that pointy shoes are the surest way to make an Irish man run screaming from Debenhams straight to Dubarry.
Winkle- pickers will never catch on in the land where the bootleg jean is standard.
The heel is another nice feature. It adds enough height without drawing any undue attention on the shodden.
Reasonably priced, this is a perfect shoe for the Christmas period. The stony grey colour makes it stand out and the perforation adds a touch of class.
Just keep an eye on the weather forecast before you wear them out.
And mind how you go when you're having a dance – you don't want anyone stepping on your new suede shoes.