• Benchmade Tassel Loafers

    Top Drawer | Prep Essentials  

    If you’ve ever met me, you wouldn’t take me for a guy who spends $800 on shoes. And you'd be right.  I drive a 25 year-old Bimmer, wear a $35 watch, and avoid ATM fees like synthetic fabrics.  Frugal?  You could say that.

    There is this pomp and circumstance about a benchmade tassel loafer that distinctly says, "I care."  Perhaps it's the ornamented aura they induce when you slip them on; or the Goodyear-welted construction and double leather sole; or the full calfskin lining for comfort and longevity (because let’s face it, I’ll rarely be wearing socks).  Maybe it's the fact that they're crafted with Chicago's Horween cordovan (arguably the best cordovan in the world today); or that they're kept on a shoe form far longer than today’s standard; or it could easily be the over 200 separate operations spanning eight weeks.

    Though the tassel silhouette’s emergence in the 1950s gave way to gradual acceptance by the East-coast prep culture, Crockett & Jones has been crafting shoes in Northampton since 1879. Now in its fifth generation, it remains a family business that also makes shoes, like these, for the likes of Ralph Lauren. These loafers just feel well made. Their grade is a thing of beauty. I'll typically walk a mile in another man's shoes in lieu of buying new; however, I fell in with these at a deal I just couldn’t walk away from.

    May 31, 2011 | Permalink (21) Total Comments

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    Jonas left a comment on 1/27/2013 at 6:12 PM:

    What is the 35$ watch you mention?

    Christopher Campbell left a comment on 6/23/2011 at 2:33 PM:

    Which White Buck Shoes do you recommend?

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 12:21 PM:

    @BJP - Seconds, irregulars, and sales from ShoeMart.com.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 10:46 AM:

    @DAM—Alan Flusser once told me to wear socks...and though that didn’t stick, him tipping me off to splaying my tassels did.  I can’t wear them with the same conformity that those lawyers do, now can I? ;)

    @AEV—Thanks for sharing that NYT piece below.  That’s readership added value and beneficial too all for a laugh as well as a re-visitation to history.

    DAM left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 10:20 AM:

    Fred - what happened to your tassels? They look like the blown out end of a sawed off shot gun?

    AEV left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 10:05 AM:

    Great shoes Fred - glad to hear you picked them up at a discount as I never understood why some folks so willingly pay RL 30% more than they have to for items made by others and sold for less under the original label(s)...

    The below made me smile…mostly because of the utter hypocrisy…:

    The New York Times
    The Politicization of Tasseled Loafers
    November 03, 1993
    To say “tasseled loafer” in Washington is not just to describe a simple shoe, but to utter a political phrase, often part of an epithet.

    It is frequently connected to the word “lawyers,” as in those tasseled-loafered lawyers!, although no law degree is required to wear them. And despite its earlier image as the shoe of the postgraduate preppy, it is today a kind of everyman’s shoe, available in all price ranges.

    Nonetheless, the shoes have been deployed in recent years as metaphorical weapons in the nation’s political wars.

    When George Bush wanted to hurl a wounding barb during the last Presidential campaign, he complained that Bill Clinton was supported by “every lawyer that ever wore a tasseled loafer.”

    Mr. Bush may have had reason to believe the charge potent as he had himself once been the target of a tasseled-loafer insult. When he ran for President in 1980, he complained that Ronald Reagan had bested him in a debate in New Hampshire by using unfair tactics. One of Mr. Reagan’s aides retorted in a widely disseminated remark that those with Mr. Bush’s private-school pedigree were generic sore losers. “Those tasseled-loafer guys always cry foul when they lose,” the aide said.

    BJP left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 8:53 AM:

    @Laguna Beach Fogey Where are you scoring cheap Aldens?

    Joy left a comment on 6/1/2011 at 3:29 AM:

    I go to school there and haven’t even heard of it. What a shame and what have I been missing out on! Great rec and will try to seek it out.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 7:11 PM:

    @NMR—Did you not read the entire piece? I did not pick these up at retail.

    @GLG—At the moment I don’t care to pass down a watch to my sons…because it honestly wouldn’t survive me more than likely.  Watches, for the most part, are precious and dainty…I tend to scratch the crystal often.  And there’s just something unpretentious about a Timex Easy Reader.

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 6:44 PM:


    As you know, FEC, tassel loafers are probably my favourite shoe, up there with brogues.

    A classic preppy shoe of California origins, tassel loafers tend to incite either scorn or fierce love.

    I’ve been wearing C&J for years, but am just as happy wearing cheap Alden and A&E tassel loafers.


    Tad Allagash left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 6:11 PM:

    Great shoes.  Those are some serious frat wings on the tassels, especially for a new pair.

    NMR left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 6:04 PM:

    $800?  You didn’t pick them up during the sale?

    Kelly left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:57 PM:

    @F.E.C Are you familiar with the film Love Story? It has some of the best preppy wardrobe on film everrrrr. thought you might enjoy.

    check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GetvJltxPHI

    PDXPrep left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:27 PM:

    Great looking shoes. I just recently purchased my first pair of Crockett & Jones (British Field Boots) while in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year (Check out Tassel’s if you ever make it over http://www.tassels.com.hk/en/index.php). I am now in search of a deal for my second pair.

    Great site, been reading for a year and a half now.

    GLG left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 5:03 PM:

    @F.E.C.  I also wear a watch that cost under $100 from Orvis - not a “Walmart watch” by any means, but also not a priceless instrument.  Most men who purchase expensive watches look forward to giving them to their children one day - an old watch makes a better gift than an old pair of shoes.

    Christian Bourasseau left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 2:39 PM:

    Beautiful loafers.

    The Boss left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 2:38 PM:

    Crockett & Jones make exceptional footwear. Great purchase!

    BJP left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 2:36 PM:

    Absolutely perfect.

    alessandra nitti left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 2:13 PM:

    this blog is incredible!

    Plain T-Shirt (Jace Lumley) left a comment on 5/31/2011 at 1:25 PM:

    Ironic, first time I saw a pair of these was 10 minutes earlier walking around downtown Pittsburgh, I thought “those are very nice shoes”, and here they are to reassure my decision.