Reader Response: Seasonal Shoes, or Not?, Vol. 15, Issue 50

Etiquetteer received some interesting responses about the Perfect Propriety of off-white linen shoes after Labor Day:

  • "The Problem of Linen Shoes (for Men, presumably) is not so much the color but that they are twee. They belong to prepsters on holiday or at The Club/resort, or to ironic hipsters, or collegians who are wearing berets and smoking clove cigarettes. They are more properly classed with things like sneakers and other athletic wear, and are not proper urban day wear, even in the summer, except when worn by (i) men who are so strikingly beautiful or handsome that no one will look at their shoes, or (ii) men who are sufficiently non-attractive that no one notices what they are wearing anyway."
  • "Today [late September] in San Francisco it's about 90 degrees. Linen shoes would be comfortable and sensible. Therefore, I think in perfectly good taste."
  • "The shoes pictured look like summer beach wear to me. I live in Illinois and it is often chilly even in September. These look far too flimsy to keep your foot comfortable on long walks in the city. I would think they belong in a summer wardrobe and best put away after Labor Day.
    However, I'm speaking from a woman's point of view. A woman who likes to walk and wear shoes that are made for walking. These shoes look much more like ornamental shoes to wear Out for an Occasion. And not for everyday."
  • "James Michener noted in his novel Hawai'i that the English (or at least Anglo) settlers there would change from cotton to wool on the same date that they had done so in their homelands. If you are a working stiff this is damned inconvenient; if you're into conspicuous consumption (see Thorstein Veblen) it is yet another way to consume conspicuously (less capability to actually do something, requiring others to do it for you, more laundry services, etc.)

    "So if not linen, what would you wear to a sunny, 90 degree, garden party in Charleston in late September?"