The Church of Good Taste

What’s the deal with blokes who insist on getting their kit off in the City centre?

I crossed paths with this chap yesterday morning, his nipple rings flashing at me in the glorious sunshine. Brave as ever, my grip tightened on the handle of my Whangee Umbrella as I prepared to defend myself against this unsavoury character.

Luckily, he had no designs on my wallet, nor waistcoat, the latter which I would have gladly provided in a bid get some of that pasty skin off the streets.

One place you can rest assured of no superfluous papillae is the calm, genteel, wood panelled sanctum of English shoe making that is Church’s store in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds.

It’s just a soda-syphon and secret handshake short of a gentleman’s club and here are Paul and Patrick who are it’s guardians.

I am of the firm opinion that every man should have at least one pair of Church’s in his wardrobe. I’ve currently got my beady eyes on the pair on the left in the photo below.

Perfect with a pair of straight-leg jeans, open neck shirt, charity bracelet and a glass of Champers, for ‘dancing’ the night away in Mahiki with Wills and Kate. Yah?

The chaps at Church’s are lovely guys, incredibly helpful and very knowledgeable about the craftsmanship that goes into making a pair of Northampton’s finest. They truly understand the importance of customer service and that is something to be applauded.

Patrick has even treated me to some of his personal stash of shoe polish and is one of the few people on Earth who can actually out-talk me. On my last visit he was kind enough to provide me with a guide on How To Look After You Shoes which includes “Grandma’s shoe polish recipe” and how to get rid of shoe odor.

I’ve also set up a discussion about shoes on our Facebook Page and would love to get your comments on other makers and your favourite styles.

As the humidity and heat ramp up as we move through August, it can be a tough time for men when it comes to dressing correctly. The danger of short-sleeve shirts, cargo shorts and exhibitionists flashing their nipples at all and sundry is never far away.

Shoes are also potentially dangerous ground. Most men’s feet are an abomination and Prada sandals can be the kiss of death to an unruly toe-nail. Getting it right isn’t easy. Boat shoes – a bit rah? Crocks – god no. Which, I suppose leaves loafers.

I like the suede pair of Church’s below. I can just see them dismounting a dusty Vespa Scooter and settling down for an espresso and grappa in a shady cafe in Tuscany.

Or there are these babies from Jefferey West, which you might find tucked under a kingsize day-bed in Ibiza, awash with empty bottles of Grey Goose, Cristal and sleeping super-models.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear quality footwear. It say’s more about you than than any other accessory and is worth the investment in getting it right.

So here’s wising you, your feet and yes, even your damn nipples, a thoroughly enjoyable Summer.