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The Heart and Sole of the Matter (Rim Shot, Please)
by Trent Dietz

The time has come for me to write about fashion (as if we needed another sign that the world was ending). First off: credentials. I have none. Fashion is not my forte. How could it be when the last sentence exhausted my knowledge of French? To me, “fuchsia” means “pink,” “maroon” means “red,” and “fashionable” means “costs as much as a Porsche Carrera.”

Fashion is important. It can make a difference between being happy and carefree and being happy, carefree, and blissfully ignorant. It can make the difference between getting that job you always wanted and getting a job at a place that actually cares about your qualities and not your clothing.

But really, it can matter and (sometimes) should be taken seriously.

And what portion of clothing is more important to fashion than shoes? I have no idea, but just go with it because I’m going to talk about shoes whether you like it or not.

1. Shine your shoes.
My shoes seem to get scuffed whenever they come into contact with abrasive surfaces like air molecules. But in law school, I learned that the first thing people notice about a man’s clothes is his tie and the second is his shoes. So bust out that shoe polish and old rag, and keep in mind another fashion tip: shining is just a fancy version of staining and should only be used on shoes. Don’t let that polish get near your wife’s new dress. No, seriously BE CAREFUL YOU’RE GOING TO . . .

2. Do not wear sandals and socks.
Just don’t.

3. Shoes can make a difference.
Shoes alone can make the difference between one style and another. The best example of this is an ensemble of a sleeveless shirt and athletic shorts. Shoes are the determinative factor in this look. If you are wearing basketball or running shoes, you look like you have just engaged or are about to engage in something athletic, challenging, and worthwhile. Whereas, if you are wearing flip-flops, you call into question whether you have ever done anything athletic in your life. Call it the “stud/bum shoe paradox.”

4. Whatever you were doing before, it can’t be as good as taking off your shoes.
This is less a fashion tip than a rule of comfort. Nothing beats taking off your shoes. The freedom, the relaxation, and (for those unfortunate enough to be within about twenty feet) the stench. This rule is best demonstrated by skiing. I love skiing. I crave the feeling of the wind rushing by as I glide down a mountain in an activity that would violate the Geneva Convention if we forced people to do it involuntarily. And yet, that feeling pales in comparison to the delight of removing your ski boots at the end of the day. Strange.

In summary, keep your shoes shiny, separate your sandals and socks, pick the right pair of shoes for the job, and remove your shoes when you can. What more needs to be said?