Reconsidering the Single Monk

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For a long time now, I’ve been skeptical of single monks. Not the kind with a swept back strap, like those on John Lobb’s Vale or Edward Green’s Oundle (I actually think those look kind of rakish), but rather the “garden variety,” where the strap goes horizontally across the tongue. Those always looked to me like something a friar would wear – a literal form of the “monk shoe.”

My prejudice started chipping away two years ago, when I was shopping for shoes at John Lobb and one of the sales associates bent down to fit me. Right underneath the cuff of his trousers flashed the slight glint of a buckle strap. He was wearing a pair of single monks, and I thought they looked pretty good. Sophisticated, even. Then, in the last year, Voxsartoria posted a nice looking ensemble he wore on vacation – a golden brown, checked, lambswool sport coat with a blue shirt, knit tie, grey flannel trousers, and a complementing pair of green suede single monks (I believe from Saint Crispins). And more recently, I started noticing photos of Antonio Liverano and George Cortina in single monk shoes. All of them looked great.

So, with trepidation, I decided to try a pair in what I think might be the most wearable design of all. Edward Green Mercers built on the shapely 82 last and made from the company’s antiqued dark oak leather. The straps on either side are slightly crossed, like an “X,” which I think helps mitigate the friar look. The buckle is also slightly dulled, so it doesn’t shine like a gold coin. These are from Edward Green’s recent sale, but you can buy the brown suede version from Axel’s.

When worn, I think they look pretty good. More sophisticated than a double monk, but less formal than a lace up, these seemingly go well with a casual sport coat and a pair of odd trousers. I admit, I still have some reservations, but the photos of Antonio Liverano and George Cortina below are doing a lot to change my mind.

(Photos by Rugged Old Salt, Axel’s, The Sartorialist, and Voxsartoria)


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    Make these for me
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  11. technoizzy reblogged this from dieworkwear and added:
    Sad thing is I love her jeans more than his slacks lol.
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