Saturday, 22 September 2012

Put your best foot forward

In which G.M. Norton shares one of his favourite rituals - shining one’s shoes.

 

Over the course of this periodical, I will seek to act as your sartorial beacon, guiding you through the choppy waters of modern life. This week’s topic will cover the importance of polishing one’s footwear.

The mark of a true gentleman can be judged by the shininess of his shoes. What good is an outfit consisting of a finely-cut three-piece suit, a luxurious wool overcoat and a fur felt fedora sat on your well-coiffed head if it’s to be ruined by shoddy shoes? 

When a cardboard box just won't do, old bean

In the halcyon age of yesteryear, there was a rosy-cheeked shoe shine boy on every street corner, keen to earn the King’s shilling. Sadly, this service is no longer provided, at least not on any of the streets I tread my brogue-clad feet.

As employing staff to take care of my shoes is out of the question (although training up my two children is an option and they do have the pre-requisite rosy cheeks), it is necessary for me to take matters into my own hands and do the job myself. Rather than it being a chore, it’s a necessary ritual to which I look forward to.

Craftmanship at its best

To aid me in my shoe shining endeavours, my beloved presented me with a gift to celebrate my thirtieth year – an exquisite shoe valet box by Messrs Loake, England’s shoe making specialists. 

The box is made from the finest walnut and the brass fittings add an extra touch of luxury. Lifting the lid unveils a treasure-trove of shoe shine goodness with various tins of wax polish, brushes, polishing cloths and that all important shoe horn.

Nice, shiny footwear puts an extra spring in your well-heeled step. It’s a statement of personal pride in one’s appearance, a mark of understated elegance and refinement. Gleaming shoes say “I am better than you, you ruffian.”

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’

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