This is a guest blog post written by someone with whom I have been having a cordial email exchange.
Last summer, I stumbled upon BHD’s website and later, his blog. I wrote to him to ask what boots he may recommend to wear at a wedding being held in Texas in which I was going to be a groomsman. I live in a state in the eastern U.S., where boot-wearing is uncommon among men in professional positions, or even on weekends with casual clothes. Yes, I am among those that BHD has targeted as the “sneaker-wearing Dads” who wear “dorky dress shoes” at the office.
But I have what I thought was a valid reason for doing so: I am a trial attorney, and often appear in court. I must wear a suit and dress the part.
Back to the boots issue.
I thought that a “western wedding” in Texas required the men in the wedding party to wear boots. In fact, the groom pretty much ordered me to — “bring your boots,” he said.
What boots, I asked myself? I never owned or wore boots in my life.
Like guys do, I went on-line to see what boots men wore with suits and to weddings. That’s when BHD’s “wearing boots” website came up rather high on the results. I looked at his “boots and suits” page and thought, “okay — those boots aren’t wild or crazy. I can probably pull it off.”
I would not have to rent a tux since the wedding attire was not formal. The other men, including the groom, were wearing suits. Suits? Not a problem. I’ve got a lot of suits to choose from. So since my expenses for my attire were minimal, I thought that I could buy a cheap pair of boots and wear them for the wedding, then donate them afterwords. Heck, me, wear boots back home? No way. (I thought.)
I began emailing BHD about what he suggested in my situation. “Basic, simple, black cowboy boots would do.” He gave me suggestions and even some links to look at. I bought a pair of black dressy Tony Lama boots on sale. They arrived quickly. I tried them on.
The boots didn’t seem to fit right. They were loose in the heel. When I walked in them, the high heel made me walk funny. I didn’t like the feel of boots at all.
I communicated more with BHD. He assured me that what I was feeling was quite normal. He said that most men who wear sneakers and dress shoes are very used to low heel height, and a heel an inch higher on a cowboy boot throws a lot of new boot wearers off, or off balance. He also said that heel slippage is common, but once the boots are broken in, it will stop.
BHD recommended that I become more accustomed to wearing boots and breaking them in by wearing them for at least several hours a day for a few weeks before the Texas wedding.
But where would I wear boots? I couldn’t imagine wearing them to work in the courthouse or in my office.
Once again, BHD encouraged me to try. He suggested that I wear the boots while commuting to work and walking into the office, and then bring a gym bag with regular shoes to change into if I felt like I needed to change footwear. He said, “notice on the subway that a lot of men wear sneakers and carry a bag with shoes in it?” He was right. A lot of men do that. In fact, my wife does that almost every day because she does not want to wear heels on the subway.
One day, I pulled on my new boots with my suit and went to work. I had meetings and did work around the office. But on that first day of boot-wearing, I decided to change to shoes when I went out to lunch. Oh well, I wore boots for a half day. BHD would be proud. (He was.)
The next few days that week, I wore my boots into the office and changed to shoes when I went to court.
One day, though, I had those boots on and got called into court by a partner of my firm. “Come quickly.”
Without thinking about my footwear, I made my way to court and it was only at the end of the day that I realized that I wore boots to court. What’s more, no one said a thing.
BHD told me that most people wouldn’t notice, or if they did, they might compliment the boots but not question my sanity for wearing them. Again, he was right.
By the time I got to Texas and went to the wedding, I felt like an experienced boot-wearing man. I looked around and saw that most of the men were very comfortable in boots. Even on the dance floor. My wife even remarked about how comfortable I seemed to be in boots.
Now, months later, I continue to wear those boots to the office, to court, and casually on weekends. That’s not to say that I have abandoned dress shoes or sneakers (as much as BHD would want me to do so). But I am equally as comfortable in boots as I am in shoes. BHD’s response when I told him that was “yippie!” I thought that was funny.
So this attests to the fact that even grown male attorneys on the East Coast can overcome concerns about wearing boots with a suit and in an office or even a courthouse. No sweat!
BHD comment: I really appreciate my friend for writing this guest blog which has been a month in development. But what’s more important — I have a new “convert” to attest that men can wear boots with dress clothes and in public, including a law firm, and enjoy it!