You’d think with a series like ‘The Full Works’ that the clue would be in the name, but when it comes to Dark Brown Suede (and the fact that our ready-to-wear collection currently includes no less than 30 models in this colourway) this concept gets a little tricky to enact in just one article. We have dozens of Dark Brown Suede models that are known and loved by name – particularly when it comes to stalwart loafers like Cavendish, Boston and Sydney, as well as classic lace-ups like Lanark 3 or Westbourne, or monk straps like Lowndes 4 and Monkton.
So, this instalment of The Full Works is going to focus instead on some of those Dark Brown Suede shoes and boots that can be easily be overlooked in favour of our house favourites, in the hope that this will provide some fresh inspiration for one of our most popular materials.
Let’s start with some underdog loafers. If you’re looking for a Loafer that’s subtly different to the tried and tested classics, but no less wearable, then look to Selby, a model we introduced last summer. Selby is an updated take on an eccentric mid-century classic; the Butterfly Loafer, so called thanks to its distinctive interlaced panelling across the bridge of the foot. Traditionally, butterfly loafers are finished with lots of punching around the apron, but the Selby is altogether cleaner in its tastes with simple topstitching.
A shoe like this is a true chameleon; perfect with everything from dark grey winter flannel suits, to summer tailoring in linen, and on to washed denim and workwear. The same can be said of the Kensington, a rakish wholecut loafer that’s so daringly simple at a glance it can be mistaken for a slipper. And, if you’re looking for something well and truly special, then you might also consider Cadogan, our stunning Hand Grade penny loafer in Dark Brown Calf Suede – the prince of suede leathers – which is both velvety soft and impressively resilient.
Next to Loafers, Derbys are among our most popular styles right now thanks to their handy ‘dress-up, dress down’ sensibilities and we have a number of sharp-looking styles to choose from. The first is Hardwick, our distinctly English take on a Norwegian Split-toe Derby with pointed toes and pulled-up aprons.
While ostensibly a casual lace-up, the Hardwick is enjoying a renaissance as a business casual shoe of late, and is a distinguished choice to pair with blazers and chinos on your return to the office this spring – credentials helped by its rubber City Soles. The Lanark 3 is similarly versatile, a sturdy-looking derby shoe with storm-welted Dainite soles, lasted on the 378, with rounded toes. Its wholecut design balances a country last with a contemporary look – and many of our wholesale clients choose the Lanark 3 as a ‘formal’ shoe for this reason.
This in turn leads us to Derby Boots. Few Dark Brown Suede boots are more recognisable than the Chukka (although our Chelsea 8 boot is a strong contender), and at Crockett & Jones we offer no shortage of riffs on the classic. Our Chukka needs no introduction with its ankle-height, single leather soles and simple trio of eyelets. Notably, the C&J Chukka is lasted on the 200, which was created in 1934 and has been in production ever since – proof that a good fit really does last the test of time. Its closest cousin is the Chiltern, which is a little lower in the rise and lasted on the 224 which differs subtly in the heel and toe box.
Beyond these we also offer two options on contemporary lasts; the Tetbury, which sits on the popular 348 last with soft square toes, plus the Upton in Dark Oak Suede (this is a little darker than our signature Dark Brown) on the 379, which offers a slightly trimmer profile with City Soles as opposed to Dainites. These differences between each Chukka are subtle, and really, it’s simply down to personal style preference to which will work for you – each makes for an underrated smart-casual wardrobe staple. Our final Boot of choice is the Shannon; a handsome Derby Boot with brass eyelets, speed hooks, split-toes with Vibram cleated rubber soles. If you can dress our Chukkas up or down, Shannon is most certainly a dress-down-only boot; made to pair with hardy denim or else well-worn chinos – the more lived-in the better.
With summer now on the horizon, we have one other duo of shoes to suggest to you too, which bring us back around to where we started. If simplicity is the mother of renewal, then they don’t come any newer than our new Waterford unlined Derby in Dark Oak Suede. Part of our seasonal Unstructured Collection, this plain-fronted derby is set on our new, remarkable SUPERFLEX soles and is simply a joy to wear in warm temperatures – make them your ‘back to work’ shoes this spring. And, if you’re a loafer man, then Waterford’s brother the Seaton – our most flexible, comfortable penny loafer ever – is a must-try.
Of course, we have more Dark Brown Suede shoes in our arsenal and we’ve doubtless missed a hidden gem or two ourselves in this run-down, (don’t forget our matching belt, either). This most versatile of materials takes many forms – any of which are well worth trying.