Very shortly, my Allen Edmonds Park Avenue laceups and I will fly halfway across the U.S. to visit their birthplace, the AE manufacturing facility in Port Washington, WI.
It’s more than a trip; it’s a pilgrimage
My upcoming trip has put me in a quandary. On the one hand, I am incredibly excited because I am getting a personal tour of the world-class Allen Edmonds shoe factory. For me, this is akin to being offered SuperBowl tickets with the promise of meeting Katy Perry after the halftime show. I am an Allen Edmonds devotee’ of the highest order, a superfan. In short, I will be in heaven.
So why am I also simultaneously dreading this trip? Because as a woman, it’s not enough to prepare my thoughts, questions, and logistics. I also have to plan…..my outfit.
It’s the dual nature of the trip that keeps me second-guessing myself. I know I’ll get to tour the factory – think machines, noise, and funky chemical smells – because I told them I’d like to see “every one of the 212 steps” it takes to hand craft a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes. But I hope to meet one or two people on the marketing team. Think pinstripes, cologne, and of course, impeccable footwear.
Should I dress down to avoid being “a suit” on the manufacturing floor, or dress up because I want to make a good first impression? My challenge is to find an outfit that is both practical and professional, and we all know how difficult that is. From the ankles down, I’m confident: I’ll wear my Allen Edmonds Park Avenues, of course. But what about the rest of me?
From Park Avenue to Port Washington
Some people believe that to get to heaven we must go through hell, which for me is a shopping mall. A sales clerk there suggested a pair of black and white hound’s-tooth slacks would be an elegant way to set off my shoes, and showed me a fabulous pair of Armani Collezioni. For $645. Oops. Maybe I’d spend that kind of money if I were actually meeting Armani. Or God.
But I liked her suggestion. Back at home, a lengthy Internet search yielded roughly 2.4 billion ankle length and/or cropped pants, and oh, a few dozen full-length pairs. Groan. I will be SO GLAD when the ankle pant has gone the way of leg warmers and shoulder pads.
Finally, I found a few options and paid extra for 2-day shipping. It’s not the ideal way to shop, obviously. I feel silly and extravagant and desperate. And finding a solution is only half the battle; they’ll have to be hemmed and perhaps altered as well. I’m grateful for a good relationship with my local tailor.
A black silk sleeveless blouse, roomy leather “murse” (man purse) and handmade Lisa Stewart leather earrings will complete my ensemble. If all goes well, it’ll look something like the photo above.
Outfit complete! On to obsessing about all the OTHER parts of my visit! Uff da!