CHURCH’S “Custom Grade” Cape Buck Suede Full Brogue Oxford: 41.5D
Church’s English Shoes
Barrie Ltd. New Haven
Cape Buck Suede Full Wing Tip Oxford Brogue
Church’s Brown Cape Buck Suede Oxford Brogue is one of the greatest English classic shoes and sets the standard for all others of the type. Every good shoemaker offers a brown suede full brogue but let there be no doubt, Church’s Suede Oxford sets and has set the standard for suede shoes for 50 years. It is one of the perhaps dozen basic gentleman’s shoes and tremendously versatile. I believe no wardrobe is complete without this model. Both dressy and relaxed and quite commonly seen in London’s financial district, the “City”, the Brown Suede Oxford is absolutely correct for daytime business wear, pin or chalk-stripe suit, gray flannels and indeed the obvious, with all the possible country earth-tones. Opinions vary, of course, and for the timid, or those first seeking entrance to the “Square Mile”, black may be the safer choice for business. For others, what is good enough for the late Prince of Wales and the late lamented Fred Astaire, may well be good enough. Finally, I find my Suede shoes improve with age and weathering; they become more handsome with a few years and miles on them and are simple to maintain; just wait until dry and brush and wear!
This is the old and great Church’s „Custom Grade“ shoe, the shoe that made Church’s reputation, made especially for Barrie. Ltd. Understandably it is rarely seen in the after market; I see no more than two or three good examples a year in all sizes combined. If this shoe is your size, do not hesitate.
Size: US 8.5D, UK 7.5E and a continental 41.5D, correct for the medium width foot.
Condition: Fine, all original and lightly worn.
About Barrie Ltd.
Barrie Ltd., on York Street in New Haven, a Yale institution since 1934, closed its doors in October 2004. For some 70 years Barrie presented an impressive array of fine English shoes. Their clientele of Yale students, graduates and faculty supported this family run business through three generations of the Barrie family until recently when Barrie Ltd. was forced out by Yale University’s Real Estate Department’s lease demands. Yale had been buying such commercial buildings on Chapel, Broadway and York Streets as became available, including the building in which Barrie Ltd was housed.
To be fair, much of the gentrification of Chapel Street in the last decade has been the result of Yale attracting “national” businesses. Even the old Barrie location is now occupied by a successor shoe business of some quality. Still, for those of us who go a few years farther back in memory –rather say decades- the once noble decay of the area surrounding campus will be missed. As the Boarders, Bennetons and Burger Kings proliferate, as the area around campus comes to ever more resemble a mall, as quality and products migrate to some common denominator of market mediocrity, as shopping streets begin to be indistinguishable from one other, and as the wonderful disorder and diversity of former times is swept away with the passing of family owned business, to what will future generations of students turn, to avoid the rising tide of uniformity?
Still, Barrie Ltd., their excellent English shoes, their free shoe shines for old clients, and the Barrie family manning the store for all those years will be remembered by many an old boy. On a Reunion Weekend, you were as likely to run into an old classmate in the Barrie’s shop as on campus.
One old Yale graduate, David Chambers, writing about Barrie Ltd. and the old days remarked “When we were at Yale as students, we looked good (remember those coats and ties?) and the streets looked a bit shabby. Now the streets look good (all those “national” stores) and the students look shabby.” How very true.