We often talk about matching the style of shoes with the color of our suit or the attire in which we will wear it with. Aside from the shoe style though, we have to consider the leather type and color when matching with our getup. Leather types also help in reinforcing a specific look. A leather with a smoother finish is more formal than one with a pebbled/textured finish. It is in the mix in minute details of color and texture matching which can give the shoes more vibrance and personality.
Standard Bulacan Pullside leathers have a corrected grain, meaning most of the imperfections of the tophide layer was removed in order to achieve a smoother finish. The The Pullside is arguably one of the better ones to come out of the smaller tanneries which still produce leather. These leathers, as majority of the leathers sold in Marikina, are chrome tanned. Unlike the other leathers, Pullside leathers’ colors are “baked” into the hide ensuring that the base color will not fade over time and would require the removal of the topcoat before the color gets affected. Pullside leathers also have a more rigid structure, creating that mix of suppleness and firmness which give the shoes a good balance of structure as it keeps the shape well and comfort as it can adapt to your movements easily. A quirk of the leather is that it can hide imperfections such as “old cow” which causes the leather to crease more than normal and stretching at the folds which causes the undesirable bulge before the crease point. Both quirks however, can be remedied by reconditioning the shoe at the workshop.
Bulacan Pullside is an oily leather which creates a smooth natural finish unlike Brush Off leather, which can commonly be seen being used by big brands such as Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole, which has a high gloss finish which looks like it has been laminated and has a more artificial polish to it. During our first year of training, we have experimented with different types of locally available leathers from Softy to Pull Ups before finally settling with Pullside, which is the more expensive of the local leathers, as our primary material for our uppers. Of course we also use Suede and Nubuck for textured leather but we primarily settled with Pullside for our more formal and business styles.
Here are the basic Pullside colors and a short description on what attire it goes with:
Classic Black is the quintessential Swiss Army Knife of colors. It just goes well with everything and is the most versatile color to have for shoes. Most apt for very formal events and work. A basic must have especially in oxford captoes. Of course having a couple if black pairs is good but one would also need other colors to compliment the variety of colors available in your wardrobe.
Dark Coffee is a black replacement. In indoor lighting, it is almost black and the “coffee” brown only comes out under direct light and becomes even more prominent under yellow or natural light. It fits well with bright blue suits, creating a subdued contrast which is not as boring as black. It also goes well with a Barong Tagalog as the natural colors of Pineapple weave fits nicely with the earthy tone of coffee beans. On more casual styles such as derby and double monks, dark coffee can be paired with neutral and dark pants.
Antique Brown would be a good color to use if you want to convey maturity in your attire. The more formal of the browns, it is best deployed in the board room or for the big day. It has a seriousness to it which is not as stuffy as the classic black and would give your attire more depth. It goes well with charcoal, navy blue, gray and the lighter shades of brown. It is also a good compliment for the Barong Tagalog.
Choco/Chestnut Brown is a more relaxed brown which is suited for outdoor and daytime events. It is normally used with gray and navy suits and conveys a more youthful and relaxed vibe giving it more versatility but would not be suitable for very formal events. I only recommend this for grooms who have outdoor weddings. It is however a great color for chukkas and boot cuts. The lighter color also helps in highlighting the details of the shoes if one decides to have brogues made in this color.
Tan is the jack-of-all-trades of colors aside from the classic black. It goes well with a variety of colors from navy to the grays and to the darker browns. This color also is a good denim compliment and is almost at home with most of the colors available for chinos as well. It is also a fun pair to have and one of the must haves in any modern gentleman’s wardrobe. Great for celebratory occasions and perfect for a groom wanting to set himself apart from the rest by wearing a brightly colored pair.
Bronze is neutral color which sits between tan and antique brown. It is a very subdued color which is good alternative to antique brown. It is a more modern color which is actually very versatile as it fits everything from charcoal to khakis. Generally apt for business occasions where a sense of seriousness is required while conveying a more open minded opinion on tweaking traditions.
Oxblood is a popular color for use in formal occasions. The color mix of a reddish-purplish hue creates a very classy color which accentuates classic formality while also being very modern. Perfect with charcoal, navy blue and gray suits. This color is also very versatile with the colors available to chinos and creates a good compliment to earthy hues. Its subdued and dark hue makes it into a good black replacement also for work and business events. It is a sure head turner as the color is subtle enough to blend in yet is sure to catch the attention of those around it.
Navy Blue is a very good alternative to black. It has a very subdued hue that one might even have to stress in order to find the blue in this leather. The blues only appear as reflections as the light bounces off this leather otherwise it can easily be mistaken for black. For those who want something different in their rotation but are not comfortable with other colors aside from black.
So there you have it. The classic colors available on our locally produced quality Bulacan Pullside calfskin (although there are also the “old cows” mixed in which is a Class C leather that we have to curate) which is fit for most of the modern gentleman’s requirements. There are other bolder and more nontraditional colors such as red, green, gray, beige and white which are reserved for the “special use” shoes which do not fit in most business and formal settings. While individuality is one of the key characteristics in choosing one’s pair, a respect for tradition and the occasion is also required so every modern gentleman should be able to express his individuality and personality in a subtle and discreet manner.