I Can’t Even: The Best Adulting Menswear Essentials from Christopher James — Part 2

Depending on your job, the disheveled look can only carry you so far. A polished appearance complete with well-fitting clothing can do amazing things for one’s confidence. Read on for reliable and effective tips in Part 2 of Christopher James Adulting Menswear Essentials: 

In our last installment, we talked about suits, ties, dress shirts, the necessity of a belt and appropriate jeans. Next on the list are sweaters.


Sweaters. A lightweight sweater from Christopher James is a great transitional piece from season to season. You can wear a sweater from Peter Millar or Robert Graham with a button down shirt, with or without a tie, under a sport or suit jacket or with an open collared button down and coordinating solid T-shirt peeking out underneath. Throw on a sport coat and jeans and your not-too-casual-oh-this-old-thing look will yield many approving looks. 

Jeans aside, another wardrobe essential is a neat pair of trousers, be they dress pants or casual chinos. Options from Samuelsohn or Bill’s Khakis are incredibly comfortable, versatile and lightweight. 

Shoes. Your feet will thank you a million times over for investing in a few pairs of high-quality shoes. Start with a pair of dress shoes and a pair that checks the casual box so that you have a few styles to rotate through. At Christopher James, we carry both looks from Trask and J&M 1900 and can offer suggestions for how to pull off completing your outfit in shoes that aren’t black. 

Underpants. Why are these in the list? Because we care. Taking care of yourself and maintaining a good grooming schedule also includes considering the first layer of clothing on your body. Throw out your torn and stretched underwear. You deserve the best! Who wants to wear a great outfit with overstretched underwear that bunches in all of the wrong places? Get some Saxx underwear.

Come and adult with us at Christopher James today!


Do I Really Need a Shoe Tree?

Yes. Yes, you do.

brogue shoe with a shoe tree

The world is full of gimmicks. A shoe tree, however, is not one of them.

Despite their goofy appearance, shoe trees are an important part of proper shoe care. The wooden inserts help dry out shoes and preserve their shape, allowing them to stay as fresh as they were the day you bought them. And not just for a year or two—expensive dress shoes that are properly cared for with a shoe tree can look like new for decades.

What a shoe tree does

Your shoes take quite a beating during the day, even if you mostly sit at a desk. They bend, flex, and stretch, all the while absorbing loads of foot sweat. Over time this moisture accumulation causes the lining to rot, leather to crack, and the shoe to become deformed. It might also emit a not-so-nice funk. (Pretty picture, eh?)

And get a whiff of this: it takes 24 hours for shoes to dry out completely.

A shoe tree quickens the drying process by absorbing moisture and odors, all while holding the shoe in place so that the leather and lining dry in the right shape.

Types of shoe trees

Cheap ($15-$30)

cheap shoe tree

It’s not necessary to spend a fortune on shoe trees. For $15-30, you can get a good pair, but it probably won’t have a full wooden heel, which is ideal for moisture absorption and shaping. Instead it’ll have a knob or thin piece of wood. Some $30 shoe trees are actually pretty decent, however, and a $15 cheapie is still better than none at all.

Quality ($30-$50)

quality shoe tree

Nicer shoe trees have ventilation slots that help dissipate moisture, and they also have fuller heels. More wood means more moisture absorption and odor control, and better preservation of the shoe’s shape.

Pro tip: Don’t be fooled by varnished shoe trees. Their shininess might make you think they’re fancier, but in fact, it’s the exact opposite. The varnish acts as a sealant and doesn’t allow the wood to draw out moisture, so opt for unfinished every time.

Lasted (prices vary)


A really expensive pair of shoes (we’re talking $700+) usually comes with a last, a fancy term for a custom shoe tree. Lasts are the crème de le crème of shoe trees because they’re the closest it gets to having an entire cedar foot inside your shoe. Plus, a last is shaped like the shoe, so it preserves the original shape for much longer.

Travel ($10-$15)

Plastic travel shoe tree

Cram as much stuff as you want in your suitcase without worrying about deforming your expensive wingtips. Travel shoe trees are lightweight, plastic, and perfect for road warriors.

So, stop walking all over your shoes

Show them some TLC.

And all shoes need a little love–so whether you’re a luxury shoe connoisseur, or a guy with a modest budget who wants to maximize his investments, shoe trees must be in your closet.

You’re Invited to Our Fall Fashion Bash

Don’t have plans for October 27? You do now.

Join us for one of Christopher James’ biggest trunk shows, where you can mix, mingle, and sample the newest looks from eight of the world’s best menswear brands.

Assemble your best fall wardrobe yet in one stop

We’ll be showcasing the following brands. Follow each link to see what they’re about:

  • Superb custom suits, sport coats, and trousers from Samuelsohn
  • Luxurious dress shoes from Donald Pliner
  • Dapper casual pants from Meyer
  • Classic, 100% made-in-America topcoats and vests from Upmarket Stitchers
  • Refined dress pants from Sartore
  • Sophisticated outerwear from Barbour
  • One-of-kind neckwear and accessories from S.T.E.P. USA
  • Top-of-the-line dress and casual shirts from Eton

Special event deals available

To show our appreciation for your attendance, we’re offering special pricing to all guests, and it will only be available during the bash. Stop by to learn more.

SweetCars will have a few of their “sweet rides” on display

Stop in and register to win a Master Detailing job courtesy of SweetCars.

Delicious food and drink will be served

Nosh on mouth-watering apps and tasty refreshments from our friends at Catablu Grille.

Don’t miss this event!

This is our last major sale before winter comes, so now’s your last chance to save big on fall and winter styles. Representatives from all the brands–Barbour, Donald Pliner, Eton, Meyer, Samuelsohn, Sartore, S.T.E.P. USA, and Upmarket Stitchers–will be right here in the store to answer any questions you have about your favorite items. There’s no better time to shop!

Event details:

Date: Thursday, October 27
Time: 2-7 pm
Location: Christopher James Menswear, Covington Plaza

See you there!