I wrote in 2009 that black and white spectators were useful principally with white trousers and a blue jacket, but I overlooked another important use for the shoe and that is paired with a cream summer suit, whether linen or some other fabric. The thing that black and white brings to the party is that it looks fine during the day but can also be worn at night, when plain black shoes of any kind just look wrong with cream colored trousers.
At this point I was tempted to go down a road that explained that the Roman senators wore black cloth shoes with their togas and no-one complained about those aesthetics but it occurred to me that we have come a long way since then and owe a great deal of that progress to the proliferation of brown shoes during the day. The trouble is, brown looks as out of place after sundown as unrelieved black does in bright sun shine and the effect of that unfortunately is to relegate cream colored trousers to day wear lest one find oneself looking as two normally skilled dressers did a while back. The solution of course is the black calf and cream buckskin spectator, which is a concept so simple that I have to wonder why it never occurred to me before.
This leaves us with the not unimportant question of how profligate one must be to consider bespeaking a pair of shoes that are likely to be trotted out only a few times a season, but in answer I turn to summer photos of the late Duke of Windsor, a man who wore black and white spectators so often that he needed several pair.
Case, if it can be called that, closed.
Photo: Ralph Lauren