Written by Will Halbert
In the vast linguistic landscape of modern menswear, the word ‘clean’ sure has strayed a ways from its humble origins, hasn’t it? No longer concerned with questions of hygiene or purity, clean has come to describe a look that is both effortless and impeccable; razor sharp yet nonchalant. Clean is beyond reproach and above critique. Not without a hint of sprezzatura, clean speaks not only of the clarity and concision of an outfit, but of the quiet confidence of its wearer. Having had the chance to get up close and personal with Crown Northampton’s White Sneaker Collection over the past few months, I can safely say that each and every pair is an exercise in pure and unadulterated clean.
From Derby, to Toe Cap, to Wholecut, to Hi-Top, each of Crown Northampton's white sneaker silhouettes offer something subtly different, but remain united in their peerless quality, their endless versatility and their cooler-than-cool subtlety. All of which is a bells-and-whistles way of saying they absolutely belong in your wardrobe. And why not? Pairing just as well with a bespoke suit as a pair of thrifted denim, the humble white sneaker is the sartorial equivalent of ketchup; it adds that little somethin’ somethin’ to just about anything.
My go-to combo? The Upton Wholecut TL and a pair of washed-out and stitched-up denim, since you asked. It’s a pleasing, one-two punch of rugged ostentation and low-key simplicity. The Upton’s single piece, calf grain upper, hidden stitching, and blind eyelets all work in service of a true and authentic minimalism, a self-assured reappropriation of an otherwise overused moniker in the menswear milieu.
It’s a minimalism that - somewhat ironically - can’t be overstated, the formidable, if-you-know-you-know flex of which is undeniable. By all accounts, Crown Northampton’s white sneakers offer the same kind of bold understatedness that delivered your Steve McQueens and James Deans from the clutches of fleeting fashion and catapulted them instead into heights of enduring style. And seeing as Crown’s sidewall-stitched construction means their sneakers can be resoled for near endless mileage, I use the word ‘enduring’ in its most literal, to-the-letter, and by-the-book sense.
Now, etiquette dictates I should dispense some final pearls of wisdom on how to wear your white Crown Northampton sneakers. That’s easy; you wear them with anything and everything, and you wear them often. Sure, there are those who prefer their sneakers unacquainted with the harsh touch of the ground below; they wish their leathers untarnished, their foxing unsullied, and their flat wax laces unblemished by the toils of a day’s walk. Not me. As far as I’m concerned, a white sneaker should quickly and enthusiastically become a road map of every misstep and mishap along whatever journey you happen to be on.
Crown Northampton's white sneakers are pretty little things to be sure, but they’re not to be babied. They’re tailor made to go toe-to-toe with the best of ‘em. Give your Crowns a couple years and a hundred miles and they’ll still be the reigning champs of your beater box, I’d wager. Sure, they’ll get a little dirty in the process, but you know what? They’ll still be effortlessly, impeccably, and nonchalantly clean.
More of Will Halbert's work can be found over at Essential Journal where he's Editor In Chief.
View Crown Northampton's White Sneaker Collection in full here.