When it comes to design, 24-year-old Dane Charles Pressner easily lives in two worlds: high-end and secondhand.
The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based interior designer has a knack for color and style, and he brings that to his personal wardrobe. Boasting an eclectic shoe wardrobe of more than 50 pairs, he often scours vintage stores for footwear treasures.
“I started out shopping there for the prices, but I really find some unique pieces that no one else has,” he said, recalling finds by everyone from Florsheim to Prada.
It wasn’t until Pressner’s senior year of college that he began to build his footwear collection. At that time he was battling a weight issue and shied away from shopping for apparel, instead focusing on shoes. “I was uncomfortable wearing fashionable clothes, but shoes were a way to get around it,” he said. And although weight’s no longer an issue for Pressner, he hasn’t lost his passion for footwear. In fact, accessories are among the designer’s favorite collectibles. “Shoes and bags last forever,” he said. “And even if they go out of style, they eventually make a comeback.”
Pairs owned: About 55, excluding flip-flops and slippers
Brands owned: Alice & Olivia, Bally, Bordello, Christian Siriano, Comme des Garçons, Converse, Diesel, Dior, Florsheim, Giorgio Brutini, J Shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Minnetonka, New Balance, Prada, Red Wing, Sanita, Sperry Top-Sider, Stacy Adams, Swear London, Toms Shoes and Ugg
Number of vintage pairs: “Twelve — seven unknown brands, two Giorgio Brutini, one Bally, a Florsheim and a Stacy Adams. The Giorgio Brutinis are my favorite. When I have them on and look down at my feet, there’s something just right about them.”
Most comfortable pair: “Christian Dior dress shoes. They’re vaguely Repetto-ish, although don’t tell that to Mr. Galliano. I acquired them from a friend about a year ago, and they’ve barely left my feet since. They’re soft white leather and have a rounded toe with tiny black laces. Utter perfection.”
Most uncomfortable pair: “Metallic pink platforms by Bordello. I purchased them as part of my [British sitcom character] Edina Monsoon costume for Halloween last year. I’m going to begin the men-in-heels revolution. Standing at only 5’7,” I can use all the help I can get.”
Biggest shoe mistake: “It’s a tie between two pairs. I bought a pair of oxblood-colored clogs on a whim about two years ago. They’re a little ugly, but I couldn’t help myself — until now. I’ve worn them five times, and four of those times were to take the trash out or get coffee from around the corner. The second mistake was a pair of Prada loafers. I fell in love with a pair my friend had bought. But after [wearing them for] a long day of shopping, I got home and had the worst blisters I’d ever seen. They currently live next to the clogs in my closet.”
Most ever spent: “$495 for drop-dead gorgeous, bordeaux-colored velvet sandals from Prada. The love affair began on my birthday two years ago, when I was shopping with a friend. We decided to escape the heat and pop into Prada in Soho. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied these sandals. Before I knew it, a salesman was bringing me the last pair, which happened to be my size. I don’t think I have ever been that excited by a purchase.”
Least ever spent: “There’s a thrift store near my house called Atlantis Attic that occasionally has the best finds. I bought a pair of navy tasseled loafers there for $10.”
Most attention-getting pair: “The Prada sandals take the lead. You don’t see many men wearing bordeaux velvet sandals, but they’re very masculine. My black-and-white Giorgio Brutini spectators are a close second. I’ve gotten a lot of looks when wearing them. Maybe they’re different, a little crazy, but to me, they’re just my everyday shoes.”
Style I’d never be caught in: “Sneakers. Unless you’re out for a jog, you should never have them on your feet. I’m not suggesting one be uncomfortable, but we can attempt to make a little effort in our appearances. I default to my Converse. I have five pairs of white Converse and a pair in black. If I’m in need of comfort or something casual, I wear those.”
Biggest shoe gripe: “A lack of imagination in design for men at the mass level. Even some of the designers are boring. It’s ridiculous that, in order to find a stylish men’s shoe, something that’s fabulous and jaw-dropping, I would have to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer shoe. Women can walk into Payless and find something spectacular. I dare you to find a great men’s shoe at Payless that could pass for acceptable to the fashion-conscious. I began shopping vintage because I could find special, one-of-a-kind shoes without breaking the bank.”