So it's getting warmer, you're a dude, and you have no idea what sort of footwear to wear with your T-shirts and shorts. You're not really into the flip-flops (for fear of looking like a Phi Beta Whatever) or the leather Jesus sandals (that I personally find quite lovely actually, but a close not-so-hetero friend of mine says they're reserved for grandpas and gays—go fig), and the Chucks-with-no-socks look has been wayoverdone.

Growing up in Southern California, I've noticed that docksiders seem to have been overlooked by the young-male and under-35 crowd—let alone the non-arrogant-USC-undergraduate-Tommy-Hilfiger-wearing-chino-pant-loving-J. Crew-worshiping crowd. In fact, I haven't seen them get much play this side of Hyannis Port at all, actually.

I'd forgotten about the way-too-comfortable topsider boating shoes until recently, when I spotted some modernized and modified Sebagos at a Pasadena shoe store. Suddenly, memories of my father sporting his burnt sienna-tan-and-black pair with solid Ralph Lauren tops and Dockers with his musky Polo cologne on the weekends came rushing back. And then I cocked my head and squinted: They actually look kinda cool now? (And of course I had to buy the women's pair in white—at a mere $68 a pop. Now I wear 'em with shorts and breezy tunics and blouses.)

A month later, I started spotting docksiders on everyone from hipsters in skinny jeans to band dudes in, uh, skinny jeans to dads in sensible shorts and khakis.

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Sure, topsiders are preppy as hell, but as long as you avoid wearing them with Abercrombie button-ups, Polo Ts and khaki anythings, you'll be fine. Better than fine. Stylish,even. Contrasting the docksiders with "cooler," more contemporary items such as tailored, narrowed jeans or, again, your favorite worn-out T and cardigan would probably be the most fashionable way to do it.

The boat shoe is obviously of nautical origin (and we all know how in-style that look is nowadays) and is easily identifiable by its quasi-thick rubber sole, easy slip-on style and leather laces that run throughout the back of the shoe. Brands like Sebago or Sperry Top-Sider (available at Nordstrom) have been at it for years, with Sperry Top-Sider first showing up sometime in 1935, after avid sailor Paul Sperry observed his cocker spaniel Prince running across the snow-covered, icy ground and maintaining remarkable stability.

Yeah, nice story, guys.

But anyway, while the boat shoe is really meant for those who "can't live without the water" ( sure is informative!), that doesn't mean they can't look fantastic with the rest of your normal wardrobe—just don't throw that cable-knit sweater around your shoulders.

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