Top of the Heap: Ryan from ‘Bowties & Boatshoes’

Ryan, a Damn Good Dawg, runs the blog Bowties & Boatshoes from up close to the Mason Dixon line.  He does a great job of featuring new goods at a rapid-fire pace.  Definitely leaning towards the preppy side, his contribution to the ‘Top of the Heap’ series is very appropriate:

Unfortunately, I never got to know my maternal grandfather too well, he passed away when I was only 4.  When my grandmother died in 2009, something caught my eye as we were cleaning out the house she and my grandfather had purchased when they moved to Baltimore nearly 60 years prior.  I had probably passed it a thousand times running up and down those basement stairs as a kid, but I had never noticed my grandfather’s shoe shine kit until that day.  It’s an Esquire Footman Deluxe, and from what I can tell it probably dates back to the 40’s or 50’s.  Judging by the dust that had settled on it, I can virtually guarantee that the kit was right where my grandfather had left it back in the mid 80’s. 

All the basics were still there, and in that moment I felt like I was getting to know a side of my grandfather that I had never seen as a small child. To see the wear on the kit itself, it’s quite obvious to me that he took great pride in keep his shoes looking brand new, and I think of him frequently when I am polishing my own.  Though the kit is starting to break down a bit, I can safely say that it is something I will never, ever, part ways with.’ – Ryan Stansbury, 2012



  1. randall
    07/20/2012 / 9:25 AM

    Nice one. Though my paternal grandfather is still living at 93 years old, he and my grandmother recently relocated out of their house to a smaller apartment. While cleaning out the house I came upon my grandfathers shine box and snagged it for myself too. I too will never, ever part with his either.

  2. 07/20/2012 / 9:50 AM

    Love this post! We have the same old kit and this is what every Over Under Front Pocket Wallet is polished with before being shipped out to our customers. Gotta love the classics!

  3. 07/20/2012 / 2:31 PM

    I love this post! Things like shined shoes were so important to our grandparents’ generation. That pride in appearance careful use of possessions seems to be replaced with people just buying lots of stuff lately.

    My dad and I spent weeks polishing my grandfather’s silver flask & shot glass set, and I gave it to my husband as his wedding present. Thanks for posting.

  4. rj
    07/20/2012 / 4:31 PM

    cool post … really cool post

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