But the discovery of iTailor has changed all of this. That superb site offers all you would need to customise from scratch, with no need to type out extensive instructions. It barely costs as much as a standard M&S office shirt. Granted, your creation takes six weeks to arrive, but that really is a small price to pay for all this at the click of your mouse.
However, I have not yet trusted the site’s shoe service. I am open to changing my mind, but shoes are a bit different to shirts.
No - I am much more in love with a different shoe site. The website of a shop which opened nearly 150 years ago and simply proves that some particularly special old dogs really can be taught new tricks.
The Barkers site is glorious. If you click through to the shop online page, spread out before you is a vast wallpaper of beautiful footwear that needs serious willpower to stop yourself buying on sight. There are so many designs that there is almost exactly one shoe style for each year that Barkers has been in existence. And then every style has a few colours, each of which you can examine in minute detail through photos and zoom functions, as well as wordy descriptions before you buy. It might not yet allow customisable shoes, true. But the styles that are available cover nearly every angle you could possibly think of, from brogued Chelsea Boots to smooth Oxfords.
Of course, the Barker pedigree doesn’t come cheap. Most of the shoes approach nearly £200 in price. Anyone is going to have to save a bit before they can fulfill those dreams. Yet I simply cannot find a comparable website for smart shoes in 2016. It has become my first and only destination.
Not bad for a nineteenth century English shoemaker, eh?