BL: white shoe
Posted: 20 June 2018 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]
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You learn a lot of things when researching word origins. This time, I learned that manufacturing pre-distressed clothing didn’t start with the grunge fashion of the 1990s.

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Posted: 20 June 2018 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That’s the first I had heard the term “white shoe” used in this way.

I immediately think of the U.S. Navy sorting of types by shoe color.  In the early days of naval aviation, U.S. Navy aviators wore brown shoes, which set them apart from other naval officers who wore the usual black shoes.  In time “brown shoe” and “black shoe” came to be associated with aviation sailors and surface combatant sailors, respectively.  The authorization for naval aviation officers and chiefs to wear brown shoes has gone in and out of favor numerous times, but the terms “brown shoe” and “black shoe” have always stuck regardless of current regulations.

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Posted: 20 June 2018 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’ve heard it now and then, usually used sneeringly these days when talking about a New York or DC law firm that’s defending some greedy Bad Guy or a private bank for billionaires.

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Posted: 20 June 2018 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is the term white shoe used today for anything other than law firms, and is this strictly an American English usage?

I know that it is in use among lawyers in the U.S., as one of my kids used it disparagingly when he was recruited by a number of U.S. white shoe law firms .
While doing his last year of law school in Madrid, he interned for Clifford Chance, which he described as “British equivalent of a white shoe firm”.

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Posted: 21 June 2018 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Is the term white shoe used today for anything other than law firms, and is this strictly an American English usage?

As it says in the post, it’s mainly applied to law firms and banks. I haven’t heard it in other contexts.

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Posted: 21 June 2018 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I haven’t heard it all in this sceptred isle. Buck as a type of shoe I’m familiar with from the old buck and wing style of tap, although I think those shoes had wooden soles and I’m not sure what wing had reference to.

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Posted: 25 July 2018 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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For what it’s worth “White Shoe Brigade” has some meaning here in Oz. It would be used to describe a businessmen, commonly unscrupulous, from northern (tropical) Australia. Imagine a man with lightweight, white shoes, with crepe soles, a too dark sun tan selling you a time share property development on the Gold Coast. Maybe even throw in business shorts and long socks. I’ve never heard it refer to law firms, banks (I’ve worked for then for over 25 years) or Ivy League like university grads or students.

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