I’ve just landed my first real post-college job as a research assistant with a think tank. (I won’t say which one; I’ll just say that my male co-workers wear bow ties and quote Chesterton a lot.)  I need a new professional wardrobe, especially shoes. — Emily

Manolo says, one of the things that has long amused and entertained the Manolo is how the various political tribes and sub-tribes of the Washington, D.C., identify themselves through their clothing and habits.

If you tell the Manolo that you are working at the thinking tank with the bow tie-wearing gentlemen of the Chestertonian persuasion, he will tell you that the conversation around the luncheon table involves the vigorous discussions of the Laffer curve marginal tax rates, fly-fishing in Montana, and the perfidious behavior of the tyrants at the Department of Energy.

If, however, you say that you are working at the place where everyone who is not driving the Prius to work instead rides the recumbent bicycle, then the Manolo will tell you that you spend most of the day arguing about how best to bring the head of Exxon/Monsanto/Dick Cheney to justice in front of the tribunal of the people.

Sadly, you can judge the book by its cover, especially if it is wearing Birkenstocks on its feets or the bow tie at its neck. Here is the Braiden High Loafer from the Cole Haan in maple suede ($125, Zappos.com), the sort of shoe of which Chesterton would have approved.