My engineer husband needs a new pair of shoes.  He has had the same pair of black wingtips for the last 20 years, which he wears to every function that requires shoes more formal than sneakers. Can you suggest something brown? —Rebecca

Manolo says, it is true! The engineers have the well-earned reputation for the unworldly practicality; the very people who invented and wear the convertible cargo pants with the legs that zip off.

“Bob,” says the Mrs. Engineer, “you can’t wear those to your uncle’s funeral.”

“What’s wrong with them? I’ve put the legs back on.”

The world needs the engineers more than the engineers need the world. Without the engineers, and their ancient predecessors building ziggurats and aqueducts, humans would still be living in the caves, eating raw carrion.

Of the course, for whatever reason, the 21st century has decided it is the good thing to neglect the engineer, preferring instead to heap its affection on those who have given us the ability to express our deepest thoughts in hashtags and emoticons.

Let us resolve to be nicer to the peoples who keep our sewage systems and power plants functioning, so that we may enjoy the manifest benefits of indoor plumbing and modern life.

Here is the Ashton from Allen-Edmonds ($345, the brown in-between shoe suitable for both the place of engineering employment and the more casual affair involving the pants whose legs are firmly attached.