Stylish shoes are a necessity for any fashionable gent, and men’s brogues, also known as wingtips, are a good match for all but the most formal of dress codes. They’re the cool shoes worn by gangsters in The Untouchables, and celebrities like Jude Law.
For formal occasions, black brogues are the best choice – opt for a conservative semi or quarter-brogue and make sure they’re well polished. For more casual occasions, brown or tan are perfect. For those who like to push the envelope, there’s suede. And most flamboyant of all, there are two-tone ‘spectator’ brogues. Here’s how to wear your favorite brogues with confidence.
Where do brogues come from?
In times gone by, Scottish gamekeepers wore perforated shoes – ghillie brogues – which allowed the water from the boggy estates to drain away easily. Today’s leather shoes take their name from the originals, but these days the holes are purely decorative.
Oxfords, Bluchers (Derbys), monk shoes and boots are all available in brogue styles with varying levels of decoration. Wingtips are brogues with perforations stretching across much of the shoe forming a wing-like shape on the toe cap. Semi-brogues are decorated across the toe caps whereas quarter-brogues only feature perforations along the edges of the toe caps.
Are brogues appropriate for formal wear?
As patterned shoes, full wingtips are perhaps a little too flamboyant for business use, but black quarter-brogues would go very nicely with your charcoal business suit – the more minimalist style suits the formality of the office.
Do you work in a job which requires that you project an air of approachability? Teachers, lecturers, therapists, and other occupations where people skills are important should consider switching their dark business suit for tactile tweed, and shiny black Oxfords for brown brogues.
How to wear brogues casually
As part of a soft casual outfit, you really can’t go wrong with brogues. Go for an ensemble dominated by textured fabrics like corduroy or moleskin pants, chunky rustic knits and suede brogues.
Top with a traditional British wax jacket and you’d fit right in at any British country pub – just be sure to order cool lager, or you’ll find yourself served a pint of warm ale, an acquired taste that’s about as much fun as five days of test cricket!
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