Brogue shoes can be an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. Known for being fashionable and classy, they will seamlessly complete any smart-casual look.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about brogue shoes and serve up some foolproof styling tips so that you’ll be able to work this chic item of footwear into your everyday wardrobe, as well as enhancing your evening outfits.
Brogue shoes are synonymous with slick, gentlemanly fashion styles, so it’s well worth taking the time to learn about them. You might just discover your new favorite men’s fashion footwear!
What Exactly Are Brogue Shoes?
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It’s difficult to impart any serious fashion and styling tips for men, without first providing a baseline example for what this article will attempt to discuss. Explained plainly - you’ll need to have a firm understanding of what brogue shoes actually are before you can style them.
First made in Scotland and Ireland, brogue shoes were originally made with untanned hides. Small perforations were later added all over them for one main reason: they helped to drain water from the shoes when the user walked on wet ground.
Modern brogues shoes still have these perforations. However, they are now made for aesthetic purposes. The perforations have actually become the trademark of brogue shoes.
Different Types of Brogue Shoes
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These trendy shoes come in two types: namely, the Derby and the Oxford brogue.
The difference between these two styles of men’s brogue shoe is their fastening; the Derby has open lacing while the Oxford has closed lacing. But what do we mean by ‘open lacing’ vs ‘closed lacing’?
The easiest way to explain this is to first talk about the anatomy of a man’s dress shoe. There are two distinct halves to a shoe - the upper part is called the Vamp (it’s the part with the holes for the laces), and the bottom part is called the Quarters. This is the section of the shoe beneath the Vamp; think of it as the area of the shoe that, if the rest were removed, would form the top band of a slide or sandal.
Now that we understand the anatomy of a dress shoe a little more, here are the differences between closed laced shoes and open laced shoes
Open laced shoes: Vamp stitched under the Quarter
Closed lace shoes: Quarter stitched under the Vamp
As if the type of lacing wasn’t technical enough, Brogue shoes can also be categorized by the type of perforations featured on the shoe. Here there are three types of brogues: the full brogue (wingtip), the half brogue, and the quarter brogue.
Full brogue: this is the most iconic style, featuring a pointed toe cap and wing-like extensions running along each side. The toe cap looks like a “W” or “M” when viewed from the top
Half brogue: this shoe’s top cap has an ornamental punched detailing along its edges and center. This type of brogue tends to be more formal than the full brogues, but can still suit a variety of outfits.
Quarter brogue: this one has details like those of half brogues, but has nothing at the center of the cap. Quarter brogues are suitable for workwear, business, and formal events.
How to Style Brogue Shoes
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Once, brogue shoes were not considered appropriate for formal occasions; with other men’s dress shoes taking precedent.
Today, though, they have become acceptable for a wide range of styles and looks. Although their classic design is traditionally one of brown leather, they now come in a myriad of styles, colors, and materials, including suede, jean, and leather.
Brogue shoes are versatile and can be worn with everything from simple t-shirts and blue jeans to chinos with chambray shirts. You can even wear brogues with a two-piece suit! Here are a few tips to help you style brogues like a pro:
Brogue shoes with regular pants
Brogues are very easy to dress up or down. You can do this by partnering them up with a chic pair of suit pants and a shirt or a tailored blazer. For a more sophisticated look, go for more elegant brogues, especially slim ones in classic colors such as brown, black, or burgundy.
Brogue shoes with chinos
Brogues can also match really well with chinos. This creates a relaxed yet elegant look. To properly pull this off, stick to pants and shoes with classic colors, then finish the look with a simple shirt. Light-colored chinos really go well with classic brown brogues. If you wish, you could also add a blazer or cuff the pants to show your ankles.
Brogues with jeans
This look can be absolutely stylish, but only if worn right. Always remember to stay smooth and simple; go for skinny jeans in black or a very dark blue, paired with classic brogues. Complete the look with something refined like a t-shirt and sweater or blazer.
The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Brogue Shoes
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Now that you’ve gained some knowledge as well as some style inspiration, it’s time to stop and think about actionable steps, as well as potential missteps. Let’s take a look at the dos and the don’ts of styling and wearing brogue shoes.
Brogues with lots of perforations are suitable for casual outfits, while those with minimal perforations are great for formal occasions
Use pieces of old newspapers to remove moisture from the shoes after wearing brogues
Wear open laced brogues with more casual outfits, and opt for closed-lacing if you want to appear more formal
Dress shoes of any sort do not go well with baggy trousers at all, and brogue shoes are not an exception
Avoid wearing leather brogues back-to-back, no matter how much you love them. Fine leather requires 24 hours between wears for them to dry out from perspiration
So there we have it - a comprehensive guide all about brogue shoes, how to style them, what to wear with them, and what not to wear.
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