Last updated on February 1st, 2017 at 12:27 pm
With brogues getting a bit of a revival as one of the “cool” shoes to wear we have put together our guide to all things brogue. We’ll be re-visiting the origins and history of this classic style, going through the many different styles of brogues, shoe care to keep your brogues looking tip top and more importantly we’ll be giving all you men and women our top fashion tips on how to stylishly wear brogues. A wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down, this is one post you won’t want to miss…
History of Brogues
We can trace brogue shoes all the way back to Ireland and Scotland. They originated in Ireland in the 19th century; where many people worked outdoors in a farming environment in the boggy, wet terrains. They were made using strong animal hide with holes punched into them to allow any water to drain out. Throughout the entire 19th century brogues were not thought of as smart and were generally worn by working class men. The word brogue itself comes from the 16th century old Irish word “brog” which means leg covering. Brogues themselves were originally worn by men only, however at the start of the 20th century they were used as a template for a new women’s shoe, becoming ever more popular in the 1960’s when the model Twiggy was seen to wear them. After slipping out of fashion with men they had renewed interest when Elvis was seen wearing them in the film Jailhouse Rock. The brogue fell out of fashion once again during the 1990’s as they were not thought to be “cool” however recently they have made a return to fashion helping people make a tailored statement.
What Are Brogues?
Brogues are extremely recognisable; they are nearly always made from leather and have a distinctive perforated toe cap with serrated edges. Brogues are often thought of as being a sleek formal shoe, despite looking smart however they are not considered formal enough to wear with a three piece suit yet they are great for creating a smart work look. Nowadays more casual brogues are hitting the marketing with boot versions and canvas versions, the latter being made from soft suede, these can be worn with jeans. There are many different styles of brogues, which include Wingtip Brogues; these are one of the classics, recognised by the pointed perforated toe which includes a wing extension. Viewed from the top of the shoe, the wing extensions give the brogue’s toe cap it’s “W” detail, hence the name. One of the other recognisable styles is the Ghillie Brogue, this has no tongue and its laces are longer so they can be wrapped around the wearer’s leg, above the ankle but below the calf. Ghillie’s are usually worn as part of traditional Scottish dress or social occasions.
How to Wear Brogues- Men
All men should have this timeless classic in there wardrobe, however we always hear the question what goes with brogues? We like to think that brogues can be dressed up or down. For a smart look pair your brogues with a tailored suit it creates a slick look that would work well for the office or a special occasion. Swap your black brogues for tan brogues; they look super stylish when worn with a navy or grey suit. If you want to know what brogues to wear when it’s a casual look you’re after then brown brogues are for you. Wear with skinny jeans when out with the guys or coloured chinos for the office and recreate the relaxed vintage look that’s bang on trend this season. At this time of the year when the weather is colder, these are the perfect footwear to go to. Why not turn up the bottoms of your jeans to show off your cosy, bright socks when wearing brogues for a retro look that’s perfect for a lazy weekend, be sure to add a thick wool coat to keep the cold at bay.
How to Wear Brogues- Women
A lot of women might be reading this thinking, I can’t wear brogues they look too frumpy however that is not the case. Yes it can be tricky knowing what to style them with however they are so comfortable and fashionable we have a few tips. Give your masculine brogues a feminine makeover by teaming them with a dress, wear them with confidence and you can get away with anything. For an edgy, eclectic look team with a floaty dress and soft layers that is perfect for an evening out. For a preppy look that is perfect for work or play choose a shift dress or A line mini skirt and tights, be sure to style with your brown brogues. For a smarter work look why not embrace the masculinity of brogues and team some patent black lace up styles with a black or grey suit be sure to add a slick of red lipstick for added drama. How to wear brogues casually can be another difficult question, however team a tan or brown pair of brogues with washed out jeans and comfy knit for a relaxed weekend look that looks super chic, why not roll up the legs on your jeans for a nod to the grunge trend. With lots of chunky brogues now available why not be more daring with your outfit choices and mix and match.
Caring for Brogues
Brogues are generally made from leather so they are super durable meaning they can withstand the sun and bad weather. Investing in a good pair of brogues will have its rewards as they really will last you a long time. To keep your brogues in top condition there a few steps you can follow, use a good cake wax with a hard bristle brush to coat the shoe well leave to stand overnight then briskly polish in the morning for a high shine. Be sure to use black wax for black brogues, brown wax for brown brogues and a tan wax for light brown brogues. If any wax collects in the perforations be sure to keep buffing away briskly to remove this. A clear wax with not only add more shine but it revives tired leather and acts as a water repellent, again be sure to briskly buff this into the brogues.
So there you have it, brogues are such a versatile and fashionable style for both men and women to have in their wardrobe, perfect for dressing up or down they are sure to set you apart from the fashion pack. To get the most out of your brogues be sure to follow our top care tips and they’ll become a reliable staple.