Small holes, small holes, more small holes.
When it comes to men’s shoes, brogues are a must-have if you want to diversify your looks a bit. They not only have the merit of being elegant and distinguished, but they also bring a bit of relief and character to a look.
When choosing your shoes in the morning before work (or the night before if you’re an organized person), why not decide to wear a pair? Whether for the office, for a smart casual style on the occasion of a slightly formal event or simply for the pleasure of dressing, Brogues will be a precious ally for your looks.
A brief history of brogues
The origins of the word brogue come from Gaelic, which is the root of the language spoken in Ireland as well as in Scotland. The term “brog” would mean “solid shoes”. They were originally shoes worn by farmers at the end of the 19th century, with small holes. These perforations were not aesthetic but very practical: they allowed the water to be evacuated which infiltrated inside the shoes when their wearer walked on wet ground.
At the time, brogues were, therefore, utilitarian shoes, worn by the working class, and were therefore not part of the models that were worn to dress well. Today, the status of the brogue has changed a lot, since we find the perforations that characterize it on many shoes, both male and female.
The rise of this shoe was particularly made during the 1920s when shoe manufacturers took up the idea of perforations to include them on city models. This was particularly the case with the “Spectator” shoes in two colours, very popular with jazz groups.
The rise of golf also helped popularize them. Subsequently, icons like Elvis Presley wore them, thus participating in their democratization.
But then, are brogues a shoe or a pattern? Both. Initially, it was the shoe worn by farmers; today, brogue patterns can be found on derbies, brogues as well as boots.
The different types of Brogues
Most brogues seen today are usually derby shoes (with open lacing) or brogues (with closed lacing). Depending on the distribution of the perforations on the shoes, we then speak of full brogues, semi-brogues or quarter-brogues.
Full brogues (or floral golf)
The full brogues, called in English Wingtip and in French brogues à golf fleur are the best known. They feature a perforated toe that extends to the sides of the shoe. The perforations are also found on the buttresses and quarters (rear parts) of the shoe.
Put more simply, the patterns are present throughout the shoe.
Elsewhere on the web: footwear glossary
For the semi-brogues, we find the flowered end, however, the perforations do not extend on the sides. These patterns may or may not be found on other parts of the shoe. It is generally more formal than the full brogue but can still be adapted to many different styles.
Related article: choosing the right shoes in winter
Quarter brogues are characterized by their smooth toe, with only a strip of perforations. You can also, as with semi-brogues, find other patterns elsewhere on the shoe. Due to the rather clean look of this shoe, it is usually reserved for formal occasions.
What to wear with brogues
Initially designed for agricultural tasks, brogues have gradually earned their place among dress shoes. They can now be worn in many styles, for formal occasions or not. The historical colour of the shoe is brown, however, shoemakers and brands have since declined their models in many different shades.
The versatility of this shoe allows it to be paired with both a jeans/white t-shirt combo and a chino/shirt combo. We also see it worn with a suit. If the latter is formal, however, be sure to choose semi or quarter brogues.
Wear brogues with a suit
Brogues go very well with a suit or dress pants in a mismatched jacket. Unless you’re looking to dial in a dressy look, keep in mind that your brogues will be a statement piece on their own.
Wear brogues with chinos
Brogues aren’t just for dress pants, they’ll go great with chinos too. They will go very well with a smart casual look. For a successful ensemble, choose plain and rather classic colours for both shoes and pants. To finish it off, a blazer will complete the ensemble nicely. Also, keep in mind that you can hem the pants a little to really show off your brogues.
Wear brogues with jeans
Brogues can be worn with jeans, for a rather casual but worked effect. To achieve the look, it will have to be kept rather simple. Concretely, choose jeans rather close to the body in a dark shade. Then put on either a rather strong piece (like a patterned shirt) or several layers in similar tones. If you are more daring, for the summer, you can try white jeans.
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