Brogue Shoes – Everything You Need to Know
Shoes are arguably the most important investment a man can make in his closet.
Today, brogue shoes are a staple in every man’s wardrobe. It has even found its way into the shoe closets of many a woman as well. You will be hard pressed to find a shoe store that does not sell this particular type of footwear.
In fact, they have even worked their way into the upper echelons of Hollywood, with countless actors and starlets donning them over the years. Due to their fame, it is only fair that you learn all that you can about these particular shoes.
Design aspect of Brogue Shoes
Typically, a brogue is produced from hardy leather and is a multi-piece shoe. The most recognizable aspect of the shoes, nonetheless, are the perforations. This is where the footwear gets its name from. These pattern of decorative holes are known as ‘brogueing’.
There are four types of brogues that you can choose from. The variation in brogues is defined by the placement of the perforations along the shoe.
For instance, the quarter brogue only has holes along the toe cap seam. Semi-brogues have brogueing along the seam as well as the top of the toecap leather.
Full brogues are also known as wingtips due to the wing-like perforations that extend to the mid-length of the shoe. Longwing brogues refer to brogueing that are similar to wingtips, but instead extend to the back of the shoe.
Brogues come in a variety of colors. The ones that are most popular are found in black, ranging shades of brown, and even two-toned. With two-toned shoes, the most common color combinations are black and white as well as brown and white. There are, nonetheless, no restrictions on the hues that can be used when creating brogues.
- Double monk straps are my personal favorites other than brogue shoes.
History of Brogue Shoes
While they are now well known throughout the world and are a mark of the well dressed, these shoes had humble beginnings.
They were first introduced in Ireland and Scotland in the beginning of the nineteenth century and are a variation of the Gaelic term ‘bróg’. This simply refers to a shoe or a boot. They were not created as a fashion statement, but rather for practical purposes. They were largely worn by hard working farmers.
While the perforations on the shoes are now decorative, back then in Scotland and Ireland, they served a purpose. This was so that water would not collect in the shoes but, instead, drain out through the holes. This way, individuals could wear them while walking through bogs or other water-logged areas.
They were strictly meant for an outdoor environment and were not considered suitable for any other occasion. They were certainly not adequate to be worn to social functions of any kind.
The brogues only graduated to more formal footwear in the early twentieth century. This was also when the design began to conform to women’s fashion as well. Instead of being placed there for a functional purpose, the perforations were used as a design tactic.
They continued to grow in popularity as two-toned shoes were prevalent among the jazz crowd. While they briefly fell out of favor during the 1990s, they made a resurgence in the 2000s. Now, fashion-forward most women and men keep at least one pair as a part of their wardrobe at all times.
Wearing Brogue Shoes
As an entrepreneur, I always think about ROI. I will only spend my money on a shoe that I can wear regularly, I wouldn’t buy a shoe that sits in my closet. So, I got myself a dark brown semi brogue shoe which is very versatile and can be worn almost on any occasion.
As discussed, brogues can be worn by anyone – men or women. Women tend to have less loosely defined rules when it comes to when and where they can wear brogues.
While these types of shoes are incredibly versatile, there are a few things you should know when wearing them. For instance, you can most definitely wear them as a part of a business ensemble.
To stick to the formal dress code as closely as possible, it is best to stick to the shoes with the least amount of brogueing use quarter or semi-brogue shoes. Full brogues and longwing brogues are better suited to jeans and truly makes a statement.
Darker tones are more versatile and can be worn with jeans, tweed as well as casual sports coats and brown suits. Go for suede brogues for a more casual look.
For extra dimension or flair, you can always lace them with a colorful pair of shoelace (Amazon link).
Brogue shoes have come a long way from their intended use. All you really need to know about brogues, however, is that you definitely should have a pair for yourself. Add them to your wardrobe; you will be glad you did!