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Know Your Shoes: Brogues

classical polished men's brown oxford brogue

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Owning a pair of brogues will change your style game.

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If anyone had to ask us our choice for a must-have men’s shoe, we would say brogues without even batting an eyelid. If you don’t own one yet, your shoe closet needs a new addition NOW! Brogues are stylish and add just the right amount of panache to your outfit. They are flamboyant and particularly interesting when paired with semi-formal and smart casual wear. Here’s why you should own a pair of brogues…

WHAT REALLY ARE BROGUES?

A brogue is the pattern of holes that are punched in the leather. Brogues were originally made for Scottish farmers. Unbelievable right? The holes were for functionalityto drain water after a long day of toiling on wet terrain. Brogues have come a long way since then; the perforations are now only decorative, and the shoes have bid the highlands of Scotland goodbye.

TYPES OF BROGUES

Derby shoes (with open lacing) and Oxford shoes (with closed lacing) are both types of brogues, but we now have brogues in boots, loafers and even monk shoes. There are a few sneakers that have brogues in them making the rounds too. We buy brogues for their designs. For the uninitiated, brogues have different design categories as well. 

1. FULL BROGUE

The most iconic of all brogue designs is the Full Brogue or otherwise called the Wingtip Brogue. The toe cap of the shoe has a wing-like extension that runs to the back called the longwing or angles itself towards the sole on either side of the shoe forming an M or a W (depending on which side you see it from, duh!). The Full Brogue is best worn in laid back settings like at cocktail parties or a wedding party and places where you would want to make a statement, like a red carpet or an evening gala.

2. HALF BROGUE

The Half Brogue or the Semi-Brogue usually has its seam brogued and has perforation to its toe cap almost forming a medallion on the toe. The major difference between the Full and the Half Brogue is that the Half Brogue has a straight toe cap line instead of a winged one. This style of shoe is famous for casual outings and smart business looks.

3. QUARTER BROGUE

In the Quarter Brogue, it’s only the toe cap seam that is brogued. It’s one of the less busy shoes in terms of design in comparison to its counterparts, making it ideal for workwear.

4. SPECTATOR BROGUE

The Spectator Brogue has two tones. The wing-tipped toe cap, heel and lace are in a darker shade while the rest of its body is in a lighter tone forming a contrast. It was a classic style back in the 1940s and we are glad it’s back.  Though back then, you wouldn’t have wanted your sister going out with a man wearing a spectator—it was considered quite raffish!

HOW TO STYLE THEM RIGHT!

There isn’t really a right or wrong way of wearing brogues. Once you buy one, it’s all about wearing it with confidence. Choose a brogue to match the occasion you are off to. We at Man’s Life have a few looks that you can ace with brogues.

▶ SUIT UP

One of the best ways to tie your suit look together is to wear a pair of brogues with it. Wear your all-blue suit with a pair of brown Semi Brogues, add a watch and some sunglasses to finish off your look. You can even opt for a blazer with tailored trousers for your brogues to stand out.

▶ PAIR WITH CHINOS

Brogues and chinos are a magical pair! They have a formal yet relaxed feel to them. An ideal choice for smart casuals, pair a traditional coloured chino and a Quarter Brogue with a formal shirt for work. Twist it around with a casual shirt or polo tee with chinos and Full Brogue boots for a date night look.

▶ JEANS ALL THE WAY

Hear us out, jeans and brogues together is a chef’s kiss. Yes, there is a certain style of denims that look best with brogues, but this unusual pairing is a head-turner. Opt for straight or slim-fit jeans with a Full Brogue for an OTT look. Finish with something clean and polished for the top like a shirt, blazer or a neutral coloured tee.

▶ SHORTS WILL WORK TOO

No, we haven’t gone cuckoo, not yet at least. Shorts and brogues together is a  killer combination to try out. Wear it with a sweatshirt or even a casual shirt. You could pair the shorts with Spectator Brogues and you are good to go. Don’t forget about the no-show socks!

Brogues for the longest time were considered outdoor shoes and were rarely accepted as something formal. Today, with the variety of brogue shoes available, they can be worn almost anywhere!

 

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

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