Brogues are a staple item of clothing for any man’s wardrobe. However, a lot of men are wondering how to wear men’s brogues properly. This style guide will help you find the pair, (or pairs), that’ll polish off loads of your looks!
Brogues are easily recognisable by the pattern that runs along the edges of the leather, known as broguing. It’s the rows of holes and perforations which follow the shape of the shoe that makes the brogue so eye-catching. There’s no room for error when the iconic pattern’s punched into each leather piece.
With the ability to boost your shoe rack with some classic charm, brogue shoes are most definitely a timeless item of men’s fashion. Luckily for you, this guide will help you find a cracking pair of brogues to help you put your best foot forward, whether you’re out and about, or just at work.
- 1 Pick a Pattern
- 2 How to Wear Brogues?
- 3 How to Wear Wingtips
- 4 Know Your Brogue Brands
- 5 How to Lace Brogues
- 6 The History of Brogues
- 7 Good Dress Shoes (Alternatives)
- 8 What are Brogues?
- 9 How to Wear Men’s Brogues
- 10 On That Note
Pick a Pattern
All of these dots can leave your head spinning, so we’ve broken down the designs for you. You never know when it’ll come in handy to know a full brogue from a wingtip!
First up, there is the quarter brogue. These are the simplest of the lot and the best go-to choice for occasion wear. The patterning on the quarter brogue is minimal and simple, which a lot of men sought after in a shoe. The semi-brogue is very versatile as they are a halfway point in between the quarter and full brogue. If the minimal detailing of the quarter isn’t enough for you, but the full brogue is too much, the semi-brogue is the one for you. These look great when paired with a full suit or suit trousers.
The full brogue (wingtips) have the most detail of the lot. They are also referred to as wingtips due to the W shape at the front of the shoe. These are great for adding that extra touch of classic detail to your outfit. Finally, we have the longwing brogue. The longwing brogue is a more casual style of the wingtip – the ends of the tip go right down the side of the shoe. Therefore, longwing brogues are probably best with vintage style looks.
How to Wear Brogues?
Due to their traditional roots, it’s best to keep your outfit on the smarter side – keep your trackies away from these chaps. Chinos and denim are still a great choice with a brogue style shoe. For a smart look, tie things together neatly with a matching belt. Keep the colours matching and pair brown with brown, and black with black. For those of you feeling the heat, how about trying a pair of tailored shorts with brogues? Just wear them with a short sock and you’re good to go.
How to Wear Wingtips
Wingtip shoes for men are a classic shoe design. With the detailing working across the whole shoe, it’s no wonder why so many men choose to wear these shoes with pretty much everything. With a nod to the 30’s and 40’s, the wingtip shoe works best with a suit, particularly grey if you’re going with a brown pair of wingtips.
Brogues in the Spotlight
If you needed any more evidence that brogues were a classic piece of men’s fashion, then check out the celebrity style icons that wear them. Have a look at how they’ve given the iconic piece an update with some personal quirks.
The Lord Commander has earned respect on the red carpet as much as he has on the wall. Showing he’s not a man to be trifled with – whether it’s in the tailors, or on the battlefield, Kit Harington demonstrates his effortless ability to look cool on all occasions.
Below, Kit works the red carpet in a laid-back suit attire. He wears a grey three piece-suit but leaves the tie at home, giving the suit a much more relaxed vibe. He finishes his look with a pair of black brogues and details it with a watch.
Paolo Nutini’s lifestyle may be hasty, but he’s still found time to keep his clobber on point. For years, Nutini’s been putting together some great laid back looks.
Whether he is on tour or at awards, he has his style down to a tee. Below, he puts together an indie look of a jumper and jeans with a pair of brogue boots. This is a great winter look – just layer it up with a heavy overcoat to complete the outift.
Hollywood heartthrob Tom Hiddleston always puts a classic English spin on all of his looks. Here he walks the red carpet teaming a pair of classic brown brogues with a grey tweed suit. This look is sartorially on point and oh so stylish.
We love how he pairs a blue shirt with the suit instead of a white one. When dressing formally, we suggest you stick with white, blue or light pink shirts.
Street Style Brogues
Brogues are the perfect shoe to team with a smarter look. Take a pair in whichever colour of your choice and team it with a modern suit; combining the old world of the brogues with a modern, double-breasted suit will give your outfit an instant lift.
Have you ever considered wearing your brogues without any socks? This is certainly an acquired look, but it can look pretty cool with the right outfit. When you go for the sockless look you don’t have to compromise on comfort (and smell). There are plenty of invisible socks available for men out there that will change your shoe game for good. Knowing how to wear brogues without socks is a great trick to have up your sleeve.
Brogues And Jeans
As we know, a good pair of brogues will see you through a plethora of situations and occasions, but I’m sure many of you aren’t ready to team them with a pair of jeans yet. This look isn’t as far out of your reach as you may initially think.
Take a pair of raw or selvedge denim jeans and couple them with a pair of light brown brogues. If you want to heighten the look a bit further then simply add a blazer over the top. Another great brogue option with jeans is the brogue boot. This gives an all-around casual look.
Wingtips with Jeans
When wearing men’s fashion shoes with jeans, it’s best approached with a style influenced by the rough and ready mix of country clobber and thick selvedge denim.
A full brogue wingtip style is hard to wear with modern tailoring or super casual clothes. So embrace some traditional gentlemen items like leather elbow patches or flat cap when donning a wingtip with jeans
Wingtips With a Suit
Brogues with a suit will forever be a simple but charming combination. Black is always gonna be the most formal option but you can easily put a spin on it by choosing an unusual shirt style and an interesting bag like one from the brand Rains.
Wingtips With Shorts
Wingtips with shorts aren’t as hard to pull off as you think. Just wear some sports socks and some tailored or chino shorts as this won’t really work with denim or slouchy styled shorts. Picking navy with pastel shades keeps it summery which is what you want from this look. Blacks and dark colours will be too harsh for something like this.
What to Wear with Brown Wingtip Shoes
Brown wingtips will give you the most wiggle room when figuring out what to wear with a wingtip. Wearing a brown or knowing how to wear tan brogues is always going to be a safe bet. Brown brogues are good because you can combine them with more or less any outfit, as well as wear them all year round. If brown isn’t your colour then you could always get a pair of tan dress shoes instead.
Wingtip Shoes Black and White
Going monochrome can be a tricky one – it’s not usually the case that choosing a shade makes something harder to pull off. But the black and white wingtip takes some skill if you want to avoid looking like an extra in Bugsy Malone.
Music legends like Jack White or Justin Timberlake guide the way with black and white wingtips by wearing them with pinstripe suits.
Know Your Brogue Brands
There are some brands that have been making brogues for men for generations, so your feet are in safe hands when investing in a pair by any of these classic cobblers. They may cost you a few more pennies than you’re used to spending on shoes, however, this will usually mean that they will last you a lot longer as the quality will be better.
If you fantasise about being in Mumford and Sons, wear tweed and possibly drive a Land Rover, then Grenson’s brogues will be right up your street. Teamed with dark denim and a casual shirt, they make the perfect brand to invest in.
This is the rebel’s favourite. If you’re all about pushing fashion boundaries then stick with the master. For over fifty years they’ve been making the bouncing soul classics for everyone to enjoy. From rockabilly to punk and everything in-between, Dr Marten’s have something for everyone, just tougher and punkier than everyone else.
How to Lace Brogues
When you first buy a new pair of brogues you’d be very lucky if they come already laced. This task is usually left down to you. You’ll also want to learn these tricks if you want to change the style or pattern of the laces up a little bit. Because the brogue is such a classic shoe, you’ll probably want to stick to a classic way of lacing them.
What To Do
- Take the lace and thread either end into the bottom two holes of the brogue.
- Make sure that both ends are of an even length.
- Take one end of the lace and thread it up through the hole above and the over and across to the opposite hole and down again.
- With the same end of the lace, thread it under again, missing the hole above and put it in the next.
- Thread up, over and across to the opposite hole.
- Repeat until you’ve reached the top and do the exact same with the other side of the lace.
The History of Brogues
Like most designs that have stood the test of time, the style was originally created for a particular function. The hole styles started as a way for those living in Scotland and Ireland to drain their shoes. Trudging through a bog can mean shoes would soak up water. The holes were added to the design to let the waste escape when wading through swampy areas. Due to their working-class roots, they haven’t always been seen as a smart shoe, but that’s no longer the case.
Good Dress Shoes (Alternatives)
If brogues aren’t your thing then don’t worry! There are many styles of dress shoe to fit any occasion.
The Oxford: The failsafe for any black tie (pick leather) and white tie (choose patent leather) events, simple classic and very smart.
The Loafer: A relaxed shoe for warmer weather. This shoe can look great with chinos, especially if you cuff them to show off a bit of ankle. Match with some simple but bright socks or without any at all!
The Derby: Also known as Blucher, this shoe’s a bit more flexible in what you can wear it with. The open lacing on top of the vamp relaxes the style. Compared to the Oxford which has the holes for the laces stitched under the vamp.
The Chelsea Boot: A must-have piece of classic British style loved by everyone from bad boys in bands to Bond. Pop them on with a suit or some simple jeans and either outfit will stand out from the crowd.
The Monk Strap: An interesting change from a laced up dress shoe as it still has the formality of polished leather. Picking a buckle over a bow can smarten your denim or toughen up a trouser piece.
The Desert Boot: A soft and simple boot that’s more laid back than the Chelsea, softens up a leather jacket look or adds class to a parka.
The Boat: Also known as deck shoes these are a nice alternative to loafers for casual and summer wear, wear with stripes for a full on sailor look.
What are Brogues?
It’s all in the cut when it comes to shoes, so being clued up really pays off. Having a good knowledge of styles will help a guy stay suave and save time. Once you to get to grips with each cut it’s so simple to pick out your perfect pair time and time again. Broguing is something that can be used to create a texture and pattern to most formal shoes. So you’ll probably be able to stick to your favourite shoe style, whilst also adding a layer of broguing to give your shoes that extra stylish detail.
How to Wear Men’s Brogues
- Brogues are a great way to spruce up your dress shoes whilst adding a bit of classic British culture.
- Black and dark brown styles work for times when you need to look sharp. These look best on a quarter or semi brogue.
- Smarten up jeans and chinos with brown or tan full brogues.
- From a simple semi brogue to an extended wingtip, it’s up to you how eye-catching you’re ready to be!
- There are different types you can invest in. These include brogue boots or a Dr Martens version.
On That Note
From reading this you now have all you need to know about brogues! Just think about what you feel comfortable in and what you already love to wear. Whether you want to add the classic heritage of the full brogue to your denim and knits or to mix up your suit with the quarter brogue style, you should now know all of the best tips. Some good brogue shoes add character to anyone’s shoe rack, you’ll be laced up in no time!