You really never can go wrong with a pair of brogues. Described variously as a strong shoe with ornamental perforated bands, a style of low-heeled shoe or boot with sturdy uppers and decorative perforations, or a strong outdoor shoe, the message is clear. The brogue is cheerfully a no-nonsense affair which will tolerate all types of styling and adaptation, whether for the strictest suiting or the most casual jean and jacket combination.
It is instantly the sign of chic for men but as has been noted over several seasons and featuring in many collections, women are pleased to be borrowing this staple for their own wardrobes. A pair will even look great with tennis shorts and look at golfing shoes – both sports attesting to the shoe design’s universal appeal too.
In general there are four types of toe cap styles (full or ‘wingtip’, semi-quarter and longwing) and there are correspondingly four closure styles (Oxford, Derby, ghillie and monk). True, some designers have tried to bring the brogue into the future, with risible results – playing with foam soles and unusual colours or colour combinations, for example, but a good, solid pair which would not look out of place in the Art Deco period and certainly more than a bit player in a tale by Scott Fitzgerald, Somerset Maugham or Bret Easton Ellis.
Ultimately functional, originally, at least, brogues were of course outdoor and country indispensables, the untanned hide for resilience and the decorative holes for draining water when crossing wet ground. Never brown in town? With brogues one makes an exception. Otherwise of course, it must be black.
But how even a comparatively inexpensive pair from say, high street stalwart Clarks and sometimes, Dune, moving up, the streamlined elegance of Russell & Bromley and Church’s or the assured slicing cut of a pair by Edward Green and Lobb will add silent volumes to your sartorial style. And no… you can’t have too many.