The Shoe Files: Brogues


In recent decades brogues have become somewhat synonymous with formal footwear. Whether you wear them to an office, a black tie do or a wedding, you can trust a good quality pair of brogues to see you there and back in style.

The Anatomy of Brogues

Brogue is a fairly wide term. It describes any low heeled shoe or boot with multiple piece leather uppers completed with decorative broguing. Broguing is the traditional shoemakers term for decorative perforations. These are usually arranged along a line or curve and can be accompanied by decorative topstitching.


Wingtips, Oxfords Derbies, ghillies and Chelsea boots can all be described as brogues, so long as they feature the necessary adornment.

The History of Brogues

Brogues haven’t always been formalwear. In fact, the practice of creating perforations in shoes was first carried out for purely practical purposes. Brogues originated in Ireland and Scotland. They were first designed as country walking shoes, and the holes were created in them so that they would dry out faster in the event that they got wet or muddy.

Over time, the brogue holes became smaller and more decorative, and brogues walked right out of the bog and into the boardroom.

How to Wear Brogues

Though modern brogues are formal shoes, they do dress down very well. You can wear yours just as confidently with a suit as you can with chinos or jeans.

If the brogues in question are black, we recommend pairing them with more formal suit trousers. Brown brogues are more easily dressed down and look great with coloured chinos or navy blue jeans.

Want more brogue inspiration? Take a look at this advice from GQ on what to wear with brogues and a tweed jacket.

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