Brogues are the perfect option for those wanting to inject a bit of smart vintage style into their look. If worn correctly, these shoes can bring an ideal balance of British eccentricity and timeless sophistication to your everyday outfit. Get it wrong, however, and you can end up looking like a kid dressed up in his dad’s shoes. George Walker is here to direct you kings of vintage to some fantastic brogue bargains and style inspirations.
Brogues originate from Scotland and Ireland and were traditionally worn in the country, not in the city where a more formal shoe was required. The holes in the shoes, you see, were to let water in and out of the shoe as workers traipsed through bog land. This distinction is important for getting the brogue style look of today: Brogues shouldn’t be too serious or formal- it’s all about having a cheeky take on smart dress.

Loake shoemakers have made their brogues at a factory in Kettering, Northamptonshire, since 1894 and the company is still run by the same family. We asked a spokesperson at Loake to shed light on why it was that the brogue design continues to sell throughout the decades. She said: “Its longevity has something to do with the difference between fashion and style.”

LOAKE craftmanship (pic supplied by loake)” The quality and craftsmanship associated with a traditional construction, combined with the strong sense of history inherent in a ‘heritage’ product, gives it value and meaning that is rare in our modern, throwaway culture.” Loake shoemakers even create the brogue designs by hand.  It can still take up to eight weeks to make a pair (see right).

The recent brogue renaissance is all about slim, casual designs with a touch of individuality. Any self-respecting vintage shop will have a good line-up of brogue shoes for guys, just make sure you avoid the wide and bulky pairs that lack that edge of unconventional charm.

If that all sounds a bit confusing, have a look at our vintage gent of the week and follow my (perhaps a little too alliterative!) style tips and shopping links to get the best out of brogues.

For some instant inspiration check out Thirties Hollywood film star Warren Williams in a natty pair of two-tone brogues- the perfect choice for a dapper onscreen villain (above left).

                                                                                                                                  image: Loake

SDC10327Our vintage gent of the week is Ben Elliot from the tremendous vintage shop To Be Worn Again in Brighton. Here he is showing us how to pull off brogues with style.

Notice the over-sized top layers paired with drainpipe jeans for a unique silhouette. Plus, turn-ups work really well here to focus attention on this outfit’s best assets- the brogues of course!

This Fifties  inspired look gets the thumbs up from us.

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Brogue BootsStyle Tip #1- A Brogue Boot can be Brilliant

In the late Fifties Mod culture- and later skinheads- put brogues back on the fashion agenda. The brogue was the perfect shoe for an era when past values clashed with current concerns and when the working class found its voice. The brogue boot became particularly popular for those wanting a modern take on traditional styles. Plus, if you’re like me and love a shoe that gives your ankle a hug, this is the perfect option for you.

 

 

 

 

 
BurgundiesStyle Tip #2- A Burgundy Brogue Can be Beautiful

To add a bit of colour to your outfit why not add a dash of red to your footwear? Burgundy leather can range from the more formal, warm browns to quirky hot reds. For those of you who dare, the redder the better we say.

 

 

 

 

Grenson vintage pairStyle Tip #3- Blow the Budget: Buy the Best

eBay has a huge selection of vintage brogues from the top names in the brogue business. Even on eBay, however, these shoes can fetch well over the £100 mark. Having said that, these companies have been in business for 100s of years for a reason; these shoes will last you for years.

 

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