Certain style classics can be relied upon to come back into fashion time and time again – if they ever do find themselves out of favour with the sartorially savvy. All the fads in the world can’t compete with time-honoured style, especially when it comes to footwear.
People naturally choose to experiment with footwear but they tend to come back to the old favourites. The most popular men’s shoes on the market these days are pretty much the same selection as you might expect to find on the wanted list of men in decades gone by – Chelsea boots, Oxford shoes, desert boots, chukka boots, bluchers and, of course, today’s real focus: brogues.
Now, the general scope of men’s footwear has grown more casual over the years because sportswear has worked its way into the smart-casual spectrum. Having said that, there’s not much room for casual style in the workplace and this is where brogues are really making a strong comeback.
The attributes men look for in their work shoes are pretty simple. We want a good pair of shoes that can withstand being worn five days out of seven. Versatility is very important too – we want them to look good with a suit and with the smart-casual clothes worn on dress-down days. We also want them to be comfortable for those days when we don’t have time to stop and sit down and we want them to look cool enough for after work drinks and lunch time engagements as well.
Brogues tend to deliver on every level. Fortunately, they are varied enough to cater for different tastes too. Low profile brogues lean a little more towards the casual end of the spectrum, while sturdier varieties give you the impression they’ll still be going strong even after you hang up your boots in your chosen career!
The test of time
That longevity is key. If you’ve chosen to invest in some really high quality shoes that will stand the test of time, you don’t want them to go out of fashion six months down the line. Brogues are the kind of fashion essentials that were in your dad’s shoe rack and your granddad’s shoe rack and the shoe rack of your entire family tree, so it’s pretty unthinkable that they won’t see out the next couple of years.
Colour, comfort and care
These days, designers like to play around with colours, but you really can’t beat the holy trinity of colours where brogues are concerned: black, brown and tan. Brown and tan brogues are a bit more versatile than black brogues because they’ll go with slim jeans as well as trousers.
It’s best to go with a quality make so you can keep cleaning and shining the leather up nicely. Brogues also have a brilliant tendency to soften and mould to your feet over time, especially when you’re wearing them often, so you’ll usually find that they are the most comfortable shoes in your collection.
Another tip on shoe care and restoration is to find your nearest cobbler, because they’ll be able to re-sole and re-heel your work shoes for a lot less than it costs to replace them. The uppers are usually still in good nick long after the heels have given up the ghost, so this is a good money-saving tactic.
Brogues and the vintage revolution
A word on trends: you can’t fail to have noticed the fact that vintage fashion is very much in vogue at the moment. This goes for men’s fashion as well as women’s fashion – naturally, since the two are pretty much co-dependent and are informed by precisely the same cultural movements.
Brogues are very much part of the vintage aesthetic and they’re to be found in men’s and women’s boutiques and second hand shops in all the coolest shopping districts. Their popularity in this setting represents a glowing endorsement.
Choice on the High Street
However, you’re never limited to the second hand or boutique market. All the High Street and online retailers recognise that brogues are making a strong comeback and if they don’t then they’re really missing a trick. This means there’s plenty of choice out there in terms of style, fit, budget, material, quality and all the rest.
If there’s a brand you trust because the fit is always good and because each line possesses a lasting quality, you can usually be sure they’ll have a few styles of brogues in stock. Otherwise, experiment with one of the other respected names out there.
Nothing quite beats marching into work in a pair of kicks with character and some smart-casual brogues have what it takes to give you confidence from the ground up.
Cloggs.co.uk has a wide selection of men’s brogues in stock from some of the smartest brand names.