A History of Brogues


Today’s fashion is often about recapturing treasures from the past, but with a modern twist. Currently, we are seeing a revival in trends from the 1960’s and 1970’s, be it clothes, hairstyles or footwear. One of the most popular reappearances is the ever fashionable brogue shoe.

The brogue, originally for men, has never really gone out of fashion. Today’s designers have brought back their sought-after design, and now with more variety and styles than ever before, both men and women are able to enjoy the uniqueness and class of this shoe.

The word ‘brogue’ comes from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic word ‘brog’ meaning ‘shoe’. Originally designed as a shoe for the men of Scotland and Ireland, they were intended to serve a functional purpose and to aid the workers of the countryside so that they were comfortable when working in damp bogs.

The pattern punched perforations on the front of the shoe are a defining quality and epitomizes the style. They were created in order to help drain water from inside the shoe, making them more comfortable to wear.

Originally made from an un-tanned leather, the shoes, often retain their original brown colour.  The design soon made its way into the world of fashion when the patterns began appearing as decoration on ladies shoes which were worn for formal dances. These patterns were then seen on men’s shoes and different forms developed into what we can find today.

The popularity of brogues isn't restricted to just British either. The shoes were highly favored in the United States in the early 1930’s and well into the post-war era, and were ideal for dancing due to the small and perfectly formed kitten heel. They were endorsed by the likes of style icons such as American singer Pattie Smith, Katharine Hepburn and Twiggy, all known for their infamous 60’s ‘mod’ style.

Now available in a wide range of different colours, fabrics and styles, a pair of brogues can add a fashionable edge to even the most understated outfit.

For the ladies, they can add a perfect boyish touch to a floral dress for those summer nights or even smarten up a pair of trousers and a blouse for an edgier take on formal tailoring.

For the men, they are perfect for adding that extra something to a polished suit, or even for casual day-to-day wear, creating a teddy-boy on trend look.

So whilst the brogue may have come from humble and old-fashioned beginnings, its reliability, heritage, and, most importantly, clean-cut design, have ensured it has stood the test of time – even in the ever-changing world of fashion.

If you don’t already own a pair, now is the time to invest as they are on-trend for Autumn/Winter 2011, and, as time has told, will become a staple in all of our wardrobes. 


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