Working as a stylist and fashion blogger for the last few years, I’ve come to favour certain pieces that I know are tried and true items in the industry. The brogue oxford shoe (Gaelic for Bróg, meaning leg covering) is one of those pieces.
I’ve worn them traveling for a month in Paris, walking 10 miles a day, and styling photo shoots with clients. They are by far one of my favorite shoes to wear. Moreover, this shoe has a deep and interesting history, dating back to the 16th century in Scotland and Ireland. What started out as a walking shoe for farmers working in the bogs became more fashionable, as business and working class men started wearing these shoes for comfort and style.
So, how did women start adopting this “boys only’” shoe? Around the ’50s and ’60s, as liberation and freedom movements happened around the globe, women started rejecting the conformity of stereotypical womenswear. Designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent, started creating more masculine looks tailored towards women. And stars and starlets such as Katherine Hepburn and Twiggy began wearing brogues as more of a fashion statement of comfort and style.
Throughout the decades, brogues have risen in popularity. Today, they remain widely popular, often paired with designer fashion pieces on the runways in New York and Paris. While you may not need to wear couture to look great in brogues, here are a few ways to style them. Whether it’s with your favourite pair of jeans or a great looking skirt, the brogue goes a long way.
Look #1: Poppy Barley’s Eleanor Brogue with jeans and a trench coat
One of the easiest ways to integrate brogues into your day-to-day wardrobe is to pair them with dark skinny jeans, offsetting the look with a great plaid shirt and layering with the perfect trench coat. You can wear this in a casual work setting or on the weekend. The caramel colour of Poppy Barley’s Eleanor Brogue pairs perfectly with blue and black tones.
Look #2: Poppy Barley’s Eleanor Brogue with a tulle skirt, white shirt + jean jacket
On the flip side: for a more dressed up look, it’s easy to pair your brogues or oxfords with a great skirt and layer a classic white button down with a jean jacket. From a weekend brunch to dinner out, it’s the easiest mix of feminine and masculine.
So: shed your fears, take your brogues and oxfords out of that little box and mix it up; these classic shoes will go with almost every piece in your closet. Promise.