Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Going for brogues – a modern classic

The brogue is a great all-rounder and everyone loves it – right? Well, not quite

Mon, Jan 27, 2014, 11:56


Image via Girl a la Mode

At one stage, brogues – you know the ones, lace-up flat shoes in Oxford style with pinhole detail and rounded toes – could have been considered a trend, an item in fashion that comes in to fashion and then very swiftly goes back out. But something happened during the ascent of the brogue (the responsibility for which should be distributed equally between designer Simone Rocha, IT-girls Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof and actress Saoirse Ronan) that ensured its sartorial longevity.

Sandro S/S 2014

You can’t cross the threshold of an Office or River Island now without finding several varieties of brogue; similarly, Brown Thomas is never without a few takes on the style. You can buy a classic pair in Church’s in Kildare Village (for a pretty penny), or you can get a pair for roughly the same price as a pack of cigarettes in your local New Look.

Penneys S/S 2014

The truly confusing thing about brogues is, though they may now be deemed a classic – they’re comfortable, chic (so French!), versatile – they still have the power to be divisive. Men, as a rule, dislike them (unless they are into indie music and BYOB events, in which case they probably love them, but they are the exception that proves the rule); in fact, a lot of women dislike them, too (unless they are into indie music and BYOB . . . oh, you get the picture). They don’t look good on everyone, despite claims of versatility (the fat of calf should probably steer clear).

If you buy cheap, imitation leather and wear them without what my mother calls “sockettes”, they are quite likely to cut your feet. Then again, if you buy expensive, genuine leather and wear them without wearing them in, you may witness a similar result.

The troublesome case of the brogue. For the record I, being wide of calf and sensitive of foot, have not yet found a pair of brogues I loved – or, more accurately, that loved me. Simone Rocha’s (top) could come close. Sandro’s are on my wish-list. Penneys’ silver numbers are on my love list (with an acknowledgement that they’d probably cripple me). Thoughts?