Brown brogues are making a considerable comeback in men’s fashion, with High Street sales soaring for the once taboo shoe.
Wearing brown in town may have been a sartorial faux-pas for the City gent of yesteryear, but a new generation of suited and booted gentlemen are wearing the brown brogue to stamp their distinction.
Brogues walk the line between smart and casual, and they are catching on. Celebrities have praised the brogues versatility, and brown shoe sales have soared across. What started as a cutting-edge look of brogues worn with jeans or a suit, has become a staple of the high street.
Ian Chumbley, men’s shoe buyer at John Lewis, recently told the Independent newspaper: “Sales of brown shoes are 15 per cent up on last year. Brogues are everywhere and utilising all fabrics and multiple colours. But the key, really, is the earthy tones that are coming through.”
Central to the brown brogues charm is the adaptability to both smart and casual ensembles. As Jason Broderick, the menswear manager at Harrods told the newspaper: “Men’s work wardrobe has much more crossover than ever before with casual dressing.
A more preppy look has impacted on their choice of shoe. Boring is not acceptable. Brown shoes enhance a man’s style because they stand out.”
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But this isn’t the first time that brown shoes have been championed. Back in the 1950s, Hollywood icons Cary Grant and Fred Astaire often wore brown shoes with grey trousers.
A decade later the Mad Men era of managerial types boasted the black shoe as king instead for its simplicity and smartness, leaving the brown show behind them, where it stayed for many years.
Today, celebrities such as Jude Law and Robbie Williams have been seen to pick up where Grant and Astaire left off, by hot-stepping about town in a pair of brown brogues. The choice of brown is a stand of defiance against the conservative black.
This distinction has permeated high fashion too. Stephanie Cairns, a fashion writer at Esquire magazine, said: “Almost every photo shoot we do now includes brown brogues.
The younger generation are using them as a means to distinguish themselves from the older and more conservatively dressed businessmen. The trend is ongoing and shows no sign of stopping.”