Five Brogue types that complement your formal attire

Brogues were originally a practical work shoe that has transformed over time. Today it has become a versatile footwear choice for men that effortlessly complements various casual, business, and occasionally formal outfits. In the following article, we'll delve into the world of men's brogues and explore how to incorporate them into your wardrobe.

Can we consider brogues as formal shoes?

In general, brogues fall under the semi-formal category. They might lack the requisite formality for evening wear or black-tie occasions. However, they can be perfectly paired with formal suits. Among brogue variations, semi-brogue shoes for men, quarter brogues, and derby brogues tend to be the most formal ones. Therefore, they are often the preferred choice, particularly when opting for a semi-formal event.



Semi-brogue shoes can work well with a suit, especially when they feature dark leather and the suit itself has a more relaxed style. These are often referred to as half-brogues. They showcase perforations along the seam, but they distinguish themselves with a typical broguing pattern on the top of the cap toe. These men's brogues made their debut in 1937. But today these brogue shoes for men strike a balance between formal and casual settings since they are not excessively decorative like Full brogues.

How to style them formally?

The traditional hues for semi-brogues include brown, oxblood, and black. When it comes to oxblood and richer brown shades like chestnut brown, semi-brogues offer versatility and can elegantly pair well with a sports jacket or a brown suit. When aiming for typical formal occasions, pair either black or tan brogues with a finely tailored suit. You can also try a smart-formal aesthetic with trousers, a dress shirt, and a blazer. Opting for a tan or light brown shade can offer a refreshing twist on the classic black brogue.


Full brogues

Full brogues, often referred to as wingtips, are distinguished by their pointed toe cap adorned with extensions, or "wings," which gracefully extend along both sides of the toe. When you see them from above, this toe cap design forms a distinct "W" shape and resembles a bird with its wings outstretched. That is how it got its name "Wingtips". The toe cap of a full brogue exhibits a combination of decorative perforations and serrations along its edges. This culminates in additional ornamental perforations at the center of the toe cap, known as the medallion.

How to style them formally?

You can style full brogues formally with simple experiments. It's essential to strike the right balance between classic elegance and a touch of personality. Start with a well-tailored suit in a traditional color like charcoal gray, navy, or black. But you need to ensure the suit fits impeccably well. Then pair it with a solid white shirt and a silk tie in a subtle pattern. When it comes to socks, opt for over-the-calf dress socks that match your suit's color. As for the full brogues themselves, make sure they are polished to shine bright. Black or dark brown brogue shoes are typically the most formal option. This look reflects a timeless charm that's perfect for formal events, business meetings, or any occasion where you need a sophisticated impression.

Spectator shoes

Spectator shoes, also known as co-respondent shoes in British English. These are basically oxfords with full brogue detailing crafted from two contrasting colors. Typically, these shoes feature a darker hue for the toe and heel cap, and occasionally, even the lace panels, in contrast to the primary body color of the shoe. While common combinations involve a white shoe body paired with either black or tan caps, some may use alternative color schemes to achieve unique aesthetics.

How to style them formally?

Spectator shoes complement subtle colored suits quite well. You can particularly pair them with a gray, beige, or navy suit. This will inject a hint of old money into a timeless look. Now technically this is a two-tone shoe. So it may become a little fashion-forward for some gentlemen. We advise our audience to reserve them exclusively for semi-formal occasions.

Quarter brogues

Among all types of brogues, quarter brogues feature the fewest patterns on the upper body. These shoes sport a cap-toe design with a unique brogue pattern solely adorning the seam of the cap. These are crafted in the Oxford style with close lace-up systems and minimal broguing. Hence, these men's brogues speak a formal tone and are best suited for pairing with formal attire. You can buy these brogue shoes online at

How to style them formally?

Quarter brogues are the ideal choice of brogue shoes for business and formal events. You can pair black brogues with dark brown or black business suit trousers. This way you'll achieve a sophisticated and masculine look. The distinctive perforations of the brogues will introduce charming details to your outfit and tastefully highlight the precision of your attire.


Longwing brogues

Longwing brogues are a distinctive style of men's brogue shoes characterized by a wingtip design. This design extends from the toe cap to the back of the shoe. These brogues feature intricate perforations and decorative detailing along the wingtip. These shoes are eye-catching and complement pretty much most formal attire. Long-wing brogues typically have a robust and sturdy build and hence they give you a rugged look. They often come in various materials, including leather and suede, and a range of colors. However, brown brogue shoes are popular among gentlemen.

How to style them formally?

Styling long-wing brogues is a no-brainer. These shoes are extremely versatile and stylish. Try a formal look by pairing them with a well-tailored suit in classic colors like charcoal gray or dark tan. Long wings in black leather are particularly suited for formal occasions. You may experiment with a black blazer and trousers to create a smart monochromatic look. This way your overall attire comes out as well-coordinated and balanced.

Ghillie brogues

Ghillie brogues belong to the category of full brogues but they are distinguished by their lack of a tongue below the eyelets. Moreover, they have long and sturdy laces. These shoes have their roots in Scotland and they were originally designed as practical work footwear. That is why ghillie brogues hold a special place in Scottish heritage.

How to style them formally?

Ghillie brogues can work well with semi-formal attire. You can try them with dress trousers and a check dress shirt for a polished appearance. Complete the look with a blazer or sports coat to elevate your style quotient.

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