Men's Guide:How to wear wing tips shoes(Full Brogue )

 

Where Does the Wingtip Style Come From?

Paul Evans Wingtip BroguesWingtips are part of the brogue family. Traditionalists and people who want to sound smarter than you will still insist on calling them “full brogues.”
That’s not wholly accurate, since shoes with wingtipped caps but no broguing have been around for centuries, but take it as a polite nod to history: the “wingtips” that entered mainstream British style, and from there American style as well, back in the early 20th century, were descended from the Irish and Scottish walking shoes known as brogues.
Brogues were heavy shoes of thick leather with holes punched all the way through, to allow water to enter and then flow back out when the wearer was crossing boggy country.
That may sound unpleasant to modern ears, but in a world without waterproof coatings and machine stitching, walking inevitably meant wet feet, and brogues at least allowed them to dry faster.
Fashionable shoemakers eventually got hold of the style, and a whole family of shoes with decorative hole punching on the surface (but not all the way through the leather) evolved.


The wingtip, or full brogue, was the most decorated and least formal member of the family:
Dress shoe Guide Brogues wide 1
  • Quarter brogues have a toecap seam lined with decorative perforations, but no other brogueing.
  • Semi-brogues have brogueing along the toecap seam, and also on the top of the toecap leather, but not anywhere further up the shoe than the toecap.
  • Full brogues extend the toecap with wingtips, and have brogueing both on top of the toecap and along the seams, and often on the body of the “wings” as well.
  • Longwing brogues is a term sometimes used to set apart wingtips where the wings meet at the back of the shoe, forming a complete circuit of the shoe. They are a subset of the wingtip style.
Any or all of these can also sometimes (but not necessarily) feature decorative edging or serrations along the seams, particularly the toecap seam.

Paul Evans Wingtip Brogues

How Formal or Casual Are Wingtip Dress Shoes?

Wingtips are a historically casual style, particularly the two-tone “spectator shoe” variety wherein the uppers and the toecap are contrasting colors.
These were historically leisure shoes, and the visually “busy” style means that in today’s fashion language they’re still more casual than a sleeker, non-perforated Oxford or other dress shoe.
That said, they’re not sneakers, either. Wingtips are smack in the middle of casual dress shoes (or dress-casual shoes, if you prefer).
You shouldn’t wear them in serious and high-formality business settings, or to somber affairs like funerals, but other than that they’re fair game for wearing with suits, slacks and sportcoats, or even just jeans and a casual collared shirt.
A lot will depend on the color and design of the shoe. A black wingtip with narrow wings that stop midway around the foot and a single line of small perforations is relatively dressy; a two-tone shoe with white uppers and oxblood wings that go all the way around the foot is much more casual.
In general, the more holes the shoe has and the bigger the wings, the less formal it is. But color can play a part too – black will always be a bit dressier than brown, and other colors like red and white will always be on the low end of formality.

Modern interpretations have given you a lot of options to choose from if you go the wingtip route, ranging from scaled-down versions that flirt with business formality to truly exotic, neon-colored two-tone showpieces.


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