What is a classy dress shoe that never goes out of style? One that can help you look both elegant and laid back whether you’re planning on attending a casual dinner party or dressing for work?
When it comes to dressing for the occasion, men’s wingtip shoes are a pair of shoes that can match any casual or semi-formal get-together. But what exactly is a wingtip shoe, and what makes it so special?
What is Broguing?
Before we can answer what men’s wingtip shoes are, we first have to tackle a little technical term called broguing.
Have you ever noticed how certain leather shoes have those decorative holes or perforations that are on the tip of the shoe, or all around the sides and the back? These holes are more commonly known as broguing.
Broguing goes way back to the 16th century, where the Irish and the Scottish often put holes into their shoes for their trips across the country (particularly through the marshlands). Their shoes would often get wet during the crossing, and so the holes served the purpose of letting out the water that had gotten into their shoes.
While these days, broguing is seen more as a decorative embellishment, they remain a big part of men’s footwear.
What Are Wingtip Shoes?
Now that we know what broguing is, we can take a closer look at wingtips. Have you ever noticed those wing-shaped patterns (somewhat resembling the letter W) that are just below the tip of the shoe, and go all the way around the side and middle of the shoe? Broadly speaking, any shoe that has that wing-shaped design is called a wingtip.
Most men’s wingtip shoes are brogued, and the style and shape of many wingtips are varied and many, adding a sense of flair to those leather shoes.
Despite the details that broguing and wingtips allow, however, they are considered inappropriate for most formal occasions.
“Why?” you ask?
Think about the history of broguing and why it was done in the first place. The practical use of brogues meant it was taken as a casual shoe, often used for outdoors and travel. Any shoe with broguing, therefore, is also considered more suited for casual, or smart casual events.
How Formal/Casual Are Wingtips Then?
Now, while wingtips and brogues are often not considered formal wear, one cannot put them in the same category as sneakers. Formal shoes are often close-laced and less “busy”. This means that you’re not likely to find any sort of broguing in any formal shoe.
Wingtip shoes are probably more akin to loafers, wherein they serve as a bridge between formal and casual wear. This means that you can most definitely wear them together with a pair of jeans and a buttoned-up shirt, as well as with a pair of slacks and a sports coat.
Where to Find the Perfect Pair of Men’s Wingtip Shoes?
Now, there are also different types of wingtips, ranging from your Oxford wingtips (a closed-laced shoe) to your derby wingtips (an open-laced shoe).
Oxfords do give shoes a more formal look. However, derbies can be just as stunning. Choosing between one of the other will ultimately fall on one’s personal preferences.
When it comes to shopping for the right shoes, however, you also want to consider the quality of the craftsmanship involved in the shoemaking, as well as the type of leather that’s being used.
Idrese is one shop that’s worth checking out in that respect. Made from full-grain Italian leather, they have a wide selection of Oxfords, loafers, wingtips, and more. If you’re looking for a pair of high-quality Italian leather shoes to add to your wardrobe, check out their website. You can even take a shot at customizing and designing your own wingtips or brogues.