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Style Advice

How to dress down brogues

How to dress down brogues

Our wardrobes have really seen it all this year, haven’t they? I mean, who would have thought your sweatpants would become more valuable than your trusty brogues for day-to-day dressing (which are likely gathering dust right now). But fear not – that pair you splashed out on before a certain pandemic put smarter items into retirement are not a total lost cause. 

In fact, they’re quite the opposite according to our stylist Toby Standing. “Despite their association with tailoring and smarter dressing, brogues are surprisingly easy to wear with more casual pieces,” he says. All it takes is a few styling tips, and your brogues will feel every bit as relevant as your sweatpants right now.

Get the smart casual balance right

“My approach with dressing down any traditionally formal item of clothing isn’t just to put it with the most casual look you can find (that can often look jarring). Instead, tip the balance of the scale just a little bit – think smart shoes with casual trousers and a zip-up jacket,” Toby says.

Try them with jeans

“Thanks to tougher, chunky sole iterations from brands like Dr. Martens, brogues can take on more of a rugged workwear vibe. This makes them great for pairing with dark indigo denim, especially in a more relaxed cut.” Into the workwear aesthetic? Read more tips on how to achieve this look this season.

Swap your shirt for knitwear

Photographed: Melka Billan Navy Mac (£111)

Your shirt and brogues may be appropriate for the office, but this look will feel a little out of place for casual weekend brunches. Look to knitwear to help you pare things down. “One in a statement colour, or perhaps worn as a mid-layer, can bring interest to the look and make your brogues feel more intentional,” Toby says. 

Roll up your trousers 

Turning up the hems of your trousers or jeans is an easy way to push your brogues in more of a laid-back direction. Don’t roll them up too far – just enough to make sure they sit over your shoes and maybe even reveal a peek of your colourful socks for added personality. 

Shop all brogues


Words: Ashlie Brombley
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing
Styling assistant: Taylor Tunaley