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Oxfords not brogues: A Guide to Kingsman-Level Shoe Knowledge

27th May 2024

The Kingsman franchise has become synonymous with sharp style and impeccable tailoring. One line, in particular, has transcended the film and entered popular culture: "Oxfords, not brogues!"  But for the uninitiated, what exactly does this cryptic message mean? 

Let’s delve into the world of men's dress shoes, unpacking the difference between Oxfords and brogues, and exploring other essential shoe knowledge for the modern gentleman. 

The Oxford vs. The Brogue: 

The key distinction lies in the lacing system and decorative perforations. Here's a breakdown: 

  • Oxfords:  Epitomise clean lines and formality. They feature a closed lacing system, meaning the shoelace eyelets lie beneath the vamp (front part) of the shoe. This creates a smooth, uninterrupted look.  

Perfect for: Black or brown Oxfords are a cornerstone of any formal wardrobe. They are ideal for black-tie events, business meetings, and formal weddings. 

  • Brogues:  Offer a touch of visual interest with decorative perforations, often in a wingtip or brogue pattern. Their lacing system can be either closed (like an Oxford) or open (eyelets rest on top of the vamp). While brogues can be quite dressy, especially whole cut brogues, they generally lean more towards a semi-formal or smart casual aesthetic. 

Ideal for: Brogues add a touch of personality to your outfit and work well for business casual settings, semi-formal events, or dressed-up weekend wear. Opt for whole cut brogues in dark brown for a sophisticated yet slightly less formal look.

Kingsman's Message Decoded: 

In the film, Harry Hart, the seasoned Kingsman agent, is correcting Eggsy, a new recruit, on his footwear choice.  Eggsy's brogues, while stylish, are deemed too casual for the occasion, hence the "Oxfords, not brogues" directive. It's a subtle yet impactful lesson in dressing appropriately for the situation. 

Beyond Oxfords and Brogues: 

The world of men's dress shoes extends far beyond these two styles. Here are some other types to consider for your wardrobe (all available at Wil Valor): 

  • Derbys: Similar to Oxfords but with an open lacing system, offering a more relaxed look. Derbys are a versatile choice for business casual settings or a night out. Wil Valor offers Derbys in a variety of colours and leathers, allowing you to find the perfect pair to complement your outfit. 
  • Loafers: Slip-on shoes, perfect for a touch of effortless sophistication. Wil Valor offers a variety of bespoke loafer styles, including Penny Loafers, Tassel Loafers, and Driver Loafers. Penny Loafers are a timeless choice for smart casual wear, while Tassel Loafers add a touch of flair. Driver Loafers, on the other hand, are ideal for a relaxed yet polished look. 
  • Monks: Distinctive for their single or double buckle closures, ideal for adding a touch of personality to your outfit. Wil Valor offers a range of Monk Strap shoes, allowing you to choose between the classic elegance of a single monk or the bolder

Wil Valor: Your Bespoke Shoe Partner 

At Wil Valor, we recognise that the right shoes are essential to the perfect ensemble. Our selection of custom footwear, from sturdy Oxfords to classic Derbys to bold loafers, is designed to align with your unique style preferences and needs. 

Understanding the subtleties of men's dress shoes is more than an exercise in fashion—it's a strategic choice that elevates your personal style and distinguishes you from the crowd, much like a Kingsman in his prime. The right pair of shoes does more than complete a look; it transforms the wearer, elevating him to new heights of sophistication. 

Next time you select your footwear, channel your inner Kingsman and choose wisely. Discover the refined collection at Wil Valor or reach out to us to craft your bespoke pair. Each shoe in our collection isn't just made; it's crafted with a narrative in mind. What story will your shoes tell? 

Locations we service include: Brisbane | Gold Coast | Sunshine Coast | Sydney | Melbourne | Los Angeles    


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