En Brogue In Full: bare legs and brogues

The sun is out! Spring has sprung! WOO HOO! So this week’s En Brogue In Full just HAD to include bare legs, and I thought I would tackle something that I get asked about a lot – how to wear brogues. Brogues are one of the trickiest flat shoes to team with skirts and dresses, and while I do have some tips and tricks to share with you today, it’s fair to say that I’ve broken most of these rules at one time or another to varying success, so as always, don’t be scared to experiment! (NB: by brogues, I don’t just mean flat lace-up shoes, but these ideas work with most types of masculine shoes – if you’d like to know more about brogues, have a read of my EnBroguelopedia on the subject here).

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Trench, old, Dagmar (houseofdagmar.com); dress, £95, People Tree (gift; people tree.co.uk); bag, £299, C. Nicol (gift; cnicol.com); monk brogues, old, Northern Cobbler (northerncobbler.com)

PHOTOGRAPHY: ZAC FRACKELTON

As you can see, my legs fall into the pasty white category at present, though I’m a firm believer in getting them out as early in the season as possible to get a bit of Vitamin D and rectify that situation. My Greek heritage means my olive skin always looks better when it’s sun kissed! However, until such a time as they’ve started to tan, or I’ve reached for the bottle, which although I’m not a massive fan of, I do turn to at the beginning of the summer for some help (my favourite is by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter), I’m playing it safe in brogues that are as similar in colour to my skin as possible. And at the moment, that’s white. When I start to change colour I will entertain the idea of a natural calf leather, or, depending on what weather we get this summer, tan. But in a nutshell, the closer in colour they are to your skin, the more flattering the shoes will be, as it gives the illusion of lengthening your legs.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ZAC FRACKELTON

That said, I have been known to wear darker brogues with skirts (I told you – I break my own rules!). It’s a bit more difficult to get this look right (I know a lot of women feel like they’re in an episode of The Bill when trying black brogues with black skirts!) but it’s definitely worth a crack. I feel more confident doing this when I have a tan, and if you have a darker skin tone than me this is probably a great look for you. I also find the addition of a pair of ankle socks is helpful here, but I realise that isn’t for everyone! If you enjoy snazzy shoes, I would recommend trying something metallic too; there’s something about the reflective material that makes it a bit more forgiving on your bare pins.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ZAC FRACKELTON

In terms of the rest of the outfit, I always think a shirt dress looks great with brogues of any colour. This one is new from the brilliant sustainable and Fair Trade fashion brand, People Tree. It’s made from 100% organic cotton and is a lovely fit – I think I will live in it this summer. Prints like stripes and checks are also useful for avoiding looking like you are wearing a uniform (unless, of course, you happened to attend Summer Bay High). I threw a long trench over the top because that little bit of extra coverage in spring when you can still feel a bit conspicuous with your legs out in the open is always welcome!

YMC Perhacs stripe dress, £295 (youmustcreate.com); Fred Perry tartan shirt dress, £100 (fredperry.com)

White and metallic brogues aren’t as easy to find as they were a couple of years ago, but I’ve found 6 of the best, one for every budget. Most of these styles also come in darker colours, too, so you should be able to find something to suit you according to your skin tone. As usual, I’d love to know what you think! Would you wear brogues with bare legs? Do you have a pair that work for you in the summer months? Leave comments below!

1.Church’s buckle strap brogues, £493 (farfetch.com); 2. Clarks Netley Rose brogues, £65 (clarks.co.uk); 3. Dune Foxxy brogues, £75 (dunelondon.com); 4. GH Bass Weejuns Estelle brogues, £135 (ghbass-eu.com); 5. Grenson Rose brogues, £230 (grenson.com); 6. Penelope Chilvers Camber shoes, £229 (penelopechilvers.com)