Whether you wear your wingtip dress shoes regularly or recently amped your wardrobe up a notch with a new pair of brogues, it’s only natural to be left wondering if they’re appropriate to wear with jeans. Nobody wants to be the guy who wears Oxfords to play soccer, and the same goes for wearing wingtips in an unfit scenario. Once you take the plunge into the world of wingtips, the line between suitable footwear with certain attire becomes a bit hazy. That said, the question continues to burn. Can you wear wingtips with jeans?
The answer is yes, you can wear wingtips with jeans. In fact, this can be a great combination for semi-formal or business casual occasions. As long as you match your wingtips with a pair of slim-fitting jeans and a stylish top, you can sport this look with confidence.
That said, it’s important to remember that wingtips are dress shoes, while certain jeans are only one or two tiers above basketball shorts on the casual scale. So, when worn without purpose, rocking wingtips with jeans can quickly become a fashion emergency.
Therefore, to make the guidelines a little less ambiguous, I’m going to dive into what, exactly, makes wingtips an agreeable dress shoe to pair with your favorite denim.
Let’s jump in!
What Characterizes A Wingtip Shoe?
Wingtips—also known as brogues—are typically distinguishable from most other dress shoes. But, if you’re not entirely up-to-date with the customs of fashion, it can be easy to wear them in untimely circumstances.
The definition of a wingtip varies across the board and if you’re referring to them as “brogues,” the horizons broaden a bit. Regardless, a wingtip is most commonly set apart from other dress shoes by its “W” shaped perforations encompassing the toe. But the immediately recognizable wing shape that encircles the toe of your shoes is more than just a fun design.
The History Of The Brogue
The origin of wingtips is a fundamental hint toward their current level of sophistication. Not to mention, it’s necessary to acknowledge their heritage to completely understand their informality that exists to this day.
Wingtips have been a popular shoe for years, but their history dates them all the way back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The term “brogue” actually refers to the process of broguing, which is the term for perforating leather shoes.
In 1500-1600 Scotland and Ireland, broguing became a frequent practice in shoemaking as an effort to allow water to pass through thick, leather shoes more easily. Farmers in the countryside required a shoe to wade through marshy water and leave the water where it belonged (rather than inside their loafers). That said, wingtips—or brogues—were initially constructed with a purpose in mind. However, they did not start out as permissible to wear in the city.
Soon enough, the wingtip became popular in other classes and began to be worn for style rather than need. The trend made its way to the ear of the Prince of Wales in the early 1900s, when the public found him parading in wingtips on a golf trip. From that point on, the shoes became an icon in men’s fashion.
Are Wingtips Casual Or Formal?
Whether wingtips are causal or formal results in a bit of a vague answer. The truth is, they’re both and neither, which is where things get complicated.
Wingtips lie directly in the middle of dressy and relaxed.
In other words, they shouldn’t be your first pair of dress shoes and unquestionably shouldn’t be your only. But wingtips are certainly a quality supplementary wardrobe piece to invest in.
The winged tip is made by adding an extra layer of leather to the outside of the toe. Although it might not be noticeable, the additional leather makes for more of a bulky dress shoe. In turn, the stockiness automatically demotes wingtips to be classified as some of the more casual dress shoes. The perforated design creates a rather busy look, which is typically meant to be avoided in formal situations. Not to mention, color plays a significant role as well. Black can easily be more dressy than brown, while multi-colored wingtips are primarily more informal.
On the other hand, wingtips are not particularly casual, either. One of many desirable wingtip aspects is that it can either be dressed up or dressed down, making for considerable versatility.
Although they aren’t strictly casual, they can easily be worn as a way to say, “Hey, I prefer a less formal look, but I still know how to dress.”
When Are They Appropriate?
As with any shoe, it’s important to distinguish what situations are the fittest for wingtips. We’ve covered the style of wingtips, but since there isn’t a strict handbook, let’s go over some of the most appropriate opportunities to slip the bad boys on. Whether they’re suitable also depends on how brogued-out your wingtips are.
While wingtips—especially full brogues—maintain a bold design that doesn’t mesh well with clean, modern ensembles, it’s best to keep them in the closet for events that require formal attire.
There are, however, plenty of brogues that encompass a sleeker look, including the quarter-brogue, with only a small number of perforations; these would be more permissible.
Nonetheless, if you’re about to head to a somber event, such as a funeral or memorial, skip the full-brogues and go for a more classic shoe like some sleek Oxfords.
If your office only asks that you dress semi-formal or business-casual, wingtips are a great option. Other scenarios, such as dinner dates, attending a wedding, and even job interviews, would be totally appropriate. You can even dress up a Saturday stroll through the mall with wingtips. So long as you’re not looking to dress down a highly-formal event, you’re generally safe to lace up your wings.
Wearing Wingtips With Jeans
As I mentioned earlier, your favorite pair of jeans can be the perfect match for your wingtips. In all reality, jeans might be one of the best pants to complement the brogue style.
If you’re going for a sophisticated, off-the-clock outfit that lets you relax and look good, wingtips and jeans will bring you the ideal combination you’ve been dreaming of. The style is utterly multi-functional and allows you the freedom to enjoy any occasion with flair. However, despite their casual appearance, there are still a few guidelines to stick to when sporting your wingtips–even with jeans.
What Style Of Jeans Should You Wear With Wingtips?
Although they’re a great option for denim, wingtips can easily make your outfit a complete disaster if they’re merely tossed on with an old pair of baggy jeans and a raggedy tee that you bought in 2012.
Wearing wingtips is a blatant indicator that you care about what you look like, and the entirety of the outfit should be taken into consideration. That said, the jeans you pair with brogues should be specific as they can either make or break your whole get-up.
A couple of the most relevant characteristics to look out for in a pair of jeans are both the cut and style. Loose jeans that fall past your ankles are just disrespectful to a sleek pair of brogues that do not deserve to be kept in hiding. Wingtips pair particularly well with straight legs, slim-fit, or skinny jeans.
Go for a classic, sleek look by opting for darker denim that is well-fitted; this allows all eyes to focus in on your shoes instead of letting your baggy jeans steal the show. A more casual look can be achieved with a light-wash denim jean alongside a layered tee and clean button-down. Oh, and don’t forget to top it off with some nice socks to extenuate the true beauty of your wingtips. For more of a dressy look, combine black skinny jeans with black wingtips and a clean, collared shirt or leather jacket. Then again, you can whip out some two-toned wingtips with contrasting slim-fit jeans for a bold, adventurous ensemble.
Jeans and wingtips make a lovely duo. So long as you’re rocking a clean, well-fitted style of denim, you’ll absolutely stay on trend without sacrificing any comfort.
From their early intentions to the versatile, beloved dress shoes that grace the fashion industry today, wingtips are a great addition to any man’s closet.
Wingtips sit steadily between formal and casual and leave plenty of freedom for expanding your style with a simple “W.”
So, feel free to sport them on your Friday night dinner date, or business casual get together. All in all, you most definitely can wear wingtips with jeans. To tell you the truth, combining the two should be a sought-after practice. (Just steer clear of the boot cuts and flares.)
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