Wingtip is one of those words often referred to in conversations normally by shop staff to bemused looking men. A typical conversation you might overhear could be:
“So sir, this is the wingtip brogue laced option in a tan calf leather upper”
“Yeah it looks alright, I’ll take ’em”
Men focus on the look of their shoes (which I agree is important), but there should also be a more in depth knowledge of the different styles of shoes available. This goes hand in hand with more men building their wardrobes from the bottom up rather than the other way round. A pair of shoes should typically be one of (if not) the most expensive item in your wardrobe.
The Origin of The Wingtip
Wingtips are in fact a type of brogue. Modern brogues trace their roots to a rudimentary shoe originating in Ireland that was constructed using untanned hide with perforations that allowed water to drain from the shoes when the wearer crossed wet terrain such as a bog.
Different types of brogue include; wingtip, semi-brogue, quarter brogues and longwings. The wingtip is also sometimes referred to as the full brogue just to confuse things further. But to get your head around the variety of brogues available for men you need simplify and make the toe cap the focal point.
The Wingtip Toe Cap
If you hold a pair of brogues up so the toe points away from you then in full brogues or ‘wingtips’ you see an upside down ‘W’ with either side of the letter running down the instep and outside of the shoe. The upside ‘W’ is said to replicate a birds wings, hence the name wingtips.
How To Wear Your Wingtip Brogues
The more pieces of leather used to create a pair of shoes typically means a less formal offering. The same can be applied for the amount of broguing on the footwear. So for a wingtip brogue that can be made up of 3 or 4 pieces of leather then for me there is a no safer match for them then a good pair of navy selvedge jeans. This combination is great for men, and gives a foundation to the outfit that can be smartened with a formal shirt and blazer or paired down with a simple oxford shirt.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.