Closet Chronicals

Winter Shoes – The Search for Oxfords/Brogues

One of the most vivid memories I have of visiting Boston for the first time is walking down the street and noticing that people seemed to be quite determined to wear flip-flops in freezing temperatures. I mean, it was raining, I was wearing a coat, and everyone else seemed to be exposing their toes to the elements! What the what? Fast forward to life in a frigid climate, and I am now wearing mostly flats all winter. This has been working out well for me, except during times it isn’t cold enough for snow boots, but too cold for wearing flats. This winter I was determined to add a pair of shoes that I could wear with socks to my capsule wardrobe. 

Enter oxford or brogues shoes. These can look quite classic and polished with most outfits, but since I always try to balance my look I was really keen on finding a pair of oxfords that didn’t look like “dude shoes”. My ideal pair needed to have something going for them: an interesting color or pattern. I wanted a pair that would also offer some sort of buffer from the cold ground, so the sole had to be debated when making a purchase.

Here are the ones that I had on my list, but didn’t purchase this time:

  1. The Masculine Pair: Church’s Classic Brogues

If you visit Church’s website you’ll see an amazing collection of oxfords and brogues, most of which I would buy in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, these don’t seem to be sold directly to the U.S., so the only option was to purchase them from Farfetch. Great! I’ve actually always wanted to buy something from this website, except to my great disappointment they don’t have that many options available in my shoe size.

Some Church's shoes on Farfetch.
Some Church’s shoes on Farfetch.
Image from the Farfetch website.
Image from the Farfetch website. Classic Brogues, $512. 

One pair of shoes they did have in my size and that stood out to me was this red calf leather brogues. The sole would be insulating and offer lots of grip when faced with slippery ice and snow, and the shoe itself has a wonderfully classic look. Still, I walked away from it because I wasn’t sure red would be versatile enough to add to my capsule collection at this time, and because I was also worried that these would be slightly too masculine. I can literally see my dad wearing this pair to business meetings. Maybe a different color would convince me to give this pair a chance.

2.  The Feminine Pair: Ines de la Fressange Olga Brogues 

Since I have developed a fashion-crush on Ines de la Fressange, it was only a matter of time before I started checking out her online store. Indeed, I found a pair of brogues that I liked.

The Olga brogues.
The Olga brogues. About $420, after shipping. 

These look wonderfully feminine with the pompom laces, and the color selection would allow me to choose a more neutral black in my size. However, I had two concerns. Leather soles don’t offer much insulation from the freezing ground, and are more delicate. Learning from my experience with my E. Porselli flats, I’ll need to have them resoled as soon as I got them to make sure I don’t destroy the shoe too fast or fall on my rear. Not a huge issue, but that adds to the cost of the pair. My other concern was durability. I couldn’t find any reviews about this pair, so I would have to invest in the pair and hope for the best.

My Choice: Vintage Hermes Brogues

My new winter shoe. Hopefully, an authentic Hermés!
          My new winter shoes are hopefully an authentic Hermés pair!

Simply put, when I saw this pair on eBay I sorta fell in love. The color combination is striking, and the laces made this masculine pair that much more feminine. I couldn’t find any information about this type of shoe, so I had to trust the seller that this is an authentic Hermés, and the seller’s reviews helped convince me to be a trusting soul. Obviously, this lack of information gave me pause, but since a similar pair suddenly popped up on The Real Real, I decided to take the plunge.

Oxfords or brogues?
                                               Oxfords or brogues?

I love the combination of white, blue, and brown, since I feel that it covers most of my color bases. I was also happy to see that these were resoled, as it will offer some insulation and allows me to be lazy (i.e., no trip to the cobbler needed).

I really wish I could find more information about when these were made and sold, so if you have any details about them, please share! In the meantime, here are a few outfits that I’ve assembled with these lovelies:

Zara jeans, UNIQLO and Lemaire black sweater, new to me Hermés brogues, and my ever lovely Hapi 3.
Zara jeans, UNIQLO and Lemaire black sweater, new to me Hermés   brogues, and my ever lovely Hapi 3.
Again with my Zara jeans, UNIQLO and Lemaire navy cardigan (still amazing and still on sale!), and my Johnstons of Elgin merino wool scarf.
Again with my Zara jeans, UNIQLO and Lemaire navy cardigan (still amazing and still on sale!), and my Johnstons of Elgin merino wool scarf.

Which winter shoes do you have your eye on? Any experience with Church’s or IdlF shoes? Share in the comment below!

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