Category Archives: shoes

The Elusive Brogue

The "Harry" in a fantastic red.

The impetus behind starting this site was, in no small part, due to my personal frustration with locating footwear sized for women but in the classic styling I most appreciate. Beyond the serendipity of simply locating a vintage pair in a second-hand shop, my search has taken me back to England, where the style is much more prevalent (perhaps to a problematic extent – most of the best offerings are long sold out, and the style may have already achieved critical mass there).

Another search has pointed me to a contender, in the guise of the Pied-à-Terre “Harry,” below.

The Pied-à-Terre "Harry," retailing for around $250.

As is my habit, I was attracted immediately to the tan colorway, as I prefer the showcasing of the natural beauty of the leather whenever possible.  But the “Harry” is offered in a choice of four colors, including two exciting yet understated options in blue and red:

Either of these could put me one step closer to obtaining the perfect brogue, to be paired with a well-loved favorite pair of jeans, just in time for spring.

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The Trouble with Shoes

Shoes are one of the most problematic items to try to repurpose from men’s fashion to  women’s, in my experience, for no amount of recofiguring and jerry-rigging can make a too-big shoe fit a smaller-sized foot.  So many men’s shoes go no lower than EU size 41 – a US ladies’ size 9 on a good day, thus putting many lovely styles out of reach.

Despite knowing that my foot is a far sight smaller than 41, I foolishly decided to chance fate recently and so ordered a pair of H by Hudson’s Rafferty brogues in distressed tan from UK online shopping site asos.com.  The shopping experience in and of itself was terrific, but when my shoes arrived a week after I ordered them, they were, as predicted, far too large.  It was a pity, too, because the shoes were lovely, and just the kind of brogues I have been searching for and unable to find in a women’s-specific model.

The H by Hudson "Rafferty."

After boxing up the too-big “Rafferty” pair and sending them back to the UK, I looked around for the closest thing Hudson had going, the H by Hudson “Charlie.”  While they are nice-looking, too, they’re nowhere near the “Rafferty” in terms of attention to detail, and the color of the leather is not as rich.  These minor complaints have seemed to be a moot point, however, as no stockists anywhere that I can find have them in anything but a UK 3.  Now I have the opposite problem; these shoes are too small!

The H by Hudson "Charlie."

Who else is doing good footwear things?  Well, following along with the trend of the classic brogue being in, I’m now anxiously awaiting Rachel Comey‘s new fall line.  While many of her women’s shoes have a playful dandy-esque repurposed menswear flair, I’m actually most interested in the preview shot I saw of a pair of her shoes for men.  Again, I expect them to run too large for me, but a gal can dream:

Rachel Comey's Fall 2010.

Finally, for something of a different look, I’ve had my eye on Billykirk’s forthcoming collaboration with Sebago; the former’s sales rep tells me that production has been pushed back on these sturdy-looking dock shoes until July, and also told me that they will be going as small as 41.  I’ll probably try to make those work for me, although I should know better after my experience with the “Rafferty” brogues.  Here’s the Billykirk/Sebago coupling:

Billykirk's update on Sebago's classic deck/dock shoe.

Who is making shoes in this vein in sizes for women?