“Oxfords not Brogues,” said Harry Hart as he handed Eggsy his first ever pair. “Words to live by Eggsy, words to live by.”
I sat there in the cinema with Will by my side, pondering over the prescription. “What if Eggsy woke up one day and decided that he wanted to wear brogues?” I pictured Hart embedding a bullet into Eggsy’s head if he ever saw him in a pair of brogues. If he ever saw him in a pair of my favourite footwear, loafers, it might be a full cartridge.
G.B. (mentor to The Hounds) talks about the cynosure as giving the first impression of an outfit. With this in mind, consider the way you dress as a story. The cynosure becomes your orientation, the body your complication and finally the eye leads to the conclusion, the shoe. Nothing worse than a crappy ending to a great movie. Hence the importance placed by Hart on the most classic of endings: the Oxford.
Toe-cap Oxfords, Kingsman Edition, via Mr Porter (a boy can dream).
The Oxford with a toe cap is considered the most elegant pair of shoes in a man’s wardrobe and is the epitome of English style. This classic shoe is said to originate from the Oxford University rebellion in a successful attempt to bury its predecessor, the “half boot”, otherwise known as the Oxonian shoe around the early 1800s. Its elegance and visual lightness is, as Flusser suggests, derived from its “closely cropped sole, delicately beveled waist and glove-like fit”, which makes it the most elegant shoe available. This means that it is reserved for the most important occasions in a man’s life including weddings, funerals and black and white tie functions.
Though formal by contemporary standards, Oxford Brogues were actually once considered a casual shoe having evolved from practical peasant workwear. The holes in brogues called “broguings” were functional and served to allow water to drain from the shoe as the wearer waded through streams or bogs. It was only when the gentry came in contact with the shoe that broguings became decorative – designed to communicate the wearers sporting lifestyle. Due to its association with sport they were once considered to be something akin to sneakers: casual and inappropriate if you want to be taken seriously.
Grenson Dylan – Pebble grain wingtip brogues.
In the film, the agents of Kingsman, an ‘independent international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion’, take themselves seriously from head to toe, literally. Hence it is the black cap toe oxford and not the casual brogue which is their choice of foot decorum. A shoe for men operating at the highest levels of discretion.
Except I am about as discrete as My Cocaine’s (Michael Caine’s) cockney accent and too casual for the brogue. Now where are my loafers?