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Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Advisor

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Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Mentor

Men’s Style- Saving the Brown Suede Shoe, An Icon of British Style

God Save the Queen & the Brown Suede Shoe!

Don’t want to get your knickers in a bunch, but there appears to be a crisis of sorts with the demise of the proper brown suede shoe for gentlemen across the pond.

The British department store Debenhams, according to its press release, fears that an icon of British fashion is in danger of disappearing, as sales of men’s brown suede shoes have plummeted to an all time low and the store has decided to be proactive and do something about it!

Therefore, they have asked top designers to reinvent the classic brown suede shoe and boot for a younger generation

MORE: Men’s Style

I don’t know but for me, brown suede shoes– slip-on or oxford– are a standard European choice for men’s footwear. Both chukka and chelsea boots are a perennial modern classic that always look right, and still slightly edgy.

SHOP: Men’s Shoes

But for the Brits, "For years, this shoe has represented the sole of the nation. All over the world, Britons are still renowned for wearing brown suede shoes with blue shirts. It’s as well known as our penchant for afternoon tea, and we want to do all that we can to enable everyone to continue this great tradition," said Debenhams spokesman, Ed Watson.

Debenhams offers us a bit of footwear history for this iconic men’s style classic:

  • Brown suede shoes first found favour with respectable Middle England when they were worn by the Duke of Windsor in the 1930s.
  • Film star Cary Grant, and later, Terry Thomas followed the trend, boosting the shoe’s profile to an all time high.
  • Sales soared in the 1960s and 70s, with brown suede becoming the footwear of choice, along with blue blazers, flannels, and Pringle jumpers.
  • British Army officers wore the shoes constantly when in civvies, and golf clubs all over the country regarded them as virtually a requirement of membership.

SHOP: We pulled some men’s brown suede shoes and boots for you to consider and they are right in stock now!

Published on January 19, 2011

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