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  1. #1
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    Buckled shoe styles

    At first I was going to post this in the History & Heritage area, but since the main point is what is worn today I posted it here.

    Why wear buckled shoes? Why has it always been idiomatic to wear buckled shoes and tartan/diced hose for Evening Dress?

    It goes back to the 18th century when the same buckled shoes were worn by all men, in Saxon dress and Highland dress, civilian and military:



    And tartan/diced hose because that's the only sort of kilt hose there were.

    For some reason around the beginning of the 19th century collars got higher and the shoes got lower. More of the foot was exposed and the buckle moved down near the toes



    This low-cut style persisted throughout the 19th century. They were the standard shoes of Highland officers throughout the Victorian period, when wearing long hose. I imagine that these were slip-on shoes, that the buckles were non-functional.



    And in the civilian world too



    At some point somebody must have said "hold on, my shoes are always slipping off!" and they added a strap with a small functional buckle to make the shoes more secure. This created our familiar so-called Mary Jane style, the standard Buckle Brogue today.



    The big lower buckle, being merely ornamental, is seen left off sometimes in MacLeay



    So that's the natural evolutionary path that lead to our Buckle Brogues of today.

    But there's a second path, the Ghillie path.

    In MacLeay, Ghillies are usually rather rustic-looking, made of rough tan leather





    Yet there is one occurrence in MacLeay of Ghillies in shiny black with nonfunctional buckles added to the toes, and this appears over and over in old photos



    Yes the rural outdoor Ghillie had moved indoors, and the Ghillie had come to be regarded as an Evening Dress shoe by the 1920s (though to me the buckle still looks like a tacked-on afterthought)

    Last edited by OC Richard; 3rd June 18 at 05:56 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    They were the standard Levee Dress shoes of Highland officers throughout the Victorian period.
    As one of those upstarts across the pond in the New World I understand that "Levee Dress" is the second level Court attire. The first layer civilian Court Dress requires uniforms for certain positions. Those who were not in the higher positions still had required dress regulation (Levee Dress) but not quite as ornate.

    Last edited by Friday; 2nd June 18 at 09:30 AM.
    If you see abbreviations, initials or acronyms you do not know the Xmarks FAQ section on abbreviations may help.

    www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/faq.php?faq=xmarks_faq#faq_faq_abbr

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  5. #3
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    As usual, Richard, some very helpful and informative information. I appreciate what you do for us through your extensive collection and that you're willing to scan and upload so very much of it for our benefit.

    A-1, old chap!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  7. #4
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    It's a shame that the patent buckle brogues no longer seem to be made. The only ones I have seen online or the piper brogues from thistle shoes and they have a fairly heavy sole for marching.
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  8. #5
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    These are for sale on eBay U.K. at the moment, rare size 14U.K. which is 14.5-15U.S. I believe.
    Mens Evening Brogue with Traditional Toe Buckle Size 14 UK https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F361588185038
    Being male is a matter of birth,
    Being a man is a matter of maturity,
    Being a gentleman is a matter of choice!

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacCathmhaoil View Post
    These are for sale on eBay U.K. at the moment, rare size 14U.K. which is 14.5-15U.S. I believe.
    Mens Evening Brogue with Traditional Toe Buckle Size 14 UK https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F361588185038
    Those are thistle shoes, or at least they used the photos from thistle shoes.

    https://thistleshoes.com/product/buckle-brogue/
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  10. #7
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    I bought a pair of the Kiltie brogues years ago on eBay for a ridiculously low price. The claim was military surplus and they shipped from Hong Kong. I replaced the buckles for some sterling silver ones. IMG_0258.jpg
    Being male is a matter of birth,
    Being a man is a matter of maturity,
    Being a gentleman is a matter of choice!

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Friday View Post
    As one of those upstarts across the pond in the New World I understand that "Levee Dress" is the second level Court attire. The first layer civilian Court Dress requires uniforms for certain positions. Those who were not in the higher positions still had required dress regulation (Levee Dress) but not quite as ornate.

    I realised after I read your post that I shouldn't have restricted my comment to Levee Dress, but any order of dress where Highland officers (or pipers etc) wore long hose. This includes Mess Dress and I added a photo above of a soldier of the 93rd Highlanders showing these shoes. Yes they have buckles, I zoomed in and looked, but for some reason the buckles don't show up very bright in that photo.

    One also sees Victorian soldiers wearing the buckle brogues like today (with the added small strap) and even ghillie brogues with added buckles.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

  13. #9
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    I will say that a mystery to me is why, around the 1960s, people started wearing Ghillies with Evening Dress without the buckles. In the old days the buckles were nearly always worn, with Evening Dress.

    Here, some of the world's best pipers, men who have worn Highland Dress their whole lives. All are wearing Evening Dress jackets and sporrans. Half are wearing plain hose, and only Gordon Walker is wearing buckles. (None are wearing white hose, the Kilt Hire standard.)

    Last edited by OC Richard; 3rd June 18 at 06:08 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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