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A Loveable Brogue (Slight Return)

Stuart Bailie | 00:26 UK time, Monday, 1 October 2012

Back in 1983, Kevin Rowland was wearing dungarees and neckerchiefs and a feather in his hat. It fitted with Dexys Midnight Runners and their 'Too Rye Aye' era, but a change was due. He found it in New York, in the discrete detail of Brooks Brothers tailoring and in a pair of Florsheim Imperial shoes. Made of shell cordovan. Plain caps, or GI style. "I would sit in my hotel room at night looking at them," he told The Look. "I was dreaming about them. I felt so inspired again."


This informed the cover of the next Dexy's album, 'Don't Stand Me Down'. And while Kevin wore loafers for the cover shoot, Billy Adams looked tidy in his Florsheim wingtips.


The Florsheim company has changed hands several times since then and many aficionados claim that the older, American-made versions were the utmost. And thanks to the wonders of online shopping, I now have myself a previously unworn, vintage pair of Imperial brogues, with the metal V cleats in the heels and the double-sole Budapester with the storm welt. Whatever that is. The cordovan, a derivative of horse hide, is tough and shiny and a challenge to wear in. But hey, it was cool enough for Dexys and man enough for Lee Marvin in Point Blank. We got to have it, sole power.

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