Among the staple footwear that every gentleman must have in his closet is the classic loafer. What are loafers? Loafers are a slip-on style of shoe that is usually constructed in leather or suede. It does not feature any laces, fastenings, or other types of closures. It’s a low-cut shoe with a flat heel and a thin leather sole. A loafer is a shoe style that one can easily slip his foot in and out of.
Today’s modern loafers come in a variety of styles and an infinite array of colors. The versatile style can be dressed up or dressed down. Unsurprisingly, they’ve become among the quintessential shoes that every man needs and more often, wants. To put it quite simply, a man’s wardrobe is not complete without a pair (or more) of loafers.
The Penny loafers are distinct not only because of the easy, slip on feature but because the design includes a horizontal strap across the vamp or front area of the shoe. The leather strap includes a small center opening, which is the perfect size to slip in a small round object like a coin or specifically, a penny. Thus, the penny loafer was born.
The adaptable nature of the shoe and its availability in a wide range of colors and materials, makes it the perfect style to wear whether professionally or casually. As such, they are favored by men of varying ages and varying style preferences.
The tassel loafer is a slightly more embellished version of the simple loafer. It’s said that the shoe company Alden is responsible for the very first version of the tassel loafer upon the prodding of actor Paul Lukas, who wanted a custom shoe design.
Alden did away with the Penny Loafer’s horizontal strap across the vamp but kept its apron base and rounded toe. Instead, they weaved a thin leather strap around the entire shoe opening, with the ends of the strap meeting at the center front and the tassels sitting on the shoe’s vamp. The elegant design, which was considered to be a more formal version of the penny loafers, rose in popularity and in sales very quickly.
The tassel loafer continues to be a very popular style among gentlemen today. While the design has been updated and modernized using different colors, materials and patterns, one can never go wrong with the classic style in leather or suede.
The horsebit loafer is inspired by the equestrian lifestyle and of course, when one thinks of this particular style of loafers, the Gucci brand is what immediately comes to mind. The house of Gucci is, after all, the creator of the horsebit loafer.
It is said that during a trip to the US in the 1950’s, Aldo Gucci recognized the massive popularity of the penny loafers. However, he thought of them as being quite plain. Infusing the quintessential Italian style and Gucci flair, Aldo Gucci did away with the horizontal leather strap at the vamp and instead, replaced it with gold hardware in the shape of two rings with a linked bar across. The style was a hit, to say the least. In fact, the design has become so universally recognized that it’s often known as the Gucci loafers. However, many brands have reinterpreted this design, making it more accessible to men everywhere. At Hockerty, you can design your own horsebit loafers and no man will be wearing the same.
The horsebit loafer has had many incarnations over the years, by the house of Gucci and by many other well-known shoe makers. The stylish design with the horsebit detail, now available in different colored metals, connotes an air of luxury and can easily elevate any man’s outfit.
Styles with Loafers
Smart Casual (Informal Outfit)
Loafers are not only a versatile design but they are also a multi-functional shoe. Slipping into a pair of loafers is an easy way to make an informal outfit look more refined. It almost goes without saying that loafers work perfectly with a pair of chinos. While black or brown loafers may be an automatic choice, don’t limit yourself. Colored loafers in blue, burgundy or even white can work well when worn with a casual outfit in a coordinating colour. Suede loafers are also ideal for a casual weekend outfit.
You can also wear your loafers with jeans. Juxtapose your rugged jeans with elegant penny leather loafers to create a modern men’s outfit. Put on a pair of jeans, fold the trousers legs up to ankle length if they’re slightly long and slip into a pair of loafers sans socks. You can pretty much wear any top with it, whether a simple t-shirt or a jumper with a sports jacket over it. You can also wear any colour of jeans – blue, black, gray or even white can work well with loafers.
Now, loafers aren’t only meant for long trousers or jeans. They also look great when worn with shorts. Create a chic summer look by wearing cotton shorts, a simple dress shirt or a linen button down shirt that you can wear tucked in or untucked, put on a leather belt, slip into a pair of horsebit loafers and, last but not least, put on a pair of sunglasses to create the perfect summer outfit.
Formal (With a Suit)
Loafers are a truly great style because not only are they elegant but you can make the most of your shoes by dressing them down or dressing them up, depending on what the occasion calls for. These aren’t shoes that will spend most of them time in your closet, gathering dust.
Wearing a linen suit in a light summer colour? Loafers look stylish with this as well.
Whether you’re getting dressed for work or for a more formal event, you can wear your loafers with your suit of choice. Black leather penny loafers or tassel loafers look especially good with a classic two piece suit in either black, charcoal or navy. Forget the usual oxfords or derby shoes the next time you step into your office and put on a pair of loafers instead.
For more formal events, your loafers can also look perfectly well with a three-piece suit. The key for formal wear is to put on patent leather loafers and wear them with formal dress socks. Your formal suit worn with the shiny tassel loafers will give you a refined and sophisticated overall look.
There’s certainly no doubt that the next shoes you need to step out in are a pair of loafers in your preferred style and colour, to add a stylish spring to your step.