Why Loafers Are Essential In A Man’s Wardrobe

How to wear them and the 8 pairs to own now

Leather Loafer Collage Margiela, Dior Homme and Saint Laurent

Photo: Getty

An understated footwear often overlooked by the style tribes, loafers were often part of a prepster’s repertoire. Until a few years ago. Now embraced by the creative types, streetstyle stars and celebrities, these humble footwear are a constant rotation in every dandy’s wardrobe. Besides being incredibly comfortable, loafers are also extremely versatile and can elevate your style quotient instantly.

But before we get into how to style them, let’s go through the different types of loafers.

Penny loafers

Originating from Norwegian farmers in the 1930s, the term penny loafer was in fact coined after the pretty penny. The shoe’s “lip-like” feature with the small opening at the centre was initially a design feature but later adapted by British and American cobblers to fit small, round objects like a penny, which very often came in handy to make a phone call in a phone booth at that time.

Horsebit loafers

This type of loafers is said to be a successor of the penny loafer. Its metal strap brings to mind a horse’s snaffle. It was originally designed by Guccio Gucci (yes, the founder of Gucci) who was inspired by the guests at the Savoy Hotel while working as the hotel’s lift boy.

Tassel loafers 

First introduced in the early 1950’s in post-war America, the tassels were added for “richness in character” and were popular among Ivy League students at that time.

Kiltie tassle loafers

These are designed with a decorative leather panel that covers the instep.

Slippers

True to its name, simply slip it on and you’re out of the door. While it may look humble, there are various versions in the market rendered in snakeskin, suede, embroidery and many more. How’s that for stepping out in style?

How To Style Them

Formal (With A Suit or Blazer)

A model walks the runway during the Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2018 Men's Runway Show at the Park Avenue Armory on February 6, 2018 in New York City.

Photo: Getty

This is perhaps the most classic styling of loafers. Pair it with a simple suit or dressed up double-breasted blazer with ribbed socks. It’s an elegant look but never over the top.

Bill Skarsgård is seen here wearing horsebit loafers.

Denim (Buttoned-Down Casual)

Street Style Loafers Gett

Photo: Getty

Who says you can’t pair leather loafers with denim jeans and a buttoned-down shirt. Loafers are versatile enough to look chic on just about any streetwear ensemble. Yes, even track pants.

Shorts

Street Style Loafers Getty

Photo: Getty

You wouldn’t think to pair black leather loafers with shorts but it is really not too radical of an idea. Even a simple printed short can be immediately jazzed up with a pair of loafers to up your street cred.

This guest at Paris Fashion Week paired his repertoire with classic penny loafers.

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