As what has been hailed as the “it” shoe of the upcoming Spring season in menswear, loafers have definitely having their much-deserved moment in the sartorial spotlight. Though loafers truly are a timeless classic that will certainly never go out of style, it’s great to see them finally being recognized as the menswear staple they have and will always be.
As aptly stated in GQ’s Spring 2013 Menswear Trend Report, “until now loafers have been saved for more casual occasions, but the newer breed is dressier” and far more modern than it has ever been. Because of that, loafers are now the ideal footwear choice for both casual weekend outfits, and more formal business attire. Furthermore, their leather construction notably contributes to their impressive versatility.
As someone who spent his past summer in loafers pretty much every single day, I can certainly testify to how appropriate loafers are for any outfit. Be it with rolled-up pants or even with shorts, my single pair of loafers were my go-to shoes that I knew would always add that je ne sais quoi element to my outfit. I wore them so much last year that, still to this day, I am seriously considering getting a second identical pair!
When it comes to more casual outfits, the loafer is definitely the classic item to top off any look. Its traditional styling adds an unmistakable touch of refinement to any outfit, without taking it overboard. As mentioned on Esquire, “a pair of plain brown loafers look as good with blue jeans as they do with corduroy or flannel trousers, and once you break them in, they’ll feel almost as comfortable as your favorite pair of sneakers.” Accordingly, a simple pair of classic penny loafers will certainly suffice for a more laid-back outfit with jeans. However, I wold strongly recommend nonetheless taking the time really find a pair of penny loafers that feature a sleek and modern fit around the feet. Often, you can distinguish the cheapest pairs but how horribly they fit: the wider, the worse.
When it comes to pairing loafers with more formal, business attire, I would then definitely suggest investing in a pair of loafers that feature an impeccable leather construction, one where the leather can be polished to prevent buffing (i.e. the bane of my footwear-existence). As discussed in AskMen, “a well-made men’s loafer constructed of polished leather may be dressed up with a sports coat and tie for almost any occasion.” The important thing to remember when wearing loafers in a business setting is that the fit is undeniably what matters most. So, it’s crucial to stay away from anything ill-fitting like the cheaper, square-toe variations. As mentioned in GQ, “the key to remember when getting a pair of your own is choosing ones with a higher vamp (top part of the shoe) that elongates the foot.” (click here for a clear definition of the vamp) Though this may seem like a trivial detail, it makes the world of a difference when you’re trying to achieve a streamlined and modern look conducive to an image of confidence at work. Remember, it’s all in the details!
On a final note, another particularity with loafers is that they can be appropriate both with socks and sock-less! In my opinion, an easy rule is that socks should naturally ALWAYS be worn in a formal, business setting, while it is mandatory on the weekend when the cuffs are rolled up and life is more enjoyable. Also, if ever you plan on wearing you loafers with shorts this summer, NEVER wear socks. It’s summer, live a little!