How to Style Loafers for a Truly Timeless Look
A luxe pair of loafers are the ultimate wardrobe paradox. Giving smart casual an entirely new meaning, loafers can elevate informal attire or dress down any outfit as you require. They are a key component of a capsule wardrobe, bringing timeless sophistication and a lifted yet laid-back look.
Here we delve into the unique story behind this classic style, before offering a little insight into the various ways to wear this incredibly versatile shoe.
What Are Loafers?
Loafers are an evolution of moccasins, originally developed by native North American tribes and made from buffalo leather, wrapped around the foot with no fastenings. It’s possible King George VI was responsible for the shoe’s rebrand in 1926 when he requested a London-based shoemaker craft him a casual shoe to ‘loaf’ around his great country mansion.
Meanwhile, over in Norway, a man named Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger was also reimagining this simple shoe with more robust construction for the farmers and fishermen of his fjord-streaked homeland. Loafers really came into their own in the 1950s, when the style became synonymous with Ivy league students, academic elegance, and yacht-fearing A-listers. A leather strap with a diamond cut-out was placed across the front of the shoe, and wearers would place a penny there for later. Thus, ‘penny loafers’ were born.
It wasn’t long before prominent fashion houses began manufacturing their own take on this graceful silhouette, and by the 70s, the style was adopted worldwide by men and women alike. Taking their cue from timeless style icons such as Lady Diana, loafers have long been favoured by women as a workwear alternative to high heels. Today, they serve as a do-it-all style that can be slipped on to suit any occasion, from a simple shopping trip to formal events where comfort is key.
Do You Wear Socks with Loafers?
When it comes to wearing a pair of loafers, this age-old question often springs to mind. Once a fashion faux paux, wearing socks with loafers is now generally acceptable depending on your style and comfort preferences. Tights or stockings work well when pairing your slip-on shoes with a skirt, avoiding the issue altogether.
With trousers, try choosing your socks so that the look is intentional. A ribbed or cable knit pair can be particularly comfy for a cosy winter look, while choosing a pattern such as plaid works well when you’re adding simple pants or jeans. If you prefer the sockless look but find your feet get uncomfortable without them, try a pair of no-show socks that skirt around the foot below the top line of your loafer.
How to Wear Loafers
There is simply no set season, occasion, or demographic for which loafers aren’t appropriate. This means they can generally be slipped on to finish any ensemble, without interfering with your overall aesthetic. That being said, here are a few simple ways to style loafers for a fashion-first approach.
For Causal Occasions
When running errands, your simplest style solution is to slip-on loafers under your favourite pair of jeans. In the summer, you can add a plain white t-shirt, while autumn and winter offer the chance to try a textured sweater instead. We recommended a style with a time-honoured design such as Rafaela or Serah. Embrace the effortless elegance of loafers with a classic ‘French tuck,’ where you only tuck half of your top into the waistband of your jeans for a lesson in easy, undone styling.
For Smart Casual Moments
From dinner dates to the office dress code, loafers let you stay comfortable without sacrificing style and sophistication. Try yours with a luxe pair of leather look trousers and a silk blouse, and go for an academia-inspired lace-up style like Emme or Vintage. Alternatively, opt for a pencil skirt or dress with sheer stockings, a white button down shirt, and a classic penny loafer such as Coco. For evening events, try a modern, minimal design such as Vino or Vinni with statement jewels and a sleek hairstyle.
For Formal Events
High quality tailored separates with a pair of contemporary leather loafers is the ultimate lesson in chic composure at more elevated events. For formal occasions during the day, such as weddings, you can also pair a brightly coloured pair of loafers with a corresponding cocktail dress – try a pair with a low heel or platform for a subtle lift and smarter sound. Cass is a prime example of a polished loafer perfect for parties, while Emil is equally sleek and comes in a kaleidoscope of celebratory shades.
How to Choose a Good Pair of Loafers
As a versatile style unaffected by passing trends, you should always look for a loafer made to withstand extensive wear. High quality craftsmanship is key, as are naturally durable textiles such as nubuck leather.
Our signature Serah style is designed especially with versatility in mind, crafted with a timeless profile and soft supple, Italian leather that flexes to the unique form of your feet. The material is finely sanded for a velvety soft finish, while black-stitch construction signals expert workmanship. Available in a rich palette of nubuck leather hues, she is the hard-working shoe that will see you through everything from errands to upscale events.
Shop The Flats Collection
Along with an incredible assortment of high-quality loafers, we also offer flat shoes in other classic styles to complete your capsule closet. From beautiful ballerina designs to spring-ready sling-backs, there’s a style for every season and reason here at EOS.