Having introduced a host of new loafers for spring-time this year at Mainline Menswear, now is the perfect time to focus on a style of shoes which are set to be hugely popular in 2014.
Loafer is a broad description of a slip-on shoe and encompasses a lot of colours and aesthetic styles within the generalised term. It is also a traditional shoe, having come into circulation in England at around the turn of the 20th century as a footwear choice for the regal gentlemen of the era. It wasn’t until a Norwegian designer exported his stitched leather item to America that this garment, now known as a moccasin, really found its (excuse the pun) feet in the market.
Sometimes called Weejuns back then- as in Norwegians- the style of this shoe has long been associated with a preppy style or American preparatory/private school fashion-choice to those who aren’t familiar with the term, so it remained as quite an upper class gentleman’s shoe.
Having not taken on board that style so much in Britain, the loafer has reached its most prominent status in fashion here in recent years, at an all- time peak. Tassle, driving, Penny shoe or Moccasins, you might know these types of shoes by a number of different names, but you will undoubtedly know the unique style. An emerging reputation as the most versatile, collectable shoe in the market is what has increased its usage twofold in modern Britain. A traditional suede or leather crafted profile is the most commonly found in retail and this type of shoe might be exempt from casual wear, however the slip-on proves to have no bounds in fashion and is equally adept to spicing up your suit or your summer shorts.
In another respect they are a perfectly transitional season shoe, perfect for in-between seasons- the sort of weather we are used to in England which is neither her nor there. Basically, wear it when you like.
For the warmer months however, there is something extra-appealing about slipping on a pair of loafers not least because of their supreme comfort. Best worn without socks, a new season appetite for pop colours has seen a few brightly coloured versions appear, opposing the mundane brown and black colours of the past.
It is a little more risky to pull out the socks with your loafers- surely most people would fret about adopting Michael Jackson’s questionable black slip on/ white sock combination. However, keep them vibrant and mix them with the other colours in your outfit. Wearing no socks with the loafer might be common etiquette these days- but make sure you stay hygienic.
Get The Look
Here are three stand-out looks to recreate with your loafers this spring. Follow the links to see the full outfit.
Instantly adding a splash of style to a quite frankly boring chino/polo or t-shirt and jeans combination, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t one of the most effective casual shoes available to the everyday man.
Perhaps leaning towards moccasin and tassle type loafers, with leather being more at home in a formal environment, wearing this type of shoes is an opportunity to express a sense of personality instead complying by the traditional rules of tailoring. Suits don’t have to be a uniform and a Penny loafer is casual enough to portray a sense of style yet formal enough to hold its own in an office full of polished leather lace ups.
These shoes gained popularity for use with clothing like this in America and the look has become known as the Ralph Lauren look due to the casual pastel button up shirts which they are so often worn with. To keep this neat and tidy look casual it may be advisable to try lighter summer tones and keep the style playful, using details of more expressive pairs like the H by Hudson.
The indication of a true distinguished gent, this traditional item of footwear will not let the wearer down, regardless of the situation. Being relentlessly developed re-styled this shoe is a worthy investment to work your wardrobe around this year.