There are many types of loafers out there, and spring seems a good time to start thinking about them. OK, so you’re not in a position to ditch your socks just yet, but there are daffodils and tulips in the shops which means that before you know it, it will be bare ankles weather again. And you can’t beat a nice pair of loafers when it’s bare ankles weather.

So what are loafers? Well, they’re simply masculine slip-on shoes, and can come with a tassel, or a fringe, or a metal bar, and even a slot to fit a penny in. Yes, really! Here are a couple of extracts from my book to explain further…

Tassel loafers

Fratelli Rosetti tassel loafers
the original illustration of my Fratelli Rossetti tassel loafers that ended up on the cover of my book

 

These handsome slippers are more dapper than their formal counterparts – penny loafers – and, with their dandy tassel on the toe, are for the more flamboyant loafer lovers amongst you.ย 

Best worn like a stylish Italian man with turned-up chinos and bare ankles, or take inspiration from Alexa Chung and team with a preppy mini-kilt, buttoned-up blouse and satchel slung across one shoulder. Of course the joy of the loafer is the lack of laces, which makes them the perfect smart shoeย alternative to Derbys or Oxfords if you’re feeling lazy.

pages 80 and 81, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels.

published by Saltyard (BUY ME HERE!)

Penny loafers

penny loafers Hobbs
me in my NW3 Hobbs penny loafers

In the 1930s, a company called G.H. Bass Shoe Company began to produce shoes called ‘Weejans’, inspired by the slip-on shoes worn by Norwegian farmers. The story goes that the idea for the detail on the strap on the Weejan loafer came from Mr Bass’s wife, who would give him a kiss on the cheek every day when he left for work (it’s meant to look like a perfect lipstick stain).

Coincidentally, this ‘slot’ in the leather was also the perfect size to fit a penny into, which people often did in 1930s America – one in each shoe. It was just enough money to make an emergency call in the newly introduced phone booths of the time, giving the Weejan its new (and far more sophisticated) name: the penny loafer.

pages 56 and 57, En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels.

published by Saltyard ย (BUY ME HERE!)

So, now you know what they are, here’s where you can buy them…

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 13.13.02
Stuart Weitzman’s Guything tassel loafers are slightly slim-line, so give an elegant edge to your tomboy look. I have the boot version of these and can confirm that they are incredibly comfortable. ยฃ225, russellandbromley.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Office
I’m thrilled that my flat shoe influence has won over even the most hardcore heel wearers in the InStyle offices, like my deputy editor Emily. These loafers with a fringe AND a tassel are her new favourites. So good she bought them twice (they’re available in 9 different colours). ยฃ65, office.co.uk (BUY ME HERE!)
Stories
These minimal modernists don’t have any of the embellishments you’d normally expect to find on a loafer but that’s exactly why I love them. How cool is that flash of colour on the sole? ยฃ55, stories.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Church's
These penny loafers are about as classic as it gets. Team with turned up Levi’s 501s and a Breton stripe top and you’ll never look out of style. ยฃ265, churches-footwear.com (BUY ME HERE!)
Northern Cobbler
These absolute beauts are from one of my favourite British brands, Northern Cobbler. Beautifully made, and also in the sale. What’s not to love? ยฃ114, northerncobbler.com (BUY ME HERE!) You can also pick up my book while your on the Northern Cobbler website here.
Topshop
I love that these look part-penny loafer, part-skate shoe – very Nicholas Kirkwood but for a fraction of the price. Nice one, Toppers. ยฃ52, topshop.com (BUY ME HERE!)

For more from the EnBroguelopedia, click here!

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