Men's style: how to wear loafers

Lynnette Peck / 15 October 2015

Loafers are having a resurrection in the world of men’s fashion, as they are a classic, comfortable and suit most outfits.

But which loafer do you go for – penny, horsebit, moccasin or tassel? Loafers are the ultimate ageless shoe, according to Hannah Rochell, a fashion editor who also has a very successful shoe blog call En Brogue (enbrogue.com) She says: “You just need to make sure you get the right pair. A classic style works best on men  – such as a penny loafer, rather than something with too many tassels and fringes.”

These slip-on shoes are often underrated but being laceless they are enormously practical. The choice is always between leather or suede loafers but we say buy both and then pair the leather ones with smarter outfits for autumn, winter and suede loafers for casual wear and the warmer months (rain is clearly their enemy).

The more you can afford to spend on your loafers, the better too - higher quality leather is more malleable to the shape of feet, making them more comfortable and longer lasting.

Should you wear socks with loafers?

Socks seem to be a contentious loafer issue too. Style and grooming expert Lee Kynaston (groomingguru.co.uk) says: “I love loafers because they’re so relaxed, versatile and easy to wear. Plus, no laces to tie! Just ignore the 'no socks with loafers' rule of the fashionistas - it's more comfortable for men to wear them with socks and not as smelly!"

Hannah advocates both socks and no socks with loafers and says, “Be wary of sock styles though. Try a bold, single colour (I always think yellow looks lovely with tan loafers) rather than a pattern, or opt for bare ankles in the summer.”

Which trouser shape suits loafers?

If you do go sockless make sure your trousers don’t hang over the loafers. This will look sloppy. It is always better to have a ‘skin gap’ for extra style when sockless.

It is also important to think about which trousers you wear with which shoes. When it comes to loafers Hannah says: “The right trousers are key – a slim fit with a turn-up always looks better than long, boot-cut trousers.”

Carl Baker, from the blog A Bloke’s EyeView (www.ablokeseyeview.co.uk) is a fan of loafers with jeans and says, “I do like loafers but not the shiny leather ones. I prefer suede loafers and they look great paired with ankle cut black jeans.”

Fashion industry expert Eric Musgrave and author of the best-selling book Sharp Suits, has started wearing loafers again and gets his from J M Weston, a company that has been making shoes since 1891. He says: “I am very pleased with them as I don’t usually wear slip-ons apart from driving shoes and some sloppy summer beach shoes.”

But the fact that Paul Newman wore his loafers with white socks shows that rules are there to be broken…

Top five loafers to buy

See our slideshow above for images:

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