How to Wear Loafers
Loafers come in a variety of styles and materials, ranging from the casual moccasin to the formal, patent leather tuxedo loafer. Some loafers – such as plain leather or penny loafers – transition from casual to dressy, depending on how you style your outfit. Consider the color, pattern and silhouette of your outfit when selecting which loafers to wear. Enjoy incorporating loafers into your wardrobe with some tips on color, shoe style and dress code.
Choose a material.Pick fabric or leather moccasin loafers for a purely casual shoe. Opt for suede, lightweight textures, and plain leather loafers if you want shoes that are adaptable to both casual and dressed-up looks. Select patent leather loafers for a more formal style.
- Wear suede and lightweight textured loafers in the spring and summer.
- Look for sturdy material like leather if you’ll be wearing them in cold seasons.
Select a shoe style.Loafers with pointed toes are a more elegant style than rounded toes. High-heeled loafers can look more dressy than flats, especially in shiny leather.Moccasins are casual and make good house shoes. Penny loafers, apron loafers and Italian loafers go with casual or dressy outfits. Tuxedo loafers in patent leather are for formal events.
- Penny loafers have a leather strip over the front, with a slot that can fit a penny (hence their name). They make a great go-to shoe in oxblood leather.
- Moccasin loafers have a weave, or “vamp,” across the top of the shoe.
- Apron loafers have an extra piece of material across the top of the shoe, and the toes are finished off with stitches.
- Italian loafers have a metal clasp over the top of the shoe. Stick to simple versions of this shoe in classic blacks and browns. Wear these for business – for example, with dress pants – or casually, for instance with jeans.
Pick a color.Choose basic shades or colors for more adaptability. Pick bolder hues if you plan to wear them seldomly, and want your loafers to steal the show. However, avoid gaudy colors and patterns – such as hot pink or animal prints – which can veer into tacky territory.
- Shades of black and dusty brown are versatile and classic.
- Navy is versatile in leather and suede. Burgundy can adapt to different looks and adds a pop of color.
- Pale colors like sea green and powder blue are casual, summery options.
- Neutrals can be mixed and matched with many colors in your outfit.
Try them on.Put the shoes on in the store, and test them by walking around a bit. If you’re buying shoes online, measure the length and width of your feet. Check the measurements against the measurement of the shoes.
- Some shoes can be more comfortable after they’re broken in. However, you don’t want them to be too large, too tight, or quickly uncomfortable.
- If your feet are in between sizes, pick the next half size up. If you have feet that are slightly different sizes, opt for the larger sized-shoe. Get adhesive pads for this purpose, which you place in the heel of the shoe for the smaller foot.
Pay for longevity.It’s not advisable to buy cheap loafers (or leather shoes). You may be wearing them without socks at times, and they need to be resilient in warmth and sweat. The cost of loafers can vary hundreds of dollars, so check online reviews to make sure you’re going to get your money’s worth.
- Quality leather shapes well to your foot, resulting in more comfort. It also wears well over time.
Wearing Loafers for Men
Dress casually.Choose any shade of jeans or khakis to go with your loafers. Long pants or shorts will work. Add a t-shirt or sweater.
- For instance, you may want to pair light-colored denim pants with a white shirt.
- For smart casual, try a polo shirt; for example, in a dark, striped blue.
Wear a suit.Pair suede loafers with crisp tailoring for a smart look.Italian loafers and leather loafers with shine to them go best with a suit. However, you can also combine a tailored cotton suit with tasseled loafers.
- If you’re wearing pants, they should either cut in at the ankle or leave a small gap.
Wear chinos.Casual, cotton twill pants in light or dark colors go well with loafers. Pants in shades of khaki, green and navy can be dressed up with a blazer or dress shirt, and loafers.
- Try pairing slim-legged chinos with tasseled loafers in variations of brown, navy, khaki or tan.
- Basic suede or plain leather loafers add interest with chinos. If you keep your look outfit in the same color family – such as green or blue – you can even go with a bolder hue of suede loafers.
Wear invisible socks with loafers.In warm weather when you have on shorts or cropped pants, opt for invisible socks instead of going without socks. The socks can help keep your feet dry and odorless. Also, you may find your shoes feel more comfortable as well.
Wearing Loafers for Women
Wear a skirt.Pair a mini-skirt with an oversized sweater.Or, rock a pencil skirt with bare legs or ankle socks. Skirts in black, neutrals, or plaid team up well with loafers.
- Loafers aren’t typically worn with skirts so long that the shoes can’t be seen. However, if you want to wear your loafers with a maxi skirt (for example, if your loafers are just plain comfy), go for it!
- Try wearing a black and white swing skirt with black suede loafers. Or, wear a red plaid miniskirt with black tights and loafers.
Wear a dress.Loafers look great with short dresses, as well as those that leave at least a few inches between your ankles and the hemline. Try wrap dresses, belted dresses, and dresses that fall just above or below the knee.
- For example, pair a neutral wrap dress with a white blazer and metallic loafers.
- Try a floral or denim dress with a cinched or belted waist, and black or brown loafers.
Add plaid.If you haven’t already chosen a plaid skirt, consider a plaid blazer. Plaid and loafers pull an outfit together well. Another option is to add a plaid scarf.
- Try plaid cropped pants, or a plaid poncho.
Wear slimfit jeans.Dark denim is sleek with high-heeled loafers. Adding a fitted or oversized blazer can make even ripped skinny jeans look dressier. Add a trench coat, scarf, and/or an oversized handbag.
- A loose-fitting sweater or a tucked-in blouse is harmonious with skinny jeans and loafers.
Try wide-legged pants.Pick pants that are cropped a couple of inches above the ankle. High-waisted pants are good for this look, but aren’t a necessity. Stick with classic colors and shades for your pants.
- For example, pair white denim pants with a navy blazer for a preppy look. Or, pick blue denim for a more casual look.
Wear a smart suit.Try a power suit that is tailored to your figure. Your blouse can be plain, striped or patterned. Or, mix and match suit pieces.
- Try matching the color of your loafers to your blazer and belt. Wear a tucked-in, collared shirt with neutral dress pants, such as gray.
- Instead of a tailored suit, you can opt for a baggy blazer over a tucked-in blouse and tapered pants.
Create contrast.If your shoes are a stand-out color – for example, a sunny yellow – tone the rest of your look down. For instance, you could pair them with rolled-up jeans and a white tank top.
- Try wearing white pants with a soft beige blazer. Add a dark-colored handbag and matching loafers.
Accessorize.Loafers tend to go well with dressy hats like fedoras, oversized leather purses, and minimal jewelry. Try wearing retro shades and a simple long necklace. If you’re going for the sockless look, consider wearing invisible socks to protect your shoes and feet.
Video: Wardrobe styling sessions #1 | Brown loafers 3 ways
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