There is no denying that loafers are – and will most likely continue to be – a year-round fashion staple in the South. Men wear them with slacks, jeans, shorts and just about everything in between.
The loafer as we know it originated in 1936 as the Bass Weejun, quickly becoming a preppy wardrobe essential on college campuses and beyond. Take a step even further back, and Bass actually borrowed the style from Norwegian fishermen who wore comfortable, leather-bound shoes. That’s also where Bass got the name “Weejun.”
Gucci can be credited with pushing the loafer forward, introducing a higher-end Italian leather version in 1953. That shoe immediately made the loafer style acceptable for businessmen as well, which meant the loafer now transcended both casual and formal settings.
There are many ways to wear loafers. Some men demand socks, while others swear by no socks at all – a commando style that is also credited to the early collegiate adopters who would throw them on quickly when they were late to class. Today, there are also great loafer socks that provide the best of both worlds.
We have so many great options for loafers today, but below are some of my favorites:
•Bass Weejuns, $108
Try the Wilton model for a classic, affordable loafer: nando.com/ks.
•Cole Haan Penny Loafer, $168
A nice loafer that offers quality without a high price tag: nando.com/kt.
•Rancourt and Co. Beefroll, $295
A great U.S.-made option that will last for years: nando.com/ku.
•Oakstreet Bootmakers Beefroll, $328
A more formal take on the loafer, also made in the U.S.: nando.com/kv.
•Gucci Horsebit Loafer, $530
For those who want a high-end option that looks great with suits: nando.com/kw.
Barton Strawn is the creative director of Lumina Clothing in Raleigh. Email: email@example.com.