The iconic penny loafer. Pigeonholed as a casual shoe by last-century conventions, but worn with no small dose of formality by presidents, movie stars and businessmen alike. Its versatility is legendary. The penny loafer is also extremely stylish and comfortable, and as a slip-on, owners find them invariably convenient. This guide will help you get to know this popular shoe.
Penny Loafers Explained
Penny loafers are a laceless shoe, or slip on, with a moccasin-style upper attached to a sole and heel. Its defining feature is a strip of leather that sits across the instep, commonly known as a “saddle,” with a small cut-out just large enough to place a "penny".
The penny loafer hasn't taken Australia by storm...yet, but in a country where dress codes are becoming increasingly blurred and people seek greater value and flexibility in how they dress, the penny loafer movement is gaining momentum.
It all started with a slip on shoe. The Norwegians invented it. The English converted it. The Americans put it on the map. In 1936, G.H Bass began producing first the “loafer” in American. Around that time, Spaulding, another shoe company, produced its own loafer with a leather saddle stitched across the instep. A college fad followed, where students cut small incisions into the saddle in order to slip in a penny, the cost of a telephone call. The “penny loafer” was born. The penny loafer gained popular culture
status in America when Ivy League students embraced the "prep style," and the penny loafer became essential for this look. It was only a matter of time before this humble slip-on graced the feet of America’s most powerful men, John F. Kennedy being the most prominent of all. Owning a pair suddenly became de rigueur for Americans, in much the same way that everyone from politicians to baristas must own a pair of R.M. Williams boots in Australia. Men the world over still covet the penny loafer and rightly so: it's prodigious versatility, its effortless style, and its remarkable comfort make it a timeless choice.
Wearing Penny Loafers
The penny loafer can be worn with just about anything in your wardrobe - from beaten up old shorts to fitted work attire, such is its versatility. The examples below showcase a rain drop of outfits in an ocean of possibilities.
A black leather jacket and black penny loafers are an easy way dial up your menswear credentials . Pair them with black denim and a grey henley tee to round off this stylish combo.
Go for a neat and sophisticated look with a casually cool twist by pairing a grey fair isle sweater and brown penny loafers. A white button down shirt and green or brown chinos to match - or denim for less fuss.
Penny loafers are more than appropriate for a smart office look. Dressed with socks that match your suit’s trousers, loafers become a natural extension of your ensemble. Stick with darker loafer shades.