Plus, where you can find some of the cutest pairs.
Although the footwear staple has been around for decades, loafers have been gaining buzz both on and off the runway in recent seasons. Gucci’s Spring 2024 menswear collection included several looks featuring the brand’s classic Horsebit loafer. Memorably, the iconic shoe was also recently honoured with a special exhibition to celebrate its 70th anniversary during Milan’s 2024 menswear fashion week. A few weeks later at Dior’s Spring 2024 menswear show in Paris, Winnie Harlow hopped on the trend by completing a sky blue Dior mini dress and layered sweater ensemble with a pair of navy blue leather Horsebit loafers for a cool preppy look.
Of course, TikTok has also influenced the shoe’s recent spike in popularity, too. A quick search for “loafers” on the platform will yield countless videos, many of which have well over ten thousand likes, as influencers and everyday fashion lovers showcase how they style their beloved pairs (yes, some TikTokers seem to have quite the collection).
The chic simplicity of the original 1936 Penny Loafer design by American brand G.H. Bass was inspired by Norwegian slipper-esque shoes and first known as Weejuns. And lucky for us, the shoe works for almost all seasons. This comes in especially handy when trying to serve your best looks despite fall’s sometimes unpredictable forecasts. After all, what’s worse than wearing open-toe shoes when the temperature suddenly drops down to almost zero? (Just be sure to stow your loafers away before the first snowfall.)
Not only are loafers a cool-weather wardrobe staple, but infinitely versatile in their styling possibilities — dress them up or down for practically any occasion. From adding a touch of preppy polish to a tailored blazer to toughening up a floral dress, the outfit options are unparalleled. Just look south of the ankles of many Copenhagen fashion week-goers earlier this month for loafer inspo.
Celebs have sworn by the shoe for ages as well. Long-time style icons such as Princess Diana and Grace Kelly were known to sport the style with their most sophisticated outfits and, today, modern supermodels like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are often seen seen elevating low-key street style looks with a pair of loafers.
And just like most traditional fashion favourites, the loafer is constantly being reinvented both in its design and how modern fashion fans are choosing to style them. Between the popular lug-sole style reminiscent of Y2K platforms, to the ever-so-comfortable “driving shoe” design, and of course, the sophisticated Prada loafer that’s extremely popular today, the classic shoe has been reinvented a million times over. So, whether you’d rather sport a classic Penny loafer with a pair of straight-leg trousers or pair a more adventurous chunky sole with a mini-skirt, it’s clear that the loafer has bona fide all-star status when it comes to footwear.
Check out our round-up of the coolest ways to style loafers this fall, plus the pairs to shop to recreate the looks.
Preppy, with a twist
Despite the popular belief that one must only wear dark socks with black shoes, you can never go wrong with the classic black loafer and white crew sock combo. This preppy look has been in style for the past few years and the stark contrast between the black and white is a crisp way to elevate an outfit. Consider wearing the look with a skirt or pair of oversized shorts so this iconic accessory combo can truly shine.
While you pair white crew socks with just about any loafer, opting for a chunkier version with a bit of a platform can take it to the next level. The dimension of a bulkier loafer, like this one from Call It Spring, adds a little edge and perfectly juxtaposes the preppy vibes of the white sock and black loafer combination.
A pop of colour
Deviating from the traditional all-black look, a colourful pair of loafers will add interest to an ensemble. If your outfit already has flashes of colour, the shoes will make the colour pop, and if you’re choosing to opt for a monochromatic outfit, the colourful loafers will liven up the look.
After a Barbie-filled summer, you just can’t go wrong with this pair by Free People. The blush shade is soft enough that it won’t overpower an outfit, but add a cheeky splash that Barbie herself would approve of.
A little something extra
You can’t go wrong with loafers that have a little something extra to them. Think: tassels, colour-blocking or grommets. A touch of playfulness on a classic shoe like the Penny loafer feels unexpected and modern.
These black and white loafers scream sophistication. Reminiscent of a classic tuxedo, the colour-blocked leather and exaggerated tassels feel fresh.
The heeled loafer look
A heeled loafer brings the footwear staple to new heights — literally — with a stacked heel adding an extra layer of polish to nearly any outfit. Bonus points for pairing the prep school favourite with a cool, contemporary ‘fit, like head-to-toe red leather.
This retro-inspired Prada pair is reminiscent of footwear from the 1950s, but its elegance proves the style has stood the test of time. Between its chunky manageable heel, almond toe and shiny patent leather, this pair is sure to be a prized possession in any loafer fan’s collection.
Fall is calling
If you’re on the hunt looking for something other than traditional black loafers to wear this season, a chocolate-toned pair is calling your name. Take the fall vibes to the next level by matching your autumn-hued shoes to other fall staples like an oversized vintage-inspired leather jacket.
The caramel shade of brown on these Aldo slip-ons will match all your staple fall knits. The gold buckle detail and subtle fringe adds just enough interest to the shoe’s traditional shape.
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