How to Wear the Classic G.H. Bass Penny Loafers with Ease

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

They’ve had some of the most famous people on Earth co sign their footwear and they’re not going anywhere. We love their loafers so this is our guide on how to wear the famous shoes from G.H. Bass & Co.

Whether it’s the King of Pop or your mate down the pub, everyone can look good in a pair of G.H Bass loafers. To make the most of yours, you’re going to want to make sure you get hold of the right outfit to go with them. We’ve put together this guide to take out the hassle of what to wear.

G.H. Bass

This is a brand with a deep history. It began in 1876 when George Henry Bass named the shoemaking company after himself. It was originally called E.P. Packard & Co, George worked there until he became the owner and renamed the business. The loafer itself wasn’t created until a few years later when he created a spin on a Norwegian fisherman essential.

When your shoes have been worn by the biggest superstar of all time you know you’re on to something. Michael Jackson was wearing a pair of G.H. Bass shoes at major points in his career. You can catch him rocking a pair of penny loafers in the Thriller music video with white socks of course. They also worked with him to create a patent for a pair of specially designed loafers, to support the famous MJ ‘lean’ whilst on tour.

What Are Penny Loafers

There are many thoughts around how Penny Loafers got their name, the one with the most clout has to be that people used to put a penny in their shoes in case they wanted to get them shined. They would also leave their shoes out to be shined and keep the penny in there as payment.

The original H.G. Bass design called them Weejuns (short for Norwegians), the shoes were a fresh take on a classic Norwegian design used by fisherman because it could be easily slipped on and off. Originally G.H. Bass wasn’t sure that they would be successful but his effort paid off as to this day years a century on, they’re still worn all over the World.

If you’re thinking about getting a pair of Penny Loafers you’re not alone! Their popularity today is yet another revival for the brand. The last being in the 80s when Michael Jackson brought them to the masses in music videos and stage shows, everything Michael touched turned to gold so it’s no surprise people were desperate to copy his look.

How to Wear Penny Loafers

A huge benefit to a pair of men’s penny loafers is how practical they are! You can just slip them on and off without any hassle. Loafers are often considered a summer look and the fact you’re unlikely to be wearing socks with them makes it difficult to don a pair in the winter.

Completing a summer look with a pair of a loafers is definitely a smart idea, especially considering how easy they are to pull on and off. You can throw them off to head into the park at lunch and then they’re perfect for a smart casual dinner later in the evening.

It’s always good to have something that can be worn in more than one social situation which saves you having to head home and change or have to carry something out with you. Loafers can come in leather or suede and the leather are more versatile for sure, nobody wants to risk damaging your suede loafers in the rain or by the sea.

Socks & Loafers

We’ve put together a few different styles of loafers for men to give you a better idea of how to wear your loafers. If you’re going to wear a pair of G.H. Bass loafers in the summer during the day, no matter the colour, you should wear them without socks. This might be a daunting prospect to some of you who are concerned about the smell they’ll emit but there are ways to avoid this. You can buy a set of hidden socks or you can always keep some talc handy to dust your feet with to dry them out and keep the sweat at bay.

There’s no reason why you can’t wear a pair of penny loafers with socks, if it’s ok for Steve McQueen then it’s definitely ok for us! They can bring together a suit or pair of chinos with your outfit perfectly.

Black Penny Loafers

A timeless colour and in loafers it’s no different. The original loafers wouldn’t be made in black but eventually when people wanted something casual you could wear with a suit, it was deemed that brown was a step too far. They made penny loafers for men in black and haven’t looked back since.

Take a look at the style below to get an idea of how to wear a pair of black G.H. Bass shoes. You can combine a pair of black loafers with pretty much everything, below you can see them with a pair of chinos, a jumper and a casual addition to the outfit with the hat.

Brown Penny Loafers

It’s the original loafer colour, perfect for any casual look, you can combine them with most outfits and it’ll work. Shorts in the summer or a pair of rolled up chinos, you can create something impressive. Any brown shoe works for casual and you can see below how you can pull a smart casual together by adding a blazer to a simple white shirt.

Burgundy Penny Loafers

A shade of  penny loafer that can be considered alongside the brown as an easy casual choice has to be the burgundy. Try a pair of burgundy loafers with a blue suit to create the perfect smart casual look. Take a look at how well the grey and green tones work alongside a pair of burgundy loafers.

Suede Penny Loafers

They’re ideal for the summer, although you can risk them in the winter but make sure you’ve applied some kind of suede protection. If you’re going to be wearing suede they’ll look best when paired with skinny jeans or chinos.

Trousers & Loafers

Loafers with Chinos

So easy to do, brown loafers would work with any shade from burgundy to cream. You can always roll them up and show off your ankles. Chinos are ideal for summer and a lot more breathable than denim, yet still casual. They fit the casual loafer look perfectly.

It’s also a quick solution to the issues around smart casual. Throw on a pair of loafers with some chinos to easily turn your outfit into something that’s instantly smarter. Add a jacket and you can go practically anywhere. When dressing casually it’s best to own your look, if you’re confident in what you’ve got on, no one will question your outfit’s credentials.

The outfit below is a classic chinos and loafers combination. A simple light blue shirt, with a pair of grey trousers suit the brown Loafers.

Loafers with Jeans

If you want something that’s a little more casual to go with your loafers then look no further than a pair of jeans. You could be popping out to grab a pint of milk or heading for a night out, jeans and loafers will work.

Loafers with Shorts

As the summer arrives you’re going to be reaching for a pair of shorts and there’s no reason why you can’t add a pair of loafers as well. Think about a plain white T-Shirt, a pair of loafers and some navy chino shorts. Very hard to get wrong, it’s the outfit you can wear throughout the summer and leave you smart enough for whatever you decide to do that day.

The outfit below shows how simple it is to add shorts and loafers with a blue shirt and a pair of light coloured shorts, you’ve instantly got a laid back summer look.

Loafers with a Suit

At one time even the thought of wearing a pair of loafers with a suit would be unthinkable, now it’s common place. If you’re wearing a black suit, avoid a pair of brown loafers but go for black to avoid detracting from the look.

If you’re wearing suit trousers try and keep the cuffs at the bottom of the trouser leg fall slightly above the top of the loafer. You’re going to want to make sure you make the most of your loafers and not leave them hiding away under a badly fitted pair of suit trousers.

How to Wear G.H. Bass Penny Loafers

  • Don’t forget to roll up your chinos to show off your ankles.
  • If you’re wearing black trousers, wear black loafers but brown loafers will work with a lot more colours and outfits.
  • When wearing them casually you should wear them without socks, also ideal for keeping cool in the summer.
  • Try adding them to a casual look such as chinos and a jumper to smarten it up a little.
  • Rock them like MJ and wear them with a pair of socks (white if you prefer) when wearing them with a suit or trousers.

On That Note

They’re some of the most well loved loafers on the planet. It’s clear how simple it is to throw together an outfit with a pair of G.H. Bass loafers. There’s a reason why after so many years G.H. Bass are still the ultimate in men’s loafers. When you see the biggest music star in the world moonwalking across a stage with a pair of G.H Bass loafers on, you can’t deny they’re influential.

Whether you’re going for a pair in the summer with a pair of shorts or wearing it with a suit, you can always find a way to look good with a pair of loafers. Chinos work great with loafers because they’re a great casual option on their own. Most colours will work but lighter colours tend to suit loafers more. The fact that they’re so so versatile means you can always buy a pair and add them to the outfits you’ve already got, saving the hassle of shopping for a whole new wardrobe.

Feature image from Pinterest

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