Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Loafers are a key piece of footwear and should be a part of every men’s wardrobe. Smart casual dress codes love a good pair of loafers, but if you’re unsure about the whole trouser, loafer situation we’ve got the complete guide on what to wear with them.
If you’re thinking of investing in a pair of loafers, then make sure you have the right wardrobe to go with them. When wearing loafers, you’re going to want to look more Paul Newman than Michael Jackson, and there’s a fine line between the two. With our simple guide on the dos and don’ts of loafers you’ll have a stylish alternative to those worn trainers and brogues that you usually opt for.
Investing in Loafers
Firstly, when adding a pair of loafers to your wardrobe, you need to make certain that these are of a good quality, and we’re not just talking about the longevity of them. Because you’ll likely wear your loafers without socks, any cheap materials are going to make your feet sweaty and thus a haven for bad smells. Which is never good.
A high-quality loafer will help to relieve this sweat as it will let your feet breath and mould to your foot shape, making them a comfortable piece of footwear. That said, an investment doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay loads for a pair, just opt for a brand that is renowned for their quality. G.H.Bass & Co are renowned for making some of the best loafers in the world. With over 100 years of experience under their belts, they certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to a cracking pair of loafers.
Different Loafers, Different Outfits
Knowing your loafer style will help you to determine what style of dress you’re going to need to opt for. So we’ve put together a quick and easy guide on what loafers are what and what you should wear with each pair.
The Penny Loafer
The Penny Loafer is a classic piece of tailored footwear that complements a whole host of outfits. It’s perfect with smart pieces like suit jackets and trousers, as well as being compatible with your summer slacks. Penny loafers ultimately are ideal when you need to add a bit of shine to a smart-casual style of outfit. Even with some smart jeans you can get away with the penny loafer, making them a very versatile shoe. If you’re not really feeling the jeans and want something smarter, they’re perfect for teaming with chinos and a T-shirt or tailored shorts and a jumper.
The Tassel Loafer
An American inspired shoe, the tassel loafer offers a bit of additional decoration to your standard penny loafer, but still, offers that smart touch to your outfit. And, with the tassel offering a stylish twist you can be a bit more daring with this shoe style, so why not opt for a suede finish too? The tassel loafer in brown can be worn with your navy slim chinos and a crisp white shirt. This is a classic, effortless outfit that’s perfect for any smart casual occasion.
The Horsebit Loafer
This is the ultimate dressy loafer. The Horsebit Loafer boasts a distinguished brass strap to its front, which gives them a luxurious edge that demands sophistication. Because of this style, it’s the one loafer that you can confidently wear a three pieces suit with and not feel like your footwear’s too casual. Adding to a formal suit, the shoe complements its dressiness perfectly.
Trousers to Match
One of the most difficult things to get right when opting for a pair of loafers is the gap between them and the bottom of your trousers, particularly if you’re not wearing socks. Anything that sags over the top of your loafers is going to ruin the entire style so instead, you should opt for a trouser that finishes just near the ankle.
For the office, it’s best to stick with a good pair of classic trousers, whether they’re black, grey or navy you can always team them with your loafers to create a spot on look for the office. The key to pulling off a smart look rather than a scruffy one is to make sure they finish right in the middle of your ankle, giving you the perfect ratio of skin on show. Because after all you’re in the office, you don’t want too much skin showing.
If you’re wearing a pair of brown or burgundy loafers then it’s best to opt for a navy or a lighter grey pair of trousers as these two colours work well against each other. If you’re wearing black loafers however, you’re slightly more open to the colour options you can wear them with. I would avoid wearing them with navy as the colours are dissimilar and don’t work great with one another. Other than that, the world’s your oyster.
If it’s jeans you’re planning on wearing with your loafers then it’s important that you go for a more slimming shape, as a baggier fit would throw off the look you’re trying to achieve and no-one wants that. Go for a raw denim pair as these will go with a multitude of colours, and you won’t be fretting about what trousers you’re going to put on in the morning.
One final point that needs to be mentioned is the whole no sock issue. So, if you’re going for the sockless look, we’d highly recommend getting an invisible sock. OK, it’s not overly macho, but it’ll go a long way when adding to your comfort and helping to keep your feet dry. Plus they won’t make your feet smell or feel sweaty.
Men’s Loafers and Trousers Combinations
- Penny loafers are the most traditional style. Simple and easy to wear they look good with anything, keep them looking polished and they’ll easily smarten up your outfits.
- Tassel loafers offer a bit more detail to your formal look. Pair them with some chinos or jeans and a smart shirt for a go to evening look.
- Horsebit loafers are arguably the smartest style of styles. Try wearing them with some suit trousers and a jacket and you’ll be ready for any smart event.
On That Note
Loafers are a classic mainstay in any man’s wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down depending on the situation and will easily slot into your wardrobe. But teaming them with the right trousers, can make things a little more complicated. Whether you’re going for trousers or jeans, you need to remember that the main aspect of the loafer is to show a bit of skin, so make sure you invest in a pair of trousers that finish right on your ankle. For jeans, opt for a raw denim pair so you know you can get the most wear out of them possible.
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