Style Upgrade: How To Master The Loafer

An expert guide to going laceless with style

Most Popular

They can be tricky, and plenty of men get it wrong, but a good pair of loafers is great way to upgrade your personal style. Need proof? Look at pretty much any well dressed man from history.

Paul Newman, for example, was one of the loafer's coolest advocates. He even managed to wear them with white socks and still look good – no mean feat, as Michael Jackson later proved.

They're having a bit of renaissance now too – as Mr. Tempah demonstrates above – but to be honest, they're about as timeless as footwear gets.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The knack lies in choosing a style that suits the rest of your look, and making sure your trousers are cut to the right length and taper. If you nail those two, you can't really go wrong. To make sure, just follow our definitive guide.

***

1 | Make an investment

It's a failsafe rule that you should never scrimp on leather shoes, but with loafers, it's even more important. If you're sockless the heat (and sweat) will get to the leather more quickly, so if it's cheap, the shoes simply won't last as long. What's more, higher quality leather will be more malleable to the shape of your foot, making them more comfortable. That said, you can find some bargains – M&S and Jones Bootmaker, for example, are great if you want to loaf on a budget.

Most Popular

2 | Don't go over the top

It's easy to consider loafers as a big style statement, and for those that wear them as one, they invariably go too far. Zebra print, absurd tassels, Cuban heels, tacky detailing… we could go on. If you're buying for the summer, opt for paler shades in suede or soft leather – Tod's and Hermès are fine choices – and if it's winter, make sure they're a bit sturdier. British makers like Grenson, Crocket & Jones and Cheaney are adequately robust.

3 | Get the 'gap' right

If you want to go sockless, do, but make sure your trousers aren't sagging over your shoes or you run the risk of looking like a middle-aged movie mogul. Linen or chino trousers are best for spring / summer and wool or denim are fine in the cooler months, but in any case make sure they either taper in near the ankle or leave a slight gap. If you do want to stick some socks on, match them to the colour of your trousers. Alternatively you can go for a complete contrast, but it takes some moxy.

4 | Know the classics

Like the rest of your wardrobe, there are a few key pieces in the wide loafer gamut that any man worth his stylish salt should be aware of. The penny is perhaps the most prevalent form, and then there's the horsebit, the moccasin and the tassel. Pennies are probably the best all-rounders (especially in oxblood leather), but each style has its merits; horsebits are good for an Ivy-League vibe, moccasins are just the ticket for a drive down to Monaco and tassel loafers look great with a three-piece master-of-the-universe suit.

5 | Look after your feet

You've decided to go sockless, and that's fine, but your feet will probably get pretty hot, especially if you're loafers are made of leather. The solution, if you didn't know it already, is an invisible sock. A touch feminine, yes, but just the thing for keeping your tootsies dry and stink-free, and they make your shoes that little bit comfier too. Falke makes some of the best, but you can pick up a pair from any high street menswear store. Oh, and a subtly tanned ankle wouldn't go a miss. Don't just tan your ankles though, that would be ridiculous.

***
SEE ALSO:

5 Spring Haircuts & How to Get Them
10 Tailors to Follow on Instagram
The Essential Spring Wardrobe
***

What do you think?

Burberry show
Fashion
Share
Welcome To The Burberry Revolution
​How one of the biggest names in menswear just changed the fashion game for good​
Nike Hyper Adapt
Shoes
Share
Nike's Self-Tying Trainers Finally Have A Release Date
​They're not the Air MAGs, though, unfortunately​​
iphone 7
Gear
Share
Why Downloading iOS 10 Could Be The Worst Thing For Your iPhone
​​iPhone 5ers beware​
Idris Elba
Fashion
Share
The 4 Overcoat Trends You Need To Know About This Autumn
Because there's no more important purchase at this time of year​
Best mens watches under 200
Watches
Share
The Best Watches Under £200
It used to be nigh on impossible to get a decent man's watch at this price. Once you'd tried Argos and the petrol station you were running...
Cara Delevingne Puma Campaign
Style
Share
Rihanna Directs Cara Delevingne In Edgy New Puma Campaign
​Crossing the road has never looked so good​​
Paul Newman
Fashion
Share
20 Things Every Man Should Have In His Wardrobe
The essential building blocks of your personal style
Adidas Yeezy Boost
Shoes
Share
You're Never Going To Get Your Hands On A Pair Of Kanye's New Yeezys
You can definitely look at a picture of them though
Brad Pitt Fury
Grooming
Share
The 12 Most Iconic Haircuts In Movie History (And How To Get Them)
How to ask your barber for that 'Brad Pitt in Fury' you've always wanted​
Michael J Fox
Fashion
Share
The Footwear Trends To Look Out For This Autumn / Winter
Jeremy Langmead on the contrasting footwear styles that will challenge your extremities this season​