Fast and Louche


The Ivy prep movement preserves a certain louche elegance and it is in this sartorial enclave that we often see our casual footwear of choice, the loafer, being used to best effect.

If its name does not already evoke it in good measure, the loafer recalls the heady New England afternoons that presuppose nothing more than idling around, looking dashingly nonchalant. After all, no footwear slips on quite as easily as a pair of suede moccasins, and once broken in, a pair of shell cordovan penny loafers is as comfortable as a sock. (No wonder, then, that Michael Jackson religiously stuck by them as his dance routine shoes.)

Looking dashingly nonchalant with a pair of louche loafers

Because it is constructed with long, balmy summer days in mind, loafers look wonderfully chic when worn sans socks – nothing says progressive post-Victorian liberal like a daring ankle flash. Quite important, then, is trouser length: while always advisable to keep the trouser break to a minimum, here it 
is especially important to keep the trouser hems at most skimming the shoe’s uppers, not least to keep air flow to a maximum.

The casualness of loafers also means that this footwear is best paired with conventional summer materials and prints: linen, madras, seersucker and cotton chinos work particularly well with tassel, horse-bit and penny loafers.

Correspondingly, the deep, warm colours that loafers usually come in should be worn with lighter tones; it is for this reason that seersucker is a traditional match for chestnut or auburn loafers. The loafer lover automatically possesses a formidable dash of sprezzatura. After all, the good-for-nothing, loafer-wearing rake will always look perfectly dishevelled.

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Published 11th April 2016