From our inbox: What is your opinion on loafers? Are they acceptable for any causal occasion? Things such as dates? Going to the bar when not wearing jeans? I'm looking for an all around comfortable dress shoe. I know they are obviously not going to be a good fit for something more formal but just thought I would get your thoughts on the subject.Loafers are an essential part of man's shoe collection.  There are the dress shoes you've heard of--wingtips, brogues, wholecuts, split toes, blucher's, cap toes and others.  Then there are casual shoes which include all types of loafers.  Solid, woven, spectator, Weejuns, tasseled, horse bits, and so on.  Loafers are casual shoes meant for casual occasions and environments.  A weekend drive, casual (not sloppy) Fridays at the office, Sunday brunch, and yes even a date with that pretty lady.  Easily slipped on and off without obtrusive laces loafers provide an infinitely comfortable fit.

Corodvan Loafer

 

Loafers can be worn with dress and casual trousers.  Heavy flannel drapes as easily as dark denim over a loafer.  The modern man should look for a aerodynamic sleek and slim toe with a minimal sole.  Ivy leaguers and hefty gentleman may prefer the nubby, thick-soled versions from yesteryear.  For date night go plain and simple in black or cordovan.  Leave the horse bits for the playboys and trips to the Italian Riviera.  Venture into suede once you've gained confidence with the classics and when your wardrobe has expanded.
Horse Bit Loafer
The biggest issue with loafers is when and how to wear socks.  Socks are fine with loafers in office where bare ankles aren't welcomed.  However, when out and about at the bar or on that date its perfectly fine to go sockless if the weather permits.  If you're afraid of taking the full dive into the world of barefoot fashion pick up a pair of loafer socks made specifically for the occasion.  Follow these guidelines and you should be all set.  Oh, and whatever you do keep the pennies out of your loafers and save them for a rainy day.
Suede Loafer

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