By Michelle Crowe
Grace Kelly in G.H. Bass Weejuns.
Nostalgia for the Y2K era shows few signs of waning. Fortunately, some of the best bits never really went away, they just made their way toward the back of the closet. We welcome back loose-fitting jeans, twinsets, and loafers.
Loafers are the shoe equivalent of apple pie. They are welcome most places, appropriate on people of all ages, and no one wearing them ever comes across as though they are trying too hard. The all-American penny loafer has a unique insouciance that allows this staple shoe to look as wonderful fresh out of the box as it does several well-loved years later. That’s beauty of any true classic.
Chloe Sevigny is a loafer fan for life.
A simple loafer feels like respite from all the wild clothes out there right now. It won’t fight for attention the way a statement show might. Loafers also look elegant on the days when monochromatic dressing feels right. For running around during the day or for casual evenings, it’s a go-to choice.
The Lillian Weejun is the perfect loafer with a bow on top.
It’s hard to beat the original G.H. Bass version, but there are lots of luxurious designer versions if Weejuns bring you back to junior high school a little too much.
And for hearty Chicagoans who brave slush and slippery sidewalks, it’s kind of exciting to see the return of the lug sole loafer. Those of us who worked on the Junior League of Chicago’s Gazebo in 1999 or 2000ish will remember that the unofficial uniform for getting things done was a black turtleneck, jeans or khakis and lug sole loafers.
Some of those lug soles are supersized this time around. At Gucci it’s possible to choose classic smooth soles, lug or extra-large lug. Designer J.W. Anderson’s loafers and backless loafers with oversized chain links on the vamp have attained instant cult status.
Katharine Hepburn in loafers with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart in an RKO Radio shot.
In the end, whether you are a beatnik or a prep, minimalist or maximalist, the loafer is your shoe.