The Loafer Zone

 By Michelle Crowe

Loafer icon Katharine Hepburn.


For the better part of a decade, ballet flats reigned supreme as the casual shoes to pop on for a quick trip to the coffee shop or a bit of power shopping. Between Lanvin, Chanel, and J. Crew, the perfect accessory for skinny jeans took up more and more room in shoe closets everywhere. Ballerinas will always have a spot in well-rounded wardrobe, thank goodness, but the loafer has come roaring back from seeming obscurity in the past few seasons.


One of our favorite fellas, Steven Stolman.


Gucci led the charge, quietly updating their classic with ice cream colors and backless versions, both of which were quickly adopted by street style stars and welcomed by the international types who’d never abandoned their never-with-socks favorites.


Editor Eva Chen in a statement coat and understated loafers.


Now, most of our favorite heritage brands have freshened the forever favorite with new details like embroidery or pops of color. New players like M. Gemi and Everlane are also behind the revival. Their beautifully made quiet styles are perfection with any outfit composed with a statement element, like a standout coat or incredible sweater. Because knowing when to dial down an outfit is so often the way to really make the wearer shine.


The Provincetown at Paris Fashion Week (photo from Closet Full of Clothes).


On the other side of the understated slip-on is the backless Gucci Provincetown. Available in wild, wonderful brocades, fab colors, and the bestselling fur-lined version, it’s the shoe that works with anything and can’t help but stand out in a crowd. Every eye is drawn to them and a slight uptick in electricity can be felt when entering a room—similarly to a big celeb trying to slip unnoticed into the lunch crowd at RL.


These classics work for any season. (We The People photo).


So we cheer the return of the loafer, even as we acknowledge that it never really went away. Here’s to the only shoe needed for the end of summer, early fall and winter shuttle to Palm Beach.