Welcome to The Essentials, our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.
Favored in the '40s and '50s by Ivy League types, loafers are no longer just for men in popped collars. A gender-neutral style, loafers are a great choice whether you're looking to dress up denim or a suit. This laceless shoe is a versatile and surprisingly timeless piece, and it's back in a big way: For Spring 2021, brands like Chanel, Loewe, and Versace sent different iterations of this modest shoe down the runway. Looking for some inspo? Take a cue from our Accessories Director and style with a fair isle sweater, straight-leg jeans, and Gucci socks. Alternatively, our Fashion Assistant adds edge by pairing with cropped leather pants, sheer lace socks, and layers of gold jewels. Whether you prefer '90s minimalism or are more inspired by the '80s King of Pop, there's a loafer that's right for you.
Fun fact: Penny loafers were worn in Norway in the 1900s. Bass named this style the "Weejun" after its Norwegian roots, according to the MoMA's Items: Is Fashion Modern?
Pair this pretty pair with a white dress for a breezy summer look.
Looking for a different variation? Try this slingback style from Hereu for a wardrobe update.
This espadrille style from Gucci will give your look a laid-back feel.
Pair this chain version with culottes and a fitted cardigan.
This glossy python pair goes perfectly with a light-wash jean.
This crochet pair from Gabriela Hearst is at the top of our wish lists.