One of my favorite style of shoes has got to be the loafer/moccasin. Loafers are the perfect balance between formal and casual and as such,  can be  be worn casually with jeans or dressed up with a suit. Loafers are a structured  slip on shoe (no laces) which are normally made out of leather or suede. They’re are based on the design of the  traditional moccasin, but they are two different styles of slip-on shoes which I want to emphasize as it’s a very common misconception confusing the two. Loafers differ from moccasins as they have a distinct heel while moccasins don’t have a heel.

By the way, one important word you must know when talking about loafers is the vamp. The vamp refers to the top of the shoe, the piece of leather that goes from the toe and extends over the top of your foot. If you want a loafer that you can wear with a suit make sure you get one with a high vamp.

jim-parsons-illustration-02When deciding on what loafer to get, the first thing you should do is choose between leather and suede. Leather loafers tend to be more formal and suit a more structured formal look. Suede on the other hand is more casual and works great during summer where the lighter material would be of benefit. Once you have the materiel down, it’s time to pick the style of loafer.

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The pennny loafer has a wide strap on the vamp of the shoe with a slot just wide enough to insert a penny (hence the name penny loafer). It’s up to you whether or not to insert a penny but it’s one way of making yourself stand out and adding small details to an outfit.

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The tassle loafer has tassles on the vamp of the shoe. One variation of the tassle loafer is the kiltie loafer which in addition to having tassles has a fringey thing on vamp that resembels a kilt. Both of these variations should not be worn with a suit.

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Finally, one of the most iconic loafers has go to be the horsebit loafer which typically have a high vamp and a horsebit buckle on the top. It was originally created by Gucci in 1953  but these days many different brands produce horsebit loafers.

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If you want something a bit less dressy than a loafer, a moccasin would perfect. Moccasins come in pretty much the same variations as loafers but are a bit less dressy as they are less structured,  lack a  distinct heal, and have lower vamp. One of my favorite types of moccasins has got to the be the driving moccasins produced by Tod with their signature rubber nob soles. Moccasins are perfect for summer as you can wear them with a pair of bermudas or with a pair of chinos cropped up to expose some ankle.

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Tip: Loafers and moccasins are best worn sockless except when worn with a suit, in which case, go with ribbed socks as the texture they provide is needed due loafers exposing a lot of foot.