Building Blocks of Menswear: The Loafer


Building Blocks of Menswear: The Loafer

Women and high heels are like women and their engagement ring. They can't be separated! We love our heels because they give us added femininity (and height). There is something about the mystique and appeal of the shoe that accentuates every woman's leg. In the past, many women used the heel to feminize their "power suit" so they wouldn't appear too masculine. As fabulous as heels are, they aren't practical everyday footwear for work. You can imagine how difficult it was for women to part from fashion's wonder, but something had to be done for those eight-hour shifts. So, to take the stress off their feet, they began wearing the loafer.

Women have been fashion influencers for centuries; however, when it comes to footwear, we've taken a lot of cues from men. In the 1600s, the elite and wealthy male wore "lifted" shoes to assert his status over the lower class. Of course wealthy women wanted the same authority and began wearing their own version of the heel. In turn, the new trend trickled down to the lower class and became fashionable for all. 

G.H. Bass introduced a slip-on shoe from Norway to Americans in 1936. Originating in Wilton, Maine, the loafer, which started as an indoor shoe, became popular amongst Ivy league students who wanted casual footwear for the classroom.  According to blog Of Rogues and Gentlemen, Bass's wife would send him off with a kiss everyday before he left for work, which inspired the half-moon shape on the shoe. The nickname "penny loafer" began when many would store pennies in the hand-sewn cut out.

 

Soon thereafter, women adopted the shoe into their own preppy wardrobe of skirts and turtleneck sweaters. Once the loafer faded, the ballet flat caught the attention of many women. Popularized in iconic movies by Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, the flat proved to be an essential classic. Women enjoyed the ease, simplicity and fashionable statement it made. Here at Terracotta, we love joining our playful "Presley" Penguin Silk Scarf with the serious nature of a Tory Burch flat. Make that office statement in a festive measure. 

Photos: Of Rogues and Gentlemen and www.vanityfair.com.


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