How to Style Loafers: Different Ways of Wearing the Classic Shoe Silhouette

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Since the early 1930s, loafers have become a timeless piece that adapts to every trend. The set was originally meant as a casual shoe to lounge around in and now, people have taken a liking to the clean, polished look completing their attire for the workplace and other formal events. Their versatility has allowed the set to be seen on several runways and top stars like Hailey Bieber, Emma Chamberlain and Taylor Swift. Over time, the popular set has been reiterated in a variety of colors and materials by a range of labels like Christian Dior, Gucci and Kurt Geiger.

Depending on how it is styled, the durable pair has the ability to transform a look from business casual to grunge. The form of the ensemble plays a part into how the loafers are perceived, making it essential that an outfit compliments the footwear.

More from Footwear News

Here is a look at some of the ways a pair of loafers can be styled.

Preppy Styling

Emma Chamberlain, Miu Miu, loafers
Emma Chamberlain attends the Miu Miu spring 2024 show during Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 03, 2023 in Paris.Getty Images for Miu Miu

Especially with a patent leather silhouette, loafers can be an effortless completion to a preppy look. The leather silhouette compliments academic-based dressing like pleated skirts and polos. Loafers are often paired with visible socks around the knee or ankle length for this trend.

Emma Chamberlain was seen wearing a pair of loafers with a preppy look while attending Miu Miu’s spring 2024 show. From head to toe, the actress leaned into the trend with oval glasses and a plaid blazer dress. As the ensemble gravitated towards the feet, the style married together with a pair of gray socks and black loafers.

Practical Dressing

katie holmes, katie holmes 2024, katie holmes street style, katie holmes gucci loafers, gucci loafers
Katie Holmes is seen on January 03, 2024 in New York City. GC Images

When opting for a classic ensemble with minimal eye-catching details, the horsebit loafers elevate a look just enough. The set’s slim shape and short heel bring simplicity to the bottom half of an outfit when wearing a neutral ensemble, color and texture-wise.

Katie Holmes was seen sporting a pair of Gucci horsebit loafers on Jan. 3 in New York City. She opted for an all-black ensemble including a turtleneck and a wool coat. Her look was casual yet put together, which is the same aesthetic given by the horsebit leather loafers.

Minimal looks like this one benefit from the addition of this silhouette.

Sharply Suited

Dakota Johnson, loafers, The Lost Daughter
Dakota Johnson attends Netflix’s The Lost Daughter Women’s Luncheon and Screening on Nov. 7, 2021 in West Hollywood, Calif.Getty Images for Netflix

Along with practical dressing, horsebit loafers have been consistently used in the businesswear space. A neutral set can give an added polished detail to a pair of trousers or a suit as the one Dakota Johnson wore for Netflix’s The Lost Daughter Women’s Luncheon in November of 2021.

Adding to her beige tailored suit, the actress slipped into a pair of warm brown horsebit loafers. While matching the gold buttons on the blazer, the simple set gives off a classy look making an ensemble ready for the workplace.

While embracing a sophisticated look, the set can also be coupled with blouses and button-down shirts.

Going Grunge

Willow Smith, GQ, loafers
Willow Smith attends the “GQ Australia” Men of the Year event in Sydney, Australia on Dec. 6, 2023.Dior

The grunge trend has always kept its presence in the fashion industry, leaving a special place for chunky loafers in the retail market. The often lug-sole slip-ons give a ridged completion to a look. This can be said for Willow Smith’s look during GQ Australia’s 2023 Men of the Year awards when the singer styled her black suit and silver jewelry with a pair of Dior lug-soled loafers with a platform base.

With the bulky silhouette, the style was upgraded from business to grungy. Style a pair of all-black chunky loafers with edgy silhouettes like leather jackets and corsets.

‘90s Nostalgia

Hailey Bieber, loafers
Hailey Bieber spotted shopping on Dec. 1, 2023 in West Hollywood, Calif. London Entertainment /

Although not one of the more popular options, loafers have become a part of the Y2K trend. The classic silhouette gives a classic touch to a vintage-like set. Because of its versatility, it can easily be combined with different textures, which was shown when Hailey Bieber went on a shopping spree in Los Angeles in December of 2023. While wearing a jersey-inspired shirt and a leather trench coat, the model completed the look with black leather loafers and white ankle socks.

Although this outfit could have been paired with sneakers or boots, the loafers elevate the look. The clean silhouette can work well with dated pieces to bring them a modern image.

Fall Fashion

Taylor Swift, New York City, loafers
Taylor Swift is seen on Nov. 03, 2023 in New York City.GC Images

Layered ensembles can come off in disarray when not styled correctly, which is why loafers have become a favored style during colder months. It is best to go for a clean silhouette while balancing out textures or volume, usually coming from what’s usually the bodice area.

Loafers can also give a polished look to patterned pieces like the printed sweater Taylor Swift wore while stepping out in New York City in November of 2023. Although textured themself, the brown patent leather loafers dressed up the fall look. The sleek silhouette can be paired well with heavier pieces like classic knit sweaters and jackets.

loafers, celebrity style, mens loafers, womens loafers, penny loafers, leather loafers, Christian Louboutin, Met Gala, NYFW, Emma Roberts, Diego Boneta, Kristen Stewart, red carpet, celebrity red carpet
loafers, celebrity style, mens loafers, womens loafers, penny loafers, leather loafers, Christian Louboutin, Met Gala, NYFW, Emma Roberts, Diego Boneta, Kristen Stewart, red carpet, celebrity red carpet

The Most Dapper Loafer Moments of 2023: Kristen Stewart, Emma Chamberlain & More

View Gallery12 Images

Launch Gallery: The Most Dapper Loafer Moments of 2023: Kristen Stewart, Emma Chamberlain & More

Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.