First things first, it’s a total misconception that loafers are ‘summer-only’ shoes. I wear loafers all-year-round. To me, they’re the perfect modern ‘formal’ shoes; less dressy than lace-ups, less fussy than monk straps and yet smart enough to dress up or down as your mood dictates.
This pervading sense of ease that loafers lend to a formal look has also come into its own this year, thanks to our new work-from-home lifestyles; something Crockett & Jones has acknowledged in its AW20 seasonal collection with the introduction of a new colour way of Henley 3, now in Dark Brown Cavalry Calf. You’ll doubtless be familiar with the Henley; it’s a classic penny loafer style with a stitched apron and soft almond toe, which C&J has offered in one form or other (currently the Henley 2 is available in Tan Burnished Calf with single leather soles) for years.
This season’s new Henley 3 is considerably beefier than the Henley 2; the Dark Brown equivalent of last winter’s Black Editions penny loafer, set on fearless Vibram cleated rubber soles. Quite apart from being a fashion-forward pair of shoes, loafers with chunky soles like these, sealed with storm welts, will take on anything the winter elements could possibly throw at you – and all they’ll need is a quick wipe-down when you take them off at the end of the day.
The Boston in Dark Brown Country Calf Grain should also be high up on your loafer list this season. A few years ago, if someone had asked me for a recommendation for a pair of ‘office’ or ‘smart’ loafers, I’d have suggested you stick with dark brown antique calf or a sober shade of suede, but these days a country grain loafer is more than smart enough for a business-casual environment, and extremely versatile to wear on the weekends too.
I love the Boston (and it’s unlined compatriot, the Harvard in Dark Brown Shell Cordovan, which I’ve written about before). The Boston’s 314 last is truly timeless, shaped with classically English round toes, room for a nice high bridge and good heel clippage, all of which lends shoes set on the 314 a chic ‘mid-century’ quality. You can imagine the Duke of Edinburgh wearing loafers just like these in the ‘50s or 60s, for example. Alternatively, if you prefer a slightly more tapered toe, the Cavendish tassel loafer in Dark Brown Pebble Grain is every bit as wearable as the Boston.
Note also that both the grain calf Boston and Cavendish models are set on C&J’s ever-popular rubber City Soles, which are ideally suited to poor weather. They’ll be no slipping on soggy pavements with a pair of these on-feet as you pace about the city during the cooler months. Let’s also not forget that all C&J’s Main Collection loafers are clicked in Repello Suede, which as the name suggests is finished with a showerproof treatment as standard, so whilst I wouldn’t recommend you go splashing about in puddles, there’s no need to mollycoddle your suede loafers this season, either.
So, whether you’re taking on this season dressed in washed denim, grey flannel, forest green corduroy or anything in-between, don’t write off a pair of slip-ons. Choose the right design, and they’ll take you anywhere you choose, come frost, rain or winter sunshine.