It seems peculiar to think that the loafer was ever regarded as a casual shoe.

Sure, a pair such as these in brown suede might earn you a few funny looks if you were to wear them on your first day as an underwriter at Lloyds.

Bastions of the ‘no brown in town’ rule aside, though, is there an establishment on Earth whose dress code is so draconian that it would forbid entry to someone because their shoes didn’t have laces? Answers on a postcard to the Square Mile offices, please.

That being said, it wasn’t too long ago that the loafer occupied a position in the male wardrobe not too dissimilar to that of the sneaker today.

As a key component of the Ivy Look – an influential American style movement that grew up on East Coast campuses before sweeping the rest of the nation in the 1950s – the Weejun, an early penny loafer designed by GH Bass & Co of Maine, became the unofficial off-duty shoe of America’s youth.

The loafer – a shoe designed for loafing around – has gone decidedly uptown

Things are rather different today, of course. Dress codes have relaxed considerably in the intervening years, and clothes that were once considered casual, such as chinos and button-down shirts, can now take you pretty much anywhere.

Meanwhile, the loafer – a shoe that was designed, as the name would suggest, for loafing around – has gone decidedly uptown.

Here, in the hands of one of England’s finest shoemakers, Edward Green, it forms the basis of an impeccably formal outfit. The chocolate-coloured suede sets the tone for an earthy palette of camel, navy and brown, while the contemporary cut of the trousers keeps things from feeling too staid.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the shoes in question are part of Mr Porter’s Best of British – a collection of loafers from seven of the country’s greatest shoemakers all available on Mr Porter now.

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