Your Guide To Wearing Loafers With Suits

Imagine that you’re going to work or a party with your brand new suit, and you find that the loafers you wear don’t match your suit or the occasion.

This can mark disaster as this might give off the wrong impression, or you may be scratching your head, wondering what loafers will work best with your attire.

Your Guide To Wearing Loafers With Suits

Not to worry, as we’ve got you covered. 

We have provided a guide, showing you what types of loafers work best with your suit and the occasions where you may want to reconsider your choice, which will make you fit in while getting admiring glances from everyone around you.

We’ve also listed some factors you may want to consider before purchasing those loafers and answered some of those burning questions.

So If you want to take that next step to upgrade your suit, read on to find out more.

What Type Of Loafers Will Work With My Suit?

When considering what loafers will suit your attire, you want to consider the fact that many loafers might not be considered formal enough due to their color, style, or material, but could be used with a casual suit if you were attending a party, for example.

The best advice here when considering what type of loafers to get is to keep it simple by going with materials like suede in colors like black or brown.

If you want to keep it basic, a good example you could go with is a nice pair of penny loafers, which can pair nicely with most outfits, or if you want something more specific, you could go for a pair of black tassel or horsebit loafers.

Either of these will work for well-fitted trousers with a blazer if you’re thinking of wearing something for work, or a corporate event, for example.

Now we have covered the basics, it’s time to look at these individual styles and determine which ones you should consider and which ones work best for each type of suit.

You can also find out which ones you should be wary of when you’re looking to impress or if you’re looking to relax with a cocktail at hand.

What Types Of Loafers Are There? 

What Types Of Loafers Are There? 

Below we have provided 5 different styles of a loafer and have gone for styles that can be mixed with a suit under certain circumstances.

These types of loafer will likely come in various styles and brands, so we’ll give our top picks for each one as well, making your choice of loafer that much easier.

Penny 

A design that has been around for about a century now, this footwear is still as stylish and versatile as it’s ever been, and can be incorporated into many different dress codes and occasions and are most effective when they align with the tone of your outfits that are the same color.

However, penny loafers, in general, don’t work well with three-piece suits, so the business attire wearers may want to consider smart business shoes instead so that they don’t look out of place.

However, these shoes would be great if you are wearing a casual suit or seasonal wear, and here is where you want to aim for darker colors and simple details on your attire, but if you want to brighten up your look, you could go for a light brown pair of penny loafers.

You can combine these with a pair of light chinos or jeans, with a smart shirt and a cotton blazer which matches our description of smart-casual.

Tassel

What sets these apart from other loafers are the knotted or frayed laces that hang from the vamp. In some designs, these knots act as part of the lacing system but are mainly implemented as a decorative piece and have become a niche in recent times.

With it being long assumed they were used primarily by elitists and lawyers and some people having no qualms with wearing these with suits, it doesn’t mean that they are an effective combination.

Like penny loafers, they may be too casual for business attire. Still, they would be ideal if you’re attending an event that is business casual and could work for a formal wedding or barbeques, as, again, the color and material are vital components in determining their use in these settings. 

Horsebit

These loafers may look like your everyday slip-on loafer, but if you look closer, you’ll see a leather horsebit across the vamp, and their material and color range makes them the most versatile loafer on this list.

These shoes, which are often referred to as Gucci loafers, can be worn with a variety of outfits and occasions and can be dressed up or down, so these can be an essential addition to your wardrobe.

Depending on the color of your suit, these loafers could work in a business sense as they have a sophisticated look about them.

We wouldn’t blame you for wearing them in that next business meeting as they’re pretty fashionable in formal and social settings due to their comfort.

However, we wouldn’t recommend wearing them with a black or white tie, as they’re not entirely fitting for that formal dinner party or any event where you’d wear a tuxedo, for example.

Kiltie

This style of loafer has a much more distinct design as it has a rustic style to it that stands out with its spiky strips of leather across the vamp.

These loafers can come in designs with laces, tassels, and even buckles, so these loafers will definitely get recognition.

This style is associated with the design of golfing brogues as they come in a wide range of colors and a decorative fringe on the instep that can prevent laces from catching on foreign objects.

Even though these loafers are primarily worn in some business and casual settings, the design sits on the casual side and could be paired with well-tailored trousers that can smarten up the loafers and are ideal for some casual events like birthdays and are comfortable enough for any errands or trips you need to make.

You can combine a pair of brown or tan suede or leather kilties with a pair of a darker shade of jeans with an old jacket.

Be aware that these loafers aren’t practical with shorts and a t-shirt because the color will mismatch this look and is more noticeable if you wear lighter colors.

Slipper

As much as these loafers look like your slippers at home, you’d be surprised how you could wear these.

This loafer has a simple design with a smooth upper lip that doesn’t have any stitching or striking finishes and could be casual enough to combine with some shorts.

If you want to pair these with a suit, it’s advised that you only go for black and choose either leather or patent material for a heightened style, so you’re limited by color, as lighter designs would suit a pair of chinos or jeans with a simple t-shirt.

Another great feature of these loafers is that they can make your outfit appear dressier and will make activities like driving and golfing much more comfortable, so even though some of these designs might not work with a three-piece or simple black tie suit, there are some ways you could customize your look.

What Types Of Suits Are There?

In the world of suits, you have your pinstripe, black tie, three-piece, tuxedo, and a few other variations in different colors.

We’ve broken down these categories into two groups so you can identify their qualities which makes pairing them up with your loafers easier if you already own a pair and are going back and forth on which suit will work best for you.

Formal

In formal settings, the rule normally goes that the darker the suit is, the more formal it is, so colors like charcoal grey or navy blue are a good fit for this style.

They also tend to have a robust design, with a canvas construction with shoulder padding that gives more definition to the suit, and you want to pick out a suit with a single-breasted jacket with two buttons.

The trousers to the suit usually come with a sharp crease down the center of the legs, but in some formal situations, this feature might not be necessary, so a smooth front can also serve you just as well.

Casual

With casual attire, there is more freedom in coordinating your look, and it is often defined as having two separate pieces that can be worn together.

If you’re used to wearing formal attire, this outfit is the natural alternative for you if there is a casual Friday dress code at work or you’re attending a birthday party and don’t want to up-dress and look out of place. 

These outfits usually do away with ties and cufflinks and mix them with accessories like sunglasses and sleek watches.

These suits tend to be light colors, and instead of a buttoned shirt, they could be swapped for a plain white or polo t-shirt, and you could swap the tailored trousers for light-colored chinos or jeans. 

Buyer’s Guide

Buyer's Guide

Now you know the types of loafers that are out there, you might have your outfit picked out, but hang on a second.

There are some factors that you may want to consider that could affect other outfits you have set aside and may be useful if you want to switch things up or if you want to make an impression and aren’t quite sure what features of your loafers will achieve the desired look.

Material

Loafers tend to come in either leather or suede, so as much as these are an essential part of your wardrobe, you want to ensure that they don’t remain there indefinitely.

You want to consider the fact that suede automatically dresses down some outfits, as the classic design is more suited to refining an informal style, which isn’t a bad thing.

When looking at leather, you have to think about the color and tone of your outfit, and sometimes a leather loafer can be detrimental to this outlook, so you’re better off sticking with a material that you know works well and maybe has received positive feedback from. 

You might have seen those men who wear suede loafers with a three-piece suit which can work in some instances where the suit draws more attention, and some people choose these loafers for the comfort more than anything else.

They might look mismatched, but the color is another important factor, which we’ll turn to next.

Color

This factor can determine if you’re dressing up or down, so you want to get this right to ensure your look doesn’t get too complicated and awkward when you’re in that important meeting or out and about.

The best advice here is to keep it simple with darker colors like black and dark blue color loafers if you’re planning to match them with a suit, as lighter colors like brown or even white will completely disorient the look and may have some people scratching their heads, wondering if you’ve just come from a party or barbeque. 

If you’re trying to impose a message, perhaps leave those casual, lighter colors for those get-togethers with friends, which can heighten your look, in this case.

Still, some may choose comfort over the look, which may work against their favor, so a few compromises here and there wouldn’t go amiss.

Season

If you decide to wear loafers in the summer, for example, when dress codes are usually lighter and more colorful, so you want your loafers to follow this same sort of track.

This season doesn’t mean you can get those loafers on without socks with trousers with a rolled-up ankle, as this is instantly dressing down, so if you’re off to that important meeting, you may want to consider how this affects your image. 

The best advice is to wear smart socks that aren’t too flashy as you wouldn’t forget to wear socks with a formal suit with a pair of Oxford shoes, for example.

Whatever the season, you want to be able to read the room before you enter it, which will make you more confident and not be an eye sore to those you are trying to present your message.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Socks With Loafers. Yes or No?

Yes, you can, as long as you follow some guidelines and they are worn tastefully. One of these steps is to wear dress socks for formal events and parties or get-togethers, especially if it’s warm, you could pull off an outfit without socks.

Be aware, though, that you can mix and match different color socks for casual events, it’s best not to have white socks with a white t-shirt, for example, as you may be overdoing it a bit there. 

If you plan on wearing socks, it’s good practice to wear them fully pulled up or trimmed down, so if you see the bands of the socks, this may look disorientating compared to the rest of your outfit.

Are The Insoles In Loafers Any Good?

Considering that some loafers are worn for comfort and versatility, the insoles should match this specification, right? Well, if you’re out looking for loafers, see if there are any options for what material insole you’d like.

Some designs might offer insoles made of leather, rubber, or foam soles, but this might not be the case for all types of loafers in this guide.

For example, a slipper loafer is pretty much comparable to the slippers you have at home, so the options are limited, but you could invest in a pair of insoles that have that memory foam feel if you find the need for them.

The Bottom Line

You can avoid a wardrobe disaster as long as you have an idea of what type of loafers work with particular suits, outfits, and occasions.

This may take some time to work out what works, so you might want to expect a faux pas here and there, but if it’s a smart casual event, you don’t have to be as critical of yourself as to those occasions that really matter.

You can often find inspiration from magazines, television, and the store you purchase your loafers from, as these people might be able to advise you on what outfits work best and which ones you may want to avoid and can point you in the right direction. 

Keep it simple with formal attire, and even experiment a little when you’re at those parties or the golf course.

You might be surprised with the results, which will give you some freedom and confidence to go about your day with style, and who knows, you might even start a trend with a certain combination, just maybe.

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Joseph Pais