12.03.2012

foundations: classic work flats


over the weekend, i did an assessment of all my shoes. there was a time about four years ago when i managed to amass something like 60+ pairs. it was excessive, and i had too many of what i didn't need and not enough of what i did. in short, a total mess. over the past three years, i've sold a good number of them that were redundant and no longer fit into my lifestyle. 

now, things are a bit more organized. the one pair of shoes that's been still missing, though, is a pair of classic black work flats.

i'm not including ballet flats because they're too delicate and offer little arch support for workhorse workwear. rather, what i've realized i need, season after season, is a pair of black loafers that has a bit of a heel. it should be well made, with a sturdy sole, out of a sturdy leather. it should age gracefully over time with proper storage and shoe-care. earlier this year, i got a pair of tan A.P.C. loafers on sale, but alas they ran too small, so back they went. black leather would be much more practical.


i've been looking online off and on for a while now, and have narrowed it down to three two. the traditionalist version by Church's, of course. and these classic, reasonably priced Fryes

in addition to being my go-tos for work, given my tendency to default to slip-on flats, i'd likely wear them all the time as well. i love her entire look here:


what do you think? do you wear loafers?

update: see my review of the fryes here!

41 comments:

  1. I'm always on the hunt for a good loafer. I have a pair of brown loafers from Madewell that I have worn to the ground and it's time for them to be replaced. I really like the J.Crew Biellas pictured above and they're often on ebay for about $100 less than in store. Dieppa Restrepo also make some nice styles. I waver between traditional/masculine shaped loafers and more feminine ones. I think that the Church's would look better for casual wear, but a more feminine-shaped one (like the Fryes) may be better for actual work wear.

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    1. i like DR too, but more for their oxfords :) the patent ones in my post are actually Paul Green, a newish brand that i've recently discovered. i love both styles of loafers too! ideally i'd have two pairs and alternate between those...

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    2. Oops, should've clarified, I meant that the J.Crew Biellas are worn by the model above (at least I think they're the Biellas). The Paul Green ones are a little too streamlined for my taste.

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    3. i think they're actually the PG ones - i personally have not been impressed by jcrew's shoes overall in terms of the materials and craftsmanship. some of the collection shoes are nice, though.

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    4. You're definitely right about J.Crew shoes. I had a pair of their wedges and they started coming apart within weeks of wear!

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    5. I'm a pushover for patent leather. They jalways give the rest of your outfit a little extra gravitas.

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  2. either driving shoes or tuxedo slippers

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  3. I wear a cheap black pair of loafers for work and they're great! I'd love a better pair.

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  4. I did a post last week on the black loafer as well - they are a great all season shoe. I like the distinction you made between the black ballet flat and the black flat loafer - I do think the loafer adds some more support and falls in a different category. What do you think about the Bass loafers? And I'd love to hear your thoughts on wearing them with socks v. sockless.

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    1. i've read and heard some bad reviews of the Bass ones, unfortunately. hmm might do a post on styling loafers soon :)

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  5. I am wearing one of my two pairs of Church's loafers RIGHT now—and it's been total love right from the start with both. I have to add a little arch support (I have high arches) but other than that they've been comfortable since the first day. Since I have a pair of black Church's brogues, I'm not indulging in black loafers, but maybe in the future once I get a pair black pumps. And just to nudge you in the direction, my loafers look new despite being worn a lot this summer with dresses and jeans.

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    1. that's great to hear! do yours run true to size?

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    2. AA, I've missed you and your blog! Hope all is well and we'll hear from you again soon.

      Sorry for the hijack, Miss Sophie.

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  6. Love these style of loafers. Makes me think about my pair of Bass Weejuns when I was 16. Long gone now but I was thinking of getting the ones which JW Anderson have done for Topshop. I actually tried a pair on and they feels solid enough and are flattering and comfortable. The picture you've featured - I love it too.

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    1. that collection looks cool! though i prefer to pay a bit more for shoes (esp ones i'd wear year after year) and buy from companies that specialize in shoes. you usually get what you pay for.

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  7. I just bought the Church's Sally loafers a few months ago and they're great. Easy, simple, comfortable, classic. I ordered a .5 a size up. For what it's worth, I have dieppa oxfords, which are great, but I think the church's are better made. I'm eyeing church's angelinas if they ever go on sale.

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    1. this is great to hear! was there a break-in period for your church's?

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    2. Yes, but I find there was for all my favorite shoes. They now feel formed to my foot, rather than generically comfortable.

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  8. I have (and love!) two pairs of Cole Haan loafers; one in burgundy leather and the other in teal patent. The shape is narrower and more streamlined than most classic loafers I've seen, and they're incredibly comfortable.

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  9. Not a big fan of "penny"-style loafers, myself. I actually have a pair of Dieppa Restrepo black Gaston loafers on its way to me right now. Already have 2 pairs of DR oxfords, so this will be a nice addition to my minimalist shoe collection.

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    1. i love the sleek look of DR shoes as well. for a loafer though i think i'd like a slightly more 'rugged' sole to take on all the wear and tear.

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  10. I have one pair of driving slippers/loafers in an animal print. I find the shape does not go with everything for me (or maybe it's just the print that is confusing me?).
    I am really hanging out to buy a pair of ferragamos - or something shiny from the old lady section in a posh department store.

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  11. I have a pair of Church's Sally loafer. They are comfortable, stylish and seems going to last for a long time (no need to resole, Church's has done that part already!). I own several pairs of Church's and one thing to note is the size issue. I have THREE differet sizes in Church's! Definitely recommend to try it before purchase (there is one boutique on Madison and 60s, just across Heremes).

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    1. thanks for the tip! that's kind of annoying :P i'll have to stop by the boutique sometime soon...

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  12. I love loafers! I have a pair of tan ones by Dieppa Restrepo, as well as a patent black pair from Bass (the "Wayfarer" model). The soles on my Bass pair have started to separate, though, so I'd definitely recommend something more sturdy! I love the look of the Church's.

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  13. I used to own a pair of Clarks loafers in anthracite, but these days I prefer my Miu Miu forest green patent brogues or Ferragamo burgundy patent Varas.

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    1. +1 on the Varas! i think a pair of loafers will be a nice tomboy addition to my work/dressy flats collection. :)

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  14. I love the look of loafers, but I've been reluctant to purchase a pair myself, as I am uncertain whether they would fit my style and my body type. I have an idea about this kind of shoes looking better on very slim legs, and my legs are more curvy. Might be able to pull off driving slippers, though:)

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    1. i'm going to do a post on styling loafers soon!

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  15. i have been on the lookout for the perfect pennys too.. i have been obsessing over these from Margaret Howell. They have just a *wink* of leaning towards a Feminine silhouette, but still has the menswear vibe, and also a softer matte leather finish that is in contrast to the traditional Sally Church's (also on my list)..

    http://www.margarethowell.co.uk/women-aw12/shoes/loafer-soft-leather-black-

    What do you think?

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    1. i do like the look of MHL shoes, but the pricetag is so high! i'd love to see them in person sometime to form an opinion ...

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  16. I'm a shoe addict and probably (definitely) have too many pairs but I have been looking for the perfect loafer and Church's are so well made. Pleased to have stumbled across your blog and now following.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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  17. I don't like classic loafers much and I am wary of an overly preppy or dandy look; and it's hard to find comfy loafers if you haver big broad feet like mine!

    I like driving shoes, and I like loafers that have a more "slipper"-like feel. Bought a pair last year, and like them well enough but they haven't supplanted my usual ballerinas or driving shoes. Maybe it's a question of styling...I only wear them as styled in the photo above, and no other way.

    I like the look of those Paul Greens!

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    1. i think it all comes down to styling. will do a post on that soon - let me know your thoughts!

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  18. I'm on the lookout for the right pair of black loafers- I like the Dieppa Penny; I have a pair of their oxfords and really love them. The Church's look so sturdy, though...they may need to become contenders.

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  19. That scond picture cracks me up. To be chic in the subway:)

    With a narrow foot and a high arch loafers don't work well for me. I do admire them on others. My black, burgundy and bordeaux Ferragamo Varas are my go-to professional flat.

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    1. Lindsay, you know how we do here in NYC ;)

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  20. Long-time reader, first-time commenter :) I have been hunting for some great loafers for several months. I tried Bass first, but they were so cheap and nasty when they arrived that I swiftly returned them. Last week I was inspired by your post, and ordered the Frye Dalia pair that you posted. I can report that they are gorgeous up close, and seem really sturdy and well made. Unfortunately they ran a little narrow for me. According to the staff in the SoHo store that style is being discontinued, and the online stores like Zappos won't be restocking, so I recommend snapping them up now if you want to order them.

    The Church's look lovely but sadly are out of my price range. I finally ended up buying a pair of Cole Haan Pinch Penny loafers, which are actually from the men's department! Lin, if you ever change your mind about loafers this might be an option for you. The styling is identical to the women's loafers, they are just a little wider. They are well made, fit perfectly, and the Nike Air cushioning in the sole makes them really comfortable. I walked all over the city today with no discomfort at all. As a New Yorker who walks everywhere, this is my standard for shoes :)

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    1. sorry for the late reply - thank you for the tip and so glad to hear that the Fryes are great IRL! i ended up getting the Fryes, so will do a post on them soon :)

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