I have for many years considered black loafers to be a shoe without a purpose. Black is for laced oxfords to wear with suits, and formal shoes for evening clothes. But every authority I am aware of considers the usual version - Norwegian slipons like the pair in the photo - too casual to wear with a suit, a position with which I agree completely and, one famous photo of Cary Grant wearing them with a dinner jacket aside, far too informal for dinner clothes. Further, since well-dressed men wear brown shoes with casual clothing during the day, they do not have a role before evening.
So where has that left black casuals? Relegated to occasional evening wear with a blazer perhaps, or the black trouser/white polo shirt combination that I like for informal entertaining at home. But even the latter would not happen often, at least where I live, as black Belgian shoes are more comfortable and look better to my eye. So I have not found enough opportunities to wear them to warrant space in my closet.
Recently, W. S. Foster has changed my mind about the utility of black casuals with a couple of models that I would wear with gray worsted during the day, those being versions of the slipon in the second photo. They are not the only maker either. The other day I was given a sample pair of plain banded slipons by SW1, maker of the Sloop, that tempt me to try them on the street before six o'clock. So perhaps I have been wrong in my thinking all these years.
Black Norwegians though? Never.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Photos: W. S. Foster and Son