You may well have noticed that Crockett & Jones’s Spring/Summer ’20 collection isn’t short on loafers. In fact, it’s entirely made up of the things. This got me thinking; what are the subtle differences that distinguish each, or, more pointedly: what do your loafers say about you..?
Let’s start with one of the most striking designs in the SS20 collection, the Kensington. This new model showcases a number of different things, including the timeless elegance of chocolate suede and the slim profile of C&J’s City Soles. Kensington also shows off a new material in Crockett & Jones’s arsenal: woven calf’s leather. Available in black or tan, said woven leather compliments the Kensington’s whole-cut styling perfectly. It’s a shoe for fashionistas this – for well-shod chaps who aren’t afraid to cut a dash. The Kensington’s poised 341 last is also a winner, “long but not too long, round but not too round.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Crockett & Jones might be a traditional English shoemaker, but its contemporary styling keeps up with the best of them.
The Richmond in Tan Burnished Calf with Stone Canvas vamps is a little more ‘dandy’, but no less desirable. A loafer like this conjures a wonderful sense of nostalgia, while benefiting from C&J’s modern lasts and attention to materials. When I first saw these, they put me in mind of some of my most stylish friends, who dress co-respondent loafers with lightweight navy blazers, sky blue linen shirts and dove grey fresco trousers during the warmer months, and who always draw admiring looks as they pace about town from meeting to meeting.
Its compatriots, though, represent the humble penny loafer at its most classic. After all, timeless pennies are the backbone of any man’s smart-casual wardrobe, perfect for tasteful traditionalists. We all know that a well-made penny loaf never fails to look the part, and this season’s other two Richmond models in Tan Wax Calf and Snuff Suede are both polished and practical; the first is a wise choice for spring’s changeable weather, the latter suited to high summer.
Now we come to my personal favourite, the Selby butterfly loafer, which I’m not-at-all smugly going to label ‘the connoisseur’s choice’ (whether or not I own a pair of butterfly loafers, I’ll leave you to judge). I’m joking, of course, but I do think butterfly loafers look rather distinguished. Certainly, they are more distinctive than both pennies and tassels, but just as easy to wear in black or chestnut calf for the office, or chocolate suede for the weekends. Plus, the Selby is lasted on the 375 with a good amount of width across the bridge of the foot and chic, almond-shaped toes.
Finally, we have the sophisticate’s choice: the Jersey tassel loafer in either Sage Green or French Navy. In supple nubuck, these are likewise finished with warm brown City Soles, which lend the Jersey a relaxed, casual look, as does the contrasting cream apron stitching. These are shoes to enjoy through the height of summer, worn with tailored shorts and madras shirts, or else short-sleeve polos and breezy linen trousers. I can practically picture you now; strolling down the seafront in Antibes, with your inamorata on your arm, your soft nubuck shoes springing down the promenade as you walk.
Of course, this is all just a bit of fun. Nevertheless, Crockett & Jones’s SS20 collection does display the range and the enjoyment to be found in building up a collection of loafers. No two pairs are quite the same, and each contributes to a different impression as you move through the world.
I hope these observations have given you pause for thought. And if you’re still not sure what to go for this season, you’ll just have to try them all, won’t you?