8 Loafer Outfits to Fit Any Aesthetic This Fall

They're no longer just a preppy staple.

loafer outfits

Design by Tiana Crispino

It’s back to school season, which—for those less inclined to perennial wearing—means back-to-loafers season. They’re fall’s ideal shoes for several reasons. First: They’re great with or without socks. Sorry, ballet flats, can’t say the same for your versatility. Second: Loafers feel serious—they have the power to transform a basic shirt and pants into a work-appropriate outfit. Third: The right loafers can be just as comfortable as sneakers. I’m not here to paint a rose-colored portrait of breaking in the shoe—it’s tough work. But slipping into a broken-in pair feels like a new lease on a walkable life.

Take it from someone who wears them in snowstorms and heat waves alike—loafer outfits are for every shoe-wearing person. Opt for a heavier sole if you skew less likely to identify with academia aesthetics and are more likely to skip class. Or get playful with color and heel height—this workwear essential was made for interpretation. Pair your loafers with socks for optimal comfort, tights for an academic feel, or wear them bare with a pair of Levi's. Once reserved for preppy aesthetics, loafer outfits have officially crossed into the mainstream, just in time for fall. Keep scrolling for your syllabus to your new favorite shoe, no matter your autumn uniform.

The Basic Loafer

outfit 1

Design by Tiana Crispino

We'll start with an obvious but obligatory choice: No one does loafers like G.H. Bass. The brand's Weejuns are affordable and, dare I say, iconic. Use these loafers as a blank slate for pairing with slouchy socks or dressing up a jeans-and-tee look.

The Light Rock Loafer

outfit 2

Design by Tiana Crispino

The myth that you can't wear white after Labor Day has long been debunked, making a white loafer an iconic year-round choice. This pair, in particular, has a little something for everyone. The gold horse-bit detailing feels classic, but paired with the chunky lug sole, the whole loafer outfit is elevated into a modern aesthetic.

The Slingback Loafer

outfit 3

Design by Tiana Crispino

Think of this slingback loafer as an ideal transitional shoe for dropping temperatures. Sure, it's not practical year-round, but there's something undeniably elevated about this modernized classic. Try it with mini dresses and ripped-up jeans alike.

The Extra Loafer

outfit 4

This is the answer for the person who could never imagine slipping into a shoe as seemingly boring as a loafer. The metallic hue is just the tip of the iceberg with this veritable walking work of art. The block heels keep things far from utilitarian, and the gold hand detailing prevents things from feeling too "I wandered off the set of Gossip Girl in 2009." Paired with a bright dress and matching bow, you can create a nod to Blair Waldorf in a subtle, modern way.

The Patent Loafer

outfit 5

Design by Tiana Crispino

Forget what you thought you knew about penny loafers, as this pair from Jon Josef feels modern and easy to wear. Bonus points: The patent leather and rubber lug sole are both your best case scenario for getting caught in the rain in a loafer outfit.

The Shearling Loafer

outfit 6

Design by Tiana Crispino

Seasonal dressers, rejoice. Nothing says "these only come out of my closet for four months a year" quite like a shearling loafer outfit. These shoes do a good job of coming across as shoes, not slippers worn out of the house. The structure looks trend-forward, while the sole of the shoe feels like a cloud.

The Red Loafer

outfit 7

Design by Tiana Crispino

There aren't a ton of hard and fast rules about what makes a loafer outfit. These kicks push the envelope a little, with sleek lines and not too much skin. They're chic with knee-high socks and a trench, à la Brigitte Bardot. This trench keeps from feeling too cliché with design details by Romeo Hunte.

The Leopard Loafer

outfit 7

Design by Tiana Crispino

Before the prep heyday of the early 2010s, there was a school of thought that promoted leopard as a neutral. While the movement claimed the pattern as its own for a while, leopard print is back in the mainstream. One of its many benefits is its easy pairing with any other neutral—black, navy, even cream. But if you're feeling bold, double down on the statement with a bright primary color. Extra credit if your top has feathers.

Related Stories