There’s something immensely satisfying about a classic item of clothing being declared a “trend.” Whether it’s a beige trench coat or timeless shoe, clearly, these sorts of items don’t need the additional PR. (They get plenty of attention without it, dahling.) However, just like an overlooked silver-screen actor who gets their long-overdue Oscar, it’s nice to take a moment to appreciate those wardrobe heroes that have survived the decades. This year? It’s the humble loafer’s turn to enjoy the spotlight. 

With a history that stretches back to 1926—it was reportedly first created as a household shoe for King George VI—the loafer might’ve started out as a menswear staple, but fast-forward 95 years and it’s a shoe that has been well and truly embraced by womenswear designers. Prized for its streamlined minimalism and unisex appeal, it has become a go-to for adding polish to everything from denim to dresses.

Thanks to Prada, chunky soles have become the popular silhouette of spring/summer 2021, and you’ll find plenty of affordable options from high-street brands such as & Other Stories and Arket. Personally, however, I can’t resist the age-old charm of more traditional styles, as seen in G.H. Bass’s Whitney Loafer. (Fun fact: Bass was the first brand to create the penny loafer in 1936.) There’s something so chic about the simplicity of brown leather loafers paired with jeans and an oversize white shirt.

So if you’re looking for an affordable shoe to add polish to your spring outfits, I would strongly recommend a loafer. I have pairs that are 10 years old, which I bring out every year and still look as good as the first time I wore them. Whether you’re a platform-sole lover or crave a chunky chain detail, scroll down to see and shop my high-street loafer edit.

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