10 Loafer Styling Ideas For Achieving Elevated Casual

Loafers aren't just for your grandpa anymore. The classic shoe is making a comeback, bringing a whole lot of style and comfort to your look, in a more elevated way than just simple sneakers or ballet flats.


But before we get started on how to style the comfy footwear, let's get one thing out the way. What the heck exactly constitutes as a loafer? Well, as Labucq designer Lauren Bucquet put it to Cosmopolitan, "[A loafer is] a slip-on shoe without any laces, with stitching around the front." You may have seen them in a number of different iterations over the years, from heeled loafers to penny loafers and everything in between. You may even remember them from the halcyon days of "Gossip Girl" when our favorite Upper East Siders regularly used to sport the shoe.

There are so many different types, shapes, and styles that you're bound to find one you like, which is why Women.com is here to take you through all the chic different ways you can style your favorite pair of loafers with pretty much anything.


Loafers are a total staple with jeans

One of the very best way to wear loafers is to rock them with a pair of jeans. There are countless different ways you can marry the two together, with one of the best methods coming from changing up the color of your denim. You can rock loafers with black jeans, blue jeans, and literally every color in between, and you can also change the length of the bottoms — ranging from cropped to long (though we think you can't beat a straight-leg ankle grazer with a loafer!) – to best suit your footwear.


Here, Instagram user Xikhongelo Ndlovu rocked light blue acid-wash jeans with her black shoes, which is a classic look that's suitable for almost any day occasion you could possibly think of. But this is also a great way to have your loafers be a pop of color in your outfit. If you're looking to inject a little more fun into your ensemble, you could nab yourself a brighter pair of loafers in something like a pink or a blue, which you could then put on with light blue jeans and a matching top. With loafers and jeans, the possibilities really are endless.

A sweater and skinny pants make a great team with loafers

If you're looking for something a little simpler that you can just throw on and know you'll be looking cute and cozy all day, you can't beat a sweater with a pair of skinny pants and your favorite loafers. Especially as you head into the fall and winter seasons or from winter into spring, you might want to keep your bottom half a little more muted in terms of color, which is why we can't get enough of Instagram user Shanice Walters's classic and sophisticated look. She wore skinny black pants, which perfectly matched her black loafers, but then brought the fun on her top half with a bright orange sweater.


Of course, you don't have to go that vibrant when it comes to your sweater, if you don't want to. By doing all the coordinating with your shoes and pants, it gives you free fashion reign to do whatever you want when it comes to your top. So grab your favorite fluffy pullover from your closet and get on out there.

Rock wide-legged pants with heeled loafers

We love the way stylist Tori Jane paired her heeled loafers with wide-legged pants for a more airy look, which is a perfect example of transitional dressing. This particular look would be spot-on as we move from fall into spring or even autumn into winter, as the layers mean you can stay comfortable indoors and outdoors no matter what the weather decides to do.


As Jane is showing us, brown loafers, just like a black pair, have a lot of potential. The neutrality of the brown suede-looking material means you won't be as limited as to what colors you can pair them with, yet they're still just that bit more exciting than black. Equally, the chunky heel on these loafers makes Jane's look dressier than if she'd gone for something more casual like sneakers or flats, yet they'll still be comfy for a day of walking around or running errands. If you're looking for that further bit of elegance, too, go for shoes with some hardware like the gold accessory on this pair, which will give your look that little extra something.

Max your glam in a maxi-dress

Don't think loafers are only good for wearing with pants, oh no! As Instagrammer @pinars_life proved during a trip to Paris, loafers can very much go with dresses too. This user opted to keep her look pretty minimal, so it's an easy one to recreate (which we love!). She paired her patent loafers with a black, long-sleeved maxi dress, threw on some stylish shades, and her chic look was complete. The social media user also showed us how you can pair your loafers with socks and still look oh so chic and stylish, as she very much stayed on trend and monochromatic with the all-black theme, matching her socks to her shoes and her dress. 


If you don't want to have to have to wear socks with your loafers, though, Nomasei shoe designers Paule Tenaillon and Marine Braquet have a solid tip. If they're made of real leather, make sure you break your shoes in at home before you wear them out for a long day of walking. "It's a good idea to wear them around the house with wet socks to help the leather soften first," they told Cosmopolitan.

Set the fashion world ablaze in a blazer and loafers

Because loafers have a reputation for being a bit more formal (yet, without being too overly formal), they go incredibly well with a blazer. A fun way to pair the two is to match them color-wise, so, if like Instagram user Nat you have a black pattern in your blazer, go with black loafers. If you've got some red in there, try to pair it with red shoes. That's a great way to still look business casual and appropriate for a day of work, but you won't have to spend time getting changed later if that day in the office then turns into a drinks night with the girls.


This Instagram user stayed with the neutral theme of pairing the shoes and jacket with black pants, but loafers and a blazer mean you can get creative with what's in between. These two staples could be paired with pretty much anything else in your wardrobe, from a t-shirt and skirt to a dress. If you are looking to add that extra bit of glam to your outfit, we'd recommend doing what Nat did and getting loafers with a gold embellishment. 

Suit up

Another way to stay comfortable yet stylish at the same time in your loafers is to rock them with a suit. If you're looking to keep that more formal energy but still have a little fun, a color-matching two-piece suit with contrasting bright loafers — as in the outfit pictured — is a playful way to show off your style while still showing off your more professional side. As this ensemble proves, for some people, you can never have too much color! 


But if you'd rather be a little more understated and don't want to be stand out quite so much in your co-ord, we'd recommend pairing a bold and bright suit like this with a black or brown loafer and a white shirt. That way, you're not overdoing it when it comes to making your way through the rainbow. You also don't have to go quite so bright if you'd prefer something a little more demure. Opting for something like a darker blue or a burgundy two-piece is a way to dip your toe in the trend without making yourself uncomfortable, but the great thing about so many loafers is that they'll literally go with whatever color you choose!

Get cutesy

If you have a more traditionally feminine style and prefer a skirt over pants, you're in luck. Loafers look just as good casual as they do with more professional outfits, as artist Lisa, aka @m00nbabe, proved on Instagram. She showed us how to do loafers in a more typically feminine way, teaming them with a midi floral skirt and cropped t-shirt. She also paired socks with her loafers, which, again, is useful if you're prone to things like blisters or just prefer to have that added layer between your foot and the shoe — but we think this chic ensemble would look just as good without them if you prefer to go sock commando.


To keep the whole look tied together, @m00nbabe stuck with the color black as the running theme throughout, but you could pick any color you want to be the anchor of your loafer look. If you're a fan of brown loafers, you could wear them with a skirt with brown accents and a white top, or if you decided to get your shoes in a more colorful shade, like blue, you could do the same with blue accents and even a denim jacket if it's a little chillier out.

Pair your loafers with tights

Another way of making your transitional dressing saviors even more ready for an in-between season is to pair them with tights. Linda Frisk demonstrated how well loafers can be paired with hosiery on Instagram, as she put her patent brown shoes with slightly sheer dark pantyhose and a navy skirt. On her top half, she sported a chic button-down white shirt (which should also be a total wardrobe staple, by the way).


This look is ideal for those who want to give off a more professional look during the day without dressing uncomfortably, and it's a fab way to still be able to wear your skirts on those crisp-weather days with your comfy loafers. We also love the tassel design on the front of the shoes, which just gives them that little extra quirky edge. This is a great example of a day-to-night look, as you could head straight out after work in this outfit, or just swap out the office white shirt for something a little more evening appropriate.

Go retro

Why not inject a little retro into your loafer look? Instagram user Federica Mamone proved how loafers really do go with anything and everything as she put hers with a 1950s greaser girl-esque ensemble, complete with a super cool leather jacket. Mamone looks effortlessly cool by putting the jacket over a white shirt and daring leopard-print pants, and the whole thing really works well because of the way she's kept her clothing color palette muted.


A solid pair of brown loafers like Mamone sports here are ideal if you want a more neutral pair that you can wear with a wide variety of outfits. If you did want a little more color in your look, though, the shoes would be a great place to do this. We think this style would also look on point with a little shade change on the bottom, with something like red or even metallic loafers.

Loafers even go with shorts

Just another reason why they're an absolute wardrobe must-have, the right loafer will even go with a pair of shorts! Here, Instagram user Sophia Mach very much proved that by putting her tan loafers with a pair of bright green shorts and an open matching blazer (see, we told you loafers really looked good with blazers!).


Keeping the blazer open over a crop top and high-waisted shorts gives this look a real height-of-summer vibe, and the neutral colors in the loafers make them really easy to put with any other shade up top (because we know neon green can be a tough one to style). Mach opted for socks to complete this look, but we think they're optional if you're somewhere fortunate enough to have sunny weather and prefer not to wear them. Although they do look oh so cool here and really help to tie the look together, feel free to leave the socks at home if you'd prefer.