Few loafers are as elegant as Belgian loafers. Their style is so clean and they exude luxury. You can just imagine a count slipping into his suede loafers after dinner and having a glass of cognac in his French mansion. Cognac made from grapes that were harvested when he was just a boy and has since matured in oak barrels. These are the associations that the clean lines and leather bow brings to mind. A comfort that doesn’t contradict undeniable elegance.
A simple appearance can often be deceptive, and this is the case with the interesting technique behind the Belgian loafer.
The loafers don’t have any visible stitches which gives a minimalistic and complete design to the shoe. This really puts artisans to the task, as the upper is stitched from the inside and then turned outwards. This is the only way to keeping the outside clean while having a well constructed shoe.
Although this is an old technique and the history of loafers go back centuries, at one well defined moment Belgian loafers drastically increase their popularity. In the 1950’s, the American Henri Bendel bought two shoemaking companies in Belgium and began importing the sleek loafers. This was not the only fashionable contribution the Bendel family made to America, as they were also the first to offer Chanel garments in New York.
Another man contributed a lot to making loafers popular in modern times. The Norwegian Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger was a shoemaker, who travel to America in the late 19th century to become an apprentice and to learn the trade of shoemaking. Here he embraced American culture and was especially interested in the moccasins of native Americans. When he came back to Norway he noticed the similarity between moccasins and the shoes the local fishermen used on their boats. He then combined the two designs and helped make loafers popular in the 20th century.
The difference between a loafer and moccasin, is that the loafer must have a separate sole and heal, where moccasins most often do not. This is why loafers, such as the Belgian loafer, retains a more formal appearances and can be used in a wide range of occasions.
Belgian loafers are versatile, but there are a few combinations that are especially good. Tailored linen trousers are a match made in heaven with suede loafers, because both can have such beautiful deep colours. Try navy suede with tobacco linen, or tan suede with ivory trousers. If you prefer jeans, a perfect combination is a raw indigo denim and a tan suede loafer.
Once you get excited about loafers, the possibilities are endless, and the Belgian Loafer will be a crown in your collection. Suede is a stylish and comfortable choice for summer, but if you are looking for something for special occasions, you could consider patent leather Belgian loafers with a satin bow to match your black tie suit.
If you choose the right leather for you, the Belgian loafer is very versatile and can compliment your personal style, especially for elevated summer outfits.
Great story and handsome shoe. A classic with a cool twist that’s definitly on my wish list.