Fashion Tips for Penny Loafers

Heeled penny loafers are one option for women.
Heeled penny loafers are one option for women. (Image: black feminine loafers image by Astroid from

Penny loafers are a timeless shoe style suitable for any age range and for both genders. Penny loafers are usually flat or with little heel, making them a comfortable choice for work or for extended wear. Modern and high-heeled versions of the penny loafer aimed at women have unleashed a range of dizzying choices and options. A few fashion styling tips help customize, create and carry out the look.

Brands, Materials and Colors

Penny loafers come in a range of styles and materials—from inexpensive loafers sold at discount and department stores to designer loafers—depending on the look you want to create. High-end designers Marc Jacobs and Chanel offer classy penny loafer styles to wear to functions or work, while Payless, Target or Kmart brands offer a range of everyday casual footwear.

Whether you choose flat or heeled loafers, the material—leather, plastic or canvas—will change the characteristics of your outfit. Classic, frill-free versions in warm brown leather can give off a preppy style look. If you're more daring, buy penny loafers in funky colors such as raspberry, hot pink, cobalt and yellow in vinyl or plastic-like shiny materials. Ripped material, graffiti-painted and canvas loafers will appear more casual.

Women's Flat Penny Loafers

Flat penny loafers are reasonable options to wear for long days on your feet—either at work or running errands. Since a penny loafer is cut low around the sides of the foot, it typically looks better to wear your loafer without socks or with socks that are low enough that they will not be seen. You can find low-cut socks at any major discount department store.

Pair flat penny loafers with long, skinny jeans for a smart casual look. Wide-leg trousers and pants should lightly brush the ground when standing; pants that are too long or too short can make the shoe stand out and make your outfit look less tailored and sloppier.

Capri pants and mid-length to knee-length skirts highlight your shoes, so complement your outfit with a penny loafer that is more decorative or dressier.

Loafers with sequins, bows or lace or in metallic colors will vamp up your outfit for the night out or for work wear.

Women's Heeled Penny Loafers

Both short and high-heeled penny loafers can take your outfit from work to a night out. Clothing fabrics such as silk, sateen or stretch jersey cotton can help accentuate this look.

If you wear a decorative belt, match it to the material or color of your penny loafers.

When it is cold, pair tights in matching colors and textures with your outfit for a dressed-up or more conservative style.

Dark denim in skinny or straight-leg styles paired with heeled penny loafers can achieve a smart casual or business casual look.

Men's Penny Loafers

Men's penny loafers are versatile and can be styled to match many occasions. Classic, simple penny loafers can offer informality and a more casual look when worn with a business suit. Fancier, more decorative styles can add an air of sophistication to casual shorts or a weekend outfit.

The key to pairing your loafers is to remember the more decorative they are, the fancier they will make your outfit appear. Plain or simple loafers will tone down your outfit, while more decorative, ornamented loafers will dress up your style. Simple, classic penny loafers can easily go well with any type of outfit.

Calvin Klein, Cole Haan and Hugo Boss produce quality penny loafers made from top-notch materials. If you are looking to make an investment with some longevity, choose quality fabric and a color that will match many clothing options.

As a general rule, white socks or noticeable socks are best avoided when wearing penny loafers, especially when complemented with shorts. If you are wearing slacks or business pants, choose a dark-colored sock that matches the pants color.

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