When given the freedom to dress without a dress code, my style of choice is a dressed up casual. Monday through Thursday my work requires strict business casual (no jeans), but even on casual Friday I like to keep myself looking sharp. Today I really wanted to rock these new Tod’s loafers I picked up on eBay about a week ago for a cool $50.
I’ve been looking for this exact shoe for weeks and finally found it - I wanted a slender brown penny loafer with a long vamp (the ‘tongue’ part of the shoe) as a short vamp looks slipper-ish and outdated. There are countless brown loafers on eBay, but most of them are pretty out of style with low vamps and either too round or too square of toes, or they are a different variation on the loafer (tassels or horsebits), which I am just generally less confident about wearing. Anyway, I was overjoyed when I saw these, which were exactly what I was looking for.
When they arrived, I was a little disappointed at first, not due to quality or condition, but because they fit just a little loose. I was hoping to be able to wear these sockless as it warms up, and these are just a tad too big to comfortably do so. My immediate reaction was to decide to re-sell them on eBay and hopefully turn a profit, but just today I slipped them on with a pair of thicker socks and they fit and looked great, so I’m holding onto them as a winter shoe and will look for something else to solve my warm-weather needs.
Along with the aforementioned socks ($15, thick cotton socks from J. Crew), I picked a pair of great Hurley jeans I snagged from Nordstrom Rack for a paltry $20. These jeans are dark enough to look dressy while still meeting the ‘casual’ requirement of a casual Friday outfit. The shirt and tie combo not only dresses things back up a bit, but also let me throw in a little kick of green since we had a small St. Patrick’s day party at work today and I wanted to look the part (more on dressing for St. Patrick’s day here).
In the final details, the tie bar hints at formality while the belt remains dressed-down, once again comfortably straddling the lines of formality.
To wrap it up, this whole outfit is about balancing casual and dressy in a way that works well together. I started dressy with loafers over sneakers, then brought it to the casual side with jeans instead of slacks. Shirt and tie ups the formality, while the wider, well-worn belt anchors the look with another touch of casual. Like I said, if I was given the choice, this is about what my daily wear would look like.
How do you define your style? In a world without dress code expectations, would you be dressing differently on a day-to-day basis?