in thinking about spring shoes I keep remembering photos from the classic book Take Ivy that show American students in the mid-60s wearing penny loafers with almost everything. I've never been a huge fan of the penny loafer's silhouette, but they are a really versatile shoe — easy to pull off barefoot with shorts (super casual) or with, say, navy blue socks, pressed trousers, and a jacket and tie (pretty formal). the images from Take Ivy that have been stuck in my head, though, are the ones showing kids wearing pennies with white socks:
to me this looks very comfortable and cool. and in 2012 wearing white socks is just pedestrian enough to put some distance between yourself and the penny loafer's unfortunate association with overeducated pricks.
so I decided that I'd try a pair of pennies this spring and summer. beefroll, because they're more American and more casual. Bass Weejuns are the American staple (and likely the single most common clothing item in Take Ivy), but I've heard their quality has fallen off steeply over the decades — rubber soles, cheaper leather. (Note: I still think Weejuns are a good option because they look the part and are so damn inexpensive.) Oak Street Bootmakers' beefroll is gorgeous but, mostly because of the lighter sole and stitching, too casual to be versatile enough to justify me spending $300 right now.
I settled on the AE Kenwood (in Burgundy), which is on sale for $195 here.
still unsure how effectively I can fight the penny loafer's modern-day rep as an old man shoe. hopefully the combo of aggressive sock colors, wearing them barefoot, never polishing, and pants with no break will do the trick. maybe I'll report back with results.
your thoughts on pennies / spring/summer footwear this year?