An icon of timeless style, Ralph Lauren’s
handmade leather loafers have become integral
to the classic East Coast university look
Considered the official footwear of the preppy lifestyle, the penny loafer has earned its place in history, along with the cotton chino, the oxford shirt and the navy blazer, as an American wardrobe essential that’s timeless, stylish and appropriate for any occasion.
More than a century ago, Norwegian farmers first slipped on this style—defined by the strap across the toe with a tab for a coin—to tend to their cows, which were “loafing” out at pasture.
It wasn’t until 1930 that loafers entered fashion in the United States, as several shoe companies started producing American-made pairs—a tradition Ralph Lauren continues today—that became integral to the East Coast university look. The inlcusion of the penny evolved from the 1940s and 1950s, when teenagers on dates would place a dime (the price of a pay phone call) in the tab so they could call home for a ride. High schoolers later turned to copper-colored coins for a bolder statement, and style pioneers like James Dean and President John F. Kennedy helped popularize a more casual take on the loafer, one worn without socks on weekends spent seaside. By the 1980s, this sockless styling (paired with pinstriped suits and tanned ankles) was key to the Ralph Lauren look that we still celebrate today.
By the 1980s, the sockless look was the key to a preppy
Ralph Lauren statement that we still celebrate today
That’s why loafers—with or without the penny—have become an indispensable part of any stylish warm-weather wardrobe. They are just as appropriate for a summer wedding (when worn with linen pants and a navy blazer) as they are for a weekend spent running errands, without socks, in a pair of crisp chino shorts. This versatility, coupled with our time-honored craftsmanship, ensures that our penny loafers will remain an icon of style for decades to come, as each individual pair takes on a character of its own.
The ultimate in versatile footwear, our penny loafers are equally appropriate for a summer wedding or a weekend spent running errands