a brief history of penny loafers

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by housemaidsknee, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. housemaidsknee

    housemaidsknee Senior member

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    i came across this somewhere on the net. i don't know if this has been discussed in the past - too lazy to search right now.

    "One of the most popular shoe styles for boys and teenagers before sneakers became dominate were loafers. Although not nearly as commonly worn by cildren, it was once a major shoe style for them. It was particularly popular among boys because of its moscasin-like comfort and the fact that there were no laces or buckles to be bothered with. Loafers are informal leather shoes that are slipped on rather than ties on with laces. They were popular at a time when sneakers were not as widely worn as today. Loafers are worn by both boys and girls. Often boys and girls wer different stles of lioafers, but some styles like penny loafers are worn by both. I'm not sure when loafers first appeared, but I believe about the 1940s. The Bass shoe company is most associated with the loafer and they probably introduced the classic penny loafer--the Bass Wejan. I know they were widely worn in the 1950s. The loafer is most associated with the preppy look of the 1960s. There were various styles for loafers including the barrel and penny style. The barrel style had little rolls or barrels to the side of the small shoe tounge. The penny style had a little slot to hold a coin, but usually a dime instead of a penny. The phones in the 1960s had a standard dime (10 cent) charge, so the coin could always be used to call home. "
     
  2. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Senior member

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    I dunno if it's true, but a lot of it seems to be hearsay. Plus, they don't even go through the trouble of spelling Weejun right. That's weak.
     
  3. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I believe that I read that they appeared closer to the turn of the century.
     
  4. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    They are derived from shoes called the "Norwegian Peasant Slipper," worn by fishermen in (you guess it) Norway.  They became popular as sport shoes in the 1920s.  This was an era when upper and upper middle class men wore neckties to go fly fishing, you understand.  The term "Weejun" is derived from "Norwegian".  It is a brand name for a shoe made by the Bass company, the first mass marketer of the shoe that later became known as the penny loafer.
     
  5. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    A brief history:


    George Henry Bass established his shoe company in Wilton in 1876. In 1936, the company introduced its Weejuns loafers, which have been a preppie wardrobe staple ever since.
    Charles Lindbergh wore Bass shoes from Maine when he flew across the Atlantic, and Hollywood legend James Dean made Bass footwear a fashion statement with his rolled-up jeans and white T-shirt.
     
  6. johnw86

    johnw86 Senior member

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    My older brothers (back in the mid-60s) instructed me in the need to insert a penny into the loafers--they didn't give me a justifiable reason, just that it was "cool."
     
  7. RJman

    RJman Posse Member Dubiously Honored

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    So what exactly did Wildsmith invent? The Wildsmith model 98 (aka the EG Harrow) is just a persnickety skin-stitched penny loafer... Harrumph.
     
  8. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    with inflation being as it is, you might try a quarter now
     
  9. fkl118

    fkl118 Senior member

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    Does anyone actually put pennies in their penny loafers??
     
  10. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    have only seen it from some really old guys
     
  11. johnw86

    johnw86 Senior member

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    No, I don't do this anymore...that's when I was 8 or so.
     
  12. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    when I was in my early 20's I had a pair of italian loafers that had a big slot and I shoved a pair of fifties in, thinking it was cool. not exactly the statement that I am trying to make to the world today.
     
  13. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    globe, did you have an allowance when you were younger
     
  14. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    When I went to college in the '60s, everybody had penny loafers (usually burgundy Weejuns). Upscale penny loafers were the Alden cordovans from Brooks (cost about $30 back then) and there were also scotch grain loafers from Barrie Ltd. in New Haven. To end this trip down memory lane, nobody put pennies in their loafers.
     
  15. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I've been on my own since I was 16, long story. my family didn't have very much before that, so I didn't get much of an allowance - I have been doing some kind of work or another since I was 11. I wore the same pair of shoes from abut 16 till 22. why do you ask?
     

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