The Easy-On, Easy-Off Shoes to Slip Into When You Need an Escape
I don't know where your head is at these days, but I've officially reached the point where going outside feels like an Event. My slippers, formerly well-loved but not as well-worn, have become my primary shoes. My soft pants—sweats, joggers, et al.—have supplanted the ones that stay up because they have a button, not a strip of elastic running through the waistband. It's Dress Down Town, and I'm the mayor, ruling (largely) benevolently over a tiny populace. (It's cats. The populace is cats.)
But because going outside is an Event, and you dress up for an event, sometimes I still put on real pants. And because real pants call for real shoes, I've been putting those on, too. Here's the trick, though: The pants? They're still soft and wide-legged and super comfy. And the shoes? They're the greatest footwear trick ever played on the world. They look proper, but they feel like I'm getting away with wearing my slippers outside. Loafers will do that. And if you're going to get loafers, you've got to get the OGs: Bass Weejuns.
You can’t get much more classic than black or burgundy (or both).
They really are the originals.
The origin story of the loafer as a category of shoes is, like so many footwear and clothing origin stories, a bit muddy and messy. But the birth of the quintessentially American penny loafer is more cut and dry. Back in 1936, Bass made the first pair, inspired by simple Norwegian slip-ons that were popularized throughout Europe by wealthy travelers, then exported to American shores with a little help from none other than Esquire magazine. The name? Weejuns. They've gone on to become a staple of Ivy Style, the go-to shoes of mods and punks alike, and a bona fide classic. Put another way: They're the OG and the GOAT.
The "Weejuns" name was invented—and only ever used by—G.H. Bass & Co.
They're perfect for our mostly inside, sometimes-outside lifestyle.
Even if going outside and engaging—carefully, socially distantly—with the rest of the world feels like a production, getting dressed for it needn't be. In fact, when the very nature of our reality just feels difficult, like, all the damn time, sometimes an easy style upgrade can be a genuinely effective balm for the aching spirit. And slipping into a pair of Weejuns to go take a walk or brave the grocery store is easy, just as easy as kicking them off when you get back inside and wash your hands (remember to wash your damn hands!) before settling all the way back into the couch and turning on Netflix.
Rubber soles add a little extra comfort, right out of the box.
They look good with everything. Really.
A big part of the reason Weejuns wound their way so entirely into the wardrobes of so many different style tribes? They're supremely versatile. Throw 'em on with a blue blazer and chinos, and it works. Same goes for wearing 'em with black jeans and a ripped tee, or a perfectly fitted (and decidedly unwrinkled) custom suit. They're the skeleton key of shoes, almost magically contorting their vibe and history and cultural connotations to go with any outfit. Hell, you can even wear them with sweatpants. But if you're going outside, why not make a thing of it? Wear them with real pants. It's an Event, after all.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.