Loafers With Suit: A Complete Men’s Guide

Fashionable men often rely on loafers due to the comfort and many variations of outfits that it brings. However, before deciding to get one, realize that it might not work with every combination there is. This might bring you to the question of whether a loafer is apt footwear to wear with a suit

A suit and a loafer can certainly be a rocking combination. However, depending on the occasion, some people might see it as not being formal enough. Some of the characteristics of a loafer that has to be taken into account are color, style, and the material that it is made of.

Possibly the only style that may be qualified to look formal enough with a business suit is a dark pair of leather horse-bit loafers. Underdressing is a risk that inevitably comes with wearing a loafer, so be warned and be ready before you choose to go with one. It is probably the most casual of all the shoes that you have the option to wear.

Lucky for you we are here to guide you through the intricacies of pairing a loafer with the right suit for an appropriate dress code.

Types Of Loafers That Can Be Worn With Suits

Keep in mind that the following are not the only variation of loafers available. However, as a fashionable man, they are certainly the ones you need to be knowledgeable about. They also happen to be very popular and can be easily purchased.

Horsebit “Gucci” Loafers

A man wearing black Gucci horsebit loafers.

It wasn’t until the legendary designer Gucci revolutionized the piece of fashion known as the loafer that it became acceptable for people worldwide to wear it by professionals on formal occasions.

Today, the Horsebit or Gucci Loafers might just be possibly the fanciest style of loafer there is around.

The shining snaffle or metal bar in the center of the vamp that resembles a horse’s bit is the addition that made the Gucci loafer revolutionary during its time, and what made it possible for loafers to be worn formally in the first place.

The metal buckle introduced a touch of sophistication and made it possible for the loafer to be paired with business-style suits. It distinguished the horse-bit loafer from other kinds of loafers in an elegant way.

However, for official, business wear, horse-bit loafers will always be less preferred compared to more formal dress shoes like Oxfords, Derbys, and Monkstraps.

Penny Loafers

A pair of penny loafers in leather.

Penny loafers are best paired with the casual sort of suit, but with formal business suits, it might be deemed a bit too informal. Perhaps its aptness for casual settings made it the most popular style among all the loafers out there.

Penny loafers have turned into something of a phenomenon over the recent years, and their popularity shows absolutely no sign of decline.

The vamp of these shoes is typically strapped with leather, and there may be a diamond-shaped cutout in the middle. They have a long history of being identified with the semi-formal, preppy look, despite having a fan base much outside that niche.

Penny loafers are great for pairing with smart casual suits, like the kind you may wear to a birthday party or a relaxed summer family get-together.

There is an important consideration to be made, however, since penny loafers are typically too informal to be worn for party attire or business attire.

Tassel Loafers

Brown tassel loafers on green grass.

You might think of tassel loafers as the more formal alternative to penny loafers. That is to say, they are a little less formal than bit loafers.

To identify them, just look for the large tassel at the front of the shoe. It’s lighthearted and pretty, and that sort of thing is all the rage right now. The same can be said for tassel loafers, which, like penny loafers, are rarely seen paired with a work suit.

However, some more senior gentlemen in the corporate world may choose to pair them with their suits. Awkward and uncoordinated is a common impression that comes with it.

When it comes to suits, tassel loafers are best worn with a more relaxed style, much like penny loafers.

The Differences Between Casual And Formal Suits

If the jacket and pants come from the same bolt of cloth, then they are a suit. Learning the distinctions between a “casual” and “formal” suit is essential.

As soon as you master this, you may match them with the perfect loafers.

Okay, then, let’s talk about that.

Features of a Formal Suit:

  • Stronger, more consistent colors.
  • Thicker-lined, shoulder-padded, and more structured jackets.
  • Typically crafted from worsted wool, which prevents wrinkles and imparts a distinct sheen.
  • Instead of traditional patch pockets, jetted or flapped pockets are used.
  • Pants with a central crease down the middle.

Features of a Casual Suit:

  • A lighter and less rigid fabric is used for the jacket’s lining.
  • Less padding and more of a natural shape to the shoulders.
  • Most of the time, the fabric has a less “shiny” quality and more easily shows wrinkles. Examples of such fabrics include linen, cotton, and various wools (such as tweed and flannel).
  • Flap or patch pockets are more common on jackets.
  • The pants included with the suit may or may not have a crease along the middle. There is a chance that you will be able to see the inner leg seam.

Suits often combine elements of “formal” and “casual” styles. This list, however, should make it easier to tell the difference between suits that are made to appear more formal and those that look more relaxed.

Suede Vs Leather Loafers And Suits

Although full-grain leather loafers are more versatile, suede loafers are best worn with casual-looking suits.

Suede will always be seen as a more laid-back material because of their texture. In comparison, it’s rougher around the edges and napped. As it lacks the sheen of higher-quality leather, it pairs well with more relaxed or semi-formal attires.

If you’re feeling the urge for a more put-together look, leather is the way to go. Don’t ever pair a suit with suede loafers. In this case, only leather-bit loafers will do.

How To Wear Loafers With Suits The Right Way

To pull off loafers with a suit, you need to think about the level of formality of the event or location.

Man changing look with new shoes.

Here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind right off the bat:

  • Never go to a Black-Tie event in loafers. You should put on a pair of classic black Oxford shoes.
  • If at all possible, whether dressing for a business meeting or cocktail party, you should not wear loafers. Nonetheless, if you were dead set on this, a pair of leather horsebit loafers would be your best bet.
  • It has always been true that loafers look best with business casual attire.
  • Although a suit with loafers is appropriate for “business casual” dress rules, suits in general are not appropriate for such settings. Use a blazer or sports coat instead for your outfit.

First, let’s go over the situations in which you can get away with wearing loafers with a suit, as well as some suggestions for how to pull it off.


Events, where one would wear a smart casual outfit, include garden parties, business dinners, and relaxed weddings.

You don’t necessarily need a suit when the dress code allows for a blazer and sports coat.

Pair some light gray chinos with a navy blazer and some loafers.

But perhaps you have a more relaxed outfit in mind.

An exemplary ensemble would consist of a suit in a light gray fabric (such as linen, flannel, or tweed), a shirt in a light blue hue, and a pair of penny or tassel loafers in suede or leather.

If you’re in the mood to dress up a little extra, leather is always a safe bet.

Business Attire

Example Settings – Funerals, Balls, and Church Weddings

This is a little more complicated than it seems. I can’t stress enough how careful you need to be.

To be on the safe side, choose a pair of dark leather horsebit loafers to go with your business suit.

These loafers can be worn with a suit and tie, but they shouldn’t be worn with a three-piece suit.

In most situations, men wearing three-piece suits look overly formal.

Wearing a dark worsted wool suit with a white dress shirt, a tie, over-the-calf socks, and a pair of dark brown or black leather horsebit loafers is an example of a well-put-together outfit.

Cocktail Attire

Venues like weddings and garden parties are good examples of occasions where one can flaunt a cocktail attire.

The majority of wedding invitations will include a guideline for a dress code. However, because it is so ambiguous and poorly understood, it can be a pain to dress for such events.

Suits worn for business can also pretty much always be worn to formal events such as cocktail parties.

In the end, a suit and tie are still required attire. The main distinction is in the freedom to express oneself more freely through the use of color. After all, people go there to celebrate.

Again, a pair of dark leather horsebit loafers are your best bet. Do not get too casual.

A pair of Oxfords, Derbys, or Monkstraps is preferable, just as they would be with a suit and tie for pure business. Here’s something to keep in mind at all times.

A medium gray worsted wool suit, a grenadine necktie with a matching pocket square, a white dress shirt, and a pair of dark leather bit loafers are all appropriate choices for this scenario.

Putting Together a Suit and Loafers That Match

If you want to succeed in matching colors, the golden rule is to keep things as straightforward as possible.

If you want to avoid hassle and save time, use only muted, neutral colors. The same concept applies in this case.

Men in loafers.

Formal Outfits

A dark suit with no patterns is the best option for a formal occasion. When it comes to looking your best in a formal setting, solid is always the best option.

A subtle pattern, like a windowpane or chalk stripes, could also be effective. When making a choice, trust your gut and your discretion.

Choose your color carefully. Suits in navy blue or charcoal gray are the most practical and may be worn with almost anything.

If you want to wear horse-bit loafers to a formal event, it’s best to stick to a dark color like brown or black. It’s possible that black loafers might look good with a navy blue suit, but dark brown would be an even better choice.

If you can help it, steer clear of black suits in favor of something more versatile like navy or charcoal.

Casual Outfits

Here, you can experiment more freely with various colors.

Suits in lighter, brighter, or pastel shades will always appear more laid-back than those in darker more formal tones. For instance, lighter or mid-tone blues look more relaxed than dark navy. Brown is also a lot more casual than darker colors like black or navy.

You should express yourself in small ways wherever possible, but the suit itself should be as straightforward as possible.

If you’re looking for something that can be worn with many other things and is simple to match, choose a color that is muted rather than pastel. Again, you have more flexibility in this regard when picking out a pair of loafers.

For instance, tan brown is an excellent choice because it complements many colors and is simple to pair with any casual suit.


Thank you for spending the time to go through our article. By now, you should have a better idea of how to determine if a given pair of loafers is appropriate to wear with a given suit.

Loafers are certainly a versatile choice for footwear, but it is common knowledge that there are occasions when they are justifiably inappropriate.

While wearing the wrong pair of loafers once isn’t exactly the end of your fashionable crusade, it is a fashion risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep the rules in mind, but certainly don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Avatar photo
About Hugh Vinson

Hi there! My name is Hugh, and I am the owner and founder of GentlemenCenter. From Texas, USA, and with 2 sons in recent years I have had the experience of raising 2 young men. I am here to share my experiences with you, and help you with any questions you may have!

Leave a Comment