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How to wear... loafers

After years of trainers ruling the street-style game, the fashion set are smartening up with a more polished alternative. Meadhbh McGrath advises on the flat shoe trend to know for 2020running

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Loafers street style. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

Loafers street style. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Nicole Kidman. Photo: Getty

Nicole Kidman. Photo: Getty

Getty Images

Blue, €160 from Sam Edelman at Arnotts

Blue, €160 from Sam Edelman at Arnotts

Dress, €34.99 from H&M

Dress, €34.99 from H&M

Burgundy, €35 from Asos.com

Burgundy, €35 from Asos.com

Snakeskin, €105 from Dune

Snakeskin, €105 from Dune

Tan, €115 from Dune

Tan, €115 from Dune

Jeans, €121 from Levi

Jeans, €121 from Levi

Trench coat, €149.99 from Mango.com

Trench coat, €149.99 from Mango.com

Navy, €77 from Red or Dead at Schuh

Navy, €77 from Red or Dead at Schuh

Socks, €9 from & Other Stories

Socks, €9 from & Other Stories

Cream, €64 from Topshop

Cream, €64 from Topshop

Chain detail, €69.95 from Zara

Chain detail, €69.95 from Zara

Black, €135 from COS

Black, €135 from COS

Trousers, €35 from M&S

Trousers, €35 from M&S

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Loafers street style. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

With fashion month still in full swing, we've noticed a perceptible shift on the front row - specifically, on attendees' feet. The days of spike heels and stilettos are long past and today you're more likely to see a chunky platform or sculptural mid-heel, if any heel at all.

It's the trainer that is king, having ruled the street-style game for years, but now it seems the fashion crowd is starting to move on. Footwear in 2020 is smartening up, thanks to the beloved ankle boot and the return of the loafer.

The classic silhouette is back and in its most traditional form after a fallow period following the viral success of Gucci's fur-lined backless loafers, the It shoe of 2015. As well as being spotted on street-style stars, the loafer made a major comeback on the catwalks.

At Fendi, shiny loafers and calf socks accompanied most of the looks, in muted shades of tan, chocolate brown and khaki, along with bubblegum pink and icy blue. These were worn with a variety of neutral tones, from quilted mini skirts to checked shirt dresses to wide-legged trousers and wide-collar blouses.

Prada's loafers were rendered in burnished brown and red leather, with a stacked heel, slingback strap and oversize gold buckle, and were teamed with mismatched suits, cheesecloth dresses and pencil skirts with double-breasted blazers.

Louis Vuitton styled ruffled mini skirts and blouson-sleeve blouses with black and oxblood loafers, while Jonathan Anderson added a block heel to his patent monochrome loafers at Loewe, styled with wafty, asymmetric-hem gowns and pleated A-line coats.

The throughline is an unfussy polish - chic yet comfortable, without the flash of the new-gen trainers or statement mules. And while they've become a favourite among fashion insiders for running to and from shows, they've also gained some A-list fans, becoming an off-duty staple for celebrities once again.

The likes of Sienna Miller, Jennifer Aniston and Alexa Chung favoured a uniform of loafers, skinny jeans and a blazer, but the look has been elevated for spring.

Charlize Theron took a break from the recent Oscar race in a pair of metallic Isabel Marant trousers with a crisp black blazer, white T-shirt and patent loafers. The high vamp and glossy finish add a modern flourish, while the no-nonsense shape and flat heel ensure an effortless finish.

As well as a higher vamp, look out for interesting details such as slingbacks (Topshop offers a pair in black, red and camel), new textures and an oversized bit of chain link, such as Zara's black and gold style, to give your loafers an upgrade.

If you prefer a more timeless look, keep it simple with the essential penny loafer, favoured by Nicole Kidman.

The actress has been spotted out and about in her trusted brown leather pair, and even took them to the red carpet for an awards season brunch last month. Her wardrobe choices are often quite bold, but when she wants to dial it back, she prefers to stick to the classics: cropped jeans, a trench coat, plain tee and structured handbag.

A pair of loafers can also help to ground more daring choices, as evidenced by Zoe Kravitz. Black loafers provide a solid foundation for her suede coat, vivid yellow jumper, bright tartan trousers and neon bag, putting a smart point on the eclectic look and cementing the loafer as the ultimate cool-girl shoe for spring.

Irish Independent