Man Grooming Q&A: Lace-ups or Loafers?

Rich writes: “So for shoes… lace-up or loafers? Which are more stylish? And on loafers, tassels or no?”

My personal preference is always laces. I think they add a finesse to a shoe and show attention to detail. If you’re the kind who likes slip-ons, I am against tassles. Here’s my weird personal opinion and you can make of it what you will: Laces perform a function. You can adjust the shoe to fit by tightening or loosening them, and there is a huge variety of ways to actually lace shoes if you want to add your own dash of creativity.
Tassles perform no function. Now, there are plenty of superfluous design additions to clothing for men and women, and I suppose an argument could be made that clothing is, itself, superfluous (we could just throw blankets around ourselves, couldn’t we?) but for some reason, tassles on shoes is the straw that got stuck in the camel’s lapel. What the hell are they doing? Do they remove excess road dust? Do they attract the attention of a significant other, and if so, would you want to date someone whose first compliment to you is, “Nice tassles!” And they mean it?
So, to sum up: When it comes time to select a new pair of dress shoes, lace-ups first, loafers second, tassles dead last. And don’t even ask about slides, mules or clogs for men. My God, man, have you no sense of shoe decency?

August 2, 2005

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