Classic Since 1953: The Gucci Horsebit Loafer’s 60th Anniversary


This month marks the 60th anniversary of Gucci’s famous horsebit loafer, which solidified itself in the preppy wardrobe sometime in the 1970s, where it remains to this day. Even a shoemaker as conservative as Alden sees fit to offer a version.

“The Official Preppy Handbook” puts the shoe in an interesting context, placing the oft-derided-for-flashiness bit loafer alongside such low-key staples as white bucks and LL Bean moccasins:


Here’s a passage from the oeuvre of G. Bruce Boyer (who’s actually old enough to have an oeuvre), writing about the bit loafer’s origins:

In the mid-1950s there was [the] development of the Gucci slip-on. There is no question that this now legendary shoe deserves its reputation for having revolutionized casual footwear, which is the reason a Gucci slip-on is included in the costume collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

The Florentine leather firm of Gucci began as a saddlery in the first decade of this century and quickly achieved a considerable reputation for high-quality craftsmanship, detail, and design. The family-owned firm then turned to luggage, handbags, and other small leather accessories, acquiring more cachet along the way, and inevitably began making high-quality and stylish shoes. The famous Gucci slip-on was actually designed, coincidentally enough, in the late 1930s – just about the time “Weejuns” were first being seen on campus. Although the original version was constructed of heavier saddle leather, the design was what it remains faithful to today: a successful effort to retain the comfort of the moccasin while adding the fashion and elegance of a dressy shoe. In short, it was the first shoe that bridged the gap between casual and business wear. This dressy slip-on was refined with fine, lightweight calfskin, a pared-down shape, and a metal snaffle bit, and as such it became avenue-elegant and gained acceptance in corporate board rooms and country clubs alike.

Asked for his memories of the shoe, Richard Press offered this observation:

Wore my first faux Gucci loafers from Barrie Ltd. in the mid-’60s and have absolutely no recollection who made them for Barrie. Phenomenally counterfeit, marginally weightier and with a slightly duller New England finish than the Italian version recognized only by connoisseurs of the original style. Difference was rationalized by Barrie’s attraction for Yalies with starter shoe well below Gucci’s price, plus “made in America,” an important consideration in Ivy circles.

For the ultimate in bit-loafer porn, check out the epic “Ode To The Bit Loafer” thread at Andy’s trad forum. Meanwhile, here are some images Ivy Style has run.

Chez Chens:




Young Yalie:


Back to school?


Illustration by Watatani:


By now you should be sufficiently inspired or repulsed, which means it’s time to vote:

[yop_poll id=”6″]

Though its appeal in Tradsville is far less than penny loafers and tassel loafers, the bit loafer earned its place in the WASPy wardrobe through taste-driven natural selection. As Charlie Davidson said, “People made things a classic, not manufacturers. It’s people who made some things accepted and not others, otherwise how do we account for all the things that failed?”

Nothing in fashion happens by accident, and the Gucci horsebit loafer is one of those rare items still available in its original form 60 years later. The word “iconic” is thrown around indiscriminately in fashion media these days, but here’s one case in which it’s entirely apropos. — CC

102 Comments on "Classic Since 1953: The Gucci Horsebit Loafer’s 60th Anniversary"

  1. Since I grew up in L.A. in the 1950s, and am of Italian and Jewish heritage, I can only associate this shoe with flashy Italian and Jewish Hollywood types in sharksin suits. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them. I cannot understand how they ever became part of Ivy style.

  2. Gross.

  3. Boston Bean | March 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |

    Gay Ivy!

  4. As a born to the manner/manor WASP, I have a pair from Gucci in black and a pair from Alden in brown. I wear them with khakis, and gray flannel trousers, most often paired with a sportcoat of some variety. However, I haven’t been comfortable wearing either pair with a suit. I’ve had both pairs for about 10-15 years. Here, in DC, you will see gentlmen from 20-90 wearing the horsebit loafer frequently, especially amongst the cavedweller set, at the Met Club, Chevy Chase Club, at church services, and for both work and casual attire. The senior citizen contigent definitely wear black Guccis with their dinner jackets to more formal events. I think its safe to say that the horsebit loafer, whether its from Gucci or similar company like Alden, is an ingrained part of the classic/trad/preppy wardrobe. I would say even more so as you venture down south to Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, Birmingham, and most definitely, Sea Island and Palm Beach. Just my two-cents–Alex

  5. I have several pairs and I love them…

  6. The shoe, I mean.

    It’s such a shame the platonic form of Ivy Heyday footwear isn’t being made for stock.

    Paul Stuart came mighty close with the shell cordovan penny they offered a few years ago. American made, moccasin construction. “Great American Handsewns.”

  7. The Gucci Bit Loafer always looks great with polyester leisure suits or Sansabelt high waist-ed continental cut trousers and Banlons. As L.A. Trad can attest, SHARKSKIN! The Guidos I know love them, ciao baby.

  8. Not a fan, I just can’t see myself wearing something like this.

  9. I recall one of Steve Martin’s comedy albums from the 70s includes a bit where he points out his loafers, notes that he has “no laces on his shoes” and indicates that he was “born to be wild!”

  10. No Gucci for me.

  11. My first exposure to the horsebit loafer was on an ancient gentleman artist in Dalton, Georgia, who wore them with a pair of yellow shorts and a sailfish needlepoint belt. I thought they looked really quite good on him, though I would never dare to wear that sort of thing.

    Had I been born earlier, and seen them on an Italian (or known that they were introduced by Gucci), I would absolutely hate them. My prejudices tend to be rather contradictory like that.

  12. Jeff Jarmuth | March 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

    Guccis look great in only three circumstances that I know: (1) with torn up Levi 501s and a white button-down shirt; (2) black Guccis worn with a navy blue J.Press sack suit (with Henry Cabot Lodge 2 1/4″ cuffs) and an Hermes tie (used to be a Goldman/Wall Street staple); and (3) with Go-To-Hell pants at the club for Friday night cocktails in the summer.

    Worn any other way (e.g., with a sport coat or with flannels) makes you look like a boulevardier who’s just tryin’ too darn hard, IMHO…

  13. Sumner (Skip) Barrington III | March 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm |


  14. Mr. Wyllys | March 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    I see your grody…and raise you a “gag me with a spoon”

  15. Orgastic Future | March 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

    @L.A. Trad, Racist much? Anyhoo I’ve owned a pair of Johnston and Murphy made horsebits for about 8-9 years. I still have trouble pairing them with my various “Go to hell” styles. They’ve only seem to work with jeans.

  16. Gucchi signifies Palm Beach “cool”, not the good sense and self-confidence of Weejuns or Alden loafers

  17. I desperately want a pair. Just the other day, I went for a new pair of CG weejuns and $50 in my pocket over a pair of Cole Haan bits. If I’d had the extra dosh, no question, I’d have bit the bullet. (Puns are trad, right?)

    Of course, I’m in film and I’m from New Jersey, so…

  18. I venture to say the more people, who are not Prep, wear the Gucci loafer than people who are. I believe the international jet set made the shoe popular and some Trads embraced it. For this reason, I do not view it as a Prep standard, but a shoe for the global well to do. Mind you, it’s a beautiful, high end and timeless shoe, but so are Santoni, A Testoni and other handmade Italian loafers.

  19. @Orgastic Future

    A racist claim would have been that Jews and Italians are flashy.
    My claim was that in the 1950s there were flashly-dressing Jews and Italians in the Hollywood area.
    There was nothing racist or untrue about my claim.

  20. Curmudgeon | March 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm |

    These shoes may have been around since 1953, but I sincerely doubt that many adherents of Ivy League style were wearing them at that time. Those who adopted them in an attempt to look “cool” were the forerunners of the guys who think that short jackets in nursery school colors are “cool”.

  21. Reactionary Trad | March 11, 2013 at 9:57 pm |

    “Strong Aversion” is putting it mildly. Very mildly.

  22. This piece has a view on the types that “made” the Gucci loafer iconic.

  23. I’m trying to remember the offensive, now-politically-incorrect term for these shoes in the 1950s. Was it agate shoes, or maggot shoes, or something that rhymed with those words?

  24. A.E.W. Mason | March 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm |

    I think it’s safe to assume that in the next post we’ll be asked to comment on Birkenstocks or some other form of ventilated shoe.

  25. Boston Bean | March 12, 2013 at 3:53 am |

    I was truly saddened to see that photo of President Bush, Sr. The gentleman that I voted for in 1988 wore black socks. Whoever dresses him must think it’s cute to dress old men as if they were toddlers. It is not.

  26. Sorry Guys. Mad Men from the halls of Ivy sported Guccis or Barrie fakes in the Cub Room, 21, Racquet and Tennis, Father’s Weekend at Dobbs, Prout’s Neck, Piping Rock, and the Vineyard. Outfitted plenty of them. Get over it!

  27. Lees Hardy | March 12, 2013 at 9:52 am |

    I bought my first pair of Gucci’s in early 1968 at the small Gucci store on Fifth Avenue. As far as I know this was the only store in the US. They cost an astronomical $50. I was the first man I knew who had a pair. I knew about them through my well-traveled girl friend who had several pairs of Gucci’s and a classic Chanel purse, and through a friend from New York City. The ad from Burdine’s says August 1968, and these must be among the very earliest knock-offs. According to Wikipedia, the snaffle bit was added to the shoe in 1966.

  28. Panama Hatter | March 12, 2013 at 9:59 am |


    Just goes to show that “Mad Men from the halls of Ivy” occasionally had bad taste.

  29. BIRKENSTOCKS!! I divorced my wife over her purchase of a pair. Gooooochis aren’t that bad, just not my cup of tea.

  30. Panama Hatter: Compared to what?

  31. Advertising executives (“Mad Men”) wore them in the 70s and 80s. Why I am not shocked?

  32. My point is that advertising, like a handful of other professions, allow certain privileges–sartorial and otherwise–that, in other settings, would be deemed (unfairly or not) ostentatious or perhaps even vulgar. A certain kind of banker, for instance, would and should not wear horse bit loafers anywhere.

    I know a surgeon who wears them–outside the O.R., of course. He delights in them. He also rejoices in his Porsche and his shiny (Loro Piana Super 150’s, I’ll venture) bold chalkstripe suits. To each his own. There’s a bit of “go to hell” in the bit loafer. No wonder we’ve seen them paired with Lilly pants. Of course.

    I think the point, if there is one, is that this shoe is suspect because, for whatever reason, it does indeed cross that sometimes invisible, frequently moving line from tasteful (over) into vulgarity.

  33. Jeff Jarmuth | March 12, 2013 at 11:36 am |

    Very true, S. E., and, moreover, Guccis are suspect because it’s not American and has no Anglo-Saxon antecedent. In fact, my English aristo friend calls them his “dago” shoes, but he must have more than a handful of pairs. I like horse bit loafers, too, but they are like a madras bow tie or shirts with the little brass pin you put through the collar–used judiciously and not often.

    That being said, Gucci horsebits are like slippers from the moment you put them on…unlike my Alden cordovan half straps that take a good six miles of pain before the same can be claimed…

  34. Gutta git me a pare of dese hey how you doin shews, to ware to da Bata Bing Club!
    Love your comments from yesterday MAC and the posting from M Arthur.
    I always dipised these fugly styled loafers, as nothing but contempory Euro crap. Not certain how they have lasted so long?

  35. Forgot to add wit my triple pleated sharksin suit and retro tie.

  36. Guccis aren’t really trad or Ivy, they’re preppy–i.e. slightly effete, goofy, incongruous, and of questionable good taste. I happen to love them, usually with khakis or cords, and they’re quite well-made, as one would hope for $600 including tax. They’re pretty much a staple of business casual dressing here in New England.

  37. Cary Grant and my late father were the only guys who could look elegant wearing Gucci type horsebits or side buckle shoes. My Dad had a pair of each, Mom probably got them on clearance sale. The “North by Northwest” sharkskin was Dad’s favorite suit. He wore it until it was in tatters.

  38. Kinda funny, the poll above has “I wear them’ in the lead, yet the comments are overwhelmingly negative…

  39. Just like letters to the editor back in the print days, people are far more likely to complain than compliment.

  40. Jeff Jarmuth | March 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm |

    I think etk hit the nail on the head. Guccis cost nearly $600 making them a status item, whatever you think about their sartorial appropriateness. Women can spot ’em from a mile away, and they know the real thing from the knock-offs.

  41. ^ Good point, Christian. I like them and always have. The nonsense about Palm Beach and Jews and Italians and everything implied is just that. Refer to Squeeze’s post of March 12 at 9:41 am.

    I always find it interesting that many seem intellectually unable to separate whether something is a true part of the Ivy/preppy wardrobe from whether they like it personally. The (il-)logic seems to be that if one personally finds an item ugly or fraught with negative connotations it cannot therefore be Ivy. Almost as if by saying that an item is ugly AND at the same time admitting that it is an historical part of the Ivy/preppy canon, one is somehow compromising oneself. Perhaps lessening one’s own bona fides as a “true prep” — or whatever.

  42. I agree with the aforementioned, it is all too easy to confuse “Not my style” with “If you like this you are wrong and should be ashamed of yourself”.

    I think in the future there ought to be a poll on bucket hats, something undoubtedly part of the Ivy Style canon, yet something I would never wear unless on the beach or kayaking.

  43. DCG & Sartre
    Don’t be so serious, we’re just all having a good time. Mostly because we all know Christian, Donald Trump and the boys of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” own them. 😉

  44. Wiggles
    Cary Grant didn’t wear a sharkskin suit in “N by NW”, it was a worsted glen plaid.

  45. If the question is, do you wear Gucci loafers? My answer is, no, I wear cordovan loafers by Alden. Why the Alden over Gucci? The Gucci comes with too much baggage (pun intended) as evidenced above!

  46. I’ll tell you what’s fun! Imagining froth-mouthed would-be style arbiters banging furiously at their keyboards…I’m inclined to agree with the label “preppy” for shoes with excessive hardware…

  47. Wow, self-loathing and prejudice all over an Italian loafer with a snaffle bit (as it is correctly called). Not that I am surprised at such attitudes from a Los Angeles that hides itself with makeup, and a Boston that sanctifies its faded WASP-isms.

    I have a quite comfortable pair in black with a Vibram sole and a nickel snaffle bit- perfect for casual wear. The more common shoe with a leather sole might be on my own feet were not the combo of a thin sole and a heel higher than I like both uncomfortable for me. Otherwise, my cordovan Weejuns of 35 years bought at The Crimson Shop in Harvard Square during college days and a couple pairs of slightly less ancient Cole Haan’s and Alden’s suffice for loafer duty. As for the Gucci’s, I have worn them with two suits I have of houndstooth flannel and herringbone tweed- “country” fabrics with a “country” shoe.

    As an amusing aside, I remember the comic actor and director Jerry Paris dropping in at my school with a couple of regulars from “Happy Days.” We boys had a great time ribbing them about the show, and one actor mentioned some antics at his own school in NYC. Taking questions, Mr. Paris responded to one student well-known for robust uninhibitedness. The young student stood up, pointed at Mr. Paris’s shoes, and asked, “Are those Gucci loafers?” After the laughter died down, Mr. Paris replied that they were indeed, but why ever did he want to know? Well, the boy answered, I was hoping to add a pair to my wardrobe. More hilarity ensued because the questioner was viewed as a sartorial “Pig-Pen”.

  48. Reactionary Trad | March 13, 2013 at 4:02 am |


    For some of us, Ivy is a serious matter of preserving the last vestiges of sartorial civilization in the U.S. Right or wrong, we tend to associate these loafers with gigolos, Mafiosi, and cigar-smoking Hollywood moguls, and consequently steer clear of them.

  49. James Redhouse | March 13, 2013 at 4:26 am |

    @Reactionary Trad

    Hear! Hear!
    We also try to distance ourselves from the sartorial style of Gianni Agnelli.

  50. It’s rather appropriate that I’m currently reading “The Protestant Establishment” by Baltzell. I’m highly inclined to agree with its main thesis, namely that the Anglo Saxon élite abdicated its power and responsibility in favor of preserving its privileges and in so doing became not an aristocracy but a caste. This is a matter of style as well. After the late 60’s Non-WASPs no longer cared if they dressed like a crumbling Establishment that didn’t like them or want them in its ranks. They had achieved political power without the help of northeastern WASPs, and they dressed how they pleased. That’s what I think anyway, so forgive me for my rambling sermon but sartorial stereotypes are symptomatic of how we got here in the first place.

    By the way, if we’re really concerned about “preserving…sartorial civilization” we should be more alarmed at general cultural vulgarity. If TV sucked a little less maybe America would dress a little better.

  51. There is something of the Jackass about them. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it almost certainly has something to do with the sheer idiocy of attaching pieces of shiny jewelry to shoes.

  52. @Reactionary Trad: “Right or wrong, we tend to associate these loafers with gigolos, Mafiosi, and cigar-smoking Hollywood moguls, and consequently steer clear of them.”

    I appreciate that you are only sharing your personal opinion, as opposed to making some sort of universal proclamation about what is or isn’t Ivy (which I for one thank you for), but son’t you see how untenable this statement is? C’mon, have you ever met or even seen a gigolo, Mafioso, or Holywood mogul? I haven’t. But for decades I have shopped in places like Brooks, J. Press, Chipp, and Tripler and seen men of impeccable style and taste wearing them. It doesn’t make the shoes any more attractive, but isn’t your mental image or association based on fantasy more than reality?

  53. Sartre writes above: “I always find it interesting that many seem intellectually unable to separate whether something is a true part of the Ivy/preppy wardrobe from whether they like it personally. The (il-)logic seems to be that if one personally finds an item ugly or fraught with negative connotations it cannot therefore be Ivy.”

    This particular kind of illogic is known among logicians as the “no true Scotsman fallacy”. See the article here:

  54. @MAC

    Thanks for the correction. For the many times I’ve seen the movie, Cary’s suit sure looked like sharkskin. I’m surprised he wore a glen plaid. My late father’s suit was pretty similar in color and style, even the waistband and pleats looked the same. At age 60, my Dad looked as young as Cary. My mother used to get very annoyed by my father’s graceful aging. (She did not age as well.)

    Unfortunately, I take after my mother.

  55. Wiggles
    I’m sure your mother is beautiful. I was surprised it was plaid also, but I had a hunch it wasn’t sharkskin having seen the movie more times I can count, both on TV and the big screen.

  56. @Cameron: You’re wrong.

  57. @Cameron: My mistake. I misread your comment as saying that MY logic reflected the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. But I see now you were clarifying what I was saying. Sorry and thanks.

  58. Sensible Scot | March 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

    No true Scotsman would ever wear them.

  59. Do these shoes come with a free pinky ring?

  60. Old School | March 14, 2013 at 6:24 am |

    @Jim and others:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying the negative comments.
    Keep them coming!

  61. Hey Old School:
    I forgot to mention that you also get a complete CD collection of “The Soprano’s”.

  62. I’d be very curious to know where those with the violent allergic reactions to bit loafers live. If your primary associations are Jersey Shore and the mafia, maybe you need to change your zip code.

  63. In Kansas City, they live in the nicer zip codes, CC you’ve lived a sheltered life. I never had a violent reaction to Gucci loafers, but then no one has ever attempted to put them on my feet.

  64. Nein bitte.

  65. You can tell the phonies (those that jumped into “Trad” due to the Internet) because they hate them.

    Bit loafers are true blue Ivy. They may not appeal to anindividual but to say that they don’t belong says much about you!

    Down with this silly Trad trend and long live Ivy!

  66. Weird, the thought actually passed through my head today where is Henry on this, and surely he must be against them.

  67. The Gucci horsebit loafer is still made in Italy with the same quality as day one.

    The Bass Weejun is not.

    Someone needs to rectify the situation.

  68. @Thurston


    I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool Ivy adherent since 1964 (long before the internet, I assure you) and wouldn’t walk on the same side of the street as a someone wearing those vulgar, pretentious Italian loafers.

  69. J.I. Rodale | March 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |


    Re: “Down with this silly Trad trend and long live Ivy!

    I’m not sure what you mean by “Trad”. I use the term to refer to Orthodox Ivy style which means traditonal Ivy, not all that juvenile Preppy nonsense.

  70. Gray Flannels | March 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm |

    I’m old enough to believe that favoring Ivy League style is a matter of dressing like a New England gentleman. The only acceptable articles from Italy are neckties.

  71. George H. W. Bush is about as “New England gentleman” as they come and he wears bit loafers.

  72. Gray Flannels | March 15, 2013 at 8:36 am |


    To the best of my knowledge President Bush suffers from Parkinsonism and, unfortunately, does not select the items in his wardrobe.

  73. Seriously, you guys don’t have to like them — I don’t like saddle shoes or Venetian loafers — but what I don’t understand is the piling on of vague subjective associations. I’ve yet to say any of the rabid naysayers explain any of the following:

    Why Alden sees fit to offer the shoe
    Why they’re in the Official Preppy Handbook
    Why Squeeze wore them back in the ’60s
    Why Burdine’s offered them along with other Ivy gear
    Why, if you stroll the Upper East Side, you see them everywhere on ultra-trad guys
    And is that guy in the Watani illustration really someone you wouldn’t walk on the same side of the street with?

  74. Thank you for thinking of me, Christian! Synchronicity is real, and is evidence for the transcendent reality we apprehend but cannot quantify.

    I guess my “joke” was less relevant than my comment, but that’s OK.

    Bit loafers do not inspire much of a response in me. I don’t care for them, but neither do I find them vulgar and offensive and an affront to all that is Trad-Ivy.

    Then again, I’m not much of a Trad-Ivy guy to start with (I’m a combination of E and F on the “How Ivy Are You?” poll), so who really cares what I think?

  75. Christian, I believe you’re one of my long lost best friends. If you ever make your way down to DC, it would be my pleasure to treat you to a drink or two. And, in keeping with the topic at hand, I will be sporting my brown Alden bit loafers at a brunch at the Chevy Chase Club on Sunday, as I’m sure a large contingent of my fellow club members. Best weekend wishes to you! Alex

  76. In my humble opinion, Trad dress shoe style loafers consist of: weejun pennies, weejun tassels, beefroll pennies, and BB’s style tassels.
    Tie shoes/lace-ups such as: long wing tips, plain cap toes, perforated cap toes, and plain toe blutchers in either a scotch grain or smooth leather.
    Proper colors for all are black, brown, cognac, and burgundy.
    Not a new comer, been doing it since the early 60’s!

  77. The American’s gateway to “European Cool” was the Gucci loafer. Ivy adopted it, but paleeeez don’t claim this as an Ivy Icon!

  78. Straight Arrow | March 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

    Just goes to show that Ivy adherents are mere mortals and that they too can demonstrate bad taste in their choice of footwear.

  79. I didn’t accept the bridle bit until after age 30, and now I wear them with great frequency–Cole Haan loafer and a pair of driving mocs which are so soft it’s like wear slippers.

  80. A.E.W. Mason | March 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm |

    The shoe slouches toward the “groovy,” the “hip,” and, worse yet, I agree, the European. What saves it (if it can be saved) is that it’s not all the way there. Squeeze is surely right: many a Cravath partner probably wore them at Piping Rock back in the 60’s and was wearing them when he got up to dance to some rock song at the wedding of a partner’s daughter—and looked ridiculous. Oh, and of course if it was summer they were undoubtedly white.

    One is reminded of Jeeves’s reaction to any number of Bertie’s sartorial missteps. I wonder if Mr. Zinsser has a pair.

  81. Buttoned Down | March 16, 2013 at 12:02 am |

    Since when is being “cool” a part of the Ivy vocabulary?

  82. Gucci loafers are just a more subtle form of Go-to-Hell; they pair great with loud trousers from Lilly Pulitzer (or even Emilio Pucci), a blue blazer, and a Burt Bacharach LP. 🙂

  83. @JCC

    Go-to-Hell garb is what makes some of us wish we had never gotten hooked on Ivy.

  84. @JCC

    Go-to-Hell garb is what makes some of us wish we had never gotten hooked on Ivy.

  85. Morgen Morgen | March 16, 2013 at 7:42 am |


    It might very well be the case that these loafers were not the only wannabe item that were in TOPH.

  86. @A.E.W. Mason

    I’m thinking about Jeeves and Bertie discussing Bertie’s indiscretion in playing with an adjustable golf iron. I play an adjustable iron regularly when golfing, and have been told repeatedly about their illegal status, etc. Bit loafers pose the same dilemma. If you like them, use them.

  87. Old New England | March 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm |


    We are in full agreement about proper Trad shoe styles. I too am not a newcomer. Have been doing it since the mid-Sixties. I also use the term “Trad” because “Ivy” has come to mean “Preppy” it seems.

  88. I’m not a prep but I love prep and make it an anchor of my wardrobe.
    Are Guccis prep? Not sure. I would LOVE to own a pair of black snaffles but would only wear them with faded 501s and beefy OCBDs. I just can’t imagine passing up my Alden tassels or Alden pennys to wear Guccis. But I still LOVE them.
    I think the joke is the guys who take them seriously. Traditional Guccis are made for just goofing around. Use ’em. Abuse ’em. Dont shine ‘me.
    C’mon…..they’re Goofy loafers.

  89. Aren’t those Ferragamos on Bush 41?

  90. Thanks Old NewEngland. Trad is Trad, for a reason!

  91. Buttoned Down | March 19, 2013 at 8:28 am |

    These loafers go well with that other great Italian contribution to Ivy style: trousers with a low waist and a high crotch.

  92. I remember my first pair. Purchased after my freshman year in college, I’ve owned three pair. Always with the grosgrain ribbon, my wife can’t stand them, never has, never will. But a fixture on my feet all summer, never with socks…

  93. There’s only 1 word for the 1953 edition


    They’re like great pop songs. 50% say they hate em, 50% say they love em, but everyone wants em.

    Overpriced yeah that’s why.

  94. I LOVE all things Gucci, starting with the bit loafer. I once saw an article about corporate CEOs in some business magazine, and it had as its cover photo a group of CEOs from well-known companies. They all looked the same: same suits, same shirts, and — yes — same shoes, which were ALL black loafers and almost all bit loafers. How many were Gucci or some other brand (e.g., Alden) one cannot say, but the style was conspicuously homogenous. As for me, well, I’m fat, you see, and just can’t pull it off at my weight. But those CEO guys all looked pretty good.

  95. I think we are experiencing a regional clash here. I do not doubt anyone’s awareness of what is acceptable in their own town or region, but I will say that in the south, these are totally acceptable with slacks and a sport coat. i have heard of DC’s affection for the shoe time and time again. However, to say that there is no place for them is ridiculous. Look at the ads above. A clear case is made for them. If you don’t like them, just don’t wear them

  96. I’m ordering the 1953 Gucci Horse Bit Loafers today online. Kindly assist me in determining my correct size without socks. I understand that they run large? My usual shoe size is about a 9.5 so what size should I order? Also, are the black pebble (at top of this page) the same ones mentioned in the the Offical Preppy Handbook, or does it refer to the smooth black leather? I’ve wanted these shoes since the mid 1980s (when older men at my dads golf club wore them) and have waited a very long time to save and order them and am just so excited, yet nervous of ordering the wrong size. Please advise.

  97. Well, thanks for nothing, as expected.

  98. This year marks this iconic loafer’s 65th anniversary, I say we revisit this article!

  99. Crazy Dave | June 29, 2021 at 3:08 pm |

    I bought a vintage pair of white patent leather Johnson & Murphy bit loafers in the 90’s when I was trying to piss off my employer, who out of the blue requiring us to wear a suit every day. These appear to be direct knock offs of the Gucci. I wore them mostly with a vintage Haspel navy blue velvet suit and various wild ties, staying tightly within the dress code while completely flaunting it. My sales were very good so they tolerated it. When I did go out on sales calls, I still kept things very conservative. I dusted them off for father’s day and found they were still in great shape. Wore them with jeans and a loud polo (England team cricket shirt), and I think it works in a kind of over-the-top way. My family is used to my eccentricities by now! I decided I wanted to keep wearing them and found this site doing a search for when a shoe like this is appropriate. The jeans pairing seems to be the right idea, but they may also make a re-appearance with the blue velvet suit, which still fits! I like some of the suggestions here. Smart casual (some of you might call it stupid casual) or “over the top” preppie would seem appropriate. Don’t worry, Sensible Scott, I won’t wear them with my kilt! I might give the white button down with 501s a try!

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