National Library Week: A Bookworm In Bit Loafers And Ball Cap

This week was National Library Week. Yep, there’s a day — or in this case a week — for just about everything.

I asked the college men in our Facebook group to submit a photo of them hitting the books, and one man rose to the challenge.

Pictured is Ben Schmidt either studying for class or else absorbing knowledge he finds more interesting than what is required for class. (I spent a lot of time in libraries during college and in the couple of years after, and was clearly motivated by the latter.)

Ben is wearing a vintage Brooks Brothers sweater (somehow dated to precisely 1951), Ralph Lauren shirt, J. Press trousers, and a U. Penn ball cap contrasted with Gucci bit loafers (in brown suede, no less). To hell with all that nonsense about bit loafers being strictly post-collegiate!

Last month I wrote a piece called “I Miss Rugby” in which I lamented the menswear market’s absence of the brand’s admittedly over-the-top juxtapositions, and this bits-and-ball cap combo is precisely what I was talking about. As a bonus, Ben says his eyeglass frames are cracked and held together by one of mankind’s great inventions, tape.

Bravo, Ben, for showing us that knowledge — and style — is power. — CC

38 Comments on "National Library Week: A Bookworm In Bit Loafers And Ball Cap"

  1. MacMcConnell | April 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm |

    Mr. Schmidt is dressed very well for a college student. But, he gets negative points for wearing a ball cap indoors and not having a Kansas Jayhawk on it. Ben also gets negative points for bit loafers, although he gets mega bonus cool points for not wearing standard Guido strip club owner black bit loafers. Brown suede! Tasty and cool Ben. 😉

  2. Mitchell S. | April 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm |

    He looks like he’s wearing an Apple iWatch. If you’re going to wear suede Gucci but loafers at least wear a classic watch like a Seiko 5.

    I’m sorry, but Gucci loafers look best on aging porno magazine publishers. No offence, but I am 44 and feel like I’m too young for bit loafers.

  3. Where do guys in the anti-bit brigade live? I assume it’s in places where actual men they know don’t wear them, so they associate them with strip clubs and porn magazines.

  4. I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment of the associations.

  5. Mitchell S. | April 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm |

    @CC: Here in Boston, tassel loafers are very popular among professional men, especially lawyers.

    Bit loafers are more popular in flashier cities like L.A., Miami, and Vegas. I think because of the geographic popularity of Gucci loafers in glitzy areas (including NYC) that it’s fair to associate these shoes with Hugh Hefner/Bob Guccione types.

  6. I have a pair of old black calf bit loafers, and a pair of black suede bit loafers. I just purchased a second pair of black calf bit loafers from AE because they were on sale and my other pair has seen better days. So I have three pairs of Italian Ivy style shoes. Please NOTE they are Italian shoes and not “GUIDO” shoes. I really find the enthic slurs to be unnecessary, not humorous, and really offense to boot. Bye the bye, I do not have a drop of Italian blood I my veins.

  7. Bye the Bye, I live in Chicago where lawyers, accountants, and many other well dressed people wear bit loafers.

  8. Fredo shoes. Just saying.

    By the by, keep your head down.


  9. Sorry can not do. Always keep my head up; stand straight with my shoulders square; and walk with my back to the wind and the crowd.

  10. To me, bits on loafers serve no functional purpose. So, I pass. I suppose it’s the minimalist in me.

  11. In that case, it’s Yumas only for you, my friend! The shoe without a face.

  12. I’ve got to get a pair of those Gucci loafers, or similarly styled cheap ones. How is the quality on Jay Butlers shoes?

  13. Wow I didn’t realize how allergic people were to bit loafers. I never associated them with any of those negative characters. I always think of country club WASPs and/or Wall Street. The shoes were even canonized in the OPH, end of story!

  14. I must add that I have many a drop of guido blood coursing through my veins and happen to find slurs of any kind hilarious. I laughed a great deal at the descriptions of the characters who supposedly wear bit loafers.

    Oh and NYC is more glamorous than glitzy, at least it used to be.

  15. I just associate bit loafers with the 70s and 80s, huckster/hustler type of salesman, a little too tanned and white-smiled, a little “televangelist” in the hair dept. They knew that suave Riviera visitors wore them, although they might be a bit vague as to just where the Riviera was.

    As to indoor ball caps, I’m afraid that these days “bill forward in a nice restaurant” is about the best we can hope for.

  16. Thody Evans | April 16, 2017 at 1:14 am |

    The negative comments above reassure me that there are readers of this blog who share my good taste.
    Here are some more comments on bit loafers (and those who wear them) from the Web:

    the bit loafer is the shoe version of a clunky metal man-bracelet. Jewelry for the sake of flash. Cheesy and even a bit skeezy.

    the Gucci loafer came to represent the pretentious bravado of pastel wearing undesirables.

    “ancient Hollywood agent with hairsprayed, snowy-white pompadour and gold-framed aviator glasses”

  17. I’ve seen Gucci loafers (and Belgian shoes as well, but not at the same time) on the feet of many East Coast WASPs whose style is in most other respects Ivy. Maybe these less-common shoes don’t translate to the rest of the country or something, I don’t know, but viewing bit loafers as remarkable, and especially as remarkably bad, is something I can’t relate to.

  18. I would add opera pumps to this category as well – shoes that seem to elicit strongly negative reactions despite what would appear to be their well-established standing in the world of traditional men’s clothing.

  19. J.J. Rodale | April 16, 2017 at 5:09 am |

    Does one wear them with GTH trousers?

  20. PhillyTrad | April 16, 2017 at 6:39 am |

    College students see wearing ball caps indoors as their birth rite. They have to to be taught otherwise. This young men has it going on sartorially. Let’s celebrate that he is not in bed clothes or workout gear, which is how so many college students dress in public in this age of informality. I applaud Ben’s choices and commitment to having a style.

  21. Ben, please take your cap off. To this day, I remove a hat/cap when I go indoors. It’s just something that should be encouraged.

    As far as doffing your hat/cap to a lady, I don’t think ladies today care or even notice. Just something an old guy does, like polish his shoes, and put a tie on.

    The “Manly Handbook” states, “if you can’t button your shirt, and wear a tie properly, wear a dress.”

  22. The guy looks cool

  23. Ben, when you remove that ball cap in your college library, please remember to remove your gloves as well. And don’t let that monocle fall from your eye or it might land in your cup and spill coffee on your spats.

  24. Boston Bean | April 16, 2017 at 11:13 am |

    One does not study on the floor of a library, just as one does not wear a ball cap in the library or in class.

  25. I do agree with the comments about not wearing a hat indoors. Emily Post has a great hat etiquette guide:

  26. The affectation of student removing a ball cap in the library in 2017 is a worse offense than wearing it.

    In class I can kind of see it, as long as it’s done quietly (like two strides before the door) and not punctiliously after you sit down as a silent way of announcing “I’m following centuries-old propriety and removing my ball cap in class.”

  27. The only teacher l ever had who told us to remove our caps indoors, and lectured us as if she were Emily Post, was in prep school. In college, I now have teachers who wear caps as they teach.

  28. My father and grandfather taught me, at an early age (7 or 8) that it was important as a sign of respect to remove my hat when entering a building – any building (the exceptions were pointed out later). I have a nice felt fedora for dress, and several old, beater hats – not caps – that I wear a lot; I’ve always followed that hat rule out of respect for the building – institution – and those in it, and for my father and grandfather. Few things grate me more than to see a capped or cowboy-hatted adult slurping away at a restaurant table, like some rube home from the barnyard.
    Ball cap? Turn it around, backwards, and the impression is of your IQ – if you have one – dropping like a stone. Nothing puts out the rube quotient more rapidly than, say, a professional athlete, after some magnificent and acclaimed performance (or not), who comes to the interview table with a ball cap on backwards. A letdown. Backwards brings out the stupid in people. Imagine Trump doing that.

  29. My God, I wore my Gucci horsebits on this sacred Sunday and wasn’t even engulfed in flames! I don’t have any Italian friends so I can’t speak for whether they wear them or not. I find folks pointing out certain folks wardrobe in ethnically pejorative to be déclassé and boorish at best

    The fellow in the picture is putting his own individual twist on old standards. People over encumbered anachronism and can’t fustiness tend to be awful people.

  30. To be clear, I like bit loafers…on someone else. Like it or not, Thody Evans has tapped in on real perceptions of the bit loafer. Doesn’t make it right, but they exist.

  31. Is not the sweater over the shoulders a bit much?


  32. Reggie Darling | April 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm |

    Gents, I work in a global Investment Bank here in Manhattan, and half the guys wear Gucci loafers regularly. Personally, I’ve worn them since I was seventeen. Reggie

  33. Case in point Reggie.


  34. Philly Trad | April 21, 2017 at 9:44 am |

    In picking up on an older thread from last week about not removing a hat indoors, has anyone seen the photos out of the Oval Office today? Ted Nugent and Kid Rock wearing cowboy hats not only indoors, not only in the White House, but in the Oval office? Politics aside, this is by any standard, a disgraceful way for one to present themselves in the president’s house and office. I never took them to be gentlemen to begin with, but gosh, is it too much to ask to first put on a coat and tie, and second remove your cowboy hat in the Oval Office?

  35. That’s actually a very interesting anecdote in the history of menswear. What I think it means is that the hat has lost its original meaning. When it was required as a matter of custom, it was something personal but more so it was something social and served various purposes, one of which was the removing of it as a matter of social custom in certain situations.

    Now that hats no longer serve a social function, evidently they’ve become a part of “you” and to remove them would be an erasure of the sancrosanct self, which of course no one in our progressive society would require you to do.

    It could also be because they’re rock stars and the hat is part of their persona.

  36. I would not expect much more from such people. Perhaps I would expect a bit more from Mr. Nugent than Kid Rock because of Mr. Nugent’s age. Being one of the last of the southern gentlemen, on the few occasions in which I wear a hat (usually a bucket hat or golf hat), I will nod slightly and touch my hat with index, middle finger and thumb when passing a lady of a certain age and say “good morning” or “good evening”. I do so when alone and in the presence of my wife. My wife thinks the practice is quant but cool.

    In my opinion, nobody should be allowed to enter the White House without a suit or coat and tie or in the case of a lady, an appropriate dress or skirt. Standards of conduct and manners have been ignored for much too long in this country.



  37. I like the White House dress code idea. I think more dress codes rather than fewer is good for a civilized society. I’m big on school uniforms in public schools, especially ones for troubled boys. From what I’ve heard it can really help.

    I suppose it’s good that occasionally a low standards of dress story captures the public. Does anyone remember, either under Clinton or Bush The Younger that a national championship women’s lacross team or something was invited to the White House and were shamed when the photos hit the media and a lot of the girls were wearing flip-flops.

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