Faux Pas: Trends That Make You Go, "Huh?"


During their Fall fashion discussions, a lot of style blogs in my orbit are singing the praises of the high-heeled loafer.  And every time that I read one of these posts, I ask myself, “Why?”

They’re clunky.  They’re dated.  They’re unflattering on the foot.  And most of all, they’re a one hit wonder that you’ll spend $200 on today and shove in a Goodwill donation bag tomorrow.  

As a student of history, I can tell you that those of us who do not learn from our mistakes are doomed to repeat them.  High-heeled loafers were very big in the 1970s, and they had a brief moment in the mid-1990s.  But, apparently, the memory of that hideousness was not enough to keep them from rising from the ashes for round three.  

(For those of you who are too young to remember this trend, it was during the post-Nirvana, pre-N’Sync years when we were all wearing extreme flare leg jeans and ruffled, Georgette blouses.  For those of you who just said, “Who?,” Google it and then go listen to your Justin Bieber station on Pandora.  The grown ups are talking.)

We must protect future generations from the scourge of the loafer pump.  I’m counting on you to leave this ugliness on the store shelves this season, in the vain hope that in twenty years, designers will think twice before including this nonsense in their Fall ranges.  Remember, only you can prevent fashion faux pas.


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  1. Valerie says:

    Regular loafers are ugly so not sure how adding a heel & some color makes them better. I do like a heeled oxford though…I have black suede pair from Enzo Angiolini that get serious wear every fall!

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  2. emma d. says:

    I have been dying!!! They're so heinous, and I remember their 90s go-round all too well. Those tan ones have been showing up everywhere — on the pages of bloggers I typically admire — and they're driving me nuts. Thank you!!!

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  3. S says:

    100% agree. Hideous.

    Now how to discreetly foward this to my friends who own them…

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  4. A says:

    Couldn't agree more!! I fell victim to the trend when I was in high school and bought a pair that I think got approximately 2 wears. Thankfully they were cheap considering my shopping budget was the $20 my parents gave me before I went to the mall. Donated them to Goodwill and never looked back.. I just don't get it!

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  5. amy b.s. says:

    back in the day, i totally rocked my flares with my chunky loafers and thought i was awesome.

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  6. Melinda says:

    This post is refreshing. I was starting to think I was the only one confused by this trend.

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  7. Maya says:

    I completely agree– I don't understand the resurgence of this trend at all and why everyone is dying over them!

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  8. Alison says:

    Belle! I just did a post on this about two weeks ago (you can find it here: – too funny! My verdict was “nay,” because I think they're fugly. I'm so so SO glad someone else is with me on this one!


    August 24, 2011/Reply
  9. CynthiaW says:

    Oh my – I remember my college days and the high heeled loafer – my best friend's mother used to deride them as “orthopedic granny shoes”, but we thought that we were so hip.

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  10. No Drama Momma says:

    I'm clearly in the minority (being the only one with this opinion), but I love them. I will say, though, that your illustrations do make a good point. Those things are fugly. But I will always love Tod's high heeled loafers. I own a pair with a slender heel, not clunky, and have worn them often for the past three years. Love them!

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  11. Gracw says:

    So happy to see this post! I've been seeing those everywhere and thinking wait…those are gross

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  12. KLo says:

    I have a pair that I absolutely love. I suppose I'll feel self conscious the first time I put them on this winter, but only for a moment.

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  13. Rachel says:

    I feel compelled to comment as (apparently) a single voice of indifference. I would not purchase a pair of these myself because I don't spend money on shoes that I don't love, but I don't actually think they're terrible. Belle, how do you feel about heeled oxfords?

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    I don't care for those either.

    August 24, 2011/Reply
  15. cginnyc says:

    I don't like heeled loafers but this pair of heeled oxfords caught my eye – I think the exaggerated satin bow detail softens them up. What do you all think?

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  16. 1996 4Eva says:

    Often I think a fashion trend is so beyond icky that no one could actually like it; they just thought everyone else did and played along, creating a vicious circle etc. And I'm not sure I loved these immediately back in 1996 either…but I got a pair (at Payless) and wore them to death. And when I saw these making a comeback, I was delighted. So yes, in this case, there are actually people who like these. But then again, I still think Claire Danes' hairdo in My So-Called Life was awesome, so maybe I am destined to be out of sync with fashion until Doc Martens and sundresses make a come back…

    August 25, 2011/Reply
  17. K says:

    They don't strike me as any worse than the bootie.

    August 25, 2011/Reply