The look is at left: knee-highs and penny loafers under a knee-length skirt. It's that "mostly covered" look we've loved all fall. We love this update on the academic look with loafers replacing traditional maryjanes (call it Catholic Schoolgirl meets Young Corporate).
And while we've touched on tights before, we've overlooked the loafer. We were distracted by wine-dark heels reaching ever higher. As we extolled the virtues of height, the lowly penny loafer quietly infiltrated our shelves until we found ourselves surrounded. We gladly capitulated.
The resurgence of this stereotypically conservative clog is hardly surprising given the seasonal lean toward clean, tailored looks and a reliance on menswear. In fact, we can't help but wonder if endless campaigning and a rumbly stock market haven't become fashion's newest influences. Have a vertiginous stock ticker and acrimonious politicians become a base from which to build a classically stylish look?
Below we've paired three takes on the classic penny loafer with leggings designed to add some spice. You can bend this look more feminine, play up its so-called conservativism or complicate it with layered textures and bold gestures for something altogether different.
Look 1: Poli-Chic
This look marries the stalwart Bass loafer -- a gleaming, cordovan-hued genre classic -- with olive green leggings braced in a soft lime green diamond pattern. It's '40s Ivy League Student Body with a dash of Sexy Librarian thrown in to spice things up.
Look 2: The Compassionate Come-Hither Conservative
While based in traditional menswear looks, this pairing has a more audacious energy. A bold, semi-sheer argyle legging steps into a chestnut-colored Jeffrey Campbell penny with a fabulous snub toe. Casual sawtooth finish on the tongue adds some zippy playfulness to the lines. (Maybe it's the leg form, but we can't help but be reminded of the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window. Ralphie would have loved it. Grownups will too.)
Look 3: Bailout Bohemian
Perfect for strolling over to Washington Mutual to clean out our desk while celebrating our unexpected freedom from the corporate workplace! The banded vamp of the Franco Sarto Kline is a reptile patent with a feminine buckle. Patent trim lines the opening and contrast topstitching on a suede upper keeps it easy and casual. The heather gray cashmere tights are luxurious but simple; a pair of Hot Sox legwarmers keep things interesting with bold, working buttons reminiscent of spats.