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Essential Journal

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In For a Penny

G.H. Bass offer us a little men’s style that steps straight out of the history books

words by Robin CLEMENTSON

The Penny Loafer has long been a classic staple for any man’s wardrobe. It’s arguably the classic shoe for any stylish and tailored business attire as well as that summer getaway, somewhere nice, like the Amalfi Coast. American heritage brand G.H. Bass can take some responsibility.

After its formative years creating hard-wearing footwear, which included moccasins for woodsmen as well as delivering the official aviation boot for the American Armed Forces’ pilots, the 1930s took a shift and saw the birth of the now signature style Bass Weejun. Originally named after a Scandinavian slipper-type moccasin (Norwegians) used for ‘loafing in the field’, the Weejun was later discovered by an editor of the then US Esquire magazine.

Since then, the Weejun loafer has become perhaps the most recognisable part of the G.H.Bass offering, which was first delivered 86 years ago as a style option, particularly for the summer. 

Interestingly, the G.H Bass interpretation also showcased a distinctive strip of leather across the brow of the shoe with a diamond shape cut out; this would be the birth of the ‘Penny Loafer’. During the 1950s, it is said that students in the US would slip a coin in the gaps as a fashion statement.

Today, the collection rolls on and the Weejun Larson Penny Loafer remains a significant part of the business, catering for a vast and versatile market of men and their casual wardrobes.

The collection is presented across a diverse range of colours and fabrics, which includes leathers in wine, black and mid-brown, not to mention suedes in earth and navy. There is also a two-tone fabric mix of both suede and leather and a thicker sole marking the 90’s Weejun.

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