My interest was piqued by the penny loafers. But I soon noticed the entire outfit was impeccable. And the gentleman was an absolute delight. I do hope to encounter him again (and can only he hope he shares my penchant for gelato).
Reviewing my photos later that day, I found myself contemplating the shoe. It has always amused me to think that the footwear associated with the American preppy was actually an invention of fishermen in Norway. In 1936, when G.H. Bass became the first company to mass market the "Weejun" loafer, they were not naming it after an exotic Native American tribe, as many have wrongly believed. They were jazzing up "Norwegian," I suppose. G.H. Bass also jazzed up the shoe with a horizontal strap across the vamp. Before long, clever young fellows discovered the decorative cutout provided just enough space for a penny. I could go on, but perhaps you'd prefer to consult this charming article by Nancy MacDonnell for The New York Times and supplement with this breakdown of the penny loafer from He Spoke Style. .