Italian Moccasins

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In men’s clothing, we get most of our traditions from England, but our best casualwear from the US and Italy. Take footwear, for example. Where the English have given us traditional oxfords, derbys, and brogues, it’s the Italians and Americans who have come up with the best slip-ons. In the US, there are boat shoes, tassel loafers, penny loafers, and various incarnations of the handsewn moccasin; in Italy, there are Gucci horsebit loafers and driving mocs. The number of Italian styles in this case is smaller than what the Americans have to offer, but their significance is no less important. It’s the Italian slip-on that you want if you need something on the dressier side of casual. 

Gucci loafers are too flashy for my taste, but I really like drivers in the summer. They were most famously worn by Gianni Agnelli in the mid-century, which is perhaps why we associate them with that carefree lifestyle along the Amalfi coast and the Italian sense of sprezzatura. As the story goes, Agnelli started wearing them after his car accident in 1953. His then lover, Pamela Harriman, caught him with another woman, and while he was fleeing, he crashed his Ferrari into the back of a lorry. The accident left him with a bad foot, so he needed to wear soft, more comfortable shoes. 

Comfort is one of the few things drivers have going for them, but they have it in spades. When they’re made well, they’re glove-soft, flexible, and incredibly lightweight, which makes them feel like a dressier alternative to sneakers. They also look great with jeans or a casual suit, and are conveniently easy to slip on. The downside is that they don’t last terribly long. With regular wear, you can maybe get a season out of them, and sometimes not even that. Those rubber nubs on the bottom of the soles simply don’t last long on hot concrete. Thus, they’re best left to driving or short walks. I wear mine when I’m just going a few blocks away from my apartment, to a favorite restaurant where I typically buy my lunch. 

You can buy driving mocs at any number of places. Will at A Suitable Wardrobe has some nice looking ones, which I believe he had made after a bad shopping experience with Miserocchi (the inventors of drivers, and the original supplier to Agnelli). There’s also Tod’s and Car Shoe, the second of which I favor because they don’t have that little logo on the corner of the vamp. Both are highly overpriced, but not hard to find on sale. For more affordable offerings, check out ScarossoAndy Tom, and Arfango on Yoox

(Photos via Miserocchi, Tod’s, Mr. Porter, Car ShoeA Suitable Wardrobe, and me) 


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  9. ildominovice reblogged this from dieworkwear and added:
    I am always in a pair of drivers.