Once the house shoe of Victorian men throwing formal parties, the dinner slipper has cast aside its dandy image, ventured out of Hugh Hefner's mansion and become a staple in lookbooks and brand campaigns across the world. Here's why you should be a fan, and how to wear them right.
What Is This Ostentatious Thing?
Dinner slippers are a footwear choice quite unlike any other. Also called the dress slipper, Prince Albert, evening slipper, tassel loafer, smoking slipper and slip-on, these elegant and indisputably ostentatious shoes are bold, brazen and utterly flexible.
Defined by their obvious slip-on style, they are traditionally suede or velvet and tend to feature slight heels and luxury motifs or tassels on the toe cap and vamp. Velvet slippers are more often than not darker colours: black, navy, burgundy and tartan. However, suede constructions have seen plainer tans, light blues and reds.
More eye-catching prints and patterns, too, are increasingly common as the slipper grows in popularity in the world of high fashion as a shoe for a man who wants to be seen. Animal prints, sequins, metallic studs and intricate embroidery have become signature styles for a shoe that can dominate an outfit and gentrify a man.
How and Why to Wear Them
Despite its unassailable status as a rake's staple tread, the dinner slipper is at heart a versatile shoe. As scandalously appropriate for a black-tie event as a Sunday afternoon of shopping, this not-quite-humble shoe can accompany almost any outfit.
Comfortable style is easily slipped on with a casual summer outfit. For best results, wear them sockless with a higher hem or a rolled-up jean. Tassels, suede and woven leather in tan and other lighter prints work better during daylight hours, especially when matched with brighter colours.
The slipper can transform a business suit too, taking an office outfit to cocktail dress in one easy step. Velvet fabric with a bright motif or eye-catching pattern is more than appropriate, and makes retiring to a smoking lounge the logical conclusion for an evening. After all, nothing feels better in hand with such traditional footwear afoot than a fine Churchill, except perhaps a finer single malt.
And formal affairs are no challenge for the dinner slipper either. Socks make the dinner slipper a suitable replacement for the evening pump in black and white tie dress codes, and a subtle embroidered motif can add a little personal luxury to an outfit whilst providing a comfortable alternative shoe for a long night of socialising.
But, be warned. The slipper is a sartorial affair. When choosing the slipper over another shoe, a gentleman steps foot into a more urbane world where the only limitation to one's style is his imagination.