The epitome of Victorian-era dandyism, dress slippers are a controversial style currently making waves within the industry. Also known as a Prince Albert slipper (the royal was said to be a fan), they were initially designed as a house shoe for Victorian men hosting formal dinner parties in their homes.
However, over the past couple of seasons the industry has been pushing the silhouette as a modern everyday footwear style, not limited to the privacy of gentleman’s clubs or the most formal of events. Featuring in a wealth of current lookbooks and campaigns, from a variety of brands, they are now paired with everything from smart-casual staples to red carpet tailoring (Ryan Gosling is a fan).
A silhouette that is bound to divide opinion with our readership, the FashionBeans team are of the opinion that this rakish footwear option is bold, brave and brilliant – guaranteed to elevate both your formal and casual ensembles up a notch or two.
The Dress Slipper
Defined by their obvious slip-on style and slight heel, dress slippers are often textured in appearance, due to their traditionally velvet or suede outer. Luxury, heritage-inspired styles can also feature detailing such as tassels or embroidered monograms.
A louche option, in comparison to other popular styles such as the brogue, penny loafer or monk strap, the dress slipper is steeped in heritage and a real moniker of elegant metropolitan style.
As sharp as they are comfortable, dress slippers are a surprisingly versatile, everyday footwear alternative. Often considered a lavish lounge option, reserved for the Hugh Heffners of the world, they’re no longer restricted to the mansion or the townhouse.
As good for black tie as they are for a weekend shopping session, they’ve stepped out of their ‘toff’ typecast and become an all-purpose shoe. Intimidating as they may seem, the trick is to wear them like you would a pair of driving shoes, loafers or monk straps – doing so with confidence and without any second-guessing. The dress slipper doesn’t need to be a conscious effort to pull them off; sub them straight into your current looks and don’t think twice.
With this in mind, let’s breakdown how you can wear dress slippers in a variety of modern ways.
Look One: Jeans & T-Shirt
Give the most basic of casual looks a healthy injection of dandy via a pair of dress slippers. Keep the jeans slim-fitting and consider a turn-up or two in order to compensate for any elongated trouser break.
If your slippers are drowned by excess fabric then you will instantly ruin the look, taking it from stylish to sloppy in mere seconds. Not only that, you want to show off your velvet slippers in all their glory – separating your look from the crowd and marking yourself out as a confident male.
Choose navy slippers for a low-key take on this often lavish silhouette. Navy is a versatile hue that will work well with the jeans in a casual setting, whereas black would make much more of a statement alongside your denim, potentially detracting from the casual aesthetic.
Finally, keep the t-shirt plain and simple; pushed up long sleeves is a louche spring option whilst short sleeves would work well on warm summer days.
- American Vintage Denver Long Sleeve T-shirt
- Allsaints Blythe Taper Jeans
- Topman Navy Carter Suede Slippers
Look Two: Statement Shoes
Print and pattern have been the key trends within the industry for a number of seasons now, and their popularity shows no sign of wavering. Make a statement and demonstrate your knowledge of current industry influences by opting for a pair of printed or patterned dress slippers.
Let your footwear do all the talking with a pair of no-fuss chinos in a flattering cut. Above the waist keep it just as minimal and void of statement. A white tee and on trend bomber offer the perfect foil to the rakish slippers.
By contrasting the slippers’ more utilitarian heritage with a touch of contemporary extravagance, the overall mix unexpectedly works and demonstrates the level of versatility dress slippers can actually exhibit:
- Hentsch Man Cotton And Linen-blend Bomber Jacket
- River Island V-neck T-shirt
- Reiss Dusk Garment Dye Soft Chino
- Arfango Embroidered Slipper
Look Three: Business-Casual
Take your smart-casual style up a notch with a pair of slippers. A step up from the casual looks above, suiting separates are the way to go here. Mix a bold check trouser with a spring/summer appropriate khaki double-breasted blazer for a striking take on business-casual.
Accessorise with a navy polka dot tie and patterned pocket square for an additional punch. The navy marries well with the khaki whilst the polka dots in the tie complement the trouser checks; an easy, entry-level pattern mixing attempt.
The slippers finish off this striking, creative effort with the continental panache that runs throughout:
- Allsaints Picket Blazer
- Topman White Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
- Drakes Swiss-dot Slub Silk Tie
- Etro Plaid Wool And Silk-blend Trousers
- Reiss Blade Pocket Square
- Reiss Deck Slip On Summer Shoes
Look Four: Black Tie
In our previous article providing prom/ball outfit inspiration, the dress slipper was mentioned as an alternative option for (less strict) black tie dress codes. Building on this advice, we will again utilise the dress slipper in this formal look.
Pair some black, minimal velvet slippers with well-tailored trousers and your tux jacket for a black tie outfit that stands out for all the right reasons.
Go sockless in the summer and keep your accessories traditional to let the slippers become the true focal point of the look:
- Paul Smith London Black Byard Slim-fit Tuxedo
- Jehee Sheen Cotton Evening Shirt
- Reiss Carr Textured Silk Bow Tie
- Barker Velvet Slippers
There is slight ambiguity within the current market, as the terms ‘loafers’ and ‘slippers’ tend to be used interchangeably. Purists and those wanting to make a statement should opt for the luxury and opulence of a velvet pair, whilst those looking for something increasingly versatile or a little less ‘out there’ may want to consider suede tasselled versions:
- Stubbs & Wootton Tapis Rouge Needlepoint Slippers
- Dolce & Gabbana Burnished Velvet Slippers
- Asos Loafers With Leopard Print
- H By Hudson Souk Dress Slippers
- Reiss Deck Slip On Summer Shoes
- Topman Green Pony Hair Slippers
- Topman Blue Suede Slippers
- Topman House Of Hounds Alfred Slippers
- Alexander Mcqueen Brushed Suede Loafers
- Mr. Hare Arno Suede Loafers
- Del Toro Gun Embroidered Slippers
- Christopher Kane Frankenstein Slipper
The dress slipper is no longer the domain of the playboy and the 19th century aristocrat. With heritage brands like Church’s championing the footwear option, the slipper is steeped in history yet, despite preconceptions, presents a versatile, modern and wholly stylish piece that is a worthy addition to any modern wardrobe.
But now we want to hear your view:
Let us know in the comments section below…