Horsebit Irony

How do we amount for the things we grow to love after we’ve already declared passionate  hate?


Certain items maintain an exceptional ability to take us back in time. For me, these items have always oscillated more closely toward related-to-fashion because that’s just kind of the lens I’ve always chosen to see the world through.

When it comes to Gucci’s pervasive horsebit loafers (which, by the way, celebrated their 60th anniversary just two months ago), I am almost always immediately thrown back to the primordial days of my childhood where I can distinctly remember the click-clack of my father’s horsebit-laden footsteps, marking his return home nearly every night. He wore the shoes in a variation of black or blue leather and on the off occasion what looked like a rather supple brown suede.

I can also remember that for every pair my dad had and wore, my mother beared the matching female surrogate. Which, of course, also reminds me of the time I asserted with deep conviction that I couldn’t believe how square she was–how I’d rather chainsaw my feet off of my legs than wear shoes so blase. I can’t quite remember what sparked the violent declaration but it probably had to do with belly tops. Ten years later, you should know that for the past three weeks, I’ve been putting the loafers in my Net-a-Porter shopping cart, removing them and repeating the process almost daily.

In considering the newly-forged rules outlining the way in which I’ve started to dress my current self like my old self as described in Tuesday’s post, Road to Uniformity, I have to wonder something else. If I’m compelled to wear something that I have never had nor wanted–and in fact previously hated–what do I chalk that up to?

It would be easy to say that just as is Miley Cyrus, I am growing up. Though it’s not happening in as public a domain, it is still happening and therefore, I want to talk about it. But what’s really getting lost on me here is that the exact reason I hated them for my mom–because my dad wore them so frequently and because they seemed like the shoe equivalent of a lukewarm, black coffee–is the precise reason I like–no, love–them now.

Does this then make the shoes a vehicle to describe how muddled-by-irony my compass of that which I find appealing has become–and furthermore, does that compass make me a hypocrite? There is an air of strange defeat associated with being dogmatically averse toward something and the subsequent finding yourself having really softened up to it.

It’s definitely true that I can’t quite ascertain the difference between what I like genuinely and what I like ironically anymore (other reference points: Yeezus, the entire series of Hawaii-in-the-60s paraphernalia Isabel Marant created for Spring) but I don’t think I care about that distinction anyway. The bottom line is that I do really like those things on some level and that should be enough to warrant their existences in my cosmo. It seems unreasonable, though, to tether irony (which is pop culturally emblematic of that which is trendy) to a pair of loafers so classic. Maybe my newfound propensity toward them is actually a testament to the development of my relationship with my parents and a guard down on my reluctance to become more like them.

Yes, that must be it. So do me a solid–if and when you find me clad in the traditional uniform accompanied by a pair of old-school, familiar looking loafers in the forthcoming weeks, please don’t call me square.

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  • benbenasc

    I saw it, and I thought of you: Don’t know why but I think this is something that you magically could pull off.

    • Leandra Medine

      It’s because it looks like a vagina, isn’t it?

  • Lefukaka

    Does you man-half have a matching pair?

  • monkeyshines
  • I personally love the horsebit loafers! Even though I have never decided to buy the leather version just yet (I just can’t decide on which leather and which color), I purchased them in rubber in a maple leaf color this month and I just love them. The rubber might not be so comfortable, I just really love items with a classic feeling, but always with some sort of modern twist!

    Love the personal character of this blogpost once again Leandra! You’re one of the best writers from the bloggers!

  • Belén Cavas Hernández
  • This hits home.
    is liking everything from my childhood ironic or nostalgic?
    is this a quarter life crisis, or a desperate attempt at originality?
    should I embrace it, or rebel from it?

    should I maybe be focusing on world peace?

  • I’m thinking of cobblestone roads and horses now.

  • Punch!

    This is my exact relationship with converse sneakers. i hated them as a youngin’ (especially the ankle high ones, or when dudes wear them and their feet look unnaturally long and thin) but once they started doing all sorts of different prints I realized they are actually brilliant and go with anything

  • Would never call you square!


    I think is not hipocrisy when you really got the feeling that makes you like it, is just, sometimes with fashion we are not truly sincere so is hard to know the reason why we like a piece. You know how zeitgeist is, like a shoe spirit who is hunting you one night and doing you favors the other night.


  • Elisa Taviti

    These are the real must have!!!

    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • maud.schellekens
  • that is actually basic psychology! sometimes the things you hate the most can turn into love and vice versa! think about songs for instance. BTW couples who dressed the same way? this must be the cherry on the cake about matching outfits

  • kirbybee

    Maybe there is just an age when the loafer simply becomes so much more appealing? Maybe you need a certain amount of life experience to appreciate the beauty of a horsebit? Maybe that life experience is really just made up of a magic number of hours thinking about how much your feet hurt in those killer, literally, heels before you can appreciate the flat sole of the loafer? Maybe all these rhetorical questions are bullshit. All I know is my Mum used to, and still does, wear her dark wash denim jacket with light wash jeans and I used to die of sartorial induced shame. Now? I’m like a freaking poster child for double denim. Perhaps the real answer is we’re all just slowly morphing into some strange and twisted version of our parents, horsebit loafers and double denim included. Yeah I’m a little scared too.

    • love this

    • Leandra Medine

      I love this too–your comment about becoming our parents especially. There’s some value in considering why we hated these things when we were younger and why we might like them now in conjunction with the models (our moms) who endorsed the clothes/shoes.

  • kerrin

    girl i’m super diggin in.

    • kerrin

      *it. cla$$ic typo.

  • the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. this is a classic mr. darcy situation.


  • Paris

    I love how you connected the loafers to your childhood, that is so sweet and cute :). That’s a great shade of blue for loafers! Love your blog!

  • alpal

    I have also been thinking about these lately!! The heavy heeled sound of my dad walking through the door in gucci loafers used to be music to my ears as a child. He has since passed, but buying the loafers, would be just like wearing his watch. A daily reminder of one stylin’ guy. Thanks for the post!

  • Kara


  • Alice

    Today I bought my first Gucci brown leather loafers. Instead of purchasing another Dolce and Gabbana item made from straw or pepper-paterned cotton, I took the mature road. I feel relief and… wisdom (from buying something, uuh maybe I’m not as mature as I think). Defenitely will trade Isabel Marant for Ferragamo the next time. The bliss when buying something timeless is far more awarding.

  • anna

    in northern europe people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

    It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

    In scandinavia people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

    It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

  • Lisa Thomson

    So beautifully written, the mystery of the influence of our mothers. When we’re young we want to be the opposite when we’re older we appreciate their ‘classic’ taste. My daughter loves to borrow my ‘vintage’ clothes. Ugh, they’re really not even vintage…I love a loafer!

  • Yagmur

    Loafers, crop tops, turbans (what, my mom was funky!) tiny socks with sandals, denim on denim on denim. Everything I hate to death when I was 8 are in my current wardrobe. Even scents and make up and food. Thank you Leandra for this. x

  • Christina