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Loafers and boat shoes carry major style points. As with any classic item, if you keep a pair around you'll use them when you need to play it buttoned up or show off some flair. Knowing what socks to wear with loafers sets fashion mavens apart from novices, and is crucial to looking hot in these shoes.
Stella McCartney's spring 2012 collection showcases two-toned loafers as part of a prep-chic look. If you look closely, the model's not wearing socks. The no-socks choice gives loafers that perfect casual look, as if you just finished strolling the beach at the Hamptons or the Vineyard. Get this look by wearing loafers without socks -- they'll feel better if they're broken in -- or with nude pantyhose.
Loafers with knee socks has long been a look among the prep set, especially the teen girl segment. Even if you passed 17 by a long time ago, this take on the Catholic-schoolgirl look is playful for fall or spring when done well. Wear shorts or a skirt with knee socks and loafers to recall this style. To avoid a style "don't," make sure the skirt or shorts are long enough that you don't look, well, too Catholic schoolgirl-ish.
Try low socks that look invisible under the loafers if you need some hosiery but don't want to show off knee socks. The right pair will cover your soles but not come above the loafer line. Whether you go low or high, the right material can make or break the socks. Cotton and silk allow your feet to breathe, helping to minimize sweating. Thin socks work best with these shoes, so avoid thick clunkers such as wool.
In the summer, your feet get hot and they can sweat when trapped inside leather loafers. Over time, sweaty feet lead to stinky feet ... and stinky shoes. Deodorize your loafers between wearings by letting them dry out for one day after each use, and using shoe odor balls, powder or spray to remove the stink. Or use foot antiperspirant to rock loafers with nude feet, no matter what time of year.