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The First Loafers Maria’s Wanted Since Her School Uniform Days

No, they're not Gucci.
Newbark Melanie Loafer, $795, available at

Newbark Melanie Loafer, $795, available at

The majority of my childhood wardrobe involved a school uniform with penny loafers thanks to my small-town private school's dress code. My high school wardrobe was the same, but, as all teens do, I rebelled against my forced-upon footwear and wore the back heels of my loafers down. They ended up looking like a worn-in pair of loafer mules and nothing like the fancy fashion types you see today. I was constantly scolded by my teachers and, naturally, I never listened. When the bell rang at the end of the day, I immediately swapped them for a pair of Adidas slides with those little massage nubs on the footbed. Yas.

Since then, I've deliberately shied away from loafers no matter how much everyone, including myself, admittedly, loves them. (The same goes for sporty sandals.) But lately, I'm starting to warm up to the preppy shoe — thanks in part to a pair by Newbark. They may not be as trendy as the Gucci version but they still do the trick. Plus, they're handmade in Los Angeles from calfskin leather that's embossed, making them a tad more interesting than a typically smooth leather loafer.

Once I strike up the courage (and budget) to snag myself a pair, you can bet you'll never see me wear with them with a pleated skirt, button-down shirt, sweater vest and knee-high socks. And I promise I won't break down the back of the heels this time, either.

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Newbark Melanie Loafer, $795, available at, and on sale for $397.50 at

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