Thursday, October 7, 2010

The History of the Weejun

Maine’s G.H. Bass & Co. introduced the Bass Weejun in 1936. The name Weejun is a derivation of Norwegian; the loafer was inspired by moccasins made by Norwegian fishermen in their off-season. The moccasins were discovered after World War I by American and European travelers, and then promoted by Esquire magazine. The most distinctive addition made by Bass was a strip of leather with the now-famous diamond-shaped cutout.

In the 1950s this style of loafer became a staple of the Ivy League style of men’s dress that developed on college campuses. The Weejun was dubbed the “penny loafer” when those students made a fashion statement by placing pennies in the diamond-shaped cutout. Since then they have been worn by the likes of John F. Kennedy, James Dean and Michael Jackson. They are still popular with those who favor the “American Trad” style of dress.

The classic Weejun penny loafer is still available today. Bass has also recently released an updated version of the Weejun called the Dover. According to the Bass website, it is a derivative of the original with a “slimmer profile and modern lines.”