The Dress Slipper

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Originally designed as a house shoe for Victorian men hosting formal dinners, or to wear with a silk dressing gown for elegant evenings chez soi, the dress slipper is enjoying a remarkable revival among fashionable men. Almost 200 years after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, elevated it from a practical, mud-free indoor shoe to a piece of footwear fashioned from velvet and lined with quilting, it has made its way from palaces and mansions to the catwalks of Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana. Although Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable teamed their black slippers with tuxedos, today the shoes are just as likely to be worn with jeans. Some stylists are going so far as to suggest that the slipper is the ultimate shoe for all times of day, worn with a white t-shirt and jeans for casual occasions and a navy polka-dot tie and shirt square for a business-casual look. For those who fall in love with the style, there are models for all seasons, from navy blue suede to a dashing red velvet. The slipper pictured here was created for Jack’s Club, a series of St. Regis pop-ups in honor of John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV, the founder of St. Regis. For those who want something a little more rock ’n’ roll, shoemaker GJ Cleverley even offers to embroider a skull and crossbones on its velvet shoes. Unusual? Yes. But then, if you are going to leave the house in slippers, as Esquire magazine’s Jonathan Evans puts it, “You want to feel a little bit louche, and yes, a bit rakish. Isn’t that the point?”