Cole Haan, Hook + Albert shoe tassels help men step up their style

Cole Haan, Hook + Albert shoe tassels help men step up their style
The new Cole Haan, Hook + Albert collaborative shoe tassels ($19.28) are offered in 10 colors including tango red (solo far left, on loafer second from left) and a metallic silver called argento (second from right and far right). (Cole Haan)

Suit-and-tie guys don't traditionally have a lot of real estate to accessorize -- the wrist, the lapel and occasionally the left breast pocket. That's why a recently launched collaboration between Cole Haan and Hook + Albert -- a la carte leather shoe tassels that quickly convert traditional loafers into nattily tasseled versions of same -- caught our attention.

According to a company representative, Scarborough, Maine-based Cole Haan, a brand that's been making footwear and accessories as far back as 1928, approached the Hook + Albert folks (who brought the boutonniere business back to full bloom a few years back with their knit lapel flowers) about stepping up the flair in the men's dress shoe department.

The resulting no-hassle tassels each consist of a copper-colored, coin-shaped metal disc anchoring a pair of colored leather tassels. The disc is designed to fit neatly into the penny slot of a penny loafer to add a pop of personalization and a dash of panache to each shoe.

The best part might be that the tassels are offered in 10 (count 'em,  10!) different shades from the subtle -- black, chestnut and ivory -- to the not-so-subtle: shades like tango red, chambray blue and metallic gold.

The tassels, which are handmade and hand-finished, rolled out to retail in mid-February, and retail for $19.28 a pair through Cole Haan's bricks-and-mortar doors (including Century City and Glendale stores locally) as well as both brands' e-commerce sites.

Thanks to shoe designers like George Esquivel who are offering up less than traditional shades of shoes (lime green suede, flamingo pink leather or burnished silver metallics, to name just three) and some of the brighter shades of shoelaces we've noticed recently (including the Bluelace Project, which is trying to make blue shoelaces a standout symbol of U.S. manufacturing) it looks as if men might be realizing that making a personal style statement doesn't stop at the sock.

Perhaps it's too early to call it a trend -- but it's certainly a step in the right direction.