If you’ve taken a stroll through a high-end men’s store or department store, or browsed the pages of one of the many online retailers who focus on high fashion, chances are you already know that designers are getting in on the sneaker game. Their offerings may not be quite as bright or wild as those from companies like Nike or Adidas, but they’re a whole lot easier to wear with a pair of jeans without looking like you forgot to bring your dress shoes to the gym.
Jeans and designer sneakers are nothing new, but more and more designers are pairing their trainers with suits these days. If you’re a traditionalist, that last statement might sound crazy, but that’s what’s happening in the world of high fashion.
While not appropriate for all situations, there are some ways you can adopt this look. Once you get over the initial shock of wearing a suit with sneakers you might even like the way you look and feel.
Use our tips to help you pair your favorite suit with sneakers this year.
Who’s the Boss?
Maybe you work in a casual environment where you don’t have to wear a suit, but you like doing it anyway. Maybe you’re self-employed and you only dress up because you meet with clients and have employees. Perhaps you’re the boss and run the whole show, or maybe you just play by your own rules. Whatever the case may be, nothing looks quite as confident as a guy who’s willing to break the rules of tradition and wear alternative footwear with a fine tailored suit.
To pull this confident and bold look off, you need to start off with a dark suit in black, charcoal, midnight blue or even navy blue. You also need to wear all the stuff you would normally wear with a suit, like a well-pressed dress shirt and maybe a pair of cufflinks. You can skip the tie, but you can also break out the Windsor knot – that part is up to your personal style.
From there, you need to locate a pair of dressy trainers, not a pair that looks like they would be even remotely at home on a tennis court. Companies like Lanvin make several varieties of black patent leather trainers with crisp white soles and they’re are perfect choice for this masculine style.
If you can’t find something in patent leather go for flat leather with a darker sole, and don’t pick anything with too much in the way of accents. You’ll want to keep your trainers understated for this look.
Upscale Summer Style
Whether you’re actually hitting a beach party or you’re just trying to look like you’re not a stuffy guy that wears a suit, a pair of comfortable tennis shoes can be your life raft here. For the non-stuffy, cool-as-a-summer-breeze look, roll up those cuffs and consider a high-quality printed t-shirt under your suit jacket. You might even want to roll your suit jacket sleeves up if you’re going to keep it on to complete the look.
This look is all about being casual and comfortable, so think of a slip-on or canvas style shoe. Remember, you’re still wearing a suit, so don’t go crazy with the colors. Understated blue, gray, black or a solid red can all work with the right suit.
Oh, and skip the socks.
High in the Sky Business Guy
Guys that travel a lot are always looking for something comfortable to wear, but when you land they need to look good and get to that meeting fast. So what’s the perfect answer? It might just be pairing a suit with sneakers.
Not only does this look make sitting on an airplane and hailing a New York City taxi a whole lot easier, but it also makes you look sophisticated and worldly. To pull it off, your best move is to choose a casual suit color like brown or light blue and pair it with a fine sweater.
Best of all, you won’t have to pack three different pair of shoes.
Who Can Wear It?
If you still hate the idea of pairing a suit with sneakers by now, then we probably won’t be able to change your mind (and neither will the designers sending their models down the runway in trainers for the next few years). However, if you’re on board with the trend or you want to give it a try, you might still be wondering if it’s appropriate for you.
There really is no simple answer. Of course you can wear a suit and sneakers to a dinner party where there isn’t a dress code. Obviously you can wear a suit with sneakers when you’re going out to meet friends for a cocktail. You can even sport the look on date night or when you’re traveling.
Whether or not you can wear it to work is really up to your work environment. If you work on Wall Street, in the corporate world or in a place where most of the higher-ups are over the age of 60, chances are you should keep your Oxfords shined and skip the sneakers.
However, men that work in more fashion-forward and artistic businesses can definitely wear a suit with sneakers to the office. You might even get some bonus points from your boss who reads all the fashion blogs and magazines.