The white trainer/pump/plimsoll as it will be referred to throughout this article is one of those items that still most certainly divides opinion. We here at FashionBeans are keen advocates, and there have been many mentions of this key item in recent articles, but there is still an air of animosity and uncertainty surrounding them. Whilst some of this might be down to a general dislike (I know many of you couldn’t get your head round mixing your suit and your trainers together) I also think that some of it could be down to not really knowing how to wear them, or how to incorporate them into your current look.
Everything will be OK though, as after a few weeks being knee deep in uber exciting assignments about colonialism in Early Modern Literature, I have returned to help (I hope) you faithful readers with this dilemma – whether you like it or not.
Some of you might still be wondering, why the white trainer? Being men cut for the most part from the smarter end of the cloth spectrum, with a proven love of brogues, loafers, double monks, Oxfords, Derby’s and boat shoes, white trainers just don’t really fit in. However, when you really think about it, white trainers are in fact the perfect alternative to our lovely leather wardrobe stalwarts.
Go for a lightweight canvas or low cut leather pair and you have exactly the same (conceptually of course) clean, simple, refined lines that we look for in our formal shoes. They are unfussy, easy to wear, versatile and in the kind of weather that we have just experienced lightweight canvas pumps will be about a billion times (scientifically speaking) more comfortable than anything leather.
They work really well with all of the current trends, even the more subtle biker look floating around styling peripheries, and it couldn’t be any easier to dress down even your smartest of smart casual looks with a good pair of pumps. They’re pretty damn inexpensive to.
When we remember that white pumps were good enough for the likes of such style icons such as JFK, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen I think it’s about time that everybody picked up their pair of Jack Purcells, sat down and started taking notes.
So I’ve outlined a few of the reasons you should be considering white trainers above, but now its time to put them into practice. I should also highlight at this point that by white trainers I am talking about low cut, pump/plimsoll esque styles – nothing overly chunky, nothing ridiculous. Keep your hi-tops for raves.
This look is inspired by a chap that I saw wandering around town the other week, now he was a relatively large guy but I was hugely impressed by the simplicity of his outfit and by the way it suited his body type down to the ground. However, it was a look that could just as easily be recreated by anyone, for any body type. It was also the prefect combination of layers for our unpredictable weather; light enough to deal with any sudden heat but robust enough to cope with a sharp breeze or brief shower.
I have included socks in this looks just to make it a bit more weather appropriate but it would work brilliantly without; just roll up the hem of your trousers to flash the ankle and you’re good to go.
Remember to adapt the fit and styling to your particular body type.
For this look I wanted to create something truly preppy. However, I didn’t want to create anything that was influenced by English prep, I wanted something all out American. We all know colour is big this year and it seems a shame to miss out on such a great feature of menswear. Going for a preppy look is one of the easiest ways to get creative with your colours and it also makes excellent use of an item that I think is often underused in smarter outfits: The varsity jacket.
Go for a coloured pair of trousers and a simple white shirt for that bold statement or go all out with coloured trousers and a more vibrant jacket – just don’t be afraid to mix those colour palettes. In this instance white trainers will help to anchor the colours in the rest of the outfit and as with the look above you can go sockless or play with some patterns.
One tip I would offer for a look such as this is cropped rather than rolled trousers; get yourself to a tailor and have them cropped and tapered to create a much sharper silhouette and crisp up those lines.
Shorts are a staple of the British man’s summer wardrobe. As soon as the sun peeks its head from behind the perpetual grey curtain of winter there seems to be a race as to who can leave the house in their shorts first, despite the fact that the temperature still hasn’t got into double figures. We have been pushing the tailored short for sometime and it is past time any cargo shorts still lurking in your wardrobe were consigned to the bin.
Upgrading your shorts is a sure fire way to ensure you cruise through the warmer weather in style. Invest in structured, tailored pieces in easy colours and you will have maximum versatility. Taking inspiration from the mods, crack out your best polo – if you can find a knitted example you’ve found a fantastic way of integrating texture into your outfit.
Divide up your top and bottom half with a coloured belt, tuck your polo in and get the whole lot finished with a pair of classic white pumps for a comfortable, relaxed sunny day look.
Statement items are big business now. Menswear has become much more about experimenting and pushing your sartorial boundaries whilst still looking fine. Alongside coloured trousers and chinos, patterns and textures you could really push yourself with a bold blazer. Going for a statement with such a major item is always going to require confidence but if it’s done right then you can be absolutely sure that no one else can touch you.
In this outfit the white pumps play the roll of an anchor along with the rest of the outfit. We don’t want that blazer to overpower the whole look so its worth keeping everything else simple and clean; complimentary colours, unfussy accessories and a desire to look fantastic.
I would hope that I have gone some way to convincing those of you still unsure about the qualities of the white trainer. They really are a key piece in any man’s wardrobe and they are almost certainly the most versatile, transcending footwear option you will ever own. They are comfortable, cheap, stylish and simple and a great addition to an outfit.
But lets get your view. What do YOU think of the white trainer?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you all next week.