Sometimes what appears to be the simplest of sartorial looks can end up being a full on nightmare. The road to perfecting double denim is treacherous – littered with the bodies of many stylish cowboys who have gone before – and will leave you with more than a few embarrassing photo’s along the way. Trust me, I’ve been there. The art of finding the right pocket square to compliment your tie will leave most guys screaming at walls and others a blubbering mess. Yup, again, I’ve been there. The same can be said for the simplest one of them all – wearing trainers with a suit.
You would be surprised how easy it is to get wrong. If your suit is ill-fitting or your trainers too, umm, trainer-y, then you’ve crossed the line from style hero to the guy who is walking to work during a transit strike. Glossy magazines and celebrities like Justin Timberlake and David Tennant have us believing that all there is to it is pulling on any old pair of sneaks and heading out the door. But they’re wrong. There a few guidelines that must be observed at all times.
Let’s start with the biggest problem first – the suit. By now I would hope that you are all familiar with how to buy a suit that fits you, and when/where to get it tailored. If not, then check out the two articles I did on them and then report back, because this is the easiest way to kill the outfit. No matter how good your feet look, a suit that resembles a tent will never do you justice.
Secondly, keep things as clean and simple as you can. If this is your first venture into suits and trainers territory then don’t start reaching for your olive green window pane check number just yet. Most pattern based suits will look at odds next to the shoes, especially anything pinstriped due to their extremely formal and business connotations. The same can also be said for any suit in an unusual colour such as burgundy, green or purple. The reason for this is because a bold colour or pattern on a suit should be the focal point rather than having to compete with the fact you’re wearing trainers as well. Try and stick to the traditional suit colours of black, navy, grey or khaki and you will be onto a winner.
Lastly, lose the office wear. This is not a look for the office so forget about what tie you’re going to wear and just skip it all together. The same goes for your belt. The same does not apply to your pocket square.
Then there are the trainers. If I’m honest, the same sort of rules apply. Keeping things simple in the shoe department will make the transition from smart to casual that much easier.
Forget about your bright multi-coloured puma’s, knackered running K-swiss and absolutely anything that has the words ‘mesh’ or ‘extra spring’ in them. However, lights that flash when you walk and hi-tops are still up for debate. Stick with the classics like Adidas Stan Smith’s, Converse or Vans and keep them in the traditional colours of black or white to achieve the most success.
However, don’t be afraid to add a few bits of character. I’ve recently swapped the laces on my Stan Smiths for a red pair that adds a great pop of colour to the look. You can even buy a pair of Converse in a complimenting colour to your suit such as red or blue. Just remember that these things should be slight touches to the overall look, the fact you’re wearing trainers with a suit and wearing it well will be more than enough.
Check out this great video from GQ for a round up of the main points I just covered:
So, there you have it, how to wear trainers with a suit and make it work. If you think there are any key points I’ve missed or other ideas you have on the look, let me know in the comments section below.
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