Create A Contrast

As men continue to broaden their outlook on fashion, it’s becoming socially acceptable to be more experimental with your attire. From loud Hawaiian shirts to double denim, modern gents are no longer afraid to push the boundaries and make a statement with eye-catching clothing and creative outfit combinations.

Bearing this in mind, FashionBeans wants to take full advantage of this evolution by exploring four different ways that you can pair two contrasting (in style) garments. These juxtapositions really shouldn’t work, but if you get the balance just right, they look superb and will help effortlessly separate your outfits from the crowd…

1. T-Shirts & Trousers

Perhaps one of the less daring combinations we shall be dissecting today, a t-shirt and trousers pairing has become somewhat of a summer classic. We can understand why; a t-shirt is an ideal alternative to a shirt when temperatures rise, while trousers are a smarter and more lightweight option than predictable jeans or ubiquitous beige chinos.

Whether worn on their own or teamed with a blazer/bomber, this refreshingly modish look is the perfect balance of smart and casual. To finish your outfit, simply add a pair of leather trainers for drinks with friends or suede driving shoes/loafers for a summer night out.

For those looking for an added touch of style, we recommend going sockless and investing in some trousers that finish just above the ankle (your tailor will be able to make this adjustment for you, if required). A slightly cropped trouser shows you are a man who pays attention to the finer details, oozes continental chic and pairs extremely well with warm-weather footwear silhouettes.

As for the t-shirt, crew necks flatter all men and are slightly smarter than scoop/v-necks, while white, grey or navy would be the most suitable colours. Not only are these type of tees versatile enough to pair with any trousers you currently have in your wardrobe, they will also give your otherwise modern look a timeless feel.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's T-shirts With Trousers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reiss 2014 featurezara may 2014j crew style guide 2014harmony 2014j crew ss14reiss ss14zara aw13todd snyder ss14reiss 2012 sports lux
Example Outfit Combinations
  • Farah Vintage T-shirt With F Logo In Slim Fit – ExclusiveFarah Vintage T-shirt With F Logo In Slim Fit - Exclusive
  • He By Mango Jacquard Suit TrousersHe By Mango Jacquard Suit Trousers
  • Reiss Anstice Suede Tasselled Loafers BlueReiss Anstice Suede Tasselled Loafers Blue
  • He By Mango Reverse Striped T-shirtHe By Mango Reverse Striped T-shirt
  • He By Mango Tailored Cotton-blend TrousersHe By Mango Tailored Cotton-blend Trousers
  • Boglioli Dover Wool-hopsack BlazerBoglioli Dover Wool-hopsack Blazer
  • Reiss Azera Horizontal Stripe T-shirt GreyReiss Azera Horizontal Stripe T-shirt Grey
  • Topman Black Dobby Skinny TrousersTopman Black Dobby Skinny Trousers
  • Saint Laurent Sl04h Leather And Mesh SneakerSaint Laurent Sl04h Leather And Mesh Sneaker
  • Reiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt WhiteReiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt White
  • Paul Smith Slim-fit Cotton-blend TrousersPaul Smith Slim-fit Cotton-blend Trousers
  • Reiss Torres Lightweight Jacket Airforce BlueReiss Torres Lightweight Jacket Airforce Blue
2. Suits & Trainers

Already a go-to pairing for stylish gents attending runway shows across the globe, suits matched with trainers is set to develop into a key look for 2015. Ideal for those who like to break the rules (in a considered way) and go against the norm, this brash contrast of styles offers a simple yet effective way to breathe new life into your formal attire.

However, although we encourage this contemporary trend, it’s important to remember that there are particular juxtapositions that work well, and others that definitely do not. Asics running trainers (complete with overly tightened laces), for example, will have you looking like a frumpy commuter, while a pair of studded Louboutin hi-tops, or similar high fashion options, are just too extreme to combine with a perfectly tailored suit.

Ensure you stay on the right side of stylish by sticking to smart, minimal designs like those produced by Common Projects or Saint Laurent, or eye-catching athletic silhouettes such as the Nike Free Run or New Balance 524. Leather or suede construction will also bring a premium/luxe feel to your footwear, helping to further blur the lines between smart and casual.

In terms of your suit, colour and material are key considerations, as certain styles are more suitable than others. Heavyweight versions in tweed or flannel are a no go due to their distinctly heritage feel (stick to tan/oxblood brogue boots if you want to create a considered clash here), yet a navy/grey suit in a summer fabric or wool-blend always looks great with white leather trainers – see the lookbook below for proof.

Finally, pay attention to your surrounding pieces. A wide spread-collar shirt with a power tie knot is too business like and will only make your footwear stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, look to subtly dress down your entire outfit: Oxford/chambray shirts instead of dress shirts; going tieless or undoing a couple of buttons; substituting your shirt and tie for a roll neck; opting for woven belts, a bold printed pocket square or textured/patterned ties – these are all subtle tweaks you can make to help produce a more congruent feel between your top and bottom half.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Suit and Trainers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango fall 2014club monaco summer 2014reiss 2014 featureh&m style guide 2014mr start ss12j crew style guide 2014cub monaco aw12zara february 2014harmony aw14
Example Outfit Combinations
  • Reiss Casual Suit In Regular FitReiss Casual Suit In Regular Fit
  • Ben Sherman Oxford ShirtBen Sherman Oxford Shirt
  • Allsaints Cresent Low TopAllsaints Cresent Low Top
  • Topman Grey Skinny SuitTopman Grey Skinny Suit
  • He By Mango Turtleneck Cotton T-shirtHe By Mango Turtleneck Cotton T-shirt
  • Reiss Chainey Leather Lace Pumps BlackReiss Chainey Leather Lace Pumps Black
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In Navy PoplinAsos Slim Fit Suit In Navy Poplin
  • Nn.07 Derek Chambray ShirtNn.07 Derek Chambray Shirt
  • Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top SneakersCommon Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top Sneakers
  • River Island Grey Slim SuitRiver Island Grey Slim Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt WhiteReiss Bless Crew Neck T-shirt White
  • Saint Laurent Panelled Leather SneakersSaint Laurent Panelled Leather Sneakers
3. Blazer & Jeans

The ultimate smart-casual get-up, a blazer and jeans combination should be your go-to when you want to look presentable but not too dressy. Whether worn for a night out on the town or an after-work dinner, this foolproof pairing is one that every fashion-conscious gent should have in their repertoire.

Although there are no hard or fast rules when it comes to colours or materials, there are a few combinations that work better than others. For example, tweed is the perfect companion for dark indigo denim, while a coloured jacket would look great with white or light wash jeans in summer. Other classic pairings include black jeans with a grey blazer, and grey jeans with a navy jacket.

If ever in doubt, though, just remember that a navy blazer teamed with slim-fit selvedge denim is a timeless combination that looks great on any man.

To complete your look, simply add penny loafers and a ribbed roll neck for Sunday lunch with the family, switching for a crisp white shirt, knitted tie and tan brogues for dress-down Friday in the office.

When it comes to getting the formality of your outfit right, remember this simple guideline: the darker your jeans, the smarter they look. Therefore, stick to shades of indigo or black when wanting to dress up, and lighter washes if you prefer something more relaxed and casual at the weekend.

Finally, the fit of your jeans is extremely important, especially when looking to combine them with a tailored jacket. The key here is to mirror the cut of your blazer: slim-legs with sharply-cut tailoring and straight legs with more traditional, fuller-cut jackets.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Jeans With Blazers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

m&s aw13selected denim ss14m&s ss14he by mango aw13tate ss12sarar ss14tommy hilfiger summer 2014massimo dutti march 2014banana republic pre fall 2014burton aw13gant rugger ss13ted baker ss14
Example Outfit Combinations
  • River Island Grey Wool And Linen-blend BlazerRiver Island Grey Wool And Linen-blend Blazer
  • Reiss Maurice Slim-fit Twill Jeans BlackReiss Maurice Slim-fit Twill Jeans Black
  • Reiss Jimmy Leather Penny Loafers BlackReiss Jimmy Leather Penny Loafers Black
  • River Island Green BlazerRiver Island Green Blazer
  • Levis Made & Crafted Needle Narrow Slim-fit Selvedge Denim JeansLevis Made & Crafted Needle Narrow Slim-fit Selvedge Denim Jeans
  • Asos Brogue Shoes With Coloured TreadAsos Brogue Shoes With Coloured Tread
  • He By Mango Premium Brushed Cotton BlazerHe By Mango Premium Brushed Cotton Blazer
  • A.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge JeansA.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Jeans
  • Reiss Driver Twill Cotton Shirt WhiteReiss Driver Twill Cotton Shirt White
  • He By Mango Unstructured Cotton-blend BlazerHe By Mango Unstructured Cotton-blend Blazer
  • A.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Washed-denim JeansA.p.c. Petit New Standard Slim-fit Washed-denim Jeans
  • Calvin Klein Collection Rollneck Cashmere SweaterCalvin Klein Collection Rollneck Cashmere Sweater
4. Shoes & Shorts

A favourite of FashionBeans style icon Nick Wooster, shoes with shorts is one combination that’s still very much up for debate. And while many will have their reservations, we believe it is a pairing worthy of praise.

But before you go grabbing your beloved Oxfords, we must stress that there are a few guidelines to adhere to. Slimline, warm-weather-appropriate silhouettes such as loafers, brogues and suede bucks are perfect here, but smart leather lace-ups and ankle boots certainly are not.

As a rule of thumb, when selecting your shoes, ask yourself this: would you wear them in the boardroom or to a funeral/interview? If the answer is yes, then they’re probably too smart to be worn with shorts.

In terms of shoe colour, you will never go wrong with shades of brown, tan or oxblood. As this is a strict summer pairing, we would avoid black footwear as it looks extremely formal and can jar with the overall aesthetic. For those that are more adventurous, this year’s big pop-colour footwear trend offers an easy way of injecting life and a touch of flair into your ensemble. White Derbies, red driving shoes or light blue penny loafers are just some of the options available on the current market.

As for the shorts, they need to look smart, rather than sloppy. Ensure this is the case by opting for a neutral, slim-fitting pair that hits just above the knee. These can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and will anchor any statement pair of shoes you may choose.

To create an outfit, we suggest teaming tailored shorts with a shirt and suede Derbies for a summer garden party, switching for chino shorts, a crew neck t-shirt and driving shoes for a weekend barbeque.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Shoes with Shorts Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

pepe jeans ss13he by mango summer 2013sarar ss14tommy hilfiger tailored ss14dunhill ss15dunhill ss15Gieves & Hawkes ss14jigsaw ss14reiss ss14Woolrich John Rich & Bros ss15perry ellis ss14drykorn ss13
Example Outfit Combinations
  • Topman White And Blue Floral Short Sleeve ShirtTopman White And Blue Floral Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Reiss Wicker Tailored Chino Shorts NavyReiss Wicker Tailored Chino Shorts Navy
  • He By Mango Contrast Sole Suede BlucherHe By Mango Contrast Sole Suede Blucher
  • Reiss Kingsley Open Collar Polo T-shirtReiss Kingsley Open Collar Polo T-shirt
  • Asos Chino Shorts In Mid LengthAsos Chino Shorts In Mid Length
  • Churchs Cotterstock Suede Wingtip BroguesChurchs Cotterstock Suede Wingtip Brogues
  • He By Mango Chest-pocket T-shirtHe By Mango Chest-pocket T-shirt
  • Reiss Wicker Tailored Chino Shorts RoseReiss Wicker Tailored Chino Shorts Rose
  • Tods Embossed-panel Nubuck Driving ShoesTods Embossed-panel Nubuck Driving Shoes
  • Sunspel Riviera Cotton-mesh Polo ShirtSunspel Riviera Cotton-mesh Polo Shirt
  • He By Mango Cotton Oxford Bermuda ShortsHe By Mango Cotton Oxford Bermuda Shorts
  • Asos Tassel Loafers In LeatherAsos Tassel Loafers In Leather
Final Word

There you have it, four modern juxtapositions to add to your styling repertoire.

But now we want to hear from you – will you be trying out any of the combinations above in the seasons ahead? Are you a fan of the classic jeans and blazer pairing? And can a suit ever successfully be worn with trainers?

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your comments below…