Gone are the days when the only time you’d see someone wearing a suit with trainers was during travel to work as a sign that the wearer either had a long commuting time including a decent walk or they had a new pair of smart shoes that needed breaking in before wearing in the office and during the commute.
No, now it is not uncommon to see people wearing suits with trainers as a reflection of the fluidity between comfort and style and more relaxed attitudes towards dress codes in the workplace. Why is this? Well, the pervasiveness of popular culture as a result of social media has definitely played a role.
Plenty of high-profile hip-hop and contemporary rock stars as well as footballers rock this look and the photographic and video evidence is available at the swipe of a screen 24/7, so it’s little wonder that the idea has filtered through to the wider population.
Don’t get the wrong idea – not all trainers can be paired effectively with a suit and not all occasions are appropriate for the trainer/suit combo – as with any style choice there are some basic rules to follow and this article will help you to make this look work for you.
Not all suits will be right for the trainer look and while there is always the odd exception, by and large, you are trying to create a contrast between traditionally smart and traditionally casual, so a baggy, less formal suit normally doesn’t really work. Paired with trainers this usually creates a rather messy look all-around that doesn’t achieve the goal. Ideally, you should be looking to wear slim-fitting trousers with a very slight break between the end of the trousers and the start of the trainers.
You want to be showing off your trainers, not hiding them among excessive trouser length or an overly loose fitting pair. While the fit of your suit should ideally be snug and well-fitted, the overall look should not be too formal. You can look at either lighter colors or have a go at separates – a lighter jacket and darker trousers, for instance – as a traditional, formal, more austere number can be a bit much. A tip if you do go with an independent blazer is to wear one with a bit of a texture to it as this reduces the formal nature of the jacket by another notch.
This is where the fun really starts. The sheer variety of trainers on the market means that you would have no trouble finding several pairs to alternate, keeping your new more casual look varied. That said you could equally go out and buy seven pairs of trainers, one for every day of the week, that all look atrocious with a suit!
You need to get ideas of tennis or squash shoes out of your head, put high-top basketball-style sneakers to the back of your mind, and forget saving bag space by wearing the Astros for five-a-side after work and the cross-training style is by and largely forbidden too. Instead, the golden rules for trainers to wear with your suit are summarised below:
- Low top style – high-tops play havoc with how your trousers sit
- One solid color ( a little embellishment is okay), avoiding busy patterns
- Think minimalism (Scandinavian or Japanese, for instance)
- Leather is best
When it comes to color options, you can go dark suit, white trainers, or a paler suit with darker trainers. White, relatively minimal, smart trainers will be your safest bet for most situations, but there is definitely room for experimentation once you get your eye in.