How to wear sneakers with a suit

Whether it's Lanvin and Marc Jacobs rolling up the sleeve of their blazers - or Tom Ford's departure from suits altogether - the future of menswear is looking incredibly relax-ez-vous.

Nothing, though, screams the end of old-school formality quite like the pairing of sneakers with suits.

Once considered a fashion faux pas in the same realm as novelty ties and satin boxer shorts, one of the major trends seen in last year's Spring 2015 runway collections was the 'haute sneaker'. Every designer from Calvin Klein to Louis Vuitton was sending high-end variations of the classic court shoe down the runway and teaming it with more formal apparel.

Have we become so nonchalant about fashion that chucking on a pair of trainers with a tailored suit is now considered a 'look'? Can we expect to see corporate lawyers, ad execs and the odd banker sporting sports shoes teamed with a double-breasted three-piece?

In some workplaces where personal expression is encouraged, perhaps so. In others with a more formal dress code, almost certainly not - in this decade, at least.

Runway versus real life

When it comes to putting into everyday practice what we see on the runways of Paris and Milan, it's good to keep in mind what those runways are – pure theatre. It's a showcase for a collection that looks fantastic under strobe lighting on that perfectly proportioned model as he struts in time to thumping house music. Under normal circumstances - like say, a Tuesday morning power meeting – the very same ensemble may look a touch ridiculous.

In saying that, there is something inarguably cool about pushing the boundary on traditional corporate dress codes. Done right, they can offer a certain carefree panache to your daily work attire.

Where once pink was considered a controversial hue of choice for the men's office attire, so the concept that more relaxed (and, let's face it, much more comfortable) footwear could soon be acceptable isn't that outrageous.


If, like me, you fancy yourself a sneaker addict and are totally comfortable with dropping the equivalent of a plane ticket on your footwear, you could try something like these patent white sneakers by Jimmy Choo, or even Valentino's low-top with green panel.

However, if the idea of spending upward of $600 bucks on a pair of kicks makes about as much sense as the current Federal Budget, the cult classic Stan Smith by Adidas will work in a pinch, as will minimalist Italian label Common Projects.

A more relaxed look

The cut of your suit will also have a part to play in whether your bold 'sneaker suit' plan will fly. The Spring 2015 shows demonstrated a more relaxed look than what we might normally be accustomed to. Pants were pegged (looser at the waist) while still tapering down to a slimmer fit at the ankle. Jackets were decidedly deconstructed, worn loose rather than fitted, giving the whole look an air of casual sophistication. A good trick might even be to eschew your jacket altogether in favour of a wool or cashmere pullover from Jac+Jack or a cardigan from Uniqlo's cotton and cashmere range.

A final word on upkeep. Pulling off sneakers with your suit requires you to make sure they remain in pristine condition. Thinking that you can get away with wearing a pair of muddy joggers is like trying to pass off a bag of goon for a Penfolds Grange … it can't be done and shouldn't ever be attempted.

What do you think of the 'sneaker suit' look?

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