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The marriage of sneakers with suits is a forbidden affair if you refer to the traditional codes of style. While most people still believe in maintaining the sartorial sanctity of formalwear by pairing them with brogues, men’s style has certainly evolved in the last few years to sit comfortably within the hybrid dressing genre that knows no rules and is happy to break a few. And in striving for sustainability, minimalism, and a look that easily transcends day and night barriers, suits and sneakers have become comfortable bedfellows. While certainly being more comfortable, this look is a unique blend of work and play. If you’d like to indulge, here’s a style guide on how to wear a suit with sneakers the right way. 

Ground rules: What to wear 

 

The most basic rule in the pairing of suits and sneakers is to wear cropped trousers – they work towards showing off sneakers and the ankles the right way. Remember that the tailoring of your suit is critical – it should ideally be slim-fitted and tapered; a gathered and bulky hem could ruin the silhouette. 

Opposites attract: Colour blocking

Pattern mixing and heavy contrasts are risky when it comes to pairing suits with sneakers. However, if we dose down the contrast levels and simply colour-block, it could create a funkier look that’s appealing to the eye. If you’re wearing a dark-hued suit, your sneakers could have a subtle splash of orange or lime green. When wearing a beige or white two-piece, you could try shades of forest green, black, or even purple that could complement the suit. The objective is to match your suit with your sneakers, using contrast, texture, and detailing. 

When in doubt, wear white sneakers 

A beginner’s mistake made by many is pairing a suit with sneakers without a collective understanding of what the look would be like as a whole. Which is why, white sneakers are safe ground for novices. Being the quintessential suit with sneaker look, white sneakers help maintain its clean, classy look. They work perfectly for semi-formals, sundowners, and after-eight indulgences.  

Indulge in designer sneakers 
Brad Pitt attends the premiere for 'War Machine' at Roppongi Hills on May 23, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan
Brad Pitt attends the premiere for ‘War Machine’ at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)

We can’t emphasise enough on the importance of sticking to a code of dressing where the footwear keeps up with the caliber of the suit. If you are sticking to formalwear, invest in high-quality sneakers. They don’t need to be flashy – they just need to have accents of simple elegance and minimalism.

Be it a leather upper or even mesh, as long as your sneakers look classy, you’re doing it right. Take a pair of white sneakers with red accents from Onitsuka Tiger or a pair of textured leather sneakers from Hugo Boss.

Tees, dress shirts, and accessorising
Hugo Boss SS ’19

To play it safe, always stick to a subtle, solid shirt, but if the occasion calls for some more leisure, a white or black tee would be great too. Your shirt or tee could be great for colour blocking as well. Keeping up with another simple rule of style, match your leathers. If you’re sporting a pair of leather upper sneakers, complement them with a matching leather pouch or laptop bag. The finer details of your suit could be used to your advantage as well – your pocket square, your wrist watch, a funky pair of socks too. 

All images: Courtesy BOSS, Shutterstock & Getty 

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.