The trainer/ sneaker game has changed in the last decade. Trainers used to be delegated to daywear only and it was inconceivable that you would wear them to work, or to a more formal event. Now, sports luxe is becoming more and more popular and you can wear trainers almost anywhere if you do it right. Welcome to the new sneaker age.
Rules to live by
First of all, though, while trainers are extremely versatile, they can’t be worn to every single occasion. There are some occasions where dress shoes must be worn, like weddings or other formal occasions. Whether or not you can wear trainers to a more formal event will depend on the event, the shoes, and how you style them. Also, if you are trying to go for a dressier look, make sure you are wearing clean shoes, and don’t wear ripped pants or a dirty-wash jean.
Know your trainers
More casual trainers will be bigger and bulkier, and may even be colourful, or made from linen or fabric like Converse shoes or Vans. Dressier sneakers could be made of suede or leather, and could include a patent (shiny) tip or toe. They are usually darker in colour or plain white and will often be slimmer and have a sleek modern shape (but not always).
Your basic sneakers (Cons and Vans) are generally just for a more casual look. However, they can be worn to a dressier day event (think Hamptons style), with a collared shirt and tailored shorts or pants, and a blazer. To dress these up more, wear them with tailored chinos (any colour except very bright) or skinny leg tailored pants or denim. The leather converse shoes are great for a dressier look and they are also actually easier to clean than their canvas cousin. Pin roll your pants at the bottom so they look neater.
2. Suits and Trainers
Even classic sports trainers can be worn with suiting, but it has to be done right. Typically, navy, dark blue, black or charcoal will pull this look off, with collared shirts and blazers. Otherwise, muted pants like grey or light blue can work for a day event. It’s really important that with this look, your shoes are clean. Try wearing either white or black trainers and nothing too loud and colourful, unless the style is very modern, sleek and sim.
3. High fashion designer trainers
Think expensive, hi-tech shoes, often black leather, or all-white, possibly with gold or silver chains and badges or small pops of colour or coloured trim. This look can be worn with almost anything and still look relatively dressy. Depending on the shoes, you can probably be a bit more experimental. Think leather pants (like Kanye West), longer, loose fitting cardigans and jackets, scarves, leather jackets, asymmetrical tops and outerwear. While these trainers can be dressed down with loose pants or even high fashion track pants, don’t make the mistake of thinking that they can still be worn with track pants to dressier events, even if the shoes cost you more than your first car.
4. Add a blazer
A blazer can instantly dress up your look, just ensure that the shirt underneath isn’t too loose or scruffy, or asymmetrical, or it won’t work with the structured look of the blazer. Don’t wear shirts with rips, or loose shirts (even if they are high-end) as it can still look scruffy.
If in doubt, stick to luxe fabrics like wool or leather for your outfit. Stay with darker colours like black, charcoal, dark denim, or khaki. Otherwise muted and neutral tones like white, light grey, beige and even denim can work.
Good luck and kick on.
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