5 essential rules for wearing sneakers with a suit

Sneaker with suitGetty/Tullio M. PugliaA slim suit, no tie, and a forward fashion sense pulls together this look.

You have to know the rules before you can break them.

But once you do, go crazy. Case in point: the adventurous look of wearing sneakers with a traditional suit.

We’ll admit, this isn’t a great look for everyone, and it will never be accepted in the boardroom.

However, when it works, it can really supercharge your style, making your suit suddenly not seem so dressed up anymore.

Like anything, there are some rules you should follow when attempting to take this style plunge off the deep end.

  • Keep it simple. You’re already making a serious statement. Don’t go for anything flashy or bright, as that will only make your outfit look mismatched and disjointed.
  • Stick to natural materials. Leather and suede are your friends here, and they’re the most likely materials to work for your suit-paired sneakers, Man of the World editor Christopher Tennant told the New York Times. Skip the more “athletic” looks that come with nylon. You’re not running a marathon, and your shoes don’t need to be made for that.
  • Make sure your suit fits slim. There’s nothing worse than on-trend stylish footwear combined with a suit that just doesn’t fit your body. Picture your grandfather wearing a suit in some clunky New Balances. Now go for the opposite of that. A slim-fitting suit is absolutely essential, according to Brad Bennett, editor of Well Spent.
  • Skip the tie. We’re already messing with traditional formality here — a tie will just confuse things. Also optional: a dress shirt.

Some of the best sneakers we can find that would go effortlessly with a suit are the Common Projects Achilles Low ($410) or Adidas Stan Smith ($75).

Alternatively, don’t listen to me at all. This style is all about breaking the rules, after all.

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