White Trainers, White T-Shirt
We begin with an almost failproof way of styling sneakers – a tried and tested method that feels familiar yet manages
to look unbeatably fresh when worn with the quiet confidence of the cool-headed cavalier. We mean, of course, the
sublime pairing of a white T-shirt with white trainers. The key word here – helpfully repeated twice for emphasis –
is white. Anything short of alpine snow tops on a clear-skied summer’s afternoon just won’t cut it and will result
in your outfit seeming scruffy, or ill-thought-out. Crispness and cleanness are both paramount.
The beauty of this approach is its versatility: the T-shirt and trainers combination will serve as a blank canvas
over which you can layer all manner of cuts, prints, and patterns. Yet it can also serve as a dazzling foreground
when paired with more subdued hues, such as pastel colours or camel. We suggest focusing on timeless wardrobe
essentials, by investing in this pair of leather sneakers from North-89, and pairing
with a white crew-neck from Sunspel, a British brand famed for its mastery of
the humble tee. While this will lend an unmistakably youthful air to suiting, we suggest matching the durability of
the sneakers with some hard-wearing, slim-fitting denim from Cifonelli.
Roll Up, Roll Up
When you’re wearing sneakers without any intention of doing sporting activity, it’s standard procedure to go sans
socks. The reasons for this are especially clear when sneakers are worn with suiting. A smart sock would look
hideously out of place encased in a sporty trainer, while a sports sock would look like an awkward juxtaposition
with a tailored trouser leg. Instead, a becomingly bare ankle will ease the transition superbly, channelling the
louche look of a loafer with the freshness of a pair of sneakers.
This entails plenty of opportunity for playful experimentation with your hemlines. A rolled-up trouser leg will not
only keep you cooler in summer, it will also put a debonair twist on your trainers, accentuating the hybridity of
smart and casual. We suggest imitating the rake in the picture by offsetting the formality of a full three-piece
suit with the soft minimalism of these nubuck leather sneakers by Ka/Noa. Rolling up your
trousers is a simple but striking way of blurring the boundaries between smart and casual.
In the same way that matching your brogues to your belt can elevate an outfit from boring to brilliant, sneakers
present ample opportunity for playing around with details. More so than traditional footwear, in fact, given that
sneakers can come in a wider variety of colours and textures. Think co-ordinating pocket squares, monochrome
mash-ups, or even sandwiching a suit between a matching shirt collar and sneaker soles.
For a perfect summertime sneakers outfit, these retro style suede sneakers from Belsire will coordinate nicely with this tobacco brown belt from Carmina. A pair of navy shorts by Ka/Noa will complement the vintage-inspired colour palette.
On the other hand, a colourful pair of sneakers can also serve as a medium for introducing contrast. Again, subtlety
is key; take your cue from the burgundy Vans pictured above (centre), and use your sneakers to introduce a colour
that would be difficult to incorporate via a larger item of clothing. A shade that will liven things up without
clashing too heavily; that will turn heads but not stomachs.
We suggesting keeping the rest of the outfit neutral in order to emphasise the contrast. If you’re wearing suiting,
consider ditching a collar and tie so as not to distract attention from the sneakers. The understated grey pattern
on this collarless puppytooth shirt by Anderson &
Sheppard is perfect for pairing with these green calfskin leather sneakers from Stefano
Bemer. Rubinacci’s black pleated trousers add a touch
of sable sophistication to the look.
If there was one lesson to take away from Pitti Uomo 94, it's that sneakers are no mere passing trend; a good pair
has as much classiness and longevity as do a pair of trusty Oxford brogues. This is, after all, the 21st century,
and you'll find that wearing a pair of well-made, luxury sneakers is a much more comfortable way of keeping up with
the march of history.