How to wear sneakers with EVERYthing in your closet

The right pair for all your outfits - and some you’ve never thought of.

The right pair for all your outfits - and some you’ve never thought of

(Left credit: Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images; Right credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

Let's start off by saying that as long as you wear them with the right mindset, it's possible for sneakers to look great with pretty much anything in your wardrobe — including black-tie gowns and tailored suits. From JW Anderson's Converse-collab hi-tops to luxurious leather lace-ups from Montreal-based Want Les Essentiels to oversized runway shoes from designer brands like Balenciaga, there's a fashionable style pairing for almost every aesthetic and outfit.

But, just in case you're still unsure how to rock those amazing new runners you just picked up, or which shoes to pair with tricky items like patterned suiting and dressy eveningwear, here are some fail-safe and fun styling suggestions to get you started. It's all about unexpected combinations, exaggerated sneakers designed to make an impression, and showing off your relaxed, sporty side — albeit not while wearing actual gym clothes, ideally.

Classic high-tops

Since Converse's iconic All Star sneaker launched in 1917, high tops have been embraced by everyone from basketball players to punk rockers — and of course, countless celebrities have worn their Chuck Taylors with suits over the years. Beyond fitted suits, high top sneakers look particularly stylish worn with wide-leg trousers and cozy, woven fabrics such as plaid and brushed wool.

Converse X JW Anderson Chuck 70 Grid High Top, $160, Converse.ca

Wide-Cut Wool Pants, $129, Hm.com

Skate shoes

Vans and other skater-approved, low top sneaks have the benefit of looking cooler the more beat up they get — no sneaker cleaning wipes necessary here! And, even if you're not quite ready to don yours with a velvet devoré Erdem gown, as seen here on fashion pro Veronika Heilbrunner, the skate sneaker's mellow vibe makes it the ideal foil for particularly frilly or floral dresses.

Old Skool, $80, Vans.ca

Wilfred Millie Dress, $178 (on sale for $160.20), Aritzia.com

Monochromatic and oversized

Dad sneakers have been trending for the last few seasons, and are showing no sign of slowing down; for spring 2019, avant-garde Japanese label Comme des Garçons showcased a clunky collaboration with Nike on the runway at Paris Fashion Week. They're the perfect statement shoe to update your basic blue jeans, especially slim-cut styles that are slightly cropped or have a medium-blue wash.

FILA Disruptor 2 Premium Mono Sneaker, $74, Urbanoutfitters.com

Wedgie Fit Straight Jeans, $108, Levi.com

Fashion sneakers

Rainbow coloured and even more oversized, these fashion-forward, OTT sneakers are not for the faint-of-heart or confidence. As seen on fashion writer Susie Lau, the strategy with these of-the-moment sneakers is to go all in and have as much fun as possible — think eye-catching pants and skirts with interesting shapes or textures. Mini skirts and other cropped bottoms that showcase the shoe work, too.

Raf Simons adidas Originals Edition Ozweego Sneakers, $495 (on sale for $327), Ssense.com

Knotted Sequin Skirt, $79.90, Zara.com

Retro-inspired kicks

Minimalist, retro-inspired sneakers are generally the easiest style to wear, but the most challenging to pull off in a way that feels new and purposeful. After all, the designs tend to be more subtle in both colour and scale, and it's up to the wearer to style them in an interesting way. Something less expected? Pairing them with tailored suits in stand-out colours or patterns.

Internationalist Shoe, $120 (on sale for $83.99), Nike.com

Straight Fit Plain Wool Trousers, $115, Massimodutti.com

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.