Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reader question: Sneakers & Hoodie?

First reader question!
Nick M. asks: “I’m in college, so I still find myself wearing sneakers to and from class, usually with a hoodie or Northface [jacket], but some days I feel like a slob. Is this okay to wear to class or errands?” 

I think the dress/casual dichotomy is a battle most men struggle with. They feel they either have to wear something dressy (typically for work or when a girl forces them too), or they just blindly throw on the first thing they grab from their closet.

Fortunately, there is a way to dress down the middle, to look put together without being stuffy or over-dressed (though it’s always better to be over-dressed, rather than under-dressed. Unless you’re a stripper). Below are three pictures of Shia LaBeouf dressing like what I’d typically see on a college campus. 

It’s a look that says, “Don’t respect me. I just rolled out of bed and care so little about myself that I couldn’t take the time to get decent before leaving.” How can people respect you if you don’t respect yourself? Sneakers don’t have to be done this way.
Like I mentioned here, sneakers can add a youthful feel to any look. But because they’re so common, it’s easy to overstep your bounds into any one of the rapper/hipster/sports-enthusiast type shoes that exist out there. Tips on the look:
 Go with something classic and understated. Neutral colors, classic fabrics, etc. (do you see I’m repeating this a lot here at MD? It’s a trend.) GQ’s Style Guy said it well, “My rule is, if kids will wait in line for it, if Turtle would wear it, forget it.”

It shouldn’t look like it came from outer space. This isn’t a shoe you’d run a marathon it. 

Most people on campus don’t dress well. They dress like bums. When you’re out and about in the real world, sneakers stand out. Balance the look. When wearing an outfit with sneakers, the shoes are accenting the look with your personality. Starter combinations include:

                     Slim jeans and a V-neck sweater
                     Chambray shirt and chinos
                     OCBD under a crewneck with slim jeans
                     Button-down shirt under a tipped cardigan (my favorite)
The combinations are limitless, but I’d suggest sticking to something put-together on your upper-half. Look at the difference in these two pictures from GQ

Answer: Yes you can wear a hoodie with sneakers, as long as the hoodie is a layer of your outfit, and not your outfit itself. The above picture makes that distinction clear. On its own, a hoodie can look sloppy, like you just rolled out of bed. Over something more put-together... 

It’s perfectly fine. Like I’ve tried to stress, balance is key. Sneakers are youthful and fun. The rest of you should look clean-cut and well-dressed.
PS- Dan over at The Style Blogger just did a post explaining how to mix hoodies and jackets. He incorporates sneakers into some of his looks here, if you want to take a peak.

More news as it develops,


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