A simple summer look perfect for those warm evenings that you can put together for under $300.
So you’ve got an event to attend and need to look both casual and formal at the same time. Wearing a suit jacket with jeans is one of the best ways to mix a casual and formal look, but it’s something that many people — style gurus in particular — frown upon. Why?
One reason is that suit jackets are usually designed to be worn exclusively with matching trousers. They’re cut to a specific length that makes them look best with matching trousers, and usually have a slightly longer length than a typical sports coat or blazer would. This can make a suit look too long to “fit” well with a pair of jeans.
If you’re going to wear a suit with jeans, choose a shorter jacket with more of an informal cut. A standard American or British style suit jacket with a cut down the center or two side vents is more suited to a pair of jean than an Italian suit with wider shoulders and no vents in the back.
Another thing to keep in mind is color. Very dark suits, especially black suits, look too formal to wear with a pair of jeans. Nothing looks like more of a mismatch than a pair of light blue jeans (extremely casual) worn with a black suit (something you’d normally see on a lawyer or banker). The whole look is too different to work well.
Instead, it’s better to wear a suit jacket that’s fairly informal — a blue or gray suit jacket usually the best. Gray and blue both go well with a pair of blue jeans as well — gray is obviously a soft contrast, while blue matches the color of the jeans entirely.
This article from GQ expands more on whether or not it’s okay to wear a suit jacket with jeans. For us, it’s something that you can get away with for some events and situations, but the color and cut of the jacket need to be on the casual side for it to look natural.
What’s the best half casual, half formal shoe for men? The answer depends on who you ask.
Some people insist that the only appropriate formal shoes for men are lace up shoes like Oxfords. They have a point: historically this type of shoe has always been seen as the formal choice, with anything without laces part of the “casual” category.
But the rules are a little different now, and they have been since the late 1960s, when men’s fashion changed from being grounded in “rules” to being something with much more flexibility.
Now, men can wear almost any pair of shoes, even with a formal outfit. A quick glance at most awards shows will give you plenty of pictures of well known celebrities wearing basketball shoes with suits and all sorts of other unusual combinations of ultra-formal and ultra-casual.
In my opinion, the best men’s shoes for mixing formal and causal are brown leather loafers. They’re versatile, thanks to both their color (brown looks good with almost every other color, aside from black) and because of their design, which perfectly fits between formal and casual.
Slip on a pair of brown loafers and you can make a suit look less dressy, or make a pair of jeans look more dressy. If you’re looking for shoes that look good with pretty much anything (even summer clothes and shorts, if they are a light brown) it’s hard to go wrong with a nice pair of brown leather loafers.
Work boots have become massively popular in the last five years, enjoying a newfound level of popularity as part of the resurgence in vintage American workwear clothing. While work boots used to sit in the closet until there was heavy lifting to be done, they’re now a popular choice of footwear for everyone from hipsters to white collar workers.
Many companies have capitalized on the new popularity of work boots, creating their own “vintage” style boots. While the cheapest options are found in the usual high street stores, you’ll get the best quality boots (at a surprisingly reasonable price) by buying from a boot maker with a good history.
Two companies that fit this category are Red Wing, a company based in the city of Red Wing, Minnesota, and Wolverine. Both companies offer quality work boots that are made in America. Two of their most popular models are the Red Wing Iron Ranger — a heavy duty work boot — and the Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot. Below, we’ve compared the two.
Before we get into comparing the shoes, let’s look at what they both have in common. Both are made in the USA. Both are Goodyear welted, making it easy to replace the soles as they wear out. Both use thick, comfortable leather that provides plenty of foot protection when worn.
The biggest difference between the two pairs of boots is the style. The Red Wing Iron Rangers have a bigger toe cap — a feature that some people like to poke fun at as a “clown shoe” design. They generally don’t look quite as sleek and stylish as the Wolverine 1000 Miles, which have a thinner profile and a smaller toe cap.
On the construction side, the Red Wings are our pick. The Wolverine 1000 Miles have a leather sole, which wears surprisingly quickly when they’re used frequently. Many people have to replace the sole on their Wolverines within the first 12-24 months of use. The Red Wings, on the other hand, have a thick cork sole that can really take a beating.
Overall, our pick is the Red Wing Iron Ranger. It’s a little less sleek and stylish than the Wolverine 1000 Mile boot, but the higher quality sole and extra durability make it a better option from a durability and value for money standpoint.
Some inspiration for the weekend to help you wear your leather work boots the best way you can:
Afraid of wearing anything other than leather shoes? While it’s easy to wear a pair of Oxfords or loafers with pretty much anything, there will eventually come a point where you want a little more variety in your selection of shoes.
The best way to create new looks with your footwear is to switch from leather shoes to leather boots. Leather boots are extremely versatile and can look good with a pair of jeans, a casual hiking outfit, and even with a suit. Boots can range from formal to casual. Many boots are also built to last and can look amazing for 10+ years with proper care.
A great boot wardrobe consists of, in our opinions, three pairs of boots.
The first is a pair of leather work boots. These could be stylish vintage work boots like Red Wing Iron Rangers or Wolverine 1000 Miles, or they could be a more modern work boot from Chippewa or Timberland. The key thing to look for in a pair of work boots is good construction (ideally Goodyear welting, although blake construction is also okay) and thick, high quality leather. When cared for properly, good work boots can last for over a decade and add a rugged look to almost anything you wear.
The second is a pair of chelsea boots. Chelsea boots are slim, sleek leather boots with elastic sides, allowing them to be worn without laces. Think of the boots The Beatles wore. One of the biggest advantages of Chelsea boots is that they can be both casual and formal. You can wear a pair of Chelsea boots with jeans, or as a stylish set of footwear with a blue, gray or black suit.
Finally, the last pair of boots you should own is a pair of engineer boots. An engineer boot has buckles that allow it to close comfortably over your foot and ankle without feeling too tight or having to deal with laces. Engineer boots aren’t as versatile as the above two options, but they have a unique and cool look that makes them one of our style favorites.
A great pair of boots can enhance any outfit, transforming it from something simple and predictable into something different. Add the three boots listed above to your wardrobe to create some variety, whether you’re aiming to dress down a formal outfit or add a more stylish look to a pair of jeans.