Outfit Formula: Suits and Sneakers

Sneakers are the shoe of our fashion era. Full stop. The world LOVES wearing sneakers, and retailers stock them in deep assortments because they sell like hot cakes. It helps that these days “almost” anything goes in fashion and style which means that sneakers can be integrated into most outfits. 

Irregular juxtapositions are another benchmark of our current fashion era. Combining items that used to be unthinkable pairings are totally acceptable and often all the rage. Combining a formal trouser suit with sneakers is an irregular juxtaposition, and my favourite way to interpret the Sporty Luxe look. The vibe is an acquired taste and a fun way to dress down a suit.

The suit renditions here are styled with white sneakers because white is the “it” sneaker colour. Crisp, a Trendy Classic, and somewhat iconic. That said, feel free to add any colour sneaker to a suit. Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers and hi-tops in fun brights, pastels, black, blue or grey look smashing with suits.

The layering tops are casual, which complements the casual vibe of the sneakers. Feel free to add patterned or slogan tees to the outfits.

1. Double-Breasted and Buttoned

YES, you can wear white sneakers with dark hair. No need to follow the bookending styling technique at all. Just like you can rock black shoes with blonde hair. Here, the black ‘80s inspired double-breasted suit is fully buttoned, and worn with straight leg pants. I’d have preferred to see the pants two inches longer, but that’s subjective. Pop a black lace camisole under the blazer so that a little lace peeks out from under the collar of the blazer. Or you could wear a white tee under the blazer. The white sneakers pick up the white stitching and buttons of the suit. Scrunched sleeves add a relaxed touch to the look.

Violeta Contrast Seam Blazer

2. Trendy

A trendy long blazer is paired with matching ankle pants and worn open to create a vertical line down the front of the body. A simple turtleneck is a good layering piece for a suit. Tucking the turtleneck lengthens the leg line from the thighs upward. The white sneakers pick up the white in the checked pattern. Scrunched sleeves add a further relaxed touch to the look.

THEORY Prince of Wales Checked Wool-blend Blazer

3. Maximal Pattern Mix

Bright red tartan and two types of animal print are combined with a white tee that picks up the white in the sneakers. The white sneakers further complement the light neutrals in the pattern. A smashing maximal look that can take you just about anywhere. To work, a night out, the theater, an event, or fashion show.

Topshop Tartan Suit

4. Eleganty Flared

This rendition is of the most interest to me because the flares are combined with flat sneakers instead of heels. That’s very liberating, and a newer way to wear a classic ‘70s inspired suit. The tucked top creates a longer leg line which offsets the flat-footed feeling of the sneakers. The white top picks up the white of the sneakers. Scrunched sleeves relax the formality of the suit.

ASOS DESIGN Tailored Check Slim Flare Pants

5. Tailored & Pretty

Here’s a classic tailored suit with a regular length blazer and tapered pants. The striped layering top adds a further classic yet bold touch. The white of the stripe is repeated in the white of the sneakers. The pants are very cropped, but feel free to wear full-length tapered pants.

Boden British Tweed 7/8 Pants

You can wear this look in Winter with knee-highs, trouser socks, woolly socks or even patterned socks if you dare. Pop a cocoon coat or puffer over the lot with cosy Winter accessories and thermals and Bob’s your uncle.

I wore formal trouser suits with sneakers back in the ‘90s and ‘00s. I have two very old suits that I’m keeping despite rarely wearing them. An all-season grey Theory pinstripe suit in immaculate condition, and a funky cropped black Summer suit from Tokyo. Both are sentimental pieces that I can’t pass on. I’m going to haul out the grey pinstripe suit that has long flared pants and combine it with my new chunky white ‘80s inspired SAS sneakers and see what happens. I also might do a fun plaid or velvet trousers suit for my holiday look this year. My thinking cap is on.

Link Love: Fragrances for Fall 2018

The Fashion Spot reports that several just-released fragrances rely on more Summery notes like citrus and cherry as signatures. In order to make them more Fall-appropriate, warm accents of cedar, sandalwood, vanilla and musk were added.

According to The Guardian “this season the best scents smell like the outdoors.”

If you’re in the mood for something a little quirky, then have a look at this round-up.

Fab Links from Our Members

La Pedestrienne enjoyed this post on knowing which trends and “must-haves” to opt out of. “I need to sit down and write this sort of list for myself.”

She also wanted to share this article on taking a buy-less, buy-better approach to gear. She found it interesting to read a perspective from outside of the personal style world.

Shevia thought this article in The Guardian about how the catwalk shows will change our wardrobes was worth reading.

She also points us to this reaction to the change of designer at Celine.

UmmLila says she might give the Finery app a whirl.

Weekly Roundup: Striped Items

Stripes were mentioned often in a recent forum discussion about our favourite patterns. They continue to look fresh from season to season because of their enormous variety and the creative ways they are incorporated into wardrobe items and outfits. They can be subtle, bold, tonal, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, pin, rugby, racing, Breton, jailbird, tuxedo or chevron. There’s a stripe for everyone. 

I’m particularly impressed with the 1901’s Back Button Crew Neck Sweater that I recently purchased in navy and a black & white stripe. The striped and solid versions are both wardrobe essentials, functioning like a tee. They are excellent layering tops, and SUPER soft. They’re cotton-rich and fab if you’re allergic to wool. They’re delicate and might need a quick press after laundering to create a polished effect. Gently fluid, versatile and extremely comfortable.

On to to the rest of the top picks that satisfy a range of weather conditions, colours, fabrics and silhouettes.

  • Geox Geox Asheely Bootie (Women) | Nordstrom: Geox is an Italian brand of footwear that's generally good quality and comfortable. These haute hiking boots are not leather, but very sturdy. Fun with olive pants. Comes in burgundy.
  • Madewell Madewell Stripe Turtleneck Sweatshirt | Nordstrom: Earthy Sweatshirt Fabness. When did you last see a cinnamon-coloured sweatshirt? I can't recall. Fluid, tailored at the welt, good on a short waist, and nicely made.
  • GOLA Gola Coaster Rainbow Striped Sneaker (Women) | Nordstrom: Rainbow Sneaker Fabnes. Lots of colours and good reviews. Might run half a size big.
  • Halogen Halogen Belted Blouson Sleeve Blouse (Regular & Petite) | Nordstrom: An elegant and pretty belted blouse for Team Hourglass & Pear. Gorgeous on those who like to define their waist, and fab worn over high-waisted pants and jeans. Read the rave reviews.
  • Paul Smith Paul Smith Harley Swirl Odd Socks | Nordstrom: Statement socks to make you smile. I dare you to create a pattern-mixed outfit with these.
  • Boden Brecon Puffer Coat: GORGEOUS quality puffer with a fairly streamlined yet roomy fit and fun sporty racing stripes. Comes in three colours. Machine washable.
  • KENDALL + KYLIE KENDALL + KYLIE Pinstripe Jacket with Removable Hood | Nordstrom: A Veronica Beard lookalike at a fraction of the price. Fluid, straight, and works on a range of body types. You have to love grey and enjoy a Tomboy look to like the vibe.
  • Boden Bella Cashmere Hoodie: A refined casual cashmere hoodie with a gently fluid fit to wear as is or layered under a blazer. Fab quality and flattering fit. Polished. The grey is effectively brightened by the multi-coloured stripes.
  • Boden Tilly Roll Neck Sweater: AMAZING classic tailored turtleneck that is forgiving of muffin top because of substantial yet soft fabric. Fabulous fabric. Cotton-rich and good for those who are allergic to wool. Excellent for pattern mixing, and works straight into Spring with white jeans. The navy stripe is mine. Comes in solid colours.
  • Boden Muriel Sweater: Fit is perfectly fluid, JUST like how you see it on the model in the striped version. Very good structure on the neckline, shoulders, upper arms, cuffs and welt - which makes all the difference. I do not think it runs big if you want it to fit fluidly LIKE THE MODEL. You need long arms to wear the style because the blouson silhouette can overwhelm. Soft and not too thick, and with a neat and tidy neckline. Works on a range of bust sizes. The stripe is bold. Not good on petites unless you have regular proportions up top. Read the rave reviews.
  • Boden Jersey Midi Skirt: A Summery striped midi to wear casually with a tank, tee and sneakers. Excellent on a curvy figure. Read the rave reviews.
  • Karen Millen Faux Fur Colourblock Jacket: A little daytime '70s Disco for 2018. Luxe and cuddly. Great quality. NOT streamlining, but very dramatic, on-trend, and packs a punch. The short length gives it some structure.
  • DvF DVF Stripe Faux Fur Jacket | Nordstrom: An unusual colour combination in a unique vertical stripe, which reminds me a little of a school blazer. Wildly '70s with a modern touch. Bulky, yet super soft and cosy. Nice over midi dresses.
  • Converse Converse Chuck Taylor All Star CT 70 Street Warmer High Top Sneaker (Women) | Nordstrom: A repeat Converse style with a refreshing new watermelon stripe. Fleece-lined, VERY comfortable, cosy, and insulating. Excellent for cold-weather travel and urban walking. Good in gentle snow and on icy pavements too. Excellent traction on the soles. Works on a range of foot widths because the laces can be adjusted to fit the foot. Comes in black.
  • VAGABOND SHOEMAKERS Vagabond Mya Side Stripe Bootie (Women) | Nordstrom: I haven't seen these booties in person yet but the red stripe caught my eye. Better than basic, and could look fun with an all-black outfit.
  • RACHEL RACHEL ROY RACHEL Rachel Roy Gwen Crop Pants (Plus Size) | Nordstrom: Streamlined dressy culottes with a trendy high rise. Good on a range of body types. The tuxedo stripes add interest and vertical integrity.
  • The Office Of Angela Scott The Office of Angela Scott Mr. Smith Stripe Oxford (Women) | Nordstrom: STUNNING quality shoes with busloads of Tomboy charm. Comfortable after a few wears after moulding to the foot. Comes in a grey stripe.
  • Boden Berwick Sweater: Crisp shocking pink striped sleeves look fresh against a solid body. Well made, and runs a little big. Great on broad shoulders. Comes in three colours.
  • Boden Arundel Puffer Jacket: Bold Striped Puffer Fabness for those who wear cool colours. Beautiful quality, streamlined, and fashionably sporty. Practical, comfy and fun. This would be mine if it came in warm colours.
  • Boden Claudia Ponte Midi Dress: Elegant and gorgeous in motion. Fabric with heft and great drape. Best suited to hourglass, pear and rectangle body types. Four interesting colour combinations.
  • Boden Ellie Sweater: This Modern Retro pullover is stunning if you like a gently fluid fit and a playful neckline. Beautifully made, soft, and versatile. It could not fit me more perfectly in navy. A little roomier on me than on the model, but still an impeccable fit. It’s versatile because you can pair it with most bottoms, AND it works on a range of body types. Quite forgiving on the midsection. The structured neckline makes it work on long and short necks, and multiple bust sizes. The neckline looks bulky but it’s not. It layers under jackets, coats and scarves surprisingly well. PRETTY.
  • Pilcro And The Letterpress | Anthropologie Pilcro High-Rise Relaxed Straight Jeans: This is one of the more current silhouettes of jeans with their cropped roomier hems and high rise. They have worked on straighter and curvier body types. Forgiving, good fit, comfortable and great quality. They do not stretch out. The one pair has fun orange piping down the side.
  • PIKOLINOS PIKOLINOS Vicar Boot (Women) | Nordstrom: Tough boots with a sporty stripe. A little Punk, a little Prep, a little Rock 'n Roll, and a whole lot of comfort. Spanish boots that work on a variety of foot shapes.
  • Pam & Gela Pam & Gela Stripe Scuba Knit Track Pants | Nordstrom: '70s Sporty Fabness. Best on a straighter body type. Create a fun juxtaposition with a dressy support act.
  • CeCe Bow Detail Striped Cotton Sweater | Nordstrom: Fab pullover for a curvy top half. Good striped top for a larger bust because of the gently scooped neckline. Not super soft, but not itchy at all.
  • Boden Cashmere Crew Sweater: Gorgeous gently fluid fit and yummy refined quality. Love the way it drapes and glides over the contour of the body. Forgiving of muffin top. The colours of these stripes are cooler-toned in person.
  • Halogen Halogen Long Sleeve Modal Blend Tee (Regular & Petite) | Nordstrom: A simple and soft basic tee with a great scoop neck for broader shoulders and/or a larger bust. Comes in a navy and grey stripe. Not as clingy as it looks. Plenty of length for tall girls.
  • Zara Tweed Shirt With Stripes: A tweed stripe on an oversized shirt has boyish charm. This one looks best with a semi-tuck.

Go to the collection page to see pictures of the items alongside my descriptions.

Brecon Puffer Coat
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Bella Cashmere Hoodie
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Muriel Sweater
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Jersey Midi Skirt
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Berwick Sweater
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Arundel Puffer Jacket
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Ellie Sweater
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Cashmere Crew Sweater
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Assorted Items

A top picks list for cosy toppers, bottoms and footwear.

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Striped Items

Striped items are generally a crowd-pleaser and these ones are quite unique.

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Early Fall Items

An explosion of colour is what we can expect from Boden throughout the year. Here are some recent top picks.

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Summer Shoes and Dresses

A few dresses and tops, some shorts, and lots of comfy sandals make this week’s top picks list.

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Assorted Summer Items

Some dresses, shoes and pyjamas on this week's list of top picks.

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Summer Items

A collection of my top picks in sandals, dresses and tops across a range of sizes.

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Tale of Two Capes

I love jackets and coats. They are my second favourite wardrobe items (handbags come first). Fortunately I can put a large assortment of toppers across a range of thicknesses and silhouettes to good use in my climate, so my wants are somewhat rationalized by my needs. This brings me to the tale of two capes. 

Capes aren’t as insulating as regular wool coats. They can be fussy, uncomfortable, unflattering, dowdy and impractical. That said, capes do have their advantages:

  • They are a slam-dunk silhouette to layer over chunky knitwear, voluminous dresses, and tops or pullovers with exuberant and voluminous sleeves.
  • They layer well over denim jackets, motos, and light-weight coats.
  • They work well as maternity toppers.
  • They camouflage the natural contour of the body when that’s how you feel like dressing.
  • They look dramatic, theatrical, fun, unique and interesting.
  • They work well in mild Winter climates

I adore capes because of their Modern Retro integrity. They look elegant, dressy and move in a way that’s fun and festive (much like the swoosh of a flared midi skirt). I know they aren’t terribly warm or have wardrobe workhorse potential, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t need every item in my moderately sized wardrobe to be a workhorse because that would take the fun out of fashion for me. Some items become special when you don’t wear them frequently, which earns them a place in your wardrobe.

Houndstooth Cape
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Textured Cape Coat
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I added my first cape to my outerwear capsule three years ago. It’s an earthy micro check with a faux fur collar and Sherlock Holmes vibe. I wore it about five times in the first few months of purchase, and never wore it again. After several road tests, I discovered that it’s too long to sit and drive in, not very insulating, not as versatile as a solid, not that fab over dresses, and looks odd worn as an indoor topper. That said, it’s a fun item that continues to spark joy, and it has a high longevity factor. So I’m keeping it.

Unexpectedly, while shopping with a client last month, I bumped into a cape at Zara. It was love at first sight because of the light colours that match my hair, the practical shorter length, and high faux fur neckline that covers my long neck. I didn’t get it right away because I was working with a client, and didn’t want another cape that I seldom wore. But I went back for the cape because I kept on thinking about it. I tried it on and was completely smitten. It followed me home and has become an instant wardrobe workhorse.

I love this new cape. It’s much more wearable than the first one because of the shorter length, solid colour, and structured sleeves. The shorter length makes it work with most of my jeans, flared midi skirts and dresses, cropped trousers, and full-length bell-bottoms. The solid light neutral works with much more of my wardrobe. The structured sleeves are practical and insulating. I can drive in this cape and move around more freely. It also doesn’t look off when worn indoors at a restaurant or shopping mall. I’m reaching for the new cape like it’s an essential blazer, which is surprising to me.

If I’d said “no more capes” because the first one was infrequently worn I’d have missed out on this workhorse that makes me feel like a million bucks. It’s news to me that a cape could be so versatile for Fall, and I’m thrilled that it found me at Zara.

Contemporary Western Style

A new outfit from Paulien Riemis of Polienne, whom we introduced to YLF in April 2014.

Paulien is mixing several F/W 2018 trends in this eclectic contemporary take on Western style. She’s tucked a white blouse with tie closure into high-waisted cropped jeans with fringed hem that echoes the detailing on the top. Her ornate belt is another clever nod to rodeo and Western styling. As are the striking snakeskin ankle boots in zippy red and black. The eye-catching elongating coat in black and white gingham picks up the colours in our blogger’s outfit, and adds strong geometric interest. As the finishing touch, Paulien chose a transparent bag with on-trend round handle in a burgundy tortoise shell that works brilliantly with her red boots.

Paulien Riemis - 1

Paulien Riemis - 2