Mode Rage: Trainers with Suits

In terms of style, I like to believe I am a tolerant, open-minded chap. Individuality and invention are important and splendid; without them, the world would be a dull, uniform place. There are however some curiosities, some bizarre and incongruous trends which I cannot understand and which I cannot help but believe the world would be better off without.


Who on earth first thought of pairing a suit with training shoes? It is an aesthetic so hideous, so irritatingly lazy and childish that I cannot help but lose a sizeable portion of respect for all who indulge in it. I was therefore dismayed, though not entirely surprised, to see Dustin Hoffman photographed in Cannes at the film festival wearing a pinstripe suit with neon-soled running shoes. Whatever possessed Hoffman to display himself in this manner, though he is hardly well-known for any particular sartorial elegance, I do not know. His oddball characters do inspire a kooky aesthetic but there is kooky and there is cuckoo.

And then there is Joshua Jackson, accompanying his elegant, shimmeringly attired girlfriend Diane Kruger to an evening event wearing black tie – and skate-sneakers. An appalling, burger-sauced burp of a choice, Jackson should know it is ungentlemanly to upstage a lady in evening attire but to do it in such a manner is simply pugnacious. Frankly, he doesn’t deserve his invite; his arrogant, idiotic choice of footwear is akin to inappropriate drunkenness, boorish language or talking with your mouth full and is highly embarrassing for his companion who would have been better off pacing the carpet with one of the serving staff instead of her selfish beau. Every time someone attempts to combine the elegant with the never-going-to-be-elegant, it fails; imagine if Kruger had worn Havaianas with such an ensemble, citing the discomfort and impracticality of heels.

Trainers and suits don’t exist in the same universe. Never would it be seemly or sensible to exert oneself in a gymnasium in a wool suit; wearing gym shoes to a premiere is equally mad. My theory is that those who do such things do so because they are pretentious enough to belligerently convey that they ‘just don’t care’ when the unaffected choice would have been to acknowledge the event for what it is; an occasion requiring a certain type of shoe. Some might think this a touch pompous but the real pomposity is to consider your pathetic, non-conformist visual message more important than the person you accompany and the event itself.


  1. Crito said:

    Also: Dustin Hoffman needs to get his pants tailored. Why do we pay these people so much money if they’re not going to spend it on clothes?

    May 20, 2011
  2. marcus said:


    May 20, 2011
  3. VanZ said:

    I see Josh Jackson walking around Vancouver every now and again (he films his show ‘Fringe’ here in town) and he generally looks pretty well put together.

    This look doesn’t work, but I can see where it might come from: I too work in a creative industry, and there is a sense that you need to mix some casual/’street’ in with your formal clothes to be seen as arty and not a square. This feeling is so strong that I’m fairly certain I missed out on a job for wearing a tie to the interview “He’s too square for our studio! He’d never fit in!”.

    The way I see it, when done well this mixing of the formal and informal can be as successful a contrast as mixing light/dark or rough/smooth. It can be as simple as wearing jeans and a tweed jacket, or using a cotton paisley bandanna in place of a pocket square.

    When to mix like that though is a matter of context, and skate shoes with a dinner jacket at a red-carpet event is an epic fail.


    May 20, 2011
  4. Well done Winston, could not have expressed it better myself; your recent writings on denim also spot on. Really happy to see that someone actually notices these incongruous clowns and can write clearly on such gaffs.

    May 20, 2011
  5. Pedant said:

    Besides the aesthetics it is just sheer bad manners. Especially in the context of red-carpet/black tie/white tie affairs.
    Wrong on so many levels.

    May 21, 2011
  6. Pedant said:

    I have to say that my attention is all on Ms Kruguer BTW. Delightful..

    May 21, 2011
  7. Miami Mike said:

    Ugh. Double plus ungood. Obviously, the studio dresses them for work, when they are on their own, they are on their own. Remember, these are movie actors who sometimes PLAY elegant, well dressed people, that by no means implies that they ARE what they PLAY.

    May 21, 2011
  8. Niils said:

    You’re ABSOLUTELY right, Winston.

    May 24, 2011
  9. Mark said:

    no no no no no and one more for luck no

    May 25, 2011
  10. Neil S said:

    Should there be some concession towards ordinary people who,after a day’s work at the office, switch their office shoes for trainers for the journey home? It is a common sight on the London Underground, but I think it unacceptable to wear trainers with suits under any circumstances. Should such individuals be tolerated or snubbed?

    June 5, 2011

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