During my morning crawl of all things Internet, I ran across an old video of Billy Joel singing “Only The Good Die Young” to an enthusiastic audience. For those of you under 40, Billy Joel is the sixth-best-selling recording artist of all time (and third-best solo artist in the US). He’s big.
In the video, Billy’s wearing a suit as he dances on top of a piano. Then jumps six feet to the floor without missing a note, like a badass.
When you put on a suit, you’ve taken the time to don tailored trousers, a fresh shirt, perfectly knotted tie, a smart jacket and even a matching belt. Why, then, would you stop at the shoes? Do you think you’re making a statement? That you’re sticking it to the man?
And he’s wearing sneakers.
And it works, because if you’re Billy Joel, you can wear sneakers with a suit. Because you’re Billy Joel.
As for everyone else: No. Don’t wear sneakers with your suit. Resist it. Just say no.
Here’s the thing: When you put on a suit, you’ve taken the time to don tailored trousers, a fresh shirt, perfectly knotted tie, a smart jacket and even a matching belt.
Why, then, would you stop at the shoes? Do you think you’re making a statement? That you’re sticking it to the man? Here’s the statement you’re actually making: Incomplete. You look like you haven’t fully committed to the suit. You look like a guy named Blake who’s late to a wedding.
Ask yourself this: Would you go through the effort of donning a suit without, say, showering or doing your hair? Of course not.
Maybe you think you have a good reason for wearing sneakers with the suit. Let’s explore—and refute.
1. Sneakers are just more comfortable. Sure, a well-worn pair of kicks are comfortable, but you don’t put on a suit to be comfortable. You put on a suit to look good. And besides, a good, properly tailored suit is actually pretty comfy. If your problem with suits is comfort, get re-sized, because you’re doing it wrong. As for the shoes, any good pair of brogues will have more padding and engineering than those sneaks.
2. You saw some guy on TV doing it and it looked cool. Yes, that rock star looks pretty rebellious with the anti-establishment sneakers under his suit. Are you a rock star? No? Wear some nice shoes.
3. Your sneakers cost more than nice shoes. Let’s put this to rest quickly: Cost of garment is not directly proportional to its classiness. You can spend as much or as little as you want on shoes. The end result has nothing to do with how much cash you have left over.
4. All your friends do it. Fitting in is familiar, I get it. But why not be that guy with the slick kicks everyone is envying? Do it right. Few things feel better than looking really good.
5. You’re Billy Joel. OK, you got me there. Proceed.
So, can we put the sneakers-with-suits thing to rest? Don’t go through the effort to put on 90 percent of a suit just to stop at perhaps the most important part. Did we mention shoes are one of the first things a woman notices about a man? Come on, do it right, guys. Even you, Blake.