We’ve spoken about the venerable shoe (and other stuff) company Vans quite frequently. Perhaps you’re asking why, and that’s a reasonably fair question, I guess.
Well, we talk about Vans for a lot of reasons, chief among them that they’re great. Simple, sure, but that’s pretty much the biggest reason why we like Vans so much. More to the point, however, is that they make a number of wearable models that can work with almost everything in your wardrobe save for black tie. (While this has been done, it’s certainly not something I would recommend. It’s pushing the boundaries a bit far for my delicate sensibilities.)
Whether you’re the type to wear the slip-ons, the Eras, the Authentics, or the Old Skools, they all have their place.
Frankly, you could buy one of each and be perfectly happy with yourself. The other reasons we like Vans so much is because they’re cheap and they’re practical. Practicality is something we stress on this site because we like to think we understand the value of a dollar and having one shoe or shirt or hat for one purpose is a pain in the ass.
Having something you can wear with almost everything in your wardrobe makes good economic sense and makes life a lot easier.
In saying that, there’s a reasonable chance that you may struggle choosing the right clothes to wear with your Vans, and for that, we are going to offer solutions.
In the interest of ease and efficiency we’re going to list the four primary styles we like and talk about the best things to wear with each one. There will be some crossover, but that’s to be done in deference to Vans’ ability to make their shoes so versatile.
Not only is this a fine advertisement for a great sneaker company but a lifestyle guide for those who tend to get lost when putting a casual, or dressy, look together. Without further ado, let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about all the things and ways you can wear Vans.
One of the things Vans does is make all of their primary sneaker models in pretty much every colour of the rainbow. While this does give one a number of chances to mix and match to their heart’s content, we feel it’s best to stick to the basic colours (black, white, grey, navy).
Year ‘round, the black or navy is going to serve you best and can be worn with almost anything you can think of. Whether that be denim (here’s some great denim to pair them with), chinos, shorts, or even a very slim pair of trousers, you can’t go wrong. Same goes for your shirts: tees, tanks, flannels, oxfords, dress shirts, you name it.
One of the secrets to the Classic Slip-on is that they can actually look great with the right suit. Now I say the right suit for a reason: they’re not to be worn with anything you own, especially something a little more formal. If you have a black wool or something very basic in a traditional fabric, then avoid the slip-ons. However, if you own a suit in a more casual fabric, something in cotton or linen (summer-y fabrics), these shoes are a fine addition. Keeps you cool and comfortable while putting a new spin on a suit. Again, stick to basic colours unless you’re a man with real moxie (like the gent shown above)
How to Wear It: Vans Authentic Canvas Sneakers with Camo Shorts, Jean Shorts and Chinos
Photo Credit: Sneaker News
The Authentic is a classic canvas sneaker (sometimes leather) that, again, should be a year ‘round staple for all men. these are cheap, easy to wear, and look good with pretty much everything. These are certainly inspired by classic skate shoes and can be worn as such, should that be something you’re interested in.
I tend to wear mine in almost all casual situations, especially in the summer. I love a white pair during the warmer months that have been dirtied up a touch; shows people you know how to have some fun. These, like the slip-
These, like the slip-ons, will work with everything in your wardrobe as well. Moreover, they can work with a suit as well. Again, keep the suit on the causal side, something with a summery and light fabric. I also find that the Authentics work really well with a cut-off pair of jeans. No, not jorts, but a cropped pair of old jeans that fray around the bottom. I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but give it a go with an old pair of denim you have and I think you’ll be surprised by the results.
The Eras are built much like the Authentics but they have a little more structure, which is probably in reference to their skate shoe roots. While they may look like the Authentic, I wouldn’t necessarily wear them in all the same ways I would the Authentic. First off, these do not belong with a suit. Perhaps you could get away with them if you throw on a blazer and a pair of chinos (tie optional), but I tend to think that the extra structure around the ankle takes the Eras out of suit consideration.
They, like the other two pairs we have touched on thus far, are going to be versatile enough to wear with every other casual look you have on your wardrobe, though. Since these do have a little more structure, they’ll lend themselves better to being worn all year, whereas the other two pairs are decidedly better summer shoes. Something in a dark colour, even a pair in leather, will work with your fall and winter wardrobe and heavier fabrics like wool, corduroy (don’t laugh), and cashmere.
If you choose to wear a white version, keep them in the closet for the warmer months. While I don’t always abide by fashion rules, white sneakers during the colder months is one that I do.
The Old Skools are the most substantial and stylized version of the four versions we have touched on this far. This isn’t a knock on them, on the contrary, as they provide something quite different than the other three pairs. The branding is inconspicuous and works quite well, as it is simply the Vans signature wavy line across the side of the shoe. I prefer these in their simplest incarnation as well: white on white, black on white, navy on white, etc. These are probably best purchased in leather. Whether you choose to go with a monochromatic look with these or with a colourful stripe is up to you.
Like the Eras, but with a little more heft, these are going to hold up to the heavier fabrics in your wardrobe and will be the best shoe to be worn all year. A heavy wool pant with a cuff and your favourite flannel would be a fine combination in the cooler months. Again, these are going to be a very versatile shoe and one that can be worn with almost everything, but I think the slightly heavier nature of them lends itself well to heavier fabrics and pieces of clothing.
While you may be thinking that having one each of these four shoes is overkill, I will state for the record that I disagree with that line of thinking. Even though they may seem redundant, each pair offers something slightly different than the last. That, and the most basic pair of each of these sneakers is going to run you about $60; a cost that will hopefully not break the bank for you. If you wear them enough they will break down too. Don’t fret this situation, just go out and buy another pair. Vans are like fast fashion pieces that never go out of style. Should you find yourself close to an establishment that is selling them, stop in and get yourself a pair. I can assure you that you won’t regret it.