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How to Wear Jeans with Sneakers

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Sneakers and jeans are highly versatile wardrobe items, but pairing them with each other can be confusing! A great pair of skinny jeans may look awesome with vintage low tops, but awkward with retro high tops. When trying to figure out how to pair them, you'll need to keep in mind a few factors, like the length and style of the jeans, height of the shoes, color and patterning, and level of formality. With a little planning, though, you'll be able to craft super stylish outfits out of these wardrobe staples.


Creating Casual LooksDownload Article

  1. 1
    Pair regular- or slim-fit jeans with athletic sneakers for an everyday look. This is a combination you can never go wrong with. The best part about it is that you can wear it pretty much anywhere: meeting up with friends, going to a concert, hanging out in a park, or almost anything else you can think of.
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    Go for a classic look by choosing monochrome jeans and sneakers combos. The best thing about a one- or two-tone look is that it will never go out of style. Match black jeans with black sneakers, or white jeans with white sneakers. Mix it up and wear black jeans with white sneakers, or white jeans with black sneakers. Try to play around with shades, such as dark and light grays and tans for a modern take on the classic look.
    • For example, you could wear dark gray jeans with black sneakers or light gray jeans with white sneakers.
    • If you want a more bold take on this classic outfit, try matching colored jeans with sneakers of the same color or a similar hue!
  3. 3
    Create a retro or boho look by pairing wide-leg jeans with low-tops. If you want to go for a breezy, vintage vibe, this is one of the easiest ways to do it! Choose jeans that are more form fitting through the waist and thighs and then open up at the calf, and throw on a pair of classic low-top, canvas sneakers.[1]
    • To complete this look, add a vintage or oversized graphic tee and tuck it into the jeans, or wear a simple, flowy top!
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    Use the sneakers to add a pop of color and show your sense of style. For the jeans, go with a solid color, like light or dark blue, white, or black. Then pair them with a pair of vibrantly-colored sneakers, or a pair that has a bold pattern. Break out those cool shoes that you’ve been looking for an excuse to wear!
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    Pair high-top sneakers with straight-leg and regular-fit jeans. These jeans have a little more room through the leg and don’t taper as much, which means they won’t clash with high-top sneakers. You can choose to wear the pants so they cover the top of the shoe, or cuff them to show that part off. Either way, you'll look great!
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    Cuff your jeans to show off your sneakers and create a modern look. Cuffing your jeans helps create a modern silhouette and can bring attention to a cool pair of sneakers. Beyond that, cuffing also helps if you need shorter jeans but don't have time to head to a tailor. Make a first cuff that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and then repeat this for a second one. When cuffing, you should aim to have your jeans reach just above the ankle bone.[2]
    • Don’t cuff your pants more than twice, otherwise the bottom of your jeans will start to look bulky. If the pants are still too long with 2 cuffs, you might want to consider taking them to a tailor.
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    Wear low-rise or no-show socks for a clean look. Though it’s completely fine to wear exposed socks, many people prefer to not show socks with low-top sneakers. If you want to keep socks hidden, try out a pair of no-show socks, which you can get at places where shoes are sold.[3] No-show socks typically come in fewer sizes (often just small, medium, or large), so you will need to try a few pairs to find what works best for you and the shoes you have.
    • If you are wearing high-tops, you’ll want to have socks that reach up past your ankle to prevent blisters from forming, so avoid wearing no-show or crew cut socks with these kinds of sneakers.
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    Wear a funky pair of socks to add a little bit of color. If you have to wear socks, consider long ones with a cool pattern or bright color. Use the visible space between your sneakers and jeans as an opportunity to showcase a little bit of personality and uniqueness!

Dressing Up Jeans and SneakersDownload Article

  1. 1
    Choose dark wash or black jeans and neutral-colored sneakers. In certain settings, like the office or upscale restaurants, you’ll want to style the jeans and sneakers combo a little more formally. In general, as formality increases, the jeans should get darker. And with dark jeans, you’ll want to stick to neutral colors (whites, blacks, grays, and tans) for your sneakers.[4]
    • To keep the sneakers more work-appropriate, stay away from dramatic designs and stick to solid or two-tone patterns. For the jeans, avoid any styles with fading, distress, or rips.
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    Elevate jeans and sneakers by adding a crisp shirt and a tailored blazer. One way to make jeans and sneakers a little classier is by adding more formal elements to the top of the outfit to balance the casualness of the bottom. This smart look is super versatile. It can be worn in many different situations, seasons, colors, and styles. Be sure to make it a staple in your wardrobe![5]
  3. 3
    Stick to slim-fit or skinny jeans and low-tops for a polished look. This tailored silhouette will always be in style and can be worn to almost any occasion that calls for more-than-casual attire. Having a pair or two of these types of jeans in your closet will make getting ready much easier, especially if you have a good pair of shoes to go with them.
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    Go for a pair of sneakers made with high-end fabrics like leather or suede. Most casual sneakers are made of textiles, like cotton or polyester, or from synthetic materials. Dressier sneakers, however, are made of higher quality and more costly materials, which have an added bonus of making the sneakers more durable.[6]
    • Because these shoes will typically cost more, choose a color and style that can go with any pair of pants. Black and other dark neutrals are generally the go-to for this, but whites and other lighter tans can also work just as well.
    • You don’t have to drop a lot of money for a good pair of dressy sneakers (or jeans, for that matter). Try going to local thrift stores or watching for sales online, and you’ll be able to find something that works
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    Keep dress sneakers clean so they look good when you need them. While sneakers you wear while playing sports can get dirty, you don’t want grime caked onto shoes you wear to work. If something does happen, gently clean the shoes by rinsing them with water and scrubbing them lightly with a brush or cloth. Let the shoes dry completely before wearing them again.
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    Avoid wearing high-top sneakers of any sort when trying a dressier look. High-top sneakers are typically more athletic in style and most likely won’t do well in a formal setting. Save them for the gym!

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