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Style Advice

How three different shoes can change one outfit

How three different shoes can change one outfit

Once in a while, you’ll put together an outfit that just works. Whether you nail a look that perfectly strikes the smart casual balance, that fits the trend you’ve been seeking, or that just sits right on you, you’ll want to make the most of it. And make the most of it you can, just by changing up your footwear – it’s an easy style secret that holds the key to getting more wear out of your favourite outfit. Especially today, when the lines between smart and casual blur more than ever. The same outfit you wore to work can seamlessly work on the weekends by slipping into a different pair of shoes.

Need proof? We tasked stylist Millie Rich with styling one look with three different footwear choices to prove how the entire vibe can feel completely different – all with the click of a heel.

1. Classic lace-up boots

We’ve said it before – every guy should own a pair of lace-up leather boots. They’re an autumn staple that bring a more classic, yet slightly rugged feel to your outfit. Keep the boots low-key and style the rest of your outfit to feel equally classic with a neatly done-up jacket and a slight turn-up on the jeans.

How it feels different

The structure of the jacket works with the straight cut of the jeans to create a workwear-inspired look that’s complemented by the addition of leather boots. Despite the casual elements of workwear styling, this look is effortlessly styled in a way that feels more refined than your average t-shirt and jeans combination.

Where to wear it

This is a look that works everywhere from laid-back office environments to dinner and drinks. It nails the rule of balancing smart and casual elements, making it easy to pull off in most relaxed situations where you still want to look like you’ve made an effort.

2. Statement-making trainers

Photographed: Nike Waffle Racer (£75)

Trainers bring an instantly chilled-out feel to your outfit, so go all out with a cool, vibrant pair that really make a statement – and since you’re already dressing casual, seize the opportunity to accessorise. Maximise the turn-up on your jeans, bring colour with a pair of contrasting socks, and if you want to take things further still add a cap or bag. 

How it feels different

This outfit is all about feeling relaxed, so throw on your jacket, un-tuck your shirt, and embrace the laid-back vibe. By keeping the rest of the look loose-fitting and low-effort, the bold trainers really stand out against the neutral tones. 

Where to wear it

If your work environment is fairly relaxed, this look can definitely pass as a smart casual combination. But it really shines in more casual situations, like evening drinks or days out with friends, where the contrasting of the neutral top with the bold trainers makes an effortlessly cool statement.

3. Slick leather loafers

When you’re dressing up smarter, go for smooth, shiny leather loafers. Keep the sharp theme running in the rest of your outfit, with neat turn-ups and a tucked-in t-shirt with a classic leather belt. If you want to add a little interest, try a contrast sock that complements the colours of your outfit and shoes – just avoid sport socks and novelty prints that will tone down the put-together factor of your look.

How it feels different

While slightly more trend-led, this look remains easy to pull off thanks to its neutral tones and flattering cuts. The straight-leg jeans and slim t-shirt paired with loafers and visible socks nod to mod culture, but the overall feel is considered and shows you really know how to cut a stylish silhouette.

Where to wear it

Although it’s the smartest of the three looks, this isn’t one to waste at work. The put-together feel of the neutral top and shirt, the well-cut jeans, and the slick leather loafers combine to create an outfit that’s perfect for date nights, or any occasion where you want to feel your best.


Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Millie Rich
Styling assistant: Toby Standing