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Mark Pomerantz pairs one of his handmade, Italian wool suits with his favorite LOUIS JUNIOR sneakers, which feature fresh white calfskin leather, creeper soles and laces for a monochrome look—but not without the classic red bottoms, $845, at Christian Louboutin, South Coast Plaza. (714-754-9200; christianlouboutin.com)

Turn heads by pairing sleek sneakers with elevated apparel.

By Ashley Ryan


In the world of fashion, it’s not uncommon for opposing trends to coexist in complete harmony. Take, for example, the popularity of athleisure and the regard for luxurious custom clothing. But a new movement marries these two styles, pairing suits with sneakers.

“The hybrid outfit is becoming more relevant,” says Mark Pomerantz, a Newport Beach-based designer specializing in tailored menswear. “… The rules of what we wear when have evolved, certainly with a push from COVID, … and it’s created a whole new category of dress sneaker.”

For Pomerantz, who lives in the realm of elevated apparel, the inclusion of casual footwear has started to penetrate his world over the last year or so, with clients asking for suggestions that keep comfort in mind or presenting him with a collectible sneaker to design clothing around. “I feel like it used to be kind of an alternative statement and now it’s becoming an intentional statement,” he notes.

Pomerantz himself has started incorporating more comfortable shoes into his wardrobe as well, noting that his favorites are the calfskin leather Louis Junior sneakers from Christian Louboutin, which he wears roughly three days a week. “They have the cleanest, nicest aesthetic and I like the detailing of them,” he says, adding that he prefers to keep his look simple.

“The sneaker thing is so fresh—both figuratively and literally—it makes a really nice look,” he explains. “I just don’t like when it’s overthought. … Keeping it dressy and simple and monochromatic in the shoe color is the safest bet to have the freshest look and the most versatile styling.” Pomerantz recently paired tuxedo pants and a blazer with black suede sneakers for a high-end event in Arizona, creating a cool combination that still offered an elevated look overall.

Other brands he suggests if you’re seeking a clean look include Common Projects, Saint Laurent and Zegna. But he says designers like Gucci, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton are crafting more bold shoes for sneakerheads as well. Air Jordan also remains popular, bringing a more traditional sneaker to these elevated looks with black-on-black, patent leather or colorful styles.

When deciding what to wear with your footwear, Pomerantz says it can be subjective. He recommends donning a dark suit with a black suede shoe to add some depth to your outfit, and says that sneakers pair well with dress pants, like his Patch Pocket trousers or tailored knit slacks, and a sweater or even a luxe velvet bomber jacket for an integrated look from head to toe.

“It’s just kind of a new perspective,” Pomerantz says of the trend. “It’s comfortable, it’s a little more approachable—in the same way that I’m not wearing a dress shirt or even a tie with my suits as often. … I think we’re going to continue to see more hybridized styling of luxury aesthetic meets luxe leisure aesthetic.”


Footloose and Fancy Free

These footwear options, available locally, are fashionable complements to any formal attire.

Casual and formal are married in the MEN’S BBALL DUO NAPA AND SUEDE LOW-TOP SNEAKERS from Common Projects, combining supple nappa leather with smooth suede in natural hues and a perforated round toe, $536, at Neiman Marcus, Fashion Island. (949-759-1900; neimanmarcus.com)
Jordan 1 Retro High OG UNC Toe
For sneakerheads looking to tailor their outfit to a special pair of shoes, consider the Air Jordan JORDAN 1 RETRO HIGH OG UNC TOE, a trendy sneaker with a vibrant splash of bright blue as a throwback to Michael Jordan’s college career at the University of North Carolina, $320, at Paired Up, Fashion Island. (949-333-9532; pairedupgallery.com)
Men's Ace GG Supreme Sneaker
Gucci’s MEN’S ACE GG SUPREME SNEAKERS are monogrammed with the brand’s famed logo along with snakeskin-embossed detailing at the heel and bold stripes on the side for a flashy look, $750, at Bloomingdale’s, Fashion Island. (949-729-6600; bloomingdales.com)
Andy Sneaker ysl
The sleek ANDY SNEAKERS offer an all-black look, made in Italy with soft, dark calfskin leather and a matching rubber sole as well as the brand name subtly embossed in gold, $745, at Saint Laurent, South Coast Plaza. (714-429-0101; ysl.com)
With a minimalist silhouette and small pops of color, Vince’s FULTON SNEAKER, made with smooth white leather and suede, is easy to match with any elevated apparel while still managing to look sleek and sophisticated, $225, at Nordstrom, Fashion Island. (949-610-0700; nordstrom.com)
Triple Stitch Slip-On Sneaker
With a sleek exterior, padded insole and crisscrossed elastic in place of laces, the SUEDE TRIPLE STITCH SNEAKERS from Zegna are comfortable for all-day wear while still allowing you to sport a stylish shoe that dresses up your outfit, $990, at Garys, Fashion Island. (949-759-1622; garysonline.com)
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