How To Wear Espadrilles; The Gentleman's Alternative To Thongs

One giant leap for Summer style.

How To Wear Espadrilles; The Gentleman's Alternative To Thongs

Made popular in Spain and the French riviera, this canvas peasant shoe has quickly become a mainstay in the wardrobe of any discerning gent. Whether you opt for a traditional canvas number or a more luxe iteration, they’re light, breathable and astonishingly compact – in short, the ultimate summer slip on.

What might come as a surprise though is the many ways in which they can be sported. Historically the underdog of the shoe world, espadrilles have far surpassed their humble origins and now take you well beyond the sun deck. Here, we explain how.

Espadrilles With A Suit

Whilst unlikely to be the first combination to come to mind, under a set of very specific circumstances, this deconstructed shoe can be the perfect addition to your summer suiting. With all the nonchalance of flip flops but none of the gritty after taste, espadrilles are a worthy companion to an unstructured linen two piece.

However, to pull it off, there are a couple of must dos. First and foremost, you need to think hem length. As far as I’m concerned, no linen trousers should have a break at the hem and the bigger the cuff, the better. Because linen suits are usually worn in warmer climes, you generally don’t need to accommodate for a lace up shoe, hence the shorter leg.

Colour is the other major point of consideration when it comes to sporting such a casual shoe when suiting up. Pale hues naturally lend themselves to a more relaxed vibe and are more likely to work with espadrilles. By contrasting your suit with your espadrilles you can also show a touch of personal flare. An olive linen suit with taupe espadrilles is an absolute cracker of a look. See below for reference.   

Espadrilles With Jeans

Nothing says nautical quite like a slim fit pair of jeans with a striped espadrille.  Roll up the cuff, whack on a white tee shirt and this will take you from the boat to brunch and back again.

When it comes to choosing your denim, any light wash will do – the more worn the better. Espadrilles can really dress up a pair of distressed jeans and it’s one of the rare occasions that looking a little dishevelled errs on the side of chic rather than untidy (see reference below).

The jeans/espadrille combo is also a terrific opportunity to go a little wild on the colour and pattern front. Traditional espadrille makers from Spain and France generally do a range of designs and denim offers a great base to experiment off. If colours not your thing though, a muted palette such as Idris Elba’s is a sure fire way to hit the mark.   

Espadrilles With Chinos

Chinos aren’t an automatic ‘go to’ for most gents when it comes to dressing up their summer slip ons. However, with the right style and colours this can be a dynamite combo that screams ‘summer in the Hamptons’ even if you’re only ducking out to the shops.

Like with suiting, the chinos you choose should be a lighter variety – whether they be a cotton blend or a more outlandish seersucker. It’s also advisable to steer away from very fitted styles as this can look out of place with such relaxed footwear. References like that sported by old mate Johannes Huebel (pictured below) are great as they tow that fine line between artfully rumpled and classic prep.

Espadrilles With Shorts

The most classic of summer looks, espadrilles and shorts symbolises timeless style like nothing else. Beyond this, it’s also one of the easiest outfits to cobble together. You could throw this in your suitcase for a weekend away and probably need nothing else, save a tooth brush.

This being said, it’s the simplest looks that require the most discernment. My advice is to go for high quality fabrics to lend your look that extra edge above the competition. Local outfitter, Venroy, does an exceptional range of linen shirts while the likes of Orlebar Brown and Ralph Lauren are go to’s for shorting.

Ultimately though, whether you’re wanting to dress up a pair of boardies for sundowners or you’re going for something slightly more refined, espadrilles are guaranteed to elevate your summer uniform above the crowd.

Espadrilles With Socks

Socks? With canvas espadrilles? Out there yes. But impossible? Absolutely not.

Sported with a Neapolitan style suit, and an open neck polo, this is a look where it pays to brave. Paired with black espadrilles, simplicity is key here. An immaculately tailored suit with the most rudimentary of espadrilles and thin black socks can take an otherwise classic style and upend it to spectacular effect. 

Needless to say, this is not a style for the faint of heart. And wherever possible, I’d still opt for getting your ankles out. But, if anything, this goes to show that it can be done – you’ve just got to have, well, frankly, the chagrin to give it a go.    

Where To Buy Espadrilles

MR.PORTER | The Iconic