How to Style Vans

Vans in a bold animal pattern pair well with more dressed-up or polished outfits.
... Clemens Bilan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When it comes to casual shoes, Vans top the list as a classic. But while the brand is best known for canvas tennis-style shoe, the line actually boasts a variety of styles for guys and girls. Work with this low-key footwear to create both traditional and unexpected head-to-toe looks.

1 Ultra Casual

Vans are a classic casual shoe, so they work well with any relaxed outfit in your closet. Guys can wear a traditional canvas pair with their usual jeans and graphic T-shirt combo for classes or hanging out with friends. The Vans Chukka boot style is a good option for the fall when worn with a crewneck sweater and dark-wash jeans, while the slip-on styles make ideal summer shoes for wear with a bright tee and cargo shorts. Girls can use their Vans for a low-key tomboy vibe. Pair them with a classic white V-neck, cuffed boyfriend jeans and a hoodie. Or go for a ribbed tank top and denim mini with a slip-on style in a fun checkerboard pattern. Vans can also work well with a more girly eyelet tank top and colored cutoffs.

2 Hipster Cool

If you’re a fan of hipster style, well-worn Vans can fit the look -- as long as you team them with the right pieces. For guys, wear them with a vintage cowboy-style plaid button-down and skinny jeans. Throw on a grandpa-inspired cardigan over the plaid shirt if the weather’s cool. Girls can mix their Vans with a flannel button-down, cropped white tee and high-waisted denim cutoffs. Add a few chunky gold bracelets or chain necklace to finish off the hipster look.

3 Polished Up

While Vans are a classic casual shoe, you can create a funky vibe by wearing them with a more polished outfit. Girls can rock a pair of bright pink slip-on Vans instead of ballet flats with a flirty floral sundress or an ivory lace dress. Combine the look with feminine accessories like a strand of pearls or bow headband to counter the boyish look of the shoes. For guys, team your Vans with a blazer, button-down shirt, coordinating tie and dark-wash jeans. Or layer a crewneck sweater or sweater vest over the button-down and tie for an even more low-key finish.

4 Evening Out

You might not immediately think of wearing your Vans for an evening out, but the right pair can make the outfit. Instead of the usual leather ankle boots, guys can wear Vans suede Chukka boots with black jeans and a button-down shirt for a casual date or night out with the guys. Girls can show off a sexy black skater dress or a black sequin tank and denim mini with high-top wedge Vans in camo or animal print. Add an armful of bangle bracelets to give your look plenty of nighttime bling.

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.