There’s a new trend afoot. Sneaking up on every outfit is the sneaker. This casual touch is running wild from formal to fun wear.
By Maureen Mancini Amaturo
There’s a new trend afoot. Sneaking up on every outfit is the sneaker. This casual touch is running wild from formal to fun wear. Spotted with tuxedos on red carpets, on designer runways (as in Chanel) and on the streets with dresses, leather mini skirts, and bohemian maxi skirts, sneakers are not just for jeans anymore. Wear them in place of heels or boots with almost anything. Wait, take out the almost. Whether flat, platformed, low-top, high-top, slip-on, lace-up, studded, Vans, Keds, or Converse, at the moment, the sneaker is the really big shoe to wear when you want to step up your look.
The new sneaker looks can change a shirtdress from conservative to cool, change an office look from functional to funky, and change dowdy to downtown. Plus, there’s a sneaker for every soul. Grunge girls to finicky fashionistas have a spectrum of sneakers from which to choose. Black or high-voltage color, multi-colors, mix-and-match laces, prints, shimmer, studs, and jewels, a bazillion choices to give you happy feet at every price point.
For the label-crazy crowd, designer names are moving in on Keds, Vans, and Chuck Taylor Converse territory. Betsey Johnson has some fun, printed, slip-on sneakers on sale, $45, at betseyjohnson.com. Stella McCartney did a sneaker for Adidas priced at $125. Kenzo is offering a $258 tiger-print sneaker. Balenciaga has a metallic leather trainer for $452. And if that doesn’t convince you that fashion is serious about sneakers, even Chanel has sneaker choices, which are priced from $750-$2,400. You wouldn’t want to jog through a puddle with them, but they sure do look good.
Then, there are the bridal sneakers. Yes, bridal. Aside from all the do-it-yourself varieties brides are personally creating with rhinestones, ribbons, silk flowers, and glue, shoe stores and shopping sites are showing white high-top Converse with bedazzled toes and organdy ribbon laces. Flat white sneakers covered in lace and tied with satin ribbon. And the sneaker that launched a thousand blips on the fashion screen, Karl Lagerfeld’s lace, tulle, and sequin-accented sneakers featured in the fall/winter Chanel Haute Couture show.
Finally, what’s totally trendy is totally comfortable.
Add Bounce to Your Look
> Wearing a monochrome outfit? Pair it with a contrast color sneaker. Let your sneaker be the star of the show.
> No one matches shoes and purse anymore, but since there are some fabulous metallic sneaker choices, how about matching your shoes to your jewelry? Check out a metallic gold or silver sneaker for a million-dollar look.
> Sneakers with a skirt is an equal deployment opportunity. They work with skater skirts, with mini skirts, with full skirts, with maxi skirts. A solid black sneaker can work just like a black flat or a bootie. And no need to make yourself crazy looking for “special” sneakers. Nike, Vans, Converse, and other everyday varieties are exactly what you want.
> This summer, the most crisp, contemporary looks are made of the most simple ingredients. Here are three outfits where sneakers make all the difference: 1) White denim jeans, solid T-shirt, a colorful, patterned scarf, and black sneakers; 2) A print or solid T-shirt dress with low-top white Converse sneakers; 3) A white dress with jewel-toned or pop-color sneakers.
> Add some edge if you’re wearing top-to-bottom black. Pick a sneaker with a holographic or shimmer finish.
> Animal or cammo print sneakers look terrific with a beige trench.