Sneakers have been around in one form or another since the 18th century, although the high-tech multi-colored products lining the shelves of sneaker stores in Miami and the rest of the world bear little resemblance to their common ancestor, the humble plimsoll.
Originally a simple canvas and rubber shoe for sports, sneakers first began the crossover into mainstream wear in the 1950’s after James Dean wore a pair in the classic film "Rebel Without A Cause" but it was basketball player Micheal Jordan and the iconic Air Jordans that really pushed them to the frontline of street fashion in the 80’s.
Now the transformation of the sneaker is complete and high-end sneakers are just as likely to be seen combined with smart casual wear or a suit in the office or boardroom as they are on the sports field or track.
Feet everywhere are letting out a sigh of relief at this new trend but beware, it’s not enough to grab the nearest pair out of your closet and throw them on with your dress suit or designer dress. If you want to appear stylish rather than just desperately trying to be trendy, there are a few simple rules to follow
For women, the first thing to do is match materials. Wearing heavy leather sneakers with a light summer dress is not going to win you any style kudos. Lightweight materials such as canvas or eyelet will set off your summer dress and heavier natural materials like leather and suede are ideal for your woolen Fall wear.
Another vital point to keep in mind is proportion. High-topped sneakers and a skirt or dress that comes below the knee will cut off your legs, making them look dumpy and disproportionate so remember, the longer the dress, the lower the sneaker.
Women’s fashion sneakers come in a great variety of prints and colors and if you want to make a statement by contrasting them with the pattern on your dress, go for it! Just make sure there is harmony between the colors of your outfit.
Men’s designer sneakers are now as well-made and can look almost as elegant as a pair of dress shoes, but remember, the sneaker/suit combo is about opposites. A pair of dark elegantly-shaped oxfords look great with smart casual wear but if you try pairing them with a dress suit, people might just think you are short-sighted and mistook them for your wingtips.
The rule about materials also applies to men, if your suit is light-weight, your sneakers should be too. Likewise, light-colored clothes should be paired with sneakers in a similar shade.
Contrasting prints is not a good look for a man. To make your sneaker/suit statement stand out, Slim Fit suits and thick-soled chunky footwear will get you noticed.
When it comes to making statements with color, pairing a dark monochrome outfit with brightly colored sneakers is the way to go.
Follow these guidelines when you’re choosing your outfit for your next big night and not only will your feet thank you, your stock as a fashion guru will go up. And if your sneaker collection has spent more time on a mud track than a red carpet, check out our collection here and put a bounce back in your step.