The activewear trend has revolutionized fashion—and not just when it comes to running errands after barre class. In just about all of our off-duty hours, from Saturday drinks to Sunday brunch, there’s no question that super-casual dressing has become much more accepted. (Especially when your sportier looks are by designers like Stella McCartney and Rag & Bone.)
But then weekday mornings hit, and for lots of fitness-obsessed gals, it’s farewell spandex, hello shift dress. How to stay comfy without getting a citation from HR? If you work in a more casual office, sneakers might be the answer.
While kicks have been in the spotlight for quite some time now, women are starting to style them with work-appropriate looks—but, of course, there are a few rules you should follow to keep things professional.
The key to staying chic is to start with clean, minimalist sneakers in a neutral color—you can’t go wrong with black, white, or blush. If you don’t have a footwear-cleaning store in your neighborhood, focus on the wiping any dirt off of the sole and throwing your laces in the wash. (And don’t even think of bringing those trusty trail runners anywhere near your cubicle.)
As for what to wear them with, make sure at least one element of your outfit is structured or fitted to avoid looking sloppy. “My trick is to put together an outfit that you plan on wearing heels with, then opt for the sneaker,” explains Jacey Duprie, fashion blogger behind Damsel in Dior. “They’re a wonderful alternative to aching heels all day and super comfy for the girl on the go.”
Oh, and if you work somewhere a bit more conservative, try to reserve the look for casual Fridays. (In most industries, Stan Smiths probably aren’t be the best choice for a big presentation or meeting with the boss.)
If you’re still not sure about styling sneaks with your cashmere and slacks, take some inspiration from these super-fashionable Instagrammers, who prove that pairing sneakers with a dressed-up look can be as easy as, well, tying your shoes. Business on top, party on your feet.
Scroll down to see how some of our favorite Instagram style stars wear sneakers to work.
Now that you’re crushing your at-work look, try these tips for taking charge in the office, straight from the CEO of SoulCycle. Or find out why the fitness fashion powerhouse CEO Jennifer Bandier is all about trusting your intuition in the office.