Think sneakers can’t hit every dress code? Think again. It’s 2021, and anything goes at this point. There are still rules, and three major ones to be exact, in order to nail it like a seasoned hype girl. Here’s exactly how to style sneakers with any outfit, no matter who you are.
Know Your Sneaker Types
These sneakers are great for everyday casual looks like jean shorts etc. Think Vans, Converse, and other skate style sneakers. Since they’re usually canvas, they’re harder to pair with more elevated looks. Unless of course, they’re leather. Here’s an old example of how I elevated my Vans with a sweater dress.
These refined or bold options will help you step out of your comfort zone without getting too crazy. Since they’re often fully leather or adorned with luxury details like rhinestones or studs, they add a playful element to a solid-colored outfit or simple patterned outfit.
Classic Sport Sneakers
This is where I started when I began pairing sneakers with outfits back in 2008. These are the sneakers you already use for the gym, that usually come in neutral colors. This is a perfect place to start for sneaker beginners! Pick a color that matches most of your wardrobe and get comfortable adding them to more formal outfits like dresses.
Modern Sport Sneakers
Dad sneakers, crazy shapes unite! These sneakers are functional to run in, but not. Think of these as one step above the classic sports sneaker. They’re bold and meant to be paired with unusual combinations like puffy dresses or slip dresses. They’re not for the faint of heart.
These are usually sport sneakers like the iconic Jordan 1’s, but they can also include crazy styles like Fear of God boot styles as well. They’re much harder to pair with casual outfits and look best when incorporated into streetwear looks. That’s not to say they don’t pair well with dresses though. I love pairing my Jordans with suits and dresses. Just remember the color rules, which I’ll elaborate on below.
Never Underestimate the Power of a White Sneaker
My Yeezy 350v2 Boosts are my most worn pair in my closet. It was an accident, to be honest. White sneakers are a wildly versatile addition to your wardrobe, especially if they’re fully monochrome white. Not only do they match everything you own, but they also add a level of elegance to the look, unlike a trendy colorful pair. Having a pair of high-top and low-top options is crucial. Rule of thumb to follow to feel comfortable trying it: the more voluminous the outfit, the slimmer the shoe, and vice versa. A puff sleeve dress pairs very well with a slim sneaker like the Nike Cortez and lets the outfit speak for itself. High tops pair very well with more casual looks like short slip dresses.
Coordinate One Color In A Multi-Color Outfit
Sneakers can be the focal point of the outfit when paired with solids, or they can be used to bring out a more subdued color in a multi-colored pattern. This is exactly what I did here with the Collina Strada X Reebok sneaker. The darker purple in the dress pops more and brings the color from head to toe. A chunky low-top sneaker like this one works well with midi sundresses or longer ones. You can get away with a chunkier option if the dress is flowier. Slimmer sneakers tend to look more ill-paired with outfits like this, as it would appear as more of an afterthought.
Buy Sneakers In Colors That Suit Your Current Wardrobe
One of the biggest challenges I hear from friends when trying to style sneakers is the fact that many hyped sneakers don’t pair well with anything other than their basics like black or grey sweats. Do you wear a lot of a certain color? Forego the need for the latest hyped sneaker and find a shade in a color you already own. Is your closet is filled with more preppy items like chinos or khaki shorts? Opt for a slimmer luxury sneaker: like Golden Goose or Christian Louboutin. Both are bold enough to elevate an otherwise buttoned-up look.