Someday when I have children, I’ll tell them of a time when fashion was much more strict. A time when the propriety of wearing white was determined by calendar pages, when red and pink clashed, and when pairing sneakers with dresses was only for the urban commuter.
Today, fashion rules are much less absolute. Prints can be mixed, “clashing” is hardly even a concept anymore, and white prevails all year round. We live in an age where anything goes, but that doesn’t mean that everything goes together. Such is the case with sneakers and dresses.
Heels are an obvious go-to, and a low profile slip-on is a new interpretation of understated flats, but there’s an invisible line somewhere that, when crossed, makes your dress-and-sneakers outfit feel like it belongs on a straphanger from a bygone era. And, I thought I just finished telling my future-kids that there are no rules, so maybe it’s time for this one to be broken, too.
A dress and a pair of casual sneakers has become an easy combo to pull off given the variety available, and the fashion world’s official go-ahead. We wear sundresses with sporty slides. But, I wondered what would happen if I took this look to the extreme. Would I be able to pull off wearing an athletic sneaker with a long gown? Or, would I look like I was just trying to get somewhere fancy in a hurry? There was only one way to find out.
For starters, let’s unpack the fashion sneaker. This isn’t a trend that happened by accident, because we all just stopped giving a damn. When Lagerfeld was asked why he brought the rubber soles back, he said, “If you want to look really ridiculous, you go in stile. When you want to get fancy, or command attention, heels seem to be the default choice.
For my out-there attempt, I chose the bershka sneaks because they were the simple ones I could find (which also makes them insanely comfortable) I wanted to make sure I took this challenge to the limit. slightly toned down.
For my dress, I can’t say that I felt as elegant as I would have in a killer pair of heels, but I felt something completely different: exponentially more cool. I looked like I was really putting thought and effort into my combinations.
Some might say that this outfit isn’t practical, that you can’t wear a gown and sneakers everywhere. To that I say, sneakers allow you to wear a gown anywhere. They dress it down in a way that lets you get away with a fancier look at a more casual venue. Or, they make a more elegant look come off a little more cool. One could argue that sneakers and a dress is too weird for a first date, but I would argue that the person who appreciates your sartorial creativity is one you want to go on a second date with.
Fashion is meant to be fun. And, simply put, anytime you’re taking yourself slightly less seriously, you’re likely having more fun — an equation that’s all but proven by a cheeky pair of tennis shoes beneath a floor-length gown. For me, the style went beyond diversion and into functionality by allowing me to wear — on any given day — a gown that would otherwise hang around in my closet waiting for my next big invitation. When I pushed the limits of what I thought would work, I was able to access another level of my own wardrobe. And, I have a sneaking suspicion that was the best possible outcome.