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Fashion: Sneakers all the way

Remember how Balenciaga’s Triple S became the top-selling sneaker of 2017? It still dominates the popularity charts. Similarly, Gucci has dipped its metaphorical feet into the luxury sneaker market. This year, swish outings from Dior, Prada and Louis Vuitton testify to the ripple effects of this footwear phenomenon that began as a working-class shoe and now spells self-indulgence.

As the footwear of choice for athletes and rappers, sneakers slowly acquired a cult status. Today, these comfortable shoes are cultural icons. So, from sports arenas to red carpet events and weddings to office-wear, sneakers fit all bills. So much so that there’s a dedicated weekly podcast called Sneaker History Podcast and a community of sneakerheads, whose mission is “to educate, inspire, and encourage sneakerheads to turn their passion for sneakers into careers in the footwear business”.

excited? Here’s how to style them to ace your style game on all occasions.

Up the casual games

Look beyond the hoodie-jogger-sneaker combo

Solid black-and-white sneakers are classic and can be paired with anything; Tee, vest, bag and cap by Zara; Pants and shoes by Adidas Originals

One can never go wrong with the OG hoodie and sneakers combo, but who says that’s the only way to elevate your casual game?

Relaxed-fit jeans or chinos work as well with low-tops as with a plain or graphic tee layered with a vest, when paired with black-and-white sneakers.

Expert Speak

Nida Mahmood, the fashion designer, says, “Solid black-and-white sneakers are classic and can be paired with just about anything! Try vibrant colors or even metallic ones. Some brands are also doing ombre sneakers that are uber cool and give the wearer the option of having more fun with casual wear.”

Experiment with ease

When in doubt, choose black-and-white sneakers

You can experiment with a whole lot of silhouettes in the colors of the sneakers;  Corset top & pants by Zara;  Shoes by Nike
You can experiment with a whole lot of silhouettes in the colors of the sneakers; Corset top & pants by Zara; Shoes by Nike

Dear women, slip into a corset top and layer it with a pair of pleated, flared trousers. Accessorise with chunky statement earrings and a neckpiece and rock your black-and-white sneakers in this cool, casual look.

Expert Speak

nida mahmood
nida mahmood

Nida Mahmood explains, “You can experiment with a whole lot of silhouettes in the colors of the sneakers. They add so much to an outfit. Besides, a simple formal sheath dress paired with sneakers is a great way to make a statement in casual wear and add some newness to it!”

Vibe with the weekend

Make a colorful splash in sneakers without going OTT

Even a linen suit looks very cool with a pair of sneakers;  T-shirt by Wrbl.in;  Shorts and shoes by Nike;  Bag by Pause;  Sunglasses by Tom Ford
Even a linen suit looks very cool with a pair of sneakers; T-shirt by Wrbl.in; Shorts and shoes by Nike; Bag by Pause; Sunglasses by Tom Ford

Weekend brunches are the perfect time to unwind in style, and what could be better than a dash of color to elevate the mood? Pick any hue and keep the tone in the same zone as it’ll help you look well-put-together.

When opting for a pair of shorts, find a length that ensures that you don’t look ready to play basketball. Nor should they be too tight to sit down in! A pair of New Balance 999s, or the multi-tone Onitsuka Tigers work well with this look.

Expert Speak

Nachiket Barve, fashion designer, says, “Sneakers work wonderfully for brunches. Guys can do easy shorts with sneakers and an oversized sweatshirt, or go for lined pants with a cool, sporty T-shirt. In fact, even a linen suit looks very cool with a pair of sneakers.

Pastels work quite nicely; whites are a classic and pale grays and neutrals work very well with this trend. Multi-tone sneakers are really in, as are chunky sneakers and those with military details. Men can also try studded sneakers as well as those with a mix of leather and suede.”

Dare to be dressy

Dazzle in the denims-meets-statement sneaker ensemble

A trend that really works for women is lace sneakers with embellishments;  Denims by Hiro;  Shoes by Yeezy;  Top by H&M;  Bag by Off White
A trend that really works for women is lace sneakers with embellishments; Denims by Hiro; Shoes by Yeezy; Top by H&M; Bag by Off White

Denims are always a good idea and when you go brunching, slip into a statement pair and team them with bold sneakers to flaunt the right balance of comfortable meets dressy. A bright pair of Dunks, or maybe even a Japan S could be good options to consider.

Expert Speak

Nachiket Barve
Nachiket Barve

Nachiket Barve, fashion designer, elaborates, “Dressy sneakers are versatile, comfortable and work well for the summer. You can pair them with an easy summer dress, a minidress, or a cropped jumpsuit—the vibe is more important than how it comes together as a head-to-toe look. Even pairing a short, cropped denim jacket with a summery, floaty slip dress and sneakers will work very well for this season.

It’s a great idea to look at a pair of white sneakers with botanical, insect or bird motifs on them. A trend that really works for women is lace sneakers with embellishments.”

Get desk-to-date ready

Find sneakers that easily carry you from work to coffee

Avoid sneakers in gold or with bling.  those are meant for partywear;  Suit by Zara;  T-shirt by H&M;  Sunglasses by F21;  Bag by Pause;  Shoes by Nike x Off White
Avoid sneakers in gold or with bling. those are meant for partywear; Suit by Zara; T-shirt by H&M; Sunglasses by F21; Bag by Pause; Shoes by Nike x Off White

Investing in versatile workwear and comfortable footwear that blends with the hybrid work-home-leisure culture is only sensible in the new normal.

A formal suit might seem like overkill, but pairing one with a casual tee with a sprinkling of color might make room for sneakers to complete the look!

While plain white sneakers are always a safe bet, a pair of Jordans, Superstars, or even Vans could work for those willing to experiment. This choice tells your date how well you juggle work with play.

Expert Speak

rick roy
rick roy

Rick Roy, costume designer, says, “Chinos and tees layered with a linen or bomber jacket and worn with sneakers can be easily carried from work to a day-time coffee date with perfect ease. Keep the look cool, casual and dressy without overdoing it.

Avoid sneakers in gold or with bling. Those are meant for partywear. Rather, go for a statement pair that you can wear to work, for athleisure and to a lounge.”

have fun in the sun

Sass up summer wear with vibrant-hued sneakers

Different colors of neon or sneakers with a lot of vibrant hues can pair with a whole lot of outfits;  Shirt by Mango;  Skirt by YTS;  Shoes by Nike
Different colors of neon or sneakers with a lot of vibrant hues can pair with a whole lot of outfits; Shirt by Mango; Skirt by YTS; Shoes by Nike

While dresses with sneakers are a predictable choice, styling them with a shirt and skirt can help you look off-beat without appearing too casually dressed. A colorful and fun pair of sneakers (check out black and pink AF1s) complement the look well when matched with the colors of the outfit.

Remember to keep the accessories subtle to needle the attention on your sneakers.

Expert Speak

Rick Roy, costume designer, says. “Girls can wear sneakers with a casual top, short skirt and an oversized, sleeveless jacket, to go from work to a daytime date. Tattered denims can also work in place of a skirt. Usually a cool, casual look like this works well for a first date.

As for the sneakers, you can go for bright, pop colors to make a statement. Two different colors of neon or sneakers with a lot of vibrant hues can pair with a whole lot of outfits.”

Dress to impress

Trend on social media with an eye-catching pair of sneakers

With girls, the more fun they have, the more enhanced the look gets;  On her from her: Dress, jacket and sunglasses by Zara;  Bag by Off White;  Shoes by Nike;  On him: T-shirt by Old Time's Sake;  Pants and shoes by Nike;  Bag, shirt and sunglasses by Zara
With girls, the more fun they have, the more enhanced the look gets; On her from her: Dress, jacket and sunglasses by Zara; Bag by Off White; Shoes by Nike; On him: T-shirt by Old Time’s Sake; Pants and shoes by Nike; Bag, shirt and sunglasses by Zara

Classic sneakers like AF1s or Stan Smiths for men are both super stylish and comfortable enough to dance the night away in. Similarly, women can try the Club C 85 or Stan Smith.

for him

Pair your sneakers with a colour-coded, sporty outfit. Add some accessories to complete the look.

Expert Speak

Nimish Shah
Nimish Shah

Nimish Shah, the fashion designer says, “The best way to dress up sneakers is to keep the selection of basic clothes, like a simple denim or chino with a plain T-shirt. Avoid busy clothes. The fact that you have a hyped sneaker is itself the best accessory for a look.”

for her

Find a dress that hits the sweet spot between too dressy and too restrictive, and team it with a blazer to highlight the sneakers. Make sure that your outfit has fewer colors than the sneakers.

Expert Speak

Nimish Shah says, “A shift dress and nice hype sneakers are always classic, but there’s absolutely no harm in trying a midi dress with sneakers. Have a layer-on, oversized jacket. With girls, the more fun they have, the more enhanced the look gets. They can go totally out there, which is when it starts to look they’ve made an effort versus when they’re going to work.”

From HT Brunch, May 7, 2022

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