How To Wear Sneakers To The Office
BY: CALUMN MARSH
September 27, 2016
The rules that governed footwear used to be pretty ironclad. Not today. The modern man has a lot of freedom to dress more or less as he’d like — even in the workplace, where customs were once the most rigid.
The office has recently undergone major changes in decorum. Now there’s only one universal rule: dress well, whatever you take that to mean.
A pair of sneakers for business used to be unthinkable. But with the right approach — clean, tasteful, and above all stylish — the once-unthinkable could soon be your new favorite look.
Here’s how to dress up the sneaker.
Think About Pairing
What you wear with a pair of shoes determines your overall look. Shoes are like jeans in that way. Designer denim is now widely accepted as business-appropriate when matched with a natty sport jacket, similarly a pair of really high-quality sneakers won’t look at all out of place if they fit in with the right ensemble.
Would we recommend you stroll into work wearing your oldest pair of Chucks and the T-shirt you wear to the gym? No. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel confident strolling into the conference room (or a hot new restaurant) with something as smart as blue suede and leather low-tops like these from Lanvin, particularly if you’ve paired them with some rich indigo denim, a crisp white button-down and well-fitted jacket.
Have an “Office Pair”
Getting away with wearing sneakers where you traditionally have worn dress shoes isn’t about laziness or a lack of standards. So if you’re going to dress up a pair, you should be sure to have specific sneakers in mind rather than simply making do with the ones you like to loaf around in.
The shoes you hit the court or the treadmill in have no business anywhere near an office, no matter how clean you keep them: that kind of strenuous activity needs a pair of shoes all its own.
Think instead of a pair of office-ready sneakers as their own investment, perfect for dressing up and for dressing up alone. That’ll keep them looking great in the same way your favorite double-monks do. Nor should you forget to lay on the cleaner when the white starts to go grey or they get scuffed—proper maintenance is even more crucial with casual shoes than with formal, as even the slightest impression of unsightly wear will ruin the put-together effect. Just work them into your regular shoe-shining routine.
Contrast Is In
The surprising trend at this year’s Pitti Uomo, in Florence, was the rise of streetwear to the runways: everywhere you looked, it seemed another sneaker company was unveiling collaboration with the world of haute couture. Meanwhile, the most forward-thinking fashionistas, prowling amid the paparazzi both indoors and out, made a show of matching the expected dandy classics with a slew of more down-to-earth basics.
The shift away from conservative dress has been a long time coming in the high-fashion arena. The takeaway for everyone else? Suits and sneakers are finally in. The once-shocking combination has become inescapable almost overnight, and done so sensibly, with such an accessible approach, that it’s bound to be the norm all season. It’s safe to go bold. Go ahead and turn a few heads by pairing impeccable burnished leather sneakers like these from To Boot New York with a modern, slim cut suit.