Back in the day, when business clothes required formal shoes, and dresses demanded heels, the life of a shoe-lover was an easier one. Fast forward to today, and you’ll see that fashion is less about rules and more about statements. Not to mention, comfort is now key — whether it’s for clothing or one’s self-esteem — yet style still reigns supreme. But now that the rules themselves have morphed, what’s one to do? Adapt, of course. Let’s back up a little, though — why all the hullaballoo over mere shoes anyway? They’re not at eye-level, they’re supposed to get you from Point A to Point B — ideally without hurting you — and they get dirty! But as any fashionista will tell you, the right pair of shoes can take you from drab to fab in a hot minute.
Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.
To start with, let’s look at a simple shoe-cabulary. You’ve got your flats and heels, of course, with different styles of each, along with boots, sneakers, and a plethora of others. Heel size, toe shape, shoe length — it’s enough to confuse even the most style-savvy of us.
Men have it a little easier, with most of their shoes falling into a few simple categories. And since pants are a staple in their wardrobes, most gents already know what goes well with what. For women, however, styling gets a little more complex — especially if the aim is to dress up your regular outfit, or add a sporty touch to something feminine. Just a quick glance at the different types of shoes available, and you can tell that certain shoes go with specific outfits. But what happens when you want to push the boundaries and experiment? That’s where things get a little tricky.
Athleisure as a trend is relatively new, but it’s all the rage. From being the mainstay of gym rats, it’s slowly made its way into high fashion, being flaunted by the likes of Gigi, RiRi, and the omnipresent Kardashian clan. Infusing lots of slouch into their styles, these celebrities have taken athleisure to the next level by combining joggers with pumps, and maxi-dresses with high-tops.
While it may seem counterintuitive — at first, at least — it actually opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. The old rules are no longer in play, and making a statement seems to be the order of the day. Some basics still hold good though. After all, no one wants to look frumpy. For instance, pairing slouchy pants with unflattering shoes isn’t going to do anyone any favors. Joggers and tights tend to be quite easy to style, lending themselves well to either dressing up or down. To add casual shoes to feminine outfits, the key thing to remember is the length of the dress or skirt in question. In addition, balance always helps. You could pair a voluminous tulle skirt with sleek sneakers, and you would look like you belonged on a runway. Pair sky-high heels with fitted joggers and a bomber jacket to elevate a comfy look to something that’s more off-duty-model-esque.
Upping your Shoe Game
If you’re the type who likes to stand out, or you’re less inspired by Sporty Spice than by Posh, you can push the boundaries of your style by choosing starker contrasts. Think tights and gladiator sandals mixed with an oversized sweater. Or maybe a 50’s-style full skirt with neon kicks. Seek inspiration from Andy Warhol and Alexander McQueen, and unleash your inner child with funky colors, bold prints, and unexpected pairings.
Ultimately, athleisure is a very forgiving trend. It’s versatile, and lends itself just as well to comfort as it does to high fashion. Adding the shoes you love to a sporty style is hardly as difficult as it seems — simply because it’s a trend that’s new, fresh, and evolving constantly. So let yourself go, dip your toe in the waters of experimentation, and discover a style that’s all your own.