It’s official: 2015 is the year of the trainer - and they're going nowhere, fast (in a totally good way). We've just got back from the SS16 shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, and trainers were all over the catwalks. Not just designer ones (though they were plenty of those, too) but some classics like Nike Airs an Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, too. So there's never been a better time to feel comfortable AND look great. In fact, I've just written a book on the subject - En Brogue: The Trainers Guide - which is out now, and I'm feeling particularly enthusastic on the subject at the moment. With so much choice, and the licence to wear them to pretty much any event thesedays (I heard of someone who wore some snazzy Nike Airs as a bridesmaid earlier this year), there's no excuse not to get involved. Here are my top tips for wearing trainers with style.
1. Use them to dress down a posh skirt
When they’re showing trainers on the couture catwalks at Dior and Chanel, you know that gives you licence to go a little more comfy with the footwear you pair
with a posh skirt or frock. Choose a matching shade and your trainers will blend perfectly into the rest of your outfit. But beware: if you’re brave enough to wear trainers to a wedding, you WILL be expected to throw all the best shapes on the dance floor.
2. Keep culottes going beyond summer
If you grew attached to your culottes this summer, the good news is that they look even better with trainers than Birkenstocks. Choose a basketball style, like adidas Superstars or Puma Suedes, for an old-school vibe that’s slightly more flattering on the leg than a running trainer, as the shoe doesn’t come up as high on your leg, giving the illusion of length.
Puma Suede trainers, £55, uk.puma.com
3. Make light work of a busy day
Running shoes are really practical if you’re on your feet a lot at work. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting you wear your grubby, tightly laced gym shoes with your office attire. (I find that look upsetting as I pass it on the escalators on a daily basis.) But if you’re into comfort, why not buy some awesome commuter trainers and then just leave them on for the whole working day? It saves lugging around an extra pair of shoes in your handbag.
4. Wear Stan Smiths with tailored trousers
This is one of my all-time favourite looks: white tennis shoes and tailored slacks (particularly if they’re bright yellow). Adidas Stan Smiths are the most popular tennis shoe ever for good reason (they’re super chic), but I also like Lacoste’s Premium Straightset sneakers and Northern Cobbler’s Stonefish trainers for something slightly more off the radar.
adidas Stan Smith trainers, £62, adidas.co.uk
5. Pair skate shoes with literally anything
A plain white skate shoe, like a pair of Vans, is about as chic as a sneaker can get, and has the added bonus of being the lazy girl’s trainer of choice (no laces!). Look for styles with little or no branding, and if they’re leather, all the better. The perfect partner for a midi skirt and your best winter coat.
6. Make your legs look longer
A lot of people are scared of wearing trainers with skirts because they think it’ll make their legs look cut off at the ankle. At 5ft 3in, I hear you, but a good trick to counteract this is to find some Velcro trainers, like Marni’s Chasteltons (see video) which expose the top of your foot. This creates the illusion of
a longer leg and is therefore way more flattering. Nike’s Air Rift trainers are also a great option, particularly in black as they’re easy to integrate into your everyday wardrobe.
Nike Air Rift trainers, £84.99, office.co.uk
7. Show them off with turn-ups
If you’re investing in designer trainers, make sure you show them off by turning up the hems of your jeans. This is a rule I apply to all types of flat-shoe dressing. Plus turn-ups reveal your ankles – another trick for a more flattering line. It also looks much more chic, and means you can add a pair of snazzy socks in the winter.
8. Remember, you can still be a girlie girl
One of the great things about trainers being a huge trend is there is so much more on offer for women right now. Not only are brands starting to make their masculine styles in smaller sizes (I am so happy about this), but there’s a lot more femininity in their lines, too (and not in a soccer-mom way), with Liberty collaborating with Superga, Vans, Victoria Plimsolls and Nike to produce trainers covered with beautiful floral prints. Oh, and let’s not forget Chanel’s ladylike tweed trainers.
Vans Classic Slip-On trainers, £32.50, shop.vans.co.uk
En Brogue: The Trainers Guide by Hannah Rochell is available from all good book stores and Waterstones.com from 22 October (£10, Saltyard Books). Hannah's first book - En Brogue: Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels. is available now.
You can read my blog at enbrogue.com, and I'm on Twitter and Instagram @enbrogue