Defend the Trend

Defend the Trend: Sneakers and Formal Wear

I wanted to begin this post by acknowledging how grateful I am for all that read this column each week. It is fantastic to read your feedback in the comments and even have some tweet at me to talk about trends. Last week my sister-in-law sent me the following text:

Firstly, I was overwhelmed because I had no idea she read any of my posts but I was even more excited that she thought to ask me to write a post on a specific trend. Anyway, here we are this week defending the juxtaposition of sneakers and (in some cases) couture.

My obsession with Leandra Medine (better known as the Man Repeller) is out of control; her wedding dress and accessories made me drool. Leandra’s style is unpredictable, unconventional and otherwise undeniably the most awesome, which is why I am not surprised that she has multiple blog posts of her in sneakers and beautiful dresses.

Image via The Man Repeller

This is a trend that has been seen on runways for the past few seasons but something that is not easily translated to street style. A few weeks ago I was set to attend a Radiohead concert and I wore a maxi skirt with some high-tops. My husband looked at me like I was a lunatic but tried to pay me a compliment anyway (what a nice guy). We are so used to the conventional way of wearing maxi skirts: gladiator sandals or sky-high heels. The same goes for sneakers: boyfriend jeans or any casual outfit. Here I was, however, ready to attend an outdoor concert and I dressed myself down by adding the sneakers and guess what, I liked it!

Celebrities are superfans of the trend as well. Kristen Stewart has been seen wearing Balenciaga and Balmain with ratty looking Converse and she looks amazing doing it. Budding fashionista, Hailee Steinfeld, is another girl who embraces this trend:

Marchesa with Converse to a Vanity Fair party? How chic is she?

To me, fashion has no rules – wear what makes you happy. Not everyone is going to appreciate your style and that’s totally okay. You dress for yourself, not anyone else. There are many days I get to the office and people look at me awkwardly or make ridiculous comments but there is no such thing as bad attention in fashion. I’d much prefer to be the girl that everyone walks by and has something to say rather than the girl (or guy) wearing the plain person uniform* and resenting it.

Yes, I defend this trend: I think it’s super cool and daring. Have you tried this trend, if not, would you?

To my sister-in-law: thank you for suggesting I defend this and I hope I’ve answered your questions.


*There is nothing wrong with wearing the plain person uniform, just don’t make mean comments to someone trying new styles.

  • Ana Raquel Romão

    I wear Converse with dresses all the time. I just have an hectic daily schedule and I’m a sucker for a nice dress. It works for me and it suits my style. I love the little back dress with black Converse style; I’ve worn the hell out of that. It tones down the “i’m all dolled up” feeling. So, yes, I defend this trend (and maxi-skirts with high-tops).

  • Emma Robertson

    sorry. i am all for girly dresses and cowboy or combat boots or sneakers. but pairing balmain and balenciaga with torn up, dirty converse should be a fucking crime. no, kristen stewart. just no.

    • Crystal Gibson

      but her poor feet.. they hurt!! :(

  • Nikolina Serdar

    There are plenty of flat shoes that look good with evening dresses. To be honest, I think that wearing converse or vans with a dress like Kristen Stewart looks very much like teenage style. Which is okay as long as you are a teenager or not older than 25, but in my opinion it just looks ridiculous on grown women. There are some nice sneakers that work with dresses (Superga, for example has one or two) but I still wouldn’t wear them. Especially as a teacher of teenagers it makes you look like you wanted to “be like the kids” and that’s a no-go.

    • Crystal Gibson

      totally agree – the dirty converse are a teen thing only!

  • Chrissa Hardy

    HOORAY for this trend. I hope it lasts forever. My feet would really appreciate it. Plus, there are so many cute sneakerish shoes out there that can also work. (Shoutout to Tom’s!) Your dirty converse have been through so much with you. Don’t they deserve to wined and dined too? 😉

  • Danielle Mitchell

    I think this is a fashion crime. Someone call Joan Rivers ASAP. This style looks sloppy and doesn’t do the beautiful dressed justice. Kristen – we all get sore feet by the end of the night. Get yourself some fold up pumps!

  • Rayna Kunzman

    I totally rocked this look in high school and still do! To those who think it’s just for kids, it all depends on how you style it that takes you from looking like a teen playing dress up to a funky street style outfit.

  • Katie Gray

    I agree with the other post. There are plenty of options fo ryou not to wear sneakers with shoes. And I think it all depends on the dress! Some dresses really shouldn’t be worn with sneakers, but I think the red dress Kristen Stewart pairs with converse really works…but maybe not the others :)

  • Tessa Anderson

    I love this style – partially because I have extremely odd and sensitive feet and almost any kind of strappy shoe leaves my foot with blisters everywhere. I do like dressing up and wearing nice shoes, but sometimes I don’t want my feet to be bleeding at the end of the day, you know?
    That aside, there are some dresses you can do this with, and some you can’t. All of Kristen’s looks are really cool. She also chooses nice shoes to go with the dress. Hailee’s look… Not so much. IMO, sneakers only really compliment a dress if the dress is shorter and street-worthy: not long and formal.

  • Elle Sciocchetti

    I like the way sneakers look with short dresses (I looove the middle picture of Kristen!).

  • Ellen Hofeling

    I am LOVING the first 2 dresses on Kristen with the sneaks. Not normally a fan of the stuff she wears, but I love that red dress and I would wear both of those outfits in a heartbeat (alas, I am poor!) The 3rd: I just don’t like THOSE shoes. And Hailee’s just don’t match! Maybe black low top chucks, but even then…. It’s a Marchesa! That one might be a crime.

    Definitely gonna rock this sometime soon though! Thanks :)

  • Jennifer Herd

    When my gothy and super-cool older cousin in England got engaged, her parents gave her 500 pounds to buy a wedding dress (a lot at the time). She spent 150 on the dress, which she found in a second-hand shop. The rest of the money was spent on a pair of Docs, which she proudly wore with the dress when she walked down the aisle. All I had to say to that story was f*ck yeah.

  • Kimmy Gunderson-Kuramoto

    I hate this trend. It’s one thing for high schoolers to wear converse and such with their dresses, it’s another thing to be wearing them with designer, that dress is worth how much? type of dresses. A little summer dress, sure. A cute skirt, fine. A full blown designer dress…no.

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