When I was younger I assumed that a key part of being a successful grown up was wearing a suit for work. I don’t know if it was because I watched way too much Ally McBeal, or because my Mum worked in a bank and had to dress super smart, but I never really thought to question it.
When I landed my first graduate job I went out and bought a whole wardrobe full of pencil skirts and blouses and court shoes, only to realise that actually, most people just wore their regular clothes to the office. The truth is, unless you’re a lawyer or an investment banker, shoulder pads are probably totally unnecessary.
I quickly toned down my corporate look and switched the blazers for breton stripes, ankle boots and plenty of floaty midi skirts. The one step that took me a while to muster the courage for though was wearing trainers to the office. I assumed that if I turned up to work in sneaks I’d be sent home for not looking smart enough, and couldn’t work out a way to incorporate my favourite footwear into my midweek life.
However, in the past couple of years, I think I’ve nailed it. I now wear trainers to work two or three times a week, and not once have I received a questionable look from my boss. I’ve learnt that there a couple of steps to making sneakers work for the office, and today I thought I’d share them with you all. Because let’s face it - life is too short to wear painful shoes 5 days a week…
1) Choose a pair of trainers that are work appropriate
I think the biggest trick to styling trainers for work is finding a pair that are office appropriate. By this I mean steering away from the sporty ones you wear for the gym, and it’s probably also a good idea to give anything too bright a miss too. This lace up pair from Good News London are perfect - they’re much smarter than a running shoe and the pinstripe gives them a bit of a workwear vibe.
2) Don’t be afraid to style them with something smart
I know that for a while, I assumed that trainers were reserved for comfy outfits only. I associated them with leggings and oversized jumpers, when in truth, they go really well with plenty of smart outfits.
Take this jumpsuit for example - it’s the sort of thing I’d feel comfortable wearing to important meetings with clients, and adding the trainers doesn’t distract from the look at all. I think trainers also look great with jeans, a t-shirt and a smart blazer too - it’s the perfect combination of comfort and girl boss vibes.
3) Choose your accessories carefully
My final tip is choosing your accessories carefully to complete the outfit. I like to think about it as outfit maths - if I add a casual element to the look with trainers, then I need to keep my accessories smart to balance it out. My favourites are some kickass sunnies, a chic cross body bag and a good old leather jacket, but a statement necklace or a classic wool coat would work just as well for smartening the outfit up.
By Sophie Cliff