Much to my dismay, the casual trend continues. According to the NPD, which is an American market research company, the sales of shoes are falling while athletic footwear is on the upswing…holy moly!
A recent article in the Boston Globe by Beth Teitell described multiple situations where women of all ages are wearing sneakers with evening attire to formal events such as bar mitzvahs and weddings. If you are considering this trend, I beg you to reconsider! And before you suggest that my opinion is ‘generational’, because I am 64 years old, let me share my reasoning…
- Sneakers are CASUAL by definition. A synthetic or leather shoe with a rubber sole, primarily intended for athletic activities or walking. No amount of Swarovski crystals or designer logos changes a sneaker into a dress shoe – it simply makes it a ‘fashion sneaker’ for casual wear.
- Sneakers do not enhance your appearance. If your intention when attending a special event is to look your best – sneakers are in no way whatsoever flattering to your legs or to your whole body. They are flat, with ties, and they cover your whole foot. Clunky and chunky. Perfect for children going out to play, not for a woman attempting to look like a woman.
- ‘Comfort first’ is a silly excuse. If your intention when attending such events is to be comfortable, there are many shoe options where you can be comfortable without resorting to sneakers. Not all dress shoes are 5 inch stilettos or strappy sandals that cause your feet to go numb! There are block heels, lower heels, kitten heels, wedges and the like – all options (even for those with foot issues) that you can be comfortable in as you dance the night away…
- Dancing is not safe in rubber soled shoes. Unless your version of dancing is to ‘step in place’ or jump around the dance floor, sneakers can actually cause damage to ankles and knees when you attempt to spin with your partner. (True dance shoes will have leather or suede bottoms – a sole that allows for gliding/pivoting.). Rubber soles are meant for stability when playing sports or walking.
Now don’t get me wrong – I certainly appreciate the creative styling of mixing opposite looks – sweet with edgy, preppy with sexy, even dressy with casual, such as sneakers with a dress…but anytime I wear sneakers, it’s when the situation calls for casual…in the above pic it was a sweltering hot evening in NYC and we were headed to dinner on the deck of a historic fishing boat…rather than wearing shorts or jeans, it was fun to wear a sexy little dress with white leather JSlides.
More recently on a hot evening in Boston, my look again was casual because the environment did not call for formality…if hubby is wearing a sport jacket, you will not catch me in sneakers of any kind.
Speaking of hubby, what about this trend in regard to men? I apply the same rule of thumb – ‘nice’ sneakers worn with a blazer is a great ‘smart casual’ look for many restaurants, work settings, or social events…but with a full suit my vote is still no…I may make exception for a gentleman in a linen suit, worn to a beach wedding – but heck, how often does that happen? 😉
One final point to consider about this sneaker trend: don’t think that it will be easy on your wallet! The sneakers pictured here and many coveted brands are well over a thousand dollars! You can get Manolos, Jimmy Choos, or even Laboutins for significantly less! 😉
Sneakers are fun, casual, and comfy footwear…there are glitzy sneakers, designer brands, colorful styles and/or classic looks – all can be creative additions to your casual wardrobe, whether you are walking through Disney, heading to a barbecue, or to a casual restaurant with friends. As for dressy occasions? Candy Costas votes a big NO.
Who’s with me on this? Would love to hear your thoughts!