I’ve noticed that sneakers with dresses are becoming a thing. But I can’t figure out how to match them. Long dresses with flat sneakers or platforms? What about colors? Can I finally ditch my dressed up apartments for good? — Yael, Bronx, New York
Considering Serena Williams wore sneakers with her Versace dress to the Met Gala a few years ago, and since then we’ve had two years of social isolation and comfy dressing, it’s fair to say that at this point , sneakers with everything, everywhere is a thing – for just about everyone.
Let’s be honest: It’s hard to go back to high heels, or even Spartans. It’s hard to remember why we used to accept the idea that pain was part of everyday footwear.
We’ve reached the natural end point of the trend that began in the 1980s, when a legion of women put their heels in their tote bags and started commuting to work in aerobics shoes. See, for example, Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.” Today, sneakers are as much a part of a basic wardrobe as jeans and a white t-shirt.
That’s why every designer from Balenciaga (after recently causing a social media kerfuffle with sneakers made to look like they just came out of a landfill) to Chloé and across the alphabet have sneakers in their offerings, no matter how tall.
Why Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo has long showcased her Nike collaboration on her catwalks, paired with a number of fantastic concoctions that push the boundaries of what “apparel” even means. Why Maria Grazia Chiuri, Artistic Director of Womenswear at Dior, paired just about every look from her Cruise 2022 collection with sneakers. Why Vogue just announced that “sneakers and dresses are the coolest pairs of summer”.
That’s why there’s a sneaker for just about any outfit – or any dress. Indeed, they add a touch of cool or casual to an otherwise appropriate outfit, making it impossible to stereotype and giving it a catch-all vibe. You can be chic and buttoned up and ready to roll down.
Since prices range from collectible, sneaker as an art form to accessible, you can choose what suits both your budget and your personality. It’s just a matter of finding the right proportions.
Above-the-knee dresses pair well with thicker, heavier kicks and high tops (any number of Air Jordans; take your pick), while mid-calf or longer looks are better with a slimmer, lower sneaker profile. Floral or ruffled dresses for girls are best paired with more heavy-duty sneakers, while flowy looks work well with vintage styles like Stan Smiths or Vans.
In fact, it’s possible that sneakers are actually the equivalent of today’s dressy flats. Don’t forget the socks.
Answers to your style questions
Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion question, which you can send her anytime via E-mail Where Twitter. Questions are edited and condensed.