Game Changers

Photographer: Luke Lu
Art director and stylist: Belle Du Chene
Models: Montana Crow, Danielle Guider
Hair and makeup: Tricia Rivas and Lisa Keuning, Trixie’s Salon
Assistants: Katie Minasola, Meagan Olesen, Kennedy Midkiff, Tonya Scarcello
Location: Sky Zone Des Moines

Until a few years ago, a woman in a professional suit or dress wearing a pair of all-white sneakers with matching scrunched-down socks was a cringe-worthy 1980s flashback that would send fashion bloggers into a frenzy of snarky commentary.

Fast-forward to today, and it’s a different story: The sneaker has been reborn as an acceptable pairing with professional and even evening wear. (Just leave the white socks at home.)

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when high-end designers jumped in on the street-style sneaker trend, but buyers and fashion editors took note when Karl Lagerfeld sent models stomping down the runway wearing low-tops for the Chanel spring/summer 2014 shows, resulting in a 20 percent jump in couture sales. Raf Simons, creative director for Dior, then hit his mark by making sneakers for evening wear an official “thing.” And Alexander Wang’s spring/summer 2015 clothing line was completely inspired by retro Nike footwear.

Modern fashionistas need a game plan for working the trend into their wardrobe while still keeping their feminine aesthetic. For inspiration on how to balance athleticism and fashion, check out the tips on page 68 as well as the photos on this and the following pages.

It can be quite the balancing act to mix athletic performance gear with fashion-forward pieces, but if you follow the rules of this style playbook, it’s game, set, match this summer for your new favorite look.

STEP RIGHT IN Feel free to step out of your comfort zone, but don’t go to the extreme. The key is to find a balance between the masculine and the feminine. Avoid wearing a frilly dress with your sneakers the first time around.

MIX MASTER Once you feel comfortable, try mixing in prints. Pair a striped dress with polka-dot sneakers for a fun, geometric look. Prefer a large-print floral dress? Pick out one color of the print and match it to the most prominent hue of your athletic shoe.

PROPORTION PLAY Don’t forget to keep your proportions in mind when choosing the right pairing. Avoid wearing wide, clunky sneakers with skirts because it will make your legs appear shorter. Instead, opt for sneakers that hit low on your ankle bone to elongate your legs.

WORK IT OUT Dresses and sneakers represent two very different styles that can easily compete if they don’t work together for the season. Consider the time of the year and weight of the dress’s fabric for the proper pairing. Canvas and athletic shoes are generally best for spring; patent leather or suede works better for fall fabrics.

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