Dressing for the job you want is getting a lot more comfortable.
Women's sneaker sales in the U.S. are rising as professionals ditch their pumps for more casual footwear. Women's sneaker sales jumped 37 percent last year, while the sales of high heels dropped by 11 percent, according to NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service.
That pivot in footwear is due to the unstoppable rise of casual fashion and the influx of comfortable shoe options for women. What's more, celebrities like Serena Williams have forgone their stilettos for sneakers. Although her "work" shoes are Nikes, she rocked Valentino tennis shoes with her reception gown at the royal wedding on May 19.
"With so much versatility in the world of sneakers, we're not talking about beat-up sneakers," said Brooke Jaffe, a style expert who served as Bloomingdale's women's fashion director for 10 years. "There is a universe of what I call 'clean fashion sneakers' that are very office appropriate."
Whether you're celebrating the latest style trends or protesting the patriarchy, here are some ways to wear sneakers in the office.
Jaffe recommends wearing a platform sneaker if your office ensemble includes wide-leg or boot-cut trousers. Pairing that with a tucked-in blouse or a blazer will modernize the look and bring some "2018 flare to an office outfit that has worked for years," Jaffe said. Slip on sneakers will also work for this look, she added.
2. Middie-length skirt or dress
Jaffe sees many women wearing middie-length dresses or skirts (read: hemline falls in the middle of the calf) and white sneakers this season. She's noticed this trend on both celebrities and street styles and believes it says, "I have places to go and I'm a practical person who is also in fashion."
For more casual offices, Jaffe says denim works well with the sneaker trend. Depending on the cut you like--skinny, boot-cut or wide-leg--she says finding the right shoe is easy with modern day hemlines. "Cropped pants and cropped hemlines in both the trouser and denim market draws your attention to footwear," Jaffe said.
"Owning a white sneaker in 2018 is what owning a black ballet flat was 7 years ago," Jaffe said. "What started as a street style have grown, now everybody is making sneakers that are appropriate for women of all ages."
4. It Goes for Guys, Too
Women aren't the only ones tapping into this trend. "Men have been lucky with their footwear for awhile, so it's not as revolutionary for them to wear a comfortable shoe," Jaffe says. "There's a sneaker for everyone."
Jaffe recommends that men pair their sneakers with a suit, jeans or chinos--similar to what she suggests for women. What's more, showing off your footwear with a cuffed hemline is en vogue. Jaffe offered the example of singer John Legend, who often cuffs his pants as a way of drawing attention to his footwear. "There are no rules anymore, which is frightening and fun," Jaffe said.