Weekend Wednesday: What Are Your Weekend Sneakers — and Why?

what sneakers do you wear and why

For today’s Weekend Wednesday, let’s talk about sneakers…specifically, which sneakers do you wear, and why?  Obviously sneakers are not appropriate at most offices unless you’ve got a very casual office. But almost everyone needs a pair of sneakers for the weekend (whether you’re canvassing for office, hitting an outlet mall, or just having brunch). And I’m always interested by how many women, myself included, sort of have a base sneaker that you choose again and again for “fashion” more than any athletic purpose. For me it’s Converse, which as I’ve noted, I’ve always associated with a wacky, outsider, sarcastic kind of persona — the kind of persona that I really identified with in my youth. I’ve stuck with Chucks, even though they don’t feel 100% me anymore, in part because the other sneaker brands feel even less like me since I have associations with those, too. Keds = My Grandmother. Vans = My friend J. (Nothing against J; they look great on him — they’re just not me.) (And today’s question honestly has nothing to do with judging other people — it’s more like the Amy Poehler idea of “good for you, not for me” — there is no right answer because obviously all of the different sneakers are hugely popular. I just think it’s interesting how we identify different personality traits or style personas with different sneakers, sometimes very strongly.) [Read more…]

Stylish Work Sneakers For Women (And Advice On What Should Women Wear While Canvassing)

stylish work sneakers -- and advice on what should women wear while canvassingWe recently got this question from a reader who’s running for judge (woot, you go!), and it raises an interesting issue of what is casual but professional footwear for women — for weekends and other outings outside the office. Can you be professional in sneakers? What are some other options besides work sneakers? In a bigger sense, what should women wear while canvassing or otherwise politicking for office? We tried to talk about the casual-but-professional-uniform a few years ago, but I still feel like it’s an issue. Reader K asks:

Kat, I am a 42-year-old lawyer, mother of two, and am running for judge [locale redacted, but suffice it to say somewhere hot]. I made it through the primary and am in a runoff on May 24. There are occasions (like when I’m working the polls) that I wear my campaign t-shirt and a pair of jeans. I have worn boots with my jeans (in February), but now that it’s getting warmer, I think I need a pair of sneakers. The problem is I have running shoes, boots, flip flops, or dress shoes. Do you have any suggestions for stylish, comfy sneakers?

Congratulations, and good luck!  As to the question about what women should wear while canvassing: very interesting.  Comfortable, stylish, but vaguely professional sneakers: I’m curious to see what readers say here. I’m a diehard Chucks girl myself — they’re classics! But aside from off-white Converse, I would worry that they show a bit too much personality — I associate black ones as being an outsider/artist/comedian kind of shoe, for some reason, and colorful ones being too young/wacky. (I currently wear gray ones on weekends, which perhaps is my way of saying “I used to feel like an outsider but now I’m a mom and have no feelings of my own.”) Instead, I might steer you toward a few other options for work sneakers and other casual-but-stylish shoes:

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What to Wear to a Big Meeting at a Casual Office

big-meeting-attire-casual-office

2017 Update: We still stand by our advice for what to wear to a big meeting at a casual office, but you may also want to check out The Ultimate Guide to Business Casual for Women.

When you work at a company with a casual dress code, how should you step it up for a board meeting — or for other important meetings — when you want to look professional but don’t know what others will be wearing? Reader A wonders…

I have a fashion question: How does one dress for the board meeting of a “casual dress” company? We are a start-up — this is our first board meeting — so I really don’t have a precedent to call on. During a normal work day, my boss (the CEO, age 45+) and I typically wear jeans and a sweater or T-shirt, as we only have phone/email contact with clients. However, it seems like the board meeting calls for a more professional look. I asked my boss about it, he said “What you’re wearing is fine.” (Faded jeans, a long-sleeved Tshirt and a scarf.) He is not the type of guy I would normally take fashion advice from, and I’m not sure he fully understands the nuance of female dress! Most of the other officers and board members are lawyers, lobbyists, or CPAs. I don’t want to show up in jeans, but I don’t want to be the only one in a suit either. Is there something inbetween? Dress slacks and a cardi? I am age 35+, and a size 14 (XL), so I don’t want anything too clingy or “young”. Suggestions?

We’ve talked about how to do business casual without looking overdressed, a casual-but-professional uniform for womenwhat to wear to a casual office on your first day, shoes to wear with jeans at work, and more — but not this.

Interesting question, A, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. For my $.02, I would avoid the “dress slacks and a cardi” look when everyone else is in jeans because you inevitably end up looking like the mom of the group. So I’m going to offer you two suggestions and suggest you go with the one that feels right — but again, I’m curious to hear what the readers say.

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