The Trainers Which You Really Can Wear To The Office
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it became acceptable to wear trainers not just to the office but also in the office. While the fashion crowd has been wearing them enthusiastically for years, it’s taken time for the more corporate world to catch up. It’s been a gradual creep, spearheaded by women at senior levels who, in turn, give their junior colleagues the confidence to wear them.
There’s a time and place for them, and I think most trainer-wearers would admit to still having a pair of heels under their desk. However, with the relaxation of office dress codes and women feeling more able to show their own personal styles, trainers have become less conspicuous in busy corporate offices.
Even during the five years that I spent at Downing Street attitudes changed – early on, wearing a pair for a busy day at work prompted questions on whether I was recovering from a foot operation, but fast forward a few years and my white trainers weren’t alone.
Many brands now offer styles of their own design without a logo in sight, and I think this is key to choosing trainers for work – avoid any well-known logos, particularly sport ones.
The next rule of thumb is that it’s really important to keep them boxfresh (don’t walk the dog in them at the weekend) in order for them to pass in a meeting. Luckily, the high street excels here, so you’re more likely to be able to afford a few pairs to circulate, keeping them looking smart.
It also helps to make sure that the rest of your outfit is neat, tailored and well put together. Unlike the gym trainers you used to commute in, smart trainers look fantastic with trouser suits or shift dresses and jackets.
While I advocate a white pair, there are so many versions to choose from. A black or navy style is very useful, as long as the whole trainer is a darker shade: a contrasting white sole can shorten the leg. A coloured pair or a flash of leopard will freshen up a classic outfit.
Leather will always look smarter than canvas, but different fabrics can also transform a look – velvet trainers will take you from the office out to dinner, as will metallics. Gold or silver is a great neutral and will go with most of your wardrobe, though these are probably easier to wear in the warmer months with nude tights or bare legs.
The only problem with trainers is that they’re fairly addictive: once you get into wearing them, it’s pretty hard to go back to heels. They could put chiropractors out of business.