OUTFIT: WHITE TEE (40% off!), similar with more sizes here and here  | |  DENIM  | |  FRINGE BAG, c/o LULU HANDBAGSsimilar here  | | GINGHAM TOP (on sale!)  | |  SIMILAR LEATHER JACKET (50% off)  | | NEW BALANCE SNEAKERS c/o RACK ROOM SHOES (on sale!) | |  SUNGLASSES

When the athletic sneaker trend started popping up, I instantly fell in love with the casual, laid-back look of it. The only problem is that there’s a fine line between chic sneaker clad lady and frumpy sneaker lady…it’s all about the right styling so your look doesn’t fall flat.

Try these three tips for styling sneakers with your outfits so they’re a win every:

1. Choose the right sneaker. There’s a difference between an actual athletic shoe (like these) and a stylish sneaker (like these). Can you tell the difference? Save the athletic shoes for real running, and instead choose a slim, sleek, and maybe even colorful sneaker that looks less like you’re about to run a marathon. It’s not impossible to pull off true athletic shoes with a non-athletic outfit, but it’s much trickier. Also make sure you look for a pair that make your feet look thin, rather than wide and bulky (maybe that goes without saying). Stores sometimes categorize them as “athletic shoes” and “sneakers” so you can tell the difference. New Balance sneakers are my favorite, but Adidas and Nike also have great choices.

2. Skip the skirts. Skinny jeans and leggings are your best friend when styling athletic shoes because they give you a very slim and chic silhouette (in contrast to larger shoes).  I’m definitely an advocate of converse and other thin white or black slip on sneakers with dresses and skirts, but when styling your sneakers, stick with your jeans or leggings. (Not to say you can’t ever wear athletic shoes with skirts and dresses — it’s just a much harder look to pull off well).

3. Keep the rest of your outfit casual chic. The key to this effortless look is to pick classic, casual, basic pieces that play well off of your shoe choice. If you go too dressy or overdone, the shoes look out of place. But if you go too casual it looks like you just left the gym.  Find an in between with leather leggings and a sweatshirt, or distressed denim and an oversized tee, or a striped tee and basic jeans, or an all-black jeans, tee, and leather jacket look. Layer up your basics for a visually interesting look, while still staying simple. There are so many fun ways to wear these (sometimes) colorful shoes!

Now think you can style them??

Also I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite sneakers right here in the widget below. Click each image to shop!
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photos by rad and happy