I was shocked and appalled to discover that during Fashion Week in March, the venue hosting the Calvin Klein show, Park Avenue Armory, listed as a location for Catwalk Friday, a celebrity sponsored model walk on a runway of models wearing athleisure from Nike and Vans. I had purchased both brands from Nordstrom last year.
More shocking is that in light of the high cost of shoes, I had chosen to wear them on a runway. The base model I contacted didn’t quite understand why I thought it necessary to wear them to a fashion show.
I realize that this isn’t the case for everyone. And even if it were, would a woman really spend $1,000 for a pair of sneakers? But on the runway, I thought it was imperative that I showcase the appeal of inexpensive brands, especially as the campaigns for Coach and Gucci skyrocketed up the social media charts.
A profile on Martin Weisberg, an agent at the agency CAA who specializes in athleisure and streetwear, simply states that he helped found and finance his own line of “elegant” sneakers, Waffles.
Athleisure is becoming mainstream, thanks in part to the inclusion of athletic-looking clothes and products in “award shows” of the highest caliber. And with the focus now firmly on the athleisure trend, the lines between runway, magazine and print advertisements are blurring.
So what do you do if you just love athleisure (and can’t get enough of those sneakers) but feel stupidly shortchanging yourself in high heels, and who cares how expensive the shoes you wear are to begin with? Keep a few basic pieces that you trust. Start by limiting yourself to not wearing denim, when you can wear sweats and “skimmies.” Then, try selecting pieces and brands that are easier to acquire. You’ll quickly find that you have just as many options if you put it all out on the street as if you were shopping in a trendy, style-conscious store. And if you happen to run into someone on the street wearing a $1,000 pair of sneakers, you’re not going to look like anything other than a gold-digger, even if you’re passionate about fashion.
You can also work with a good stylist or editor to find the right clothes for whatever piece of clothing you like, and build an outfit around them, thereby minimizing one of the biggest money drains associated with high heels: the strap.
Keep in mind that the accessories on your outfit can also be a big help when you’re working to get the look you want. A non-accessory necklace, for example, can transform an ordinary look into something glamorous in a flash. Another great accessory to have around is a cross-body bag or sleek, non-baggy jacket that will make you stand out.
To get back to the question of high heels and shoes versus walking in sneakers, if your athletic gear and shoes are cute and you truly love them, it’s up to you to make the call whether or not they’re worth wearing during a high-fashion fashion show. But knowing that I was wearing sneakers before going to the event, I decided I had to walk in them.
But then a different question came to mind: Why bother going to such an event at all if it’s a waste of time?
To catch up on the stories of our experts in Women’s Fashion, click here.