I might be vertically challenged, but I don't wear heels.
A heeled boot is as fancy as I get. My favorite footwear is a funky, sleek and fresh pair of sneakers.
This is why I was absolutely stoked when the "atheleisure" craze celebrated sneakers in just about every social situation. I pointed out fashion editorials to my friends, saying "Hey, told ya!" Can I also point out that I was the first to embrace the harem pant? No, really, true story. I found a black pair at a tourist trap store in a closing sale years ago. They were $3.99 and so weird. I loved them. Friends made fun of me until they debuted on the runway.
I digress. Back to sneakers.
As a kid, every back-to-school shopping trip included a new pair of sneakers. I took the task seriously. The sneakers had to be the right brand, color and couldn't be too boxy. I hated when they inevitably got dirty. Not much has changed as I shop for sneakers as an adult.
I think there is a real art to wearing sneakers as a fashion statement. If you want to be like Eva Chen and wear Nikes with your dress, they can't be just any pair of running shoes. Try as some might, a pair of faux Chuck Taylors rarely has the right shape — trust me, spring for the name brand in this case.
So here's my list of must-have sneaks and tips on how to sport them. The best part is no coordination is required to wear these.
1. Chuck Taylors
Wear 'em high, wear 'em low. These babies will never go out of style. In the past 15 years, there has been a never-ending supply of styles and colors. If you go to the Converse website, you can even customize a pair. Nonetheless, my favorite pair is my white high tops. I've wanted them since I saw Phantom Planet in concert. The lead singer, Alex Greenwald, wore a pair with his dirty jeans, and I thought he looked so cool. Now, he wears tuxedos and escorts his fiancee Brie Larson to award shows.
Before there was Taylor Swift, I collected Ked sneakers like they were Pokémon in high school. Every time I walked into a thrift store, I grabbed a pair and quietly thanked the anonymous old lady who likely donated them. My favorite was a dark green velvet pair. But, you don't have to have the blue label to find a solid Ked-alternative. Target has some adorable and comfy Ked-style sneaks, and they're so cheap you can get them in every color. Give your feet a break, and choose these slim sneakers over heels with your dresses. If you're really hardcore, don't worry about them getting dirty, like those bloody Keds on the cover of Sleigh Bells’ "Reign of Terror.” Dirty shoes sometimes tell a good story.
3. Nike Roshe Run
You've seen them all over fashion blogs, and there is a good reason. The Nike Roshe Runs are as comfy as they are stylish. I personally love the big swoop — when you spend $75 on a pair of shoes, you want to see the brand. The shoe's breathable material prevents sneaker sweat and the big, cushy sole gives you a little bounce in your step. These look best when they are fresh but, if you must, you'll find they're a good running shoe, too.
4. Adidas Gazelle
The new line of candy-colored Adidas Gazelles are just dreamy. My best friend surprised me with the pink pair for my birthday, but I happen to think they're all pretty. I like to wear them with a pair of cropped jeans or shorts — you want to draw the attention to the feet. Also, suede is a delicate fabric when it comes to shoes, so you don't want them to rub against any dyes from your pants. I love all Adidas sneakers thanks to Run-D.M.C. These girly Gazelles look nice parked next to my shell-toe superstars in the closet.
If you've ever watched Cameron Crowe's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" it’s likely you wanted a piano scarf and the checkerboard Vans. One of those things is still a popular fashion staple. I love all of the Vans slip-ons, but the pair that has served me the most is the black perforated leather slip-ons. They're sleek, a little fancier than canvas and pair well with everything. And they're only $40.
Jennie is a moon--walking, Spice Girls-singing child of the early '90s. She's a hoarder of black shirts, nude lipsticks, and comic books. She loves trying new trends, but she's had the same haircut since she was 5.