Q: How Do I Wear Sneakers With Tights Without Looking Like 'Working Girl'?

It's all about striking that balance between being casual in sneaks and looking chic and "together."
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Dhani Mau
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It's all about striking that balance between being casual in sneaks and looking chic and "together."
Photos: Courtesy A.P.C.

Photos: Courtesy A.P.C.

In our latest column, "Ask a Fashionista," you can solicit our strongly held opinions on everything from how to wear a midi skirt without looking like a tree stump to whether a certain retail CEO should go ahead and resign already.

Q: Why are people wearing sneakers with tights + skirts or dresses and how can I pull it off? -- Erin, Brooklyn, NY

A: It's hard to pinpoint the exact inspiration: It could be a renewed interest in 1980s film "Working Girl" or early-season Miranda from "Sex and the City" that I wasn't aware of; it could be Wendy Davis's pairing of sneakers with a dress suit during her famous filibuster last year; or maybe it's just #normcore.

But somewhere along the way, pairing sneakers with tights and dresses or skirts (or shorts even) has become a thing. I've spotted more than one hip-looking girl wearing the look, usually in the vicinity of an L train stop, and, it just so happens, spent lots of time thinking about how to do it without looking silly. One, because I want to look cool, and two, because comfort! Being able to wear a skirt or dress with something other than heels or ballet flats sounds pretty ideal to me.

So, I've assembled some tips, starting with looking at a good example: A.P.C.'s fall 2013 look book, which features the French brand's uber-cool sneaker collaboration with Nike. Which brings us to one of the most important pieces of the puzzle: the sneaker. The look won't work with any pair. We'd recommend the tried and tested A.P.C. x Nike Air Maxes in black or white (though they're currently sold out). Another similarly-shaped option is Reebok's CTM R13 Leather Running Sneaker. There's also Vagabond Kasai's simple woven sneaker.

From left to right: Nike Blazer, A.P.C. x Nike, Reebok Freestyles.

From left to right: Nike Blazer, A.P.C. x Nike, Reebok Freestyles.

We've also seen this look work really well with a few, also white, high-top options, including Reebok's Freestyle, Vans' Sk8-Hi, Nike's Blazer and even Converse's Chuck Taylor high-tops.

Keep the tights semi-sheer to opaque black with no more texture than a subtle ribbing.

The clothes, of course, are also important. Keep whatever you're wearing feminine, understated, somewhat casual and not too office-appropriate (to avoid the "Working Girl" thing). You want to make it clear that the look is deliberate and you don't have a pair of pumps hidden in your handbag. It also shouldn't be too busy. We like how A.P.C. used simple, above-the-knee, navy outerwear. A short denim dress or skirt paired with a demure crewneck sweater or sweatshirt could work, too. Or any short, solid-colored babydoll-type dress. A simple khaki trench is a good outerwear option.

One last piece of advice: Put at least a little effort into your hair and makeup. It's all about striking that balance between being casual in sneaks and looking chic and "together."

Working Girl

Working Girl

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