Styling Trainers For Work

styling trainers for workWhen I was younger I assumed that a key part of being a successful grown up was wearing a suit for work. I don’t know if it was because I watched way too much Ally McBeal, or because my Mum worked in a bank and had to dress super smart, but I never really thought to question it.

When I landed my first graduate job I went out and bought a whole wardrobe full of pencil skirts and blouses and court shoes, only to realise that actually, most people just wore their regular clothes to the office. The truth is, unless you’re a lawyer or an investment banker, shoulder pads are probably totally unnecessary.

styling trainers for workstyling trainers for workI quickly toned down my corporate look and switched the blazers for breton stripes, ankle boots and plenty of floaty midi skirts. The one step that took me a while to muster the courage for though was wearing trainers to the office. I assumed that if I turned up to work in sneaks I’d be sent home for not looking smart enough, and couldn’t work out a way to incorporate my favourite footwear into my midweek life.

However, in the past couple of years, I think I’ve nailed it. I now wear trainers to work two or three times a week, and not once have I received a questionable look from my boss. I’ve learnt that there a couple of steps to making sneakers work for the office, and today I thought I’d share them with you all. Because let’s face it – life is too short to wear painful shoes 5 days a week…

styling trainers for workstyling trainers for work1) Choose a pair of trainers that are work appropriate

I think the biggest trick to styling trainers for work is finding a pair that are office appropriate. By this I mean steering away from the sporty ones you wear for the gym, and it’s probably also a good idea to give anything too bright a miss too.

This lace up pair from Good News London at Second Store are perfect – they’re much smarter than a running shoe and the pinstripe gives them a bit of a workwear vibe.

2) Don’t be afraid to style them with something smart

I know that for a while, I assumed that trainers were reserved for comfy outfits only. I associated them with leggings and oversized jumpers, when in truth, they go really well with plenty of smart outfits.

Take this jumpsuit for example – it’s the sort of thing I’d feel comfortable wearing to important meetings with clients, and adding the trainers doesn’t distract from the look at all. I think trainers also look great with jeans, a t-shirt and a smart blazer too – it’s the perfect combination of comfort and girl boss vibes.

3) Choose your accessories carefully

My final tip is choosing your accessories carefully to complete the outfit. I like to think about it as outfit maths – if I add a casual element to the look with trainers, then I need to keep my accessories smart to balance it out.

My favourites are some kickass sunnies, a chic cross body bag and a good old leather jacket, but a statement necklace or a classic wool coat would work just as well for smartening the outfit up.

styling trainers for workJumpsuitMonki | Trainers – c/o: Second Store | Bag – Primark | SunglassesAnthropologie

What do you think about styling trainers for work? Is it something you do already?

*This post was inspired by a piece I wrote for Second Store, the UK’s first female only online sneaker store, recently opened by my lovely friend Rosie. They stock the most amazing collection of trainers, so if you’re in the market for a new pair, definitely check the site out! 

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  • i basically live in jeans and trainers at work, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere where i am which i LOVE. trainers are so damn comfy and i genuinely feel like i work better if i’m comfy as tits!

    also freakin luuuurve this little playsuit number – you look beaut.

    katie. xx

    • I totally agree – I can get so much more done when I’m comfy! x

  • Okay seriously I am obsessed with this outfit. The jumpsuit! The trainers! Your hair! Argh it’s all so perfect together. I didn’t wear trainers to the office for a longgggg time either, but my work is a real mixed bag anyway, we have designers in hoodies and jeans, finance people in suits and everyone else somewhere in the middle – so a nice blazer and a pair of trainers works well for me! xx

    Sophie | Sophar So Good

    • Ahhhh, thank you so much lovely! My workplace is the same – it’s one extreme to the other so I try to go down the middle x

  • This jumpsuit is amazing! X

  • Love this! And I love that trainers are now acceptable and that brands are making them smarter for this. Today I’m wearing velvet leopard print trainers with a jeans and a blazer. My feet are loving life!


  • Ah I absolutely LOVE these trainers, and the whole look! I miss wearing my own clothes to work SO much, uniforms such haha! I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the office of my PR job and most of the ladies were in trainers, the way it should be >:) Immy x

    • At least with a uniform you don’t have to think about it! X

  • I can never pull off wearing trainers with anything smart, though I’d love to work on the look because I have some cute mint green ones that I think would work! I just feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not – like super school street style, and boots always look better – but I do actually like the look on others!
    I remember the days of my first grad job, I used to walk across manchester in flats and heels all under the desk in work!
    Holly xxx ///

    • I struggled with that for ages but feel like I’m getting there now! x

  • Hayley Rubery

    Girl you look bloody amazing in this outfit! I love rocking a good pair of trainers with a casual outfit, when I worked in London I wore trainers all the time as I loved dressing them up, yet they’re super comfy! Love this pair and how you’ve styled them – definitely checking out your friends site as I’m in the market for a new pair!

    Hayley xo