Comfortably Cool: The Most Stylish Sneakers For Every Occasion

This article was originally published on 20some.com.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been more of a sneakers chick than a stilettos gal. Don’t get me wrong — I love a shiny, new pair of strappy heels just as much as the next girl, but I’m way more inclined to drain my paycheck on a new pair of Vans or Nike shoes. I just know when I lace up my trusty pair of sneakers in the morning, I’m going to be feelin’ so fresh n’ so clean à la OutKast all day long.

Sneakers aren’t just for the gym anymore, dear reader. Thanks to the ever-evolving world of fashion, there are literally thousands of shoe styles for every possible circumstance. Whether you’re getting ready for work in the morning or dashing out the door to run a million and one weekend errands, a fun pair of sneakers is the answer to your fashionable prayers. Keep reading to get see how sneakers can be worn for five different occasions, all while getting some serious shoe envy. Get those credit cards ready, ladies.

1. Sneakers for Work

Sick of those same old nude flats that somehow still give you blisters even though you wear them every day? A cool pair of sneakers is just what you need. I know what you’re thinking: “What the heck is this girl talking about… sneakers in an office setting?!” This suggestion is definitely dependent on your office culture, so if you work in banking or law, this would be a 0/10 do not recommend. But if you’re in a more laid back industry like graphic design or media, go for it. Muted colors are a safe bet, but don’t be afraid to go for fashionable patterns like animal print or geometric cutouts.

Work

Shop these shoes here.

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Tastefully tropical: The comeback of Hawaiian shirts and why you need one in your closet

Cue the steel drums and reggae island music… Hawaiian shirts are back in all of their tacky floral glory. The true underdog, Hawaiian shirts have risen again from the depths of fashion exile to take hold of concertgoers, beach bums, fraternity men and SoCal dreaming gals alike. Their recent surge in popularity has dads all over America saying, “See, I told you I was trendy!” Or at least that’s what my dad said when he caught me snooping in his closet scoping out his endless Hawaiian shirt collection…

Hawaiian shirts

Their gaudy prints and tacky aura have earned them a bad reputation in the past, mostly due to the fact that fanny pack-adorning, Floridian map-holding tourists used to be the only ones to sport them. However, these beach-themed masterpieces popped up on the spring 2014 runways of notable designers such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger and Saint Laurent, putting them back on the map. Now they can be found at popular stores like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Tilly’s or at any local thrift store.

These shirts offer the best of both worlds for any casual occasion: The flashy prints say “I’m here to party” but the structured design — complete with buttons, a collar and sleeves — says you still appreciate fashionable details. Though typically worn by men, who says girls can’t venture into the realm of these floral beauties? I’m all for finding fashionable ways to rock men’s clothing, so I’m here to give all of you beachy gals out there a few options for nailing an outfit centered around a Hawaiian shirt. Below are a few creations I made using Polyvore, my go-to website for deciding how to piece together different outfits.

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Outfit of the Day: Not-So-Traditional Kimono

It really blows my mind how Americans have a way of… well, Americanizing things. Let’s take everyone’s guilty pleasure – pizza – as an example. When I had real pizza in Rome back in seventh grade, I was pretty shocked at how different it was compared to the Domino’s I was used to. My initial thoughts were, “Dang, Papa John is such a poser. This stuff is the bomb.com.” Authentic Italian pizza is lighter and less greasy, and the ingredients are actually fresh as opposed to the often frozen toppings that American pizza chains use.

Let’s be real. I could talk about pizza for hours (mostly because I’m having severe separation anxiety without Gainesville’s finest Pizza By The Slice just a mere five-minute walk from my apartment). But let’s bring it all back to the focus of my blog—fashion. A major style trend for the summer is the “kimono,” a lightweight jacket usually made of polyester or rayon. These Americanized “kimonos” are flowy, open in the front and are often used as a layer to add a little ~ooo lala~ to any basic outfit. I think it’s necessary to put quotes around the word when referring to these types of “kimonos” because they’re far from the real thing.

Our American version of a kimono pales in comparison to legit kimonos—floor-length Japanese robes that wrap around the body. According to an old article that I came across on BBC News, new kimonos usually cost nearly $2,000, which is just slightly out of my price range. I personally feel like it’s a bit of a stretch to call these cheaper American versions kimonos. I mean, look at this gal on the left. She’s covered head-to-toe in a killer garment that’s rich in Japanese culture. Though the girl on the right is no doubt stylish, her “kimono” just doesn’t stand a chance in terms of the real meaning of the word.

Image[photo credits: blog.coco-fashion.com and vampirextina.buzznet.com]

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Menswear-inspired outfit of the day

Mother Nature has graced the city of Gainesville with some pretty funky weather lately. Within the past two weeks, I’ve experienced finger-numbing temperatures in the 40s and 50s. What does this mean?

  • For most people, colder temperatures entail grumpy attitudes, Facebook statuses and tweets about the frigid weather, Instagrammed screenshots of the iPhone weather app proving just how shockingly cold it is, an occasional curse word or two targeted at Mother Nature, multiple complaints about not having anything to wear out at night and the desire to skip classes in order to avoid the weather.
  • For me, colder temperatures are like a breath of fresh air that give me an excuse to break out those sweaters and jackets sitting in the back of my closet year round, practically begging for some attention come winter.

Because of the fact that cooler weather calls for multiple layers of clothes, wintertime allows me to further get in touch with my creativity in fashion. Rather than simply pairing a shirt with shorts or a skirt as I do in the warmer months, I can now explore with the mixing and matching of jeans or leggings, flannels, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, scarves, beanies and headbands. It’s a bit more of a challenge to match things and make sure that the layers make for a cohesive outfit. But hey, who doesn’t love a little challenge?

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Exam week chic

Exam week – the bane of every college student’s existence – is among us. Sleep-deprived students hyped up on venti Starbucks iced coffees are schlepping around campus in a zombie-like manner. After pulling all-nighters in Library West, they emerge from its depths in their T-shirts and yoga pants and into the fresh air like a baby coming out of the womb. This past week, I’ve noticed that the stellar fashion choices that are typically present around the UF campus have disappeared, only to be replaced with more comfortable options suited for long days of cramming at the library.

Newsflash: It’s possible for your studying attire to be both stylish and comfortable! New trends like harem pants were totally made for the comfy chic look. I personally see them as a more fashionable version of sweatpants, and the cinched ankles and tapered legs ensure that they don’t look like pajama pants. They come in tons of different colors and prints at popular retailers like Forever 21, Love Culture, Cotton On and PacSun. Some of my personal favorites are these tribal ones for when I’m feeling bold and these chambray ones for days when I’m in a more laid back mood. Instead of wearing harem pants with your soccer team hoodie from high school, opt for a snug patterned sweater or cardigan that will give you a more put together look. Here is an exam week look that I made using my latest obsession, Polyvore:

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You might be asking yourself, “What is this girl talking about? Why should I even try to look presentable during exam week?” The answer is simple and lies in the saying “If you look good, you feel good.” As a strong believer in this saying, I can attest to the fact that looking presentable every day makes me feel more confident. If I’m feeling good about myself, I’m more likely to be productive and studious. See? It’s a chain reaction of sorts. So start at the root of it all, and get exam week chic.

As always, thank you for reading, and happy studying!

How To: Pimp My Vans

Everyone enjoys a good pun every now and then, right? The title of this post was my somewhat lame attempt at being punny. It’s a play on words of the show Pimp My Ride that was popular on MTV in the 2000s. A van is a type of “ride,” but instead of “pimping out” cars, this post will be discussing the process of pimping out my Vans shoes. Get it?!

All puns aside, pimping out my Vans was one of the best fashion decisions I’ve ever made. The process was surprisingly not as hard as it may seem, and I ended up with a unique pair of shoes that add flair to any outfit. You simply need a pair of Vans or similar shoes like Keds, super glue, studs, toothpicks and a bit of patience.

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I purchased my studs from StudsandSpikes.com, though they are available for purchase elsewhere online like Amazon and eBay. At first, I was skeptical about buying something from a random website —  especially one with a name like StudsandSpikes.com — but the delivery was prompt and the service was great! They offer two types of studs: screw-back and two-pronged. I decided on gold cone screw-backs because pronged ones would have most likely taken longer to attach. Instead of actually taking the time to screw each one in, I chose to just glue the top of each one and not use the back part of the stud.

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There are many brands of super glue out there, and deciding on one for this project is almost as big of a deal as deciding what college to go to. Okay, maybe not. But it’s kind of a big deal. I personally opted for Amazing E-6000 super glue, and I highly suggest it because only one stud has fallen off since I made them.

The process of gluing the studs is fairly straightforward. I used a toothpick to apply the super glue to each stud so I didn’t get my fingers stuck together. Though I decided to glue them on the sides of my Vans, my friend glued hers to the top portion of the shoe and it turned out great as well. The key is to glue them in an organized fashion; randomly placing them will result in awkward empty spaces. I started on the bottom and glued the studs in a straight line and then started a new line until I reached the top. It’s as easy as that!

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If you’re more of a visual learner, then have no fear. Check out this YouTube video for a tutorial that shows how to apply both the screw-back and the two-pronged type of studs. Thanks for reading!