Styling stylee

In Accessories, Designers, Trends on February 17, 2014 at 10:21 am



I’m so happy. I can’t quite believe it, but a miracle has happened in fashion – or Styling, as I prefer to think of it these days.

The F word has been rather diverted by overpriced luxury status dressing and look-at-me-please-no-I-mean-it-I-was-a-middle-child-LOOK-AT-ME-PLEASE lampshade hat ‘street style’ weirdos, who are just desperate to appear on a blog, any blog (repeat mantra above).

Styling is about how we dress day to day. Not what we wear to put out the bins or lie on the sofa watching the BAFTAs (oh, wasn’t Cate Blanchett just heaven?), but when we are going out and about doing our thing, presenting our best image to the world.

The trends for Styling work a little different to the shouty TREND REPORT fashion trends which come barking at us during each round of fashion shows – and we are already into the next lot of those (Northern Hemisphere winter 2014/15).

Styling trends move more slowly. They’re not about the now now now, they’re more the now – which will also work then. Looks, details and garments which will look right for at least a year, longer if you style them forward with subtle new tweaks. It can be something as small as tying your scarf differently.


Anyhoo, the miracle I mentioned at the top there is this: the most on-trend (Fashion and Styling wise) shoes you could be wearing right now are a pair of trainers. Yes!

Not those Sarkozy lift shoes ones with the high heel hidden inside (which I have really come to loathe, much as I worship Isabel Marant who invented them), but proper spongy, walk forever old-school trainers. The most comfortable shoes ever designed, which don’t give you Birkenstock moisture-hoovering cork-sole parmesan-rind fissured heels.

The only proviso about your trainers is that whether you choose New Balance (my personal favourite for decades) suede and nylon, Nike power mesh or Adidas’s re-released old school Stan Smith tennis shoes, they must have a certain élan. An interesting combination of wow colours. Or one popping bright.


Adidas Stan Smiths


They categorically should not match your outfit, but stand out as a style statement which declares: these trainers are a Look. Not a last minute desperation choice running for the bus shoe. To emphasise this point they do need to be box fresh, in fact you will need to go out and buy a new pair. Or two.


This is not a weekend downtime look. Feature trainers are great with tailored pants, a cashmere sweater and a tailored man-style coat. The marvellous Celine-designer Phoebe Philo (see main pic, in Nikes, she also wears Stans and is famous for her New Balance fetish) is the patron saint of this look. It’s a very modern, practical way to dress and perfect for work in all but the most formal offices.

It’s Styling at its very best.


Can you imagine the joy of wearing trainers to work all day – not just for the commute? It makes me want to take an office job again so I can revel in it.

(Actually I would love an office job again anyway. After ten years of going solo, I’m really missing collaboration stimulation, so if anyone wants to offer me one, consider my hand raised. Just putting the word out, like.)

The trainer joy doesn’t stop at tailored pants either. They also look great with the other key piece of the new season, the midi skirt – but more of that and the other key Styling trends for the new season next time.

  1. Oh Maggie, I know this is a look at the moment, but I can’t help thinking that the girls in most of the images used are carrying their real shoes in their bags to change into (and yes, I know they’re not)! It just has a very “Working Girl” movie aesthetic to it (just without the power shoulders and the white ankle socks). I guess everything 80’s has come around again… I know I should embrace the look (comfortable shoes are so good), but it just makes me think about running for the bus….

  2. I was v. excited to see my all time favourite Tiger runners re-released a while back. I bought a pair in 1975 and they still remain, in memory, the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. But my new friends are my new(ish) Kroten pillar box red mesh runners. Super light, smart enough to wear around town and even my horse likes them (she likes licking the rubber on the front).

    I just read Kirsty Clements’ “Tongue in Chic” which is a very amusing but at times depressing commentary on the changes in fashion journalism. You’ve probably already seen it: she has plenty to say about the B grade bloggers and how show pony behaviour has hi-jacked focused analysis of collections.

    And…I know what you mean about missing the stimulation of collaboration: I’ve worked on my own a fair bit over the years, but have regularly drifted back into office ‘teams’. I love bouncing ideas off other people BUT I loathe commuting and some of the cack people and organisational nightmares that come with an office job. Instead of going back into office land, I think you should go ahead and establish your own online magazine and appoint me the editor of the Antipodean section. Just a thought, haha…

  3. Thank you Maggie. Have to say I am with Heidi on this. But have found a solution. My Origional Chanel style brogues in navy and white. Also on last trip on London bought them in tan and white by Massimo Dutti, an off white leather and lace pair by Top-shop, .girls are stopping me when I am out and about !asking where to buy. Saba and Midas Australia have each released brogues this week here. Compromise ! but still has that ,
    ‘Not trying too hard look’, don’t you agree?

  4. Sorry Maggie ..I’m 157cm tall..I won’t be wearin no trainers with my frocks and skirts..yes long legged grey hound figures can pull it off but not me I’m afraid

  5. I love the look on others, really want to wear it and have plenty of inspiration in my Pinterest boards, but I can’t bring myself to get out the door wearing this look to work. I have some leopard ponyhair slip ons that I really want to wear to work when it cools down here in Sydney, so I just need to get my eye used to it I think.

  6. Sigh. Miss15 wears the look so it is slightly off limits for her mother. But I can’t come at it for myself anyway, I commute in flats (ballet flats of varying styles but all black) and slip the heels on at the office. I can’t get past the “runners are for running in” mindset.

  7. Really? Imagine how smelly all those feet will be at the end of the day. I predict a wave of toe fungus ahead of us. I’m not opposed to a bit of runner wearing but every day and all day can’t be great. By the way, every foot specialist I know recommends Brooks.

  8. Well yes, I agree with your sentiments–colourful, stylish, comfortable–what a boon to the ingrown toenail set! However there is one thing I can’t get my head around—I just don’t like the way sneakers look with tailored clothes. Too “ironic”, “trendy” and all about the “juxtaposition” and “color pop”—pah. In Australia this is starting to be thought of to as “Hipsterism” and the sheer invective and loathing directed at this particular (and possibly imaginary) contemporary tribe of (i.e. Hipsters–do not confuse with Kerouac et al.) is mind-boggling.

    While I appreciate the incredible shift that this represents, I will never wear the trend myself. I demand that shoes match the general style of the outfit and be comfortable. May I again draw everyone’s attention to FLUEVOGS. The only shoe brand that matches comfort with style and creativity.

    • Totally agree with your appreciation of Fluevogs. The only heels I can comfortably wear all day and I ALWAYS have people complimenting me on them.

  9. Love your work Maggie, but have to disagree on this one. I’m sure they look good on size 4 models but mere mortals in the ‘burbs? Forget it. I tried this look in Noumea in 1990: short Benetton jersey knit skirt, tank top etc. Felt really good. And then saw myself in the photos. Horrible. Think SEINFELD!

  10. I’ve never really been a big fan of the trainer – but then i’ve never been a big fan of exercise either. i can’t imagine adopting this look for the office but i am cheered by your statement that the shoes must be box fresh. I love converse (and wear then in a sort of Diane Keaton-esque way) but i saw a photo on Pinterest the other day where the model had silk pants on and DIRTY converse chucks. I think they were formally white but it looked like the model had trudged through Glastonbury on a wet weekend in them. Ugh! I feared it was the fashion…

  11. Maggie I love this article. I think a good trainer can be so stylish and I think it goes particularly well with a Japanese aesthetic which never gets tired.
    I just read your article in Sunday’s Age illustrated with Victoria Beckham. So much insight into the current fashion atmosphere. When are people going to go back to creating their own style? More please!

  12. sorry, they look great on the young and lean but over 40 they look like granny athletic shoes, and if they are bright, they look like the kind they give out in the old folks home

    • Tee hee – you made me smile. I think it depends how you put the whole look together. Phoebe Philo is over 40 and I think she looks very chic… x

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