When Melanie Griffiths marched into Manhattan on her daily commute in Mike Nichols’ Working Girl, she wore what almost any other ambitious career woman wore to get to the office in the late 1980s – a power suit and battered sports-kit trainers before getting to the desk and switching over to heels. Thirty years on, the tailoring and trainers combo is back. Only now the trainers stay on all day.
At a recent appearance at Google’s Curiosity Rooms, The Chain’s Adwoa Aboah’s took to the stage in a glossy black tuxedo suit and white Nikes. It’s a look that the trailblazing west Londoner has worn in many different iterations, but one that speaks volumes about her no-nonsense approach: effortless yet unmistakably cool, understated yet powerful.
She can posh up like the best of supermodels, but one of Aboah’s big attractions is the deep channel of authenticity that runs right through her. Trainers are somehow a sartorial demonstration of that. The truth of the street, the power of sports – you can trust a woman in trainers and a suit.
Other trainer-and-tailoring adopters include Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne and, of course, the high-priestess of fashion cool, Phoebe Philo, who for years has championed a slouchy tailored trouser with a colourful shock of New Balance on her feet or the modern punctuation mark that is a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths (she was spotted only recently still working them, so they haven’t run their course yet, style fretters).
Signifiers and symbolism aside, tailoring and trainers is also, handily, a pragmatic approach to everyday dressing, a look that’s smart enough for work (in almost any sort of office) and egalitarian too; you don’t need to get yourself on the waiting list for Louis Vuitton’s Run Away trainers – although luxury designers have gone sneaker-mad for SS18; Vuitton showed them with every look, while Céline, Stella McCartney and Valentino were also in on the act.
Not sure where to start? Try & Other Stories which always has a concise edit of favourites that currently takes in Nike Internationalist, Nike Air Force 1, Adidas NMD and Stan Smiths – including the new pink satin version.
A slouchy suit, long in the leg, can look just as good as something more streamlined, fitted and slightly cropped: the look is ageless. While Alexa Chung has popped up in a fitted suit and New Balance, or a slouchy belted suit and white Converse, it’s a look that also works for Lauren Hutton at 74. The actor wore wide-legged trousers and white trainers on the cover of Stylist magazine in September this year and has also been seen in a white suit and Converse. The working woman loves trainers and this time she’s not taking them off for no one.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010