What's the most offensive fashion faux pas?

Teaming workwear with sneakers has been voted the biggest shoe faux pas.
Photo / Thinkstock
Teaming workwear with sneakers has been voted the biggest shoe faux pas. Photo / Thinkstock

If you tend to pair your joggers with your favourite business suit then you're committing a major fashion faux pas, say those in the industry.

That's right. The clashing work ensemble has been voted the number one most offensive crime against fashion by a panel of stylists, editors and buyers.

It is such a no-no that in the recent online survey it ranked higher than wearing tights as pants and wearing socks with sandals.

Australian footwear brand FRANKiE4 polled 370 women, including 20 industry experts, and 46 per cent of them said they had committed this fashion crime.

Brisbane stylist Sara Hatten-Masterson says women are mainly the culprits of the sneaker combo, only taking them off and swapping them for heels once they're at their desk.

She understands they're opting for comfort while commuting or walking to and from work, but she says it's not a good look.

"Business attire is quite formal in terms of day-to-day outfitting so it tends to be structured, tailored pieces," Hatten-Masterson, from The Image Boutique, tells AAP.

"Joggers are probably at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. They're white, they're often dirty and they're a sporting item," she laughs.

The look is at its worst when women wear stockings with socks over the top and sneakers, and Hatten-Masterson says the shoes take away from the overall business look.

There's also no need for this faux pas, which can be dated back to the cringe-worthy era of the 80s when Melanie Griffiths sported the look in the film Working Girl.

Hatten-Masterson says joggers are not the only option in footwear when it comes to comfort.

Over the past three to four years she has noticed a shift in the shapes and colours of supportive footwear as companies align themselves with fashion trends.

There is still, however, a way to come.

Brisbane footwear designer and podiatrist Caroline McCulloch believes women are wearing joggers because of a lack of choices in comfortable dress shoes.

McCulloch is the designer of FRANKiE4 and hopes to fill that hole in the market with supportive ballet flats, pumps and Mary Jane-styles.

Her husband, Alan McCulloch, also a podiatrist, says one of the problems with creating shoes that tick both fashion and comfort boxes is the spacing within women's shoes.

"The shoes aren't big so you need to be able to cram in a lot of technology into a small space, which makes the shoe end up looking bigger," he tells AAP.

In the couple's podiatry clinics they see women coming in once a month to get their corns and calluses removed because of the shoes they wear to work.

"These are also women who will wear their joggers to work and then change into those pointy-toed shoes that are cramming their feet into all sorts of positions," says Caroline.

The best thing for women to do, adds Alan, is find a shoe they can wear to and from work but also keep on during office hours.

Hatten-Masterson says those of us committing this joggers-to-work crime really have two options.

"You can wear your sneakers and then you need to dress in attire that matches that - so your yoga pant and a T-shirt... and then when you get to the office get changed.

"Your other option if you are wanting to get dressed at home in all of your corporate attire is to really look around, get educated and invest in a pair of stylish but still supportive, practical and comfortable shoes that have all the features that a running shoe has but that is a little bit more appropriate ..."

She suggests a wedge or ballet flat in black or brown to match your work outfits.

- AAP

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