One True Thing: The Office Sneaker
The Want: It's acceptable to wear sneakers at many offices, but there are a million options—and most should be avoided. Racing stripes, garish colors, logos, and conspicuous rubber soles send the wrong message: namely, I am not serious. You need a model that works with your office culture, as well as wool suit pants and jeans. It ought to be minimal, a tad formal, eminently tasteful. Dark colors hide stains and dirt.
The Get: The Stan Smith, in matte-finish black ($60 at www.Adidas.com). Made of stiff Argentine leather that always looks smooth and uncreased, it reads as more real shoe than gym shoe, without being overly sleek and fey. Classic.
WHAT TO AVOID
Bare Ankles: Always wear socks. Plain black or gray, without sporty emblems, are the best for this sneaker.
Cuffs: Cuffed pants with sneakers can look messy and young (in a bad way). Stick with straight legs and dark fabrics.
Dirt: Zero tolerance. The moment sneakers look the slightest bit scuffed-up, they don't come to the office anymore.