Can you believe that Keds are back? I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Between the cyclical nature of fashion and the fact that the 90’s are trendy again (God, help us all), it was bound to happen. Go into any shoe department and you’ll probably see an entire table devoted to this resurrected sneaker style.
Back when I was in high school, your wardrobe wasn’t complete if you didn’t have a pair of Keds. And, of course, having the blue logo on the back was crucial. We wore them with skirts, jeans, shorts, dresses, and more, and we never used the laces…ever. Did you do that too? And maybe this was a Jersey thing, but we would wear Keds with big Wigwam socks (those big scrunchy socks) layered over our acid washed skinny jeans. Oh yea, we were styling.
While the return of Keds does make me feel incredibly old and decrepit, I do look back on these sneakers and think, “Wow, those shoes really were versatile and useful back then.” I don’t think I’d wear them with my acid washed skinny jeans because, of course, I don’t own a pair now (the horror!!!) or without the laces, but for a days where I want to wear sneakers and don’t want to put on a clunky pair, Keds might come in handy.
The good news is that Keds have evolved beyond their classic white oxford sneaker. Not that you can’t keep it simple and go that route, but there are so many more colors, prints and shapes to choose from. Here are some stylish ways to wear Keds this spring.
Stylish Ways to Wear Keds
If you want to keep the look of a ballerina flat but prefer the traction and comfort of a sneaker, then you have to check out this coral and cork style that is a nice hybrid. This pair would not only look good with a pair of jeans or shorts, but would also work with skirts and fun summer dresses.
Here this pair is styled with a denim skirt from Boden, a sleeveless button down shirt from Modcloth, aqua handbag from Baggalinni, a pair of hoop earrings from Banana Republic and a navy rope bracelet from Nordstrom.
Does anyone remember the white slip on Keds sneakers from the 90’s? They were so white, so grandpa, and something resembling what Pauly Walnuts from The Sopranos wore that I have a hard time envisioning anyone buying them unless they work as an orderly in a hospital. I could be wrong, but I don’t see anyone rushing out anytime soon to buy them. However, with the classic slip on sneaker back as a trend that started last year, the good news is that Keds is now making these classic slip on styles in a variety of colors, making them much more palatable.
In the above outfit, I used a brown leather slip on pair to create this classic early spring look. The outfit is styled with a pair of skinny cargos from J. Crew, a chambray Madwell shirt that has been layered over an easy French Connection Sweater. For a pop of color, I added this coral Nine West tote and finished the look with some bangles from Guess and simple chevron studs from Nordstrom.
You have animal print flats, so why not animal print Keds? On those casual days, a style like this Zebra pair may add some flair to your look while still keeping it easy.
For this outfit, I styled the sneakers with a pair of skinny pants from Calvin Klein, a red tunic from Modcloth, black Aldo handbag and silver and black hoops from Victoria Townsend.
What I like about this particular pair of printed Keds is that the pattern tones down the starkness of the classic white oxford style, making them much more flattering when worn with bare legs. Additionally, the print is subtle enough that they can be treated like tan sneakers and worn with a variety of colors in an outfit.
In this look, I styled these Keds with shorts using this khaki pair from the Gap. Over the grey Boden 3/4 sleeve top, I added an olive J. Crew Boyfriend cardigan and finished the look with a natural necklace from Modcloth and yellow crossbody bag from Coach.
Whenever I see classic Keds in red or blue I think about being three or four years old. Didn’t every kid wear sneakers like this in the 60’s and 70’s?
Why yes, here I am at around three years old using my dad as a horse while wearing my red Keds. Well, they probably weren’t actual Keds. My mom was far too frugal, and we were way too poor, for her to even consider buying me actual Keds that I would have probably grown out of before she got them home from the store.
So while the classic pair of red Keds may not, at first, be considered the high point of style, depending on how they are worn, they can be pretty chic. It’s all in how you wear them. I do not recommend wearing them with floral bell bottoms, a t-shirt with Pluto on the front or going anywhere near a gold shag carpet or tacky couch. But that’s just my two cents.
In the outfit above, I styled these classic red Keds with a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans from Lord & Taylor, cropped Mango striped top, a fun red, white and blue lobster scarf from Modcloth, metallic handbag from MICHAEL Michael Kors and silver earrings from Lauren Ralph Lauren.
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I didn’t know Keds ever were OUT of fashion. They’re a fashion classic and work anytime you might wear boat shoes or moccasins (also classics in my opinion). I own a beige pair and leopard print slip-ons (that aren’t actually Keds but still…). Fun post.
Well they never totally went out of fashion but they are definitely having more of a moment. I am glad you liked the post. Thanks!
Those red Keds took me back! I wore them to death the summer of 1965. We made a family trip from Dallas to Idaho to see my grandparents, in a station wagon (what else!). Climbed in the Rockies, picked blackberries, and walked on the beach at the Great Salt Lake. I hadn’t thought of this trip in eons. It is wonderful that a pair of shoes can sparks such great memories! Thank you for this post. I may have to get another pair!
Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can bring us right back down memory lane? Whenever I think of red Keds I think of my childhood too. I also think about the kids on The Brady Bunch, too. Glad you could take a walk down memory lane.
Terrific posting. I never wd have thought to put the red w/ the light blue jeans. Thanks!
[…] Feel free to head over to my blog to check out more tips and styling ideas on how to wear this spring’s most beloved sneaker. […]
I grew up in New Jersey during this time elementary school in the the mid 80’s and middle school in the early 90’s and into the mid 90’s when I was in high school was when the Keds and Wigwam scrunchy slouch socks trend ended. The Wigwam scrunchy slouch socks were worn with the skinny jeans in our schools too but also we wore the Wigwam scrunchy slouch socks over leggings with an oversized sweatshirt by itself or over a turtleneck, a v neck sweater over a turtleneck or an oversized tee with the Keds. And we wore the Wigwam scrunchy slouch socks over opaque black tights and a short babydoll or skater dress and the Keds. And in gym class over leggings with the Keds. Also cheerleaders wore the Wigwam scrunchy slouch socks with Keds with their uniform pleated skirt and long sleeved top and in colder weather with a turtleneck under the long sleeve top. We really did feel stylish in our wigwam scrunchy slouch socks and Keds. Even guys wore them with rolled jeans or shorts and over sweatpants in gym class.
Kerry, did we go to the same high school because we did exactly that in our NJ high school! EXACTLY!! Did you ever double up your wigwams to create a two color story? So ridiculous!