I've been a fan of singer SZA's music for years, and her laid-back, athleisure style for what seems like even longer. Not only is she a fellow Jersey girl, but she also has a knack for styling pieces that you may already have in your wardrobe (like sweatpants, bucket hats, that comfy Gap hoodie from like 10 years ago) in a way that makes even the oldest items seem brand new. I'm already a strong supporter of the athleisure movement (big fan of leggings, sneakers, and/or bike shorts with just about anything), but SZA's recent "Broken Clocks" music video inspires me to push the limits on my own sense of style.
In the video, she wears outfits that scream "chillin' in the woods during summer camp in the '90s." The setting is the singer's very own Camp Ctrl (a nod to her hit album). Bandana neck tie, color-blocked windbreaker and all, her camp-friendly look is one I'd definitely wear in real life—but honestly, I feel that way about just about every outfit she wears.
As someone who lives in her sneakers at least five out of seven days per week (currently have Adidas Stan Smiths and Under Armour HOVRs in rotation) I was particularly intrigued by the way SZA seamlessly transitioned hiking boots from an outdoor necessity into an athleisure look. Although I do enjoy a hike from time to time, I never thought about wearing my chunky boots anywhere other than on a dirt trail until watching this video. But now, I feel like the possibilities are endless when it comes to pulling off a low-key look that doesn't feel like I'm trying too hard.
Here are a few SZA-inspired ways I've tried styling my hiking boots:
With a dress and cropped sweatshirt
The first SZA-inspired look I tried out with hiking boots was with a vintage dress I found at the thrift store, paired with a cropped sweatshirt from Urban Outfitters (check out a similar style here), and a pair of scrunched down over-the-knee socks from Free People (here's a similar style). Since I usually pair sneakers (and heels, on rare occasions) with dresses, wearing boots was a nice departure from the norm that still fit with my overall style.
With a windbreaker and spandex shorts
I'm as obsessed with this anorak from The North Face as I am with the spandex shorts trend, so combining these two activewear pieces was almost a no-brainer. Plus, SZA wears this type of shorts with her hiking boots in one of my favorite scenes of the "Broken Clocks" video so I had to try the look out for myself. This time, I added a pair of Nike crew socks for more of a throwback, sporty feel.
With a cropped T-shirt and mom jeans
SZA and I are both fans of mom jeans, and since my vintage-inspired Levi's (check out a similar style here) tend to be more on the rugged side, they're the perfect companion to a pair of hardcore hiking boots. Since I still wanted to have a fashionable element in this look, I added a cropped T-shirt from Lukka Lux and a fun fanny pack (you can get a similar style here).
It's safe to say my hiking boots are now one of my favorite fashion accessories.
After experimenting with these new looks, I'm happy to say that my hiking boots are no longer cast to the back of my closet on days when I'm not out hitting the trails (which, as someone who works in NYC, is most days). Honestly, these boots may just be my new go-to choice for weekend brunch with friends. I can only hope that SZA would approve of my newfound—and slightly rugged—athleisure looks.