If you love the idea of wearing something ultra-casual and super-comfortable to the office, you aren’t alone. But strict corporate dress codes make it difficult to venture into territories other than polished suits and no-nonsense separates. There are, however, some professional environments that take a decidedly low-key approach to style. But can you really wear activewear in the workplace? It’s possible! Here are five ideas to consider.
Leggings are among the most comfortable pieces out there. They’re stretchy, effortless, and look great with everything from lean tunics to boyfriend cardigans. There are ways to incorporate them into your work wardrobe, too! You might choose to wear them if you’re going straight from the office to the gym after work, for example, or if you’re meeting friends for a casual dinner after hours. All you have to do is quickly swap your top.
The best way to make leggings a strategic part of your professional attire is to dress them up just as you would your usual tailored trousers. Opt for a style that naturally feels more dressy – something with a touch of shine in the fabric is always nice because it exudes a more polished appearance. Pair them with a blouson-style top or under a fit and flare dress and finish with a long blazer to create a smart and streamlined look. You can opt for low-profile pumps or ballet flats to complete this outfit, then just throw on your workout top or slip off your blazer when you’re ready for your after-work activities.
Key details can make an otherwise sporty top or bottom look considerably more office-appropriate. But the right style has a lot to do with the specific color that you choose, too. Brighter, more weekend-friendly hues like lively blues, purples, pinks, and yellows may not fit in quite so well in the workplace. Stick with shades like black, gray, or red, all of which can fit neatly into your existing work wardrobe, then look for specific details that lend them a more refined appearance.
For example, a top with ruching at the waistline creates some extra definition and makes a great alternative to the crisp women’s white blouse that you might usually wear. You can finish this look with a pair of wide-leg trousers, which allows you to show off the top’s flattering shape and creates a beautiful silhouette from top to bottom. Cowl necks are another great detail for the office; you can wear this style beneath a structured blazer and feel perfectly dressed up for the day.
Joggers are the modern-day answer to the ever-reliable yoga pant. They’re basically tapered pants that exude the same casual vibe and appeal as your usual off-duty sweatpants. But joggers are a little more versatile because they’re available in a variety of different materials. You aren’t limited to traditional fleece, which is more appropriate for lounging and errand running.
A pair of silky joggers exhibits a nice slouch, however, and can even appear sophisticated when you style it the right way. To make it work at your place of employment, try a pair with a silky finish or one made with matte jersey fabric in a neutral color. In a more casual setting, try them with a jewel-toned tee and toss a cardigan on top to ensure all-day comfort. If you work in an environment with a more strict dress code, tuck in a polished blouse and finish with a blazer that matches your joggers. It will create a look that replicates a suit – but with an entirely modern finish that’s just a touch sporty.
The almighty tunic is one of the most versatile pieces you’ll ever own. It serves to blur those fine lines that separate streetwear from workplace attire, and makes it easy to transition from the gym to the office or vice versa on a busy day when you don’t have too much time for a complete wardrobe change.
The key is to select a fabric that serves you well through your workout – and beyond. That means seeking out odor-controlling and moisture-wicking materials that keep you dry so that you feel fresh both during and after your sweat session. Another way to make this key activewear piece a core part of your work collection is to focus on tunics that are both fashionable and functional. You don’t have to settle for plain styles! Funnel necklines, wide ribbing at the hem and cuffs, and jewel tones can all add a little character to your professional ensembles. You can make a tunic work with anything from leggings and flats in a less corporate environment to tailored pants and pumps in more reserved workplaces.
Some types of women’s summer shirts that you might normally wear for jogging and yoga can fit well into the workplace. Patterned tank tops and T-shirts, for example, make great layering pieces beneath sweaters or blazers and serve to break up the simplicity of solid colors.
Dressing up your tops with a string of pearls or a statement necklace is an easy way to bring them into a dressier realm, too. And always seek out something with a little bit of structure; they look more sophisticated than looser fits and pair better with things like tailored pants and pencil skirts.
With a little bit of creativity, you can easily make those active separates core parts of your professional wardrobe. Prioritizing your comfort by selecting pieces that feel as great as they look is the key.