What is the Difference Between Work Outfits and Work Leisure?

What Is the Difference Between Work Outfits and Work Leisure?

There is a new term floating around the professional world: “work leisure” — and it’s transforming the way people dress for work. This compound word combines the values of being easy-going while looking ready for work. Overall, it unites the virtues of work-at-home comfort with the chic style of traditional work outfits. By striking a balance between fashionable professional clothing and some best-loved basics, you can put together many attractive looks for the office.

A long season of remote work has shown many people the simple comforts of dressing down while still staying on top of goals. Specifically, such working conditions have proven that dressing in more relaxed clothing has many benefits, with comfort being number one on the list. Though wearing clothing that is fit for the public eye is still a thing, more professionals can now see both the pros of casual Friday outfits and full suits. So what’s the difference between work outfits and work leisure, and how can we incorporate more comfortable styles into work outfits?

Work Outfits Vs. Work Leisure

When you think about the typical work outfit, images of sharply dressed people in suits, slacks, and work dresses come to mind. Basically, traditional work outfits are at least business casual, which means jeans are only for special days. You need slacks, button-down shirts, and men's sports coats to achieve the desired look for the office.

Work leisure resembles “Casual Friday” outfits but can even go one scale down in formality. Made for sitting comfortably at a computer for hours, they often incorporate creature comforts like women's cotton sweaters, tunics, and leggings. Comfy jeans and comfortable T-shirts can also be part of these ensembles. Essentially, a work-leisure outfit feels like something you’d wear when going out to breakfast with a good friend or a relaxing shopping trip. It’s functional yet still stylish, but it is far more relaxed than a traditional work outfit.

Work Leisure: How To Incorporate It

As people return to some form of in-person work, elements of work leisure can be discreetly incorporated into a work outfit. Here are some features that people love about work leisure that you can easily carry over into a more dressy outfit:

  • Softer fabrics: While you may have loved that cozy feeling of sweats, these pieces still cross the line regarding workwear. Instead, look for items made out of comfortable materials like Supima cotton, cashmere, wool blends, and silk for that softness on skin feeling.
  • Elastic waists: Work-from-home pants have that stretch that makes it so easy to sit at the desk for hours, and thankfully, you can find work slacks with a discreet elastic waist to carry on the tradition. Bonus points for finding one with pockets too!
  • Stretchy blends: Rigid materials that don’t have a lot of give do look nice, but you can find variations of the same pieces with material blends that offer more stretch, such as spandex. Rayon and polyester incorporated into fabrics can also make them lighter and more moisture-wicking.
  • Basics: Don’t toss out your old leisure items! Use them in layers. For instance, women's tank tops can easily go under a blouse that needs more coverage. Wear a vest over a long-sleeve basic shirt to dress it up for work. Take some dark jeans and dress them up with a soft active polo and blazer for a chic Casual Friday outfit. Most basics can be discreetly upscaled with separates like scarves and cardigans to become an attractive and professional outfit that is also comfortable.

Embracing Balance

By living in different worlds in different seasons, workers have had the advantage of experiencing new ways to dress during work hours. And though a full sweatsuit feels wonderfully cozy, it doesn’t send the right message in an in-person office setting. When you return to a communal work environment, it’s important to send the nonverbal message that you made an effort to look professional. By striking a balance between comfort and professional style, you can encourage others to maintain that “going out” look without going full athleisure in the office. This method has several advantages. Dressing for work will prepare you for the day and put you in the mindset to be productive. This draws a line between work and home so that you can fully relax when you change into comfortable PJs at home. At the same time, this period of working at home has shown many people how it’s possible to relax the standards sometimes and to sneak in better fabrics for better satisfaction through the working day.

By incorporating the best of both work outfits and work leisure, you can create some fantastic outfits for the office.

Related Articles