by: Danielle Ternyila, personal stylist, Zyia Active Independent Rep
The one question on all our minds is if leggings are business casual, but the answer is a bit vague; I would say leggings can be business professional when worn appropriately. There are a few simple rules that can help guide how to wear leggings in the office or other business settings, but most important, the material and design of your leggings will really determine if they fit the business casual dress code.
I keep my rules to dressing leggings business casual as simple as I can, and I have developed some select favorite outfits to pair with them over my years working in the office setting. These tricks can be applied to create various outfits from your favorite leggings as business casual.
Cover The Booty
The office isn’t where you need to show off all your muscles and great assets, so my general rule of thumb is to keep the tops long. As long as I have my dairy-air covered and not causing distracted eyes, I feel comfortable wearing most of my leggings into the office, contingent on the following rules too. Fitted and short tops over a pair of leggings are a much more sporty casual look, which is what you want to avoid wearing leggings in the office. A long blouse or cardigan is much better suited for business casual style.
Basic Is Best, *usually
If you took a look through my own online legging boutique, you would agree there are so many patterns, styles, and trends that come with all of these beauties! You want to keep it simple for work leggings, though, so mesh or ventilated designs are not business casual-friendly leggings, for example. A solid material is best, such as the classic Black Light n Tight with its high-quality material and semi-matte appearance. Funky patterns, designs, and even some of the more unique and interesting colors, however, would not blend well with a business casual look.
That doesn’t mean basic has to be boring! I wouldn’t say everything has to be a solid color, and you could style some a unique pattern or color the right way to make it work. It all comes down to how you wear it, but these below could all look great and corporate-ready with something like an overdose sweater or cardigan and booties.
1. Light Teal Everglades Supreme legging are a fiercely stylish legging with an alligator print in a light teal color that pairs well with solid colors.
2. Distressed Blue Ankle Cinch legging looks incredible from the distressed vegan look and cinch style around the ankles; pair these with solids or print-pattern tops!
3. Sea Krait Deluxe Hi-Rise legging has a unique snake-like pattern with a blue base fabric providing a unique tint to the whole legging that can pair with many solid colors.
Quality Materials Are Key
There’s nothing less professional looking than a baggy pair of slightly see-through cotton leggings in the workplace, which makes this rule an important one for wearing leggings as business casual. My clothing brand verifies this with the squat test for all the newest leggings hitting the virtual shelves. The squat test checks for the durability in the fibers and ability to keep your undergarments concealed. No one wants to see your panties in the office, and you will regret it the day you drop your pen and have to bend over in those in front of everyone.
Consider these 3 favorites, especially, for your office attire needs:
1. Black Metallic Light n Tight legging or another metallic or solid color from the pocketless versions of the classic Light n Tight leggings in my shop.
2. Maroon Unity Leggings in the 7/8 length to come down to your ankle, or one of our newest editions to the matte, soft Unity line.
3. Black Fit N Free leggings are simple, classic leggings, or see other unique colors in the Fit n Free collection.
Pair With the Right Shoes
To pull off a business casual style with leggings, you need to make sure that outfit is being accompanied by the right shoes. What do I mean by that? Leave your sneakers, flip flops, sandals, and tennis shoes at home. You’ll be best dressed with a high boot or another business-friendly shoe with closed toes. I personally tend to limit wearing high heels with leggings to avoid looking too overly dressed or like I’m heading to the club after work, but with the right outfit, a pair of pumps can button up a business casual look.
Long Cardigans for the Win
My go-to styling tip for wearing leggings in the office is go for the long cardigan! My favorite is the Lounge Boyfriend Cardigan, which comes down half way my upper leg. When in doubt, a cardigan, drapey blouse like a Finesse Tank, and booties with a chunky necklace will do the trick anytime.
Darker Colors Are the Safer Choice
If your leggings are too bright or stand out a lot, you might start drawing the attention of your colleagues and HR, even if you’ve got everything else covered. Any shade of black, for instance, is going to look a lot more professional than the blossom pink you usually rock in the gym. It may look really great with the right outfit, but don’t draw excessive attention to yourself wearing colors that are better reserved for workouts, especially when you’re in something fitted like leggings.
Your office dress code might exclude the wear of sweats or yoga pants, but unless the company founded that in the last 4 years, I don’t think what we call leggings today would count as yoga pants. You do not want to attract the attention of HR by standing out, looking too casual or too sexy, but with these tips as a guide, I think you could find an appropriate business casual look in leggings. Don’t forget to wear a high-quality legging, like these solid black 7/8 length leggings in my activewear boutique. Seriously: You don’t want the office seeing your undergarments with a cheap pair! Who knows when you will have to bend over to refill the copy machine or pick up your pen.
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