The Rules to Passing Leggings as Business Casual

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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Women’s Business Casual Activewear for Every Season

by: Danielle Ternyila, ZYIA Active Independent Rep

Your office’s business casual dress code doesn’t have to be exhausting; it can be exciting and fun with the right pieces. Having worked in offices since I was 15, I’ve felt it all from morning frustrations trying to pick what to wear to sitting uncomfortably at a desk in pants that hardly fit or even have pockets for most of my day. An empowering brand has changed it all for me, and I’ll make it even simpler for you by highlighting the top business casual clothes for petite, plus size, and all the body types us ladies may have!

That’s the thing most clothing brands are forgetting when it comes to us women and what we actually want to wear; our bodies are not the same. We are all different physically, which means the confusing sizes that change from store to store and the men-run companies are NOT the way (*cough, cough cue my favorite song, “Victoria’s Secret” by Jax)!

Zyia Active is run by strong women from our co-founders Erin and Brenda Bradley to the independent representatives like myself in the United States, Canada, and now Australia, all just sharing our passions to help others. They started this company to fulfill our needs for clothing that balances comfort and style for all our shapes and sizes. And while ACTIVE is in the name, these clothes are for every part of your active life from your workouts to the office, your next big trip, and home walking the dog. This isn’t just any “active wear”!

To keep our quality clothing at its highest, you won’t see an endless surplus of the same items in our warehouse inventory; you’ll find things come and go in my boutique, but we have new releases every Wednesday, so there is always something new in store! That said, some of the items below may be running low or retiring soon, so I am always available to help you with sizing or shopping. Find your best way to contact me here whether it’s email, Instagram, or Facebook!

Piping Classy Jogger

This unique pair of work pants will give you all the cozy feels like you’re home on the couch! The Piping Classy Jogger is like your favorite soft and lightweight sweater material in a delightful business casual-friendly style.

  1. Tuck in a white button-down blouse with stilettos for a fierce feminine business casual look
  2. Pair it with the matching Piping Classy Sweater Tank and a sharp blazer jacket

*Let me disclose here that I am 4’11”, so my short women should have no fear with this! The inseam is 27.5-inch (69.8 cm), and so they are just a great length on even my petite shape. These items and the others below are all short-girl approved work bottoms!

Perfection Jogger

These joggers don’t look like your old-school gym joggers! These are advanced with superior wrinkle-resistant material, 2 deep pockets, and unique details like vertical trouser seams down the front of each leg. Shop the Perfection Joggers, currently available in a beautiful matte navy and black to pair with every color!

  1. Match these with a cute sweater or just a blazer for colder office days
  2. Pair it with a lightweight blouse in the summer with your favorite sandals

Tribeca Sweater Skirt

Who wants a timeless piece that can serve you year-round in your office outfits? The Tribeca Sweater Skirt is as comfortable and chic as it sounds; the most important features, at least to me, are the 2 deep pockets and the wide, soft ribbed waistband with a gentle stay-put elastic that doesn’t ever pinch!

  1. Simply pair the skirt with the matching Tribeca Sweater and pretty much any shoes!
  2. Tuck in any colored or patterned blouse up top
  3. Pair it with the Parallel Tank (below) and a blazer

Parallel Tank

The Parallel Tank offer simplicity with maximum coverage; it is the ideal top for tossing under a blazer, cardigan, and more! The material is sweat-wicking and ultra soft. Use it as the base for any of your business casual outfits!

  1. Layer under a long cardigan with metallic leggings, like my Metallic Light n Tights
  2. Use it as a base under your work blazer
  3. Keep warm using it as an extra layer under sweaters in the colder weather, or wear it on its own in the heat!

Monterey Dress

Shop the Monterey Dress in a beautiful burnt-orange Paprika or Warm Sand, as beautiful as the color sounds! Everyone enjoys this in their true size, and it drapes down and skims the body for a beautiful fit on every body that has tried this dress. Use it as a base for endless business casual ideas!

  1. Pair the dress with a blazer, and tie up a side to add a little texture to the dress
  2. Dress it up with a long cardigan and belt combo
  3. Layer a dressy blouse over for a cute skirt look in the office
Gallery

Styling 2-Pc Sweater Set for Fall: 8 Looks

The Tribeca Sweater Set is a new 2-piece set to hit the boutique shelves, just in the knick of time for fall! This unique skirt and sweater combination, available in 2 colors for a limited time, is the perfect base for every outfit this fall. Dress the skirt up or down for everything from smart casual days in the office to trick-or-treating with the kids.

See the Tribeca Sweater Set and find your size before they sell out. Pair with any of the below pieces to complete this look and add some versatility to your wardrobe this season; this set guarantees the comfort of your favorite at-home sweats that you can wear everywhere.

Get any of these looks in my online boutique; I am always happy to answer questions on sizing or offer my shopping assistance, so feel free to find me on Instagram, Facebook, or reach out online here.

Interpreting Corporate Dress Codes: Business Casual

by: Danielle Ternyila, Zyia Active Independent Rep

While “Casual Fridays” may hold a special place in our hearts, the need for business casual is not completely unwarranted in the business world. Various dress codes can be placed and enforced in the workplace, and as the employee, it is our concern to abide by these policies and present ourselves with the appropriate level of professionalism.

Business Casual is a very common dress code I have found myself building wardrobes around since high school when I started visiting my mom’s office after school for my first “part-time” gig. While all companies decide on their own dress codes to describe in the sacred employee handbook, there are keywords that can easily indicate the expectations of the company, so you can understand exactly what is appropriate and what will not be for your new job (or just the ‘new you’ if you’re just on your next shopping bender for your ole’ 9-5!)

Dress Conservative

#813 Lilac Parallel Tank

Unless your role and company requires you to stand out (perhaps a fashion designer or a Queen), most dress codes will strive for conservative attire, meaning more formal and modest clothing choices. This refers not to just how revealing a piece is but also adherence to tradition and the tone that has already been set; if most people in the office wear blazers and jackets, you should also wear something similar.

Most people also gravitate toward neutral colors, tans, whites, or blacks and navy’s, that tend to blend in among the crowd and are easy to style, but this doesn’t mean you have to completely shy away from your favorite pink blouse or a stand-out dress that still aligns with your business casual company policies. When I want to dress my most modest, I go to the Parallel Tank first, for example, as it provides great coverage, has a full-length hem, and gentle support that flatters but does cling to your figure.

Customer-Serving Employees/Events Should Present Clear and Presentable in Appearance

#688 Black Everywhere Pants

It’s important to represent the company as your best self, so when you know you will be seeing customers or clients, it is essential that you dress most professional in these instances. Your best business casual wardrobe should include suits/skirts, dress pants, dresses, jackets/blazers, cardigans, and your nicest blouses.

In other words, look tidy and put together, not like you just ran from your third-shift position as a hockey referee and through the sprinklers before you clock in to the office. To make my own life easier, I always reach for my Everywhere Pants in these instances (above) because they are anti-wrinkle and water resistant, so they always look great, even if I had to run through the parking lot to make it to a meeting and spilled some tea a while back in the car.

Smart Casual Is Preferred

#5094 Distressed Blue Ankle Cinch Hi-Rise 7/8 24″

If your office boosts a smart casual dress code as opposed to the business casual you’ve grown accustomed to, appreciate the balance between a polished business professional look in the comfort of more casual pieces. Smart casual refers to something just a little bit more casual than the other offices before, quite progressive for a post-pandemic world! You can incorporate some of your more casual and comfortable articles of clothing into your office outfits while still dressing your best.

I’d expect in a smart casual office setting, you could get away with something like the Distressed Blue Ankle Cinch Hi-Rise in my activewear boutique (above) and a nice bootie, or you could even a pair of comfortable slip-on’s and a long cardigan.

No Yoga/Sweat Pants

#1096 Black Metallic Light n Tight Hi-Rise 7/8 24″

This is not a policy I take lightly as a part-time activewear rep, and there is a fine line between properly accessorizing athleisure wear for the office and stinking up the cubicles in your old alma mater sweats. When we see yoga pants listed on the no-no list, that indicates that it is important to be at your most presentable; booty-enhancing or bright tight leggings are a few of the things HR wants to avoid, but matte leggings paired with a lengthy sweater dress or Metallic Light N Tights (above) add a touch of personality to a draping blouse and cardigan that can look just as business casual as your dress slacks and cardigan.

Be considerate in what you are wearing if you do choose to seek the comfort of athleisure wear in your business casual wardrobe. My rule of thumb for leggings, specifically, is to cover the bum and pair with more conservator blouse or cardigan options to avoid any scrutiny.

Take a Deeper Look Into the Specifics

If you’re ever unsure about your dress code, there is nothing smarter than simply asking your HR representative for some guidance; that’s what they are there for, and if anything else, to dress for success, some suggest you dress like your boss; mimic their fashion choices in your own.

Appropriate Tops According to Policy

  • Suits and/or coats and ties is a specific example your company may call out in their employee style guidelines, but it is also helps describe their expectations. For women, this can send mixed messages about what may be appropriate, though this can also indicate that blazers or cardigans will play an essential role in your closet. Be sure to consider what others wear around you in the office.
  • Polo, Crewneck, and Collared Tops are safe go-to’s for the office, but you could also consider high-neck blouses, sweaters, or button-up’s. What isn’t appropriate would be see-through or revealing pieces, t-shirts or “torn” looking tops, and anything showing distracting, inappropriate or racy graphics (even if it’s a really cool vintage band tee).

Appropriate Bottoms for Business Professionals

  • Casual Slacks would be considered pants or bottoms that resemble your traditional dress pants; they should not be tight-fitted or elastic like your gym sweats or clubbing outfits. If the dress code indicates for a more casual approach, this could also include a thoughtfully designed pair of denim bottoms, so long as they are not blue, tight, or appear casual in any way.
  • Dress Slacks specifically are a more formal pair of pants and shouldn’t be confused with jeans, yoga pants, or shorts.
  • Skirts and Dresses should be of an appropriate length; mini-skirts, skorts, or any tight little skirt better suited for a vacation to Miami Beach are never the answer, but with careful accessorizing and perhaps a pair of stockings, a long flowy or pencil skirt can be a great alternative to pants in the office.

Footwear for the Office

Flip-flops, crocs, mud boots, your hiking shoes, and smelly gym sneakers are not often acceptable in the office setting, but you could still get away with a stylish boot that goes with a nice jacket and blouse or your sparkling-like-new tennis shoes. Clean athletic shoes or more casual slip-on’s can also work, but be mindful of what others wear in the office too as a guide.

There remains the other shoes you can wear too: the heels, sandals, flats, or in the more casual setting some stylish boat shoes. Depending on the outfit you’re working with, I’m convinced you can make any shoe work, unless you work somewhere that requires closed toe or steel-dipped shoes (then don’t break any rules for your own safety!)

Casual Friday’s

Not every company chooses to have a dress-down day, but if your HR team does allow this, remember to continue dressing to impress in the most “business casual” fashion you can; this is still not the day to wear your track pants and old faded hoodies or funny T-shirts. Take advantage of this day by wearing your favorite jeans if that’s what you desire, but avoid drawing attention to yourself by getting too comfortable. If the CEO or President of your company bumped into you in the lunch room that day, would you feel appropriate in what you wore? Keep that in mind when you get yourself ready for another Fri-yay!

Take a look at some of my favorite office outfits and business casual must-haves from my activewear boutique.

What’s In My Suitcase: 3-Day Business Trip in the Back Bay

by: Danielle Ternyila, Zyia Active Independent Rep

Packing for a business trip used to be such a daunting task, with having to prepare for so many unknown variables, last minute dinners, and varied business-attire expectations. The one thing that will never change from city to city, however, is our desire to pack light and easy! I’ve learned along my way how to minimize luggage, so I’ll share how I packed this past week for a 3-day business trip to the beautiful city of Boston!

Pick Your Color Base

This is the first thing on my mind when packing, and for me it always revolves around the shoes. If you’ll be walking exhibit floors and large conference halls like me, focus on the footwear that will be carrying you everywhere. Once you know what shoes you’re bringing, you can start working on your color palette for work trip. Everything else you pack should revolve around those colors.

It’s better to pick a more neutral color that can be paired with a lot, rather than something vibrant and outstanding. For my late-March work trip to Boston, I went with a blush/nude tone that I could pair with whites and pinks; I packed my most comfortable strappy platform heels and a basic sneaker for outside the meetings, the gym, and walking around exploring.

Choose Versatility

This is where my White Grid Tank came in handy! This crop tank has a built-in bra to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Everything I pack had to serve more than 1 purpose, so a bra/top in one is a no-brainer. Then I pull in some simple tanks and tops that can be styled for at least 2 different looks.

I packed the White Muscle Cubana Tank that has great ventilation and lots of coverage, so I wore that on Day 1 with joggers, which I swapped out for leggings to get some cardio in later. This top was also a comfy alternative to a PJ top and worked for a quick cardio session! It was comfy to drive up in, too.

I should also mention, I choose bras like the Grid Tank and our other Zyia sports bras because they also double as swim tops on the off chance I have time for a dip in the pool!

Avoid Anything That Wrinkles

The key to a business-professional wardrobe in a suitcase is clothes that don’t wrinkle. I purposefully pack bottoms I know won’t wrinkle, like the lightweight Everywhere Pants from my Zyia Active boutique; I can wear any pair of these (in black, olive, or navy) more than 1 way too by pulling up the legs into a capri style for some versatility, but they pack so neat and small that I’ll usually pack more than 1 pair anyway.

For my corporate travel this week, I went with the Black and Olive colors, and I also threw in my Navy Perfection Joggers, which are another comfortable staple for a flight too. All of these bottoms resist wrinkling, are sweat-wicking, quick-dry for those rainy days or sweaty gym workouts (because after all, they are basically activewear), and all feature 2 functional deep pockets.

These 3 colors all pair well with the nude-blush color palette I have created for this early-Spring trip 😉

Minimize Extra’s

You’ll always have the urge to throw in a few extra pieces in case something comes up, plans change, or the weather disrupts things. Plan out your days and the outfits to accompany them, then see how you can pull together those pieces to create some different looks.

Replacing Insufficient Slacks With Work Pants We Really Want

by: Danielle Ternyila | Zyia Active Independent Rep

Why do women’s work pants, or most of our pants in general, not have pockets?

When you go to shop for new business casual looks to freshen your office wardrobe, do you feel like the sizes are all just lying to you? Nothing ever matches, they never fit the same from one pair to the next, or maybe they never fit right from the start but you settle on an oversized or squeezed fit to have something to wear.

I’ve longed for comfort in the office forever, and I know the problem isn’t the business casual dress code; it’s the clothing brands we limit ourselves to in the local mall to shop, and most of them aren’t thinking about you and your body when they design them. They don’t care if they dig into our stomaches to make our butts look a special way or if the pockets are just for show and never really open, or they’re only small enough for a nickel. That’s where Zyia Active comes in, with countless styles for your office attire that will actually comfort you and move with you all day!

Now that I have found a quality and reliable clothing brand I can trust, I’m excited to be a part of the company’s growth and help others feel their most confident in the workplace. Take my style quiz to start your personalized online shopping experience with me!

Everywhere Pants

These were my first purchase with this brand, and I’m still wearing the same pair years later looking good as new. There is something to be said about the incredible long lasting quality you can expect with this brand. The Everywhere Pants are a staple and are no doubt the comfortable flexible work pants you’ve been looking for. Yes, they really exist! The best part is these are women’s dress pants with 2 deep pockets!

  • Lightweight and wrinkle resistant for easy care and travel
  • No-roll flat waistband with metal tipped drawstring
  • Anti-chafe, sweat-wicking, breathable fabric for the best performance

Although worth checking out, the Everywhere Zipper Joggers! Similar to our pants but with an encased ankle cuff and stylish but functional zipper.

Perfection Joggers

Life-changing, I’d say. I never believed in joggers in the workplace until I met these, absolutely perfection! What makes these unique is the matte color to the fabric that makes them very office-friendly pants along with a gorgeous vertical seam down the front of each leg. The 2 pockets are deep enough for any phone, but are hidden well and don’t add bulk.

  • A 2.5-inch waistband and 3.5-inch ankle cuffs with an incredible 3-channel design
  • Premium matte fabric that can be dressed up or dressed down
  • Four-way stretch and sweat-wicking performance for when you’re on the move

Joggers in a Bottle 2

A silky lightweight jogger is all you need to feel comfortable and classy, especially in the sleek black color of our Joggers in a Bottle 2. Unlike some other jogger styles, there’s no drawstring, just a loose-fitted but flattering fit around your waist that flows down to a wide cuff around the ankles.

  • From the top, a soft, no-roll flat waistband with a thin encased elastic to keep them in place
  • To the bottom, a 4.5-inch wide and smooth ankle cuff
  • A relaxed and slouchy fit with a premium silky material you’ll never want to stop wearing

Don’t shop alone!

I’m your online shopping buddy. Fill out my style quiz here for my assistance in everything from picking the right style for you, finding the perfect size, checking out with the best deals possible, and don’t worry, I have your back too if you need to make any exchanges or returns!