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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Business Casual Bottoms Us Shorties Really Want

by: Danielle Ternyila

I live the life of a short woman, and I will only ever dream of what the world looks like from 5-feet up. There are some downsides to being short, as much as there are upsides (good luck trying to find us in Hide n Seek!) One of the hardest challenges since joining the workforce has been finding flattering and comforting dress slacks or business pants I can wear every day. After-all, we spend the largest part of our days dressed for work, so I of course want to feel most comfortable and confident.

Every day in the office can vary for me, which is what makes some of these pants so incredible, on top of being the perfect pant for us short girls! However, they are reliable and built to last. Zyia Active prides itself on creating quality clothing, and I am still amazed that no matter how often I wear these, they always look good as new (and I should add, I am in no way a pro at doing laundry right…).

More important, this brand offers something for every body. Clothes are not designed for us and our individual bodies, as if being loved slightly more by gravity was a crime. After years working in the office setting after graduation, I found a small handful of pants that did the trick for a while, but I still just counted down to Casual Friday every week. My

For reference, I’m 4′ 11″ (149.8cm) tall. The inseam for some of these vary based on size (see sizing chart in my shop for exact inseam measurements!), but the perfect length for me has been around 25″. There are a few go-to pieces in my closet, but the Everywhere Pants, specifically, take up the most space in my closet!

Everywhere Pants

These sweat-wicking, quick dry, wrinkle-resistant… just overall, perfect pants are great for travel, the office, and especially hot days over the summer! It’s no surprise they’re called the Everywhere Pants because they will perfect for every outfit and occasion.

I’ll dress these up with something simple like a flattering but fitted Parallel Tank in a fun color tucked in, all paired with a blazer or snuggly cardigan. They look just as great with a hoodie for a grocery store run or paired with a tank on the hottest day; made with nylon and spandex, these are a great lightweight pant to protect your legs from the UV.

Similar to the Everywhere Pants, you also can’t go wrong with their somewhat-related cousin: the Everywhere Zipper Jogger, which adds just a little sparkle to your look however you wear it

Everywhere Zipper Jogger

The big difference between the Everywhere Pants and Everywhere Zipper Jogger is in the bottom cuff, observed in the photos above. The zipper is fully functional (great for pedicure day!) with silver or brass zips to match the metal-tipped drawstrings, just like the Pants have! Customers can also enjoy that same faux back pocket, which just makes these bottoms look even more smart casual.

These are just as great in the heat or on a rainy day. These are my go to when I have to drive into the office in a storm and I don’t want damp pants all day. However, if you prefer a slightly heavier and more flattering fabric, the Peak Zipper Joggers have a few subtle differences you might appreciate.

Peak Zipper Jogger

Peak Zipper Joggers have slightly more nylon and a little less spandex than the Everywhere Zipper Jogger counterparts. This means they are a little thicker, which make them perfect for chilly campfire nights, freezing office buildings, schools, hospitals, or really any where. These women’s pants also have a functional drawstring and metal-dipped at the ends , along with 2 deep pockets that can hold your phone or anything else you need to carry with you.

The reinforced, no-pinch waistband fits comfortably around the waist, and the overall jogger hugs your curves gently, so you could size down one for a more fitted look. If you do like a flowy pant leg, though, I recommend the Work Flow Pants.

Work Flow Pants

These have a much higher waistband than others in my activewear boutique with our no-roll magic too. The inseams range from 22.5″-24″ (57.1-70cm), and the wide flowing leg features one box pleat that from the pocket to hem, creating a dramatic leg that can easily be styled and dressed for a business casual day. Two deep pockets is a game changer in your office attire too!

The Work Flow Pants are designed to be more fitted at the hip, so it’s recommended you size up one for a slightly more relaxed fit around the waist. They have incredible breathability with optimal sweat-wicking power, not to mention the four-way stretch fabric you’ll find in all my pants and joggers. These are great to dress up with a fitted blouse when you have to dress business casual, but you could also go for a skirt instead of pants, and for that I’d recommend the Effortless Skirt!

Effortless Skirt

End the week on a fun note! I love to stay comfortable for Casual Friday in something like our best leggings or something as cute as the Effortless Skirt! This is so easy to pair with a blazer too if you want to look the most smart casual, but this pencil skirt-inspired (or improved, perhaps?!) bottom is a knockout with 2 deep pockets for your phone or other needs. The waistband does not dig in with the wide 2″ (5.1cm) encased elastic up top. The flattering A-line design will look great on every body, especially my short girls.

Even though I am not even 5′ (152.4cm), this skirt comes to the perfect length on me to wear in the office as a business casual look with a blazer and heels, or it goes great with some sneakers and a cute tank. Check out more outfit inspiration on my instagram @Danielle-the-writer.

What styles do you struggle with or do you have a corporate dress code you have to adhere to? Let’s talk about it and more in my online Empowerment group on Facebook.