How to Make Athleisure Office-Appropriate
A few months ago, I did a five-day-long experiment. I wore nothing but athleisure to the office and anywhere else for five whole days. At the end of those five days, I came to the conclusion that athleisure wasn’t for me, despite how comfortable it was.
However, I’ve recently found myself wearing an outfit that is technically considered athleisure about once a week. There are a few reasons for this—namely that I don’t want to wear jeans when it’s this hot outside, and I can’t always muster up the motivation to shave so I can wear a dress or skirt to work. Does this make me a little lazy? Maybe, but the way I see it, I have a lot of more important things to do with my limited time. That’s how I unintentionally started employing the athleisure trend out of necessity.
I want to start by reiterating that people change their minds, situations come and go, and priorities shift. I’m not flaky because I changed my mind. I’m human. And I haven’t changed it 100%; more like 30%.
Overall Athleisure Guidelines
There are a few ways I’ve tweaked the athleisure thing to work for my office, which is already very casual. The first is that I limit myself to one athleisure item of clothing at a time, not counting shoes. If I’m wearing a pair of leggings, then I can’t wear an athletic tank. It has to be paired with a nice tunic or something equally as long and covered.
If I want to wear an athletic tank (obviously a really nice one, not one with sweat stains) then it has to be worn with a skirt or jeans (in the cooler months only). Cute sneakers, like Converse or my Allbirds, can be worn with any of it as long as it makes sense. Sandals and cute booties are also fair game.
Tank Top Rules
For athletic tanks, I think the ones from Lululemon are the most versatile. They look nicer than the tanks from Nike and UnderArmour, and tuck into skirts easily. Plus, they’re made with anti-stink fabric so there’s never any lingering workout stench to worry about.
I also make sure to choose tank tops with higher necklines so I’m always appropriately modest for the office. (This is just a personal preference; I’m not saying you have to be as modest.)
Sports Bra Rules
Normally, I would shudder at the thought of wearing a sports bra to the office. However, in the last six months I’ve actually found some that provide the support I need in the gym with the shape and coverage I need for regular life. My VS Sport Incredible sports bra is my go-to for office-approved athleisure undergarments.
I don’t wear them everyday though; I reserve them for the days when I know it’s going to be a ring-tailed tooter (as my dad says) of a day and comfort will keep me from wanting to rip into a gallon of cookie dough Talenti gelato.
Of course, because I work in an office, athletic shorts and capri leggings are never an option. That’s been a little unfortunate in the hot summer months, but something tells me the shorts I wear to run in are a little inappropriate. Bummer, I know.
There are some other rules for my leggings, too. First, I don’t wear any that have really large panels of see-through mesh to work. Those are great for the gym, yoga, and going to eat with friends, but not so much to wear when I have a meeting with my boss.
They also can’t be thin enough to be rendered see-through when moving around, have any wild patterns or colors, or embellishments of any kind. I stick to black, dark gray, navy, and thicker fabrics.
Speaking of meeting with my boss, I also make sure I don’t employ an athleisure outfit on the day of a big meeting. If I’m meeting with my boss then I make sure to wear something that says I take my job seriously. That means nice dresses, skirts and blouses, and nice dress jeans. No leggings. No sneakers. No sports bras. I don’t want the only thing my boss or co-workers remember about my contribution during meetings to be my choice (albeit fabulous) in sneakers and leggings.
That’s how I’ve changed my stance on athleisure and started working the trend into my workwear without going full-force athleisure. I’m sure this stance and my rules will transform again in the future, but for now this is how I merge the comfortable clothing with office-approved items.
Do you like the athleisure trend? Let me know how you make it work for your life!
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Last modified on April 2nd, 2020