Not really taking the fashion scene by storm, but definitely a trend in the last couple years is the reinvention and reintroduction of the legging. Of special interest to me is how it is worn in the workplace and what makes it “office appropriate” or something to be banned.
Of course there is a distinct difference between leggings and opaque tights that some people just cannot seem to grasp. Seeing someone walk around and being able to tell the color of their underwear quite distinctly probably makes their attire tights, not leggings. Leggings on the other hand are typically made of substantial, heavyweight fabric that is designed to stretch and move with the body. With this difference in mind leggings can be worn as pants and are most often paired with a long sweater or tunic.
Some common sense rules on wearing leggings to work should include: if you work in a super conservative office environment leggings are probably not the proper attire for you. A workplace that has a strict dress code that requires tailored clothing, like suits or suited separates would not accept leggings as office wear.
You should also keep your work leggings and casual-weekend leggings separate. In other words don’t wear the stretched out super comfy ones that have been pilled from frequent washings to work. Probably most important is to never and I mean never, show your butt. You would think that this would go without saying, especially in a work setting, but I feel like for some people it still needs to be said. Anything you wear over leggings should cover you up, even if you feel like you have buns of steel, save those buns, stick em in the warmer and take them home where they belong! This is why designers have created more loose, flowing shirts that are long enough to cover the bum. Buy them when you are buying the leggings or just leave the leggings on the rack.
Make sure you choose heftier leggings. There are not many things worse that buying a cheap pair of leggings that are so thin that the skin shows through the fabric. They then become tights and are not appropriate to wear as pants. When trying on leggings you should bend your knees and make sure that they aren’t so tight on your thighs that your skin shows through.
The shoes you wear with your leggings are also of importance. Leggings, by their very nature are tight and form fitting, if you pair that with a tight top and 5 inch platforms your attire becomes more suited for streetwalking than sitting behind a desk in corporate America. Not that you cannot pair your leggings with heels, you just need to use a bit of common sense when doing so. Nice leggings paired with a tunic that hits mid-thigh or lower and your favorite heels are just fine! And then sometimes it is really best just to wear leggings with boots or flats, something that keeps the tone of the overall outfit in the work appropriate category versus the runway.
And finally even if leggings are okay in the workplace (which I believe they are) in an office that is more laid back, an appropriate leggings-look should still be professional. When pairing leggings with sweaters and other appropriate tops those tops should be loose enough to be comfortable while not being sloppy, however, not so tight that they are outlining your rear. You can also pair the outfit with some tailored components to balance out the relaxed feel of the leggings or choose accessories that elevate your outfits.
Below you will find a handy guide designed by Amy Sly that will help you know “Am I Wearing Pants”.
-Leah Poole, CEO