Workout clothing is all the rage. Over the past decade, brands all over the country have popped up trademarking unique elements that were never before thought to land on a pair of leggings or sports bra. From mesh and lace to champagne bottles and palm trees, these once tired items have made a big-time upgrade. Long gone are the days of wearing your old college t-shirt and paint stained shorts to get your sweat on. Bring on the wicking microfiber tops with faux leather trimmed pants and perfectly coordinating sneakers. As these pieces continue to get more lavish, we start to wonder… is it okay to wear this outside of the gym? To the store, dinner, or even the office?
Today we are going to discuss a hot topic everyone is wondering about—are there workout clothes that I can wear into the office? The answer, of course, is absolutely yes! Without a doubt, you can find wardrobe staples that actually are workout pieces. To break it down, I’m going to fill you in on the best places to look, the rules for keeping it P.C., and a few of my favorite selections. Continue reading to find out how to put together the perfectly work appropriate office outfit made completely of fitness attire.
Prefer to look at them as motivation to tackle my next workout in style.
Where to look?
When it comes to finding workout clothes you can wear to the office, there are plenty of sites and stores to choose from. In fact, because the fancy workout wear trend has continued to climb, many brands are adding a collection to be worn beyond your fitness studio. Below I have listed some of the best spots to find all the perfect pieces that will transition from gym to office and everywhere in-between.
One of my personal all-time favorites for high-end fashion meets fitness attire is Carbon 38. This a one stop online shop for all of the top brands in today’s fitness garb. With nearly 100 brands (what?! yep!) to choose from, you can find everything to move between the office and your workout class seamlessly. Your co-workers will never have to know your pants are actually stretchy and made for a yoga class. Carbon 38 is loaded with styles, and colors; you’ll find outerwear, tops, pants, accessories, and more. A bit overwhelmed on where to start? You can never go wrong when searching through their black bottoms, or dresses. Michi, ALALA, and Free People are a few of my favorite brands that will have you wondering if you’re actually surfing an active wear website.
An International Storm
Sweaty Betty, a brand started in London nearly 20 years ago, finally caught on in the US a handful of years ago; you can actually find on some of their pieces Carbon 38’s website. They use the infamous tagline, “Say hello to pieces that take you from bar to barre.” Office, bar, same thing—right? Here you’ll find more bold patterns and pops of color, a full selection of dresses and trousers, and leggings that go a step beyond your average. Sweaty Betty makes it easy on those wondering what will pass in a business casual environment. Check out their style guide providing over half a dozen sports luxe outfits to be worn anywhere, any time.
Lululemon is a brand name known by all for their luxurious active wear. This brand is the no-fail stop; I almost guarantee you will find something you like here. Lulu storefronts are a bit less exclusive than the aforementioned, popping up in malls across the country. While there tends to be a bigger selection in store, the online site has options also if you don’t have a Lulu locally. Here you will find chic, yet slightly more subdued pieces in comparison to what you might find on the Carbon38 site; neutral colors, classic patterns, and quality fabric that wears well wash after wash. Women can find pants and a collection of sweaters that will hold up in offices allowing business casual attire. While most of the menswear is more notably fitness oriented, they do have several pairs of pants that can slide by—just make sure they’re ironed! An added bonus- their bags that come complete with organizational pockets for everything from your water to your laptop. Perfect to hold everything you need to leave the office and head straight to spin.
While active wear at work may get a stamp of approval, that doesn’t mean we can wear just any pair of leggings into the office. We must follow a few guidelines when pulling off these outfits to keep things professional.
#1. Pay the Extra
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you is to pay a little extra to get quality ‘dual purpose’ pieces. While part of your brain may think it’s a bit too much to pay for workout wear, trust me on this. Remind yourself that you’ll be getting plenty of use out of these clothing pieces wearing them both at work and during workouts. All the more reason to splurge, right? Also, just because they may have a stretchy waistband doesn’t deny the fact that you’re at your day job, not the barre. Go for quality here.
#2. Stay Structured
Just as with any office attire, clean lines and structured pieces look more professional. Don’t forget this as you slide into your No. 88 pants. We’ve all had that workout top that just keeps stretching out, but we hold onto it anyways. Well, my friend, unless you work from home, that just won’t fly. Find pieces that hold their shape as the day goes on; something you can wear into a 3pm meeting and still feel confident in. A Devon Thermal under the Dusk Wrap perhaps? Paired with a Frey Luxe Legging you’ll be feeling good all day long. And remember, there is a difference between slouchy and stretched out. If it’s designed to be a bit lose fitting—great; if it’s lose fitting because it’s old, stretched out, and has lost its elasticity—no go.
#3. Keep it PG
This should be an obvious one, but it never hurts to reconfirm. Mesh, lace, and the like are all fun, but these needs to be kept to the details of your items. A complete mesh top complemented by a cute sports bra is probably best kept in the gym. If it’s too tight, too low, or too revealing, keep it outside of the office. And a tip from a pro—make sure your leggings aren’t sheer when you bend over. Nothing is more embarrassing that sharing your underwear pattern with all of your coworkers…without you even knowing!
Wrap it Up
To bring it all together, I’ve listed a few of my favorite office appropriate pieces for you. Pants, Tops, Sweaters, and bags… it’s all here to give you the business casual look with an at-home-lounging comfort. Don’t see what you love below? Peruse the aforementioned sites, follow a few simple rules, and I’m positive you’ll find something that works for you.
Jourdan’s Top 10 Pieces
*One for the fella’s* Lululemon’s Men’s Commission Pant