How To Wear Leggings To Work - Business Casual Leggings Outfits
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How To Wear Leggings To Work - Business Casual Leggings Outfits

clock-circular-outlinePosted 19 Mar 2024

In regards to office attire, one question that remained perpetually unanswered until the 2020s was whether leggings could be donned ‘business casual’ enough for them to be worn to work. Naturally, business-casual attire will vary depending on your industry, but now more than ever, leggings have become an acceptable item of clothing to wear to work, and we’re not complaining.

Because of changes in the work landscape and the rise of athleisure wear in our everyday closets, leggings have become an item we don't have to say goodbye to when we enter the office. For hybrid workers, there’s no need to ditch the leggings, your office days can be just as comfy (and professional) as your WFH days.

There are plenty of ways to dress up leggings for work with outfits that combine smarter items in your wardrobe with our favorite black fitted pants to achieve the perfect balance of business and comfort.

But of course, there are some things to consider when choosing to wear leggings to work, as not every pair of leggings are going to be work-appropriate. When ideating legging outfits for your days in-office, there’s a few of things to consider: the style, the branding, and thickness of the leggings to name a few. We’ve got some tips to consider before wearing leggings to work, and 5 office-appropriate leggings outfits you can wear every day of the working week. Comfort is key with your business casual outfits, but looking professional is non-negotiable - here’s your guide to wearing leggings to work.

First Things First. What Is Considered Business Casual?

Business casual attire can be described as a professional blend of formal and casual wear that can be considered workplace-appropriate. While business attire is all about suits, ties, shirts, heels, blouses, and pencil skirts, business casual is slightly more relaxed.

Today (depending on where you work) a business casual uniform for women often combines structured silhouettes with relaxed fitting items. Think midi skirts and knit sweaters, smart sneakers, jeans, and blouses, fashion-forward suits and two pieces, oversized shirts, wide-leg smart trousers, and finally… leggings.

Are Leggings Business Casual?

Despite the idea that leggings are exclusive to working out and lounging, we all know that our humble leggings can be much more than that. Leggings can be business casual when paired with work-appropriate pieces that look more suitable in an office than on the gym floor.

Leggings can be dressed up for work, traveling, dinner dates, and other less casual settings. So just to clarify; it’s a no for leggings, a baggy hoodie, and sneakers, but a thumbs up for a pair of work leggings, an oversized blazer, and loafers.

How To Wear Leggings To Work - Top Tips From Our Stylist

Leggings are versatile; you wear them for yoga, running, lifting, lounging, and running errands. But when it comes to choosing the right leggings for work, it’s important to make note of a few things, as not every pair of leggings is suitable for the workplace, and we certainly don’t want any office blunders from wearing the wrong pair. Here are some helpful tips from our stylist Brona on how to wear leggings to work.

“Opting for a solid colour with no contouring such as stitch feature, legacy or adapt fleck make a pair of leggings more 'office friendly' especially when teaming up with a Blazer & over-sized t-shirt underneath."

"Not sure about wearing a full legging? How about our flared leggings to keep you feeling smart yet comfortable."

"Want to take your fave black lounging leggings into the office? team up with a black long sleeve t-shirt & trench coat and no one will suspect you've been working from home on the sofa."

- Brona Cooley - Stylist

1. Choose a thicker pair of leggings - no see-through leggings

By choosing a thicker pair of leggings you can ensure your leggings aren’t see-through and avoid any potential office embarrassment. If you’re anything like us, you’ve squat-tested all your sports leggings upon purchase, so if your leggings are squat-proof then you’re pretty much guaranteed that they’re not transparent either, win!

2. Make sure your leggings are full-length

If you’re aiming for a professional look, then full-length leggings are the way to go. A pair of full-length leggings for work that end just above the ankle look far smarter than a cropped pair as they can look too athletic and casual. This style also looks great paired with multiple shoe options, whether it’s a pair of calf-length boots, loafers, ballet flats, or heels.

3. Opt for dark colors or plain black leggings

To keep your leggings looking professional, choosing leggings with minimal patterns and branding is the way to go, and we’d recommend opting for dark colors or plain black leggings. They’ll also look more professional than say a bright blue or pink pair of leggings, and neutral colors are a good foundation to build outfits on, meaning you’ll get far more versatile business-casual looks with your black leggings.

4. Wear something more formal on top

Making a pair of leggings work for, well, work relies on choosing the right top to make the outfit more professional. You should balance the leggings outfit out by wearing something more formal on top, such as a blouse, knit sweater, oversized shirt, cardigan, or even a dress for a layered look. For jackets, blazers are our go-to choice.

5. Stick to neutral colors

We know an all-black outfit looks sleek and sophisticated, especially in a work setting. One of our favorite business casual leggings outfits is a pair of black leggings paired with a slim-fit black top, oversized black blazer, and black shoes. Monochrome perfection! Stick to neutrals if you do want to add some color to your outfit; beige, grey, navy and white are versatile and smart and pair well with dark leggings.

6. Pair with a smarter pair of shoes

Our first thought when building a leggings outfit may be to complete the ‘fit with a pair of sports sneakers, but we need to throw that mindset out when it comes to office wear. Dress up your leggings with a smarter pair of shoes like loafers, brogues, ballet flats, boots, or comfy heels for your 9-5’s. If your office is more laid-back on footwear, you may opt for a smarter pair of sneakers like tennis shoes, or a more casual shoe like a pair of Uggs or Birkenstocks for a more relaxed (Friday) look.

5 Legging Outfits For Work

Pocket Leggings in Black

1. Peter-Pan Collar Shirt + Black Cotton Seamless Leggings + Chunky Loafers + Trench Coat

We’re loving an oversized collar moment right now, and one of these whimsical blouses is the perfect way to dress your leggings up for work in Spring. Pair a Peter-Pan collar shirt in a soft baby blue with our super high-waisted black Cotton Seamless Leggings for an ultra-comfy and stylish office look. Complete the outfit with a cool pair of chunky loafers, and a long trench coat for the transitional months, or swap for your long smart wool coat for the colder weather.

2. Black Elevate Leggings + White Oversized Training T-Shirt + Oversized Beige Knit Sweater

The leggings and baggy sweatshirt combo is synonymous with comfort, but it needs a little elevating to make it office-appropriate. The Elevate Leggings are a soft comfy pair of leggings that will make sitting down at your desk all day a whole lot comfier. Swap your athletic sweatshirts for an oversized knit sweater that falls around the top of your thigh for a covered but comfy ‘fit. We love the look of a pop of white tee poking out above the neckline, which pairs well with an elegant fine gold necklace for that minimal aesthetic. Finish the outfit with a pair of brogues or ballet flats for a take on the trend-driven balletcore aesthetic.

3. Black Vital Seamless Leggings + Jersey Body Fit Shirt + Oversized Grey Blazer

The black Vital Seamless Leggings are our most popular leggings for a reason, they’re thick enough to squat in, but still lightweight and stretchy for full comfort whatever your sport, and they just so happen to be everyone's favorite leggings to wear outside the gym too. Style these leggings to work with our flattering black Jersey Body Fit Shirt for a monochrome base, then layer with a structured Oversized Grey Blazer that means business, without compromising on style. Finish the stylish Hailey Bieber-inspired leggings outfit with a pair of her go-to flat shoes: the penny loafer.

4. Everyday Regular Flare Leggings + Ribbed Cotton Seamless T-Shirt + Chunky Cardigan

For a good while, it felt like the only tops you could purchase in the styles you liked were always cropped, and for office wear, a cropped number is often a complete no-go! Hearing your cries for longline tops, we created the Ribbed Cotton T-Shirt, a longer-fitting t-shirt with a hugging body fit. This t-shirt looks great with everything, but for an alternative work leggings outfit, instead of wearing a regular pair of leggings, pick a pair of flare leggings for a comfy yet semi-corporate look. A chunky cardigan for warmth is a win for a business-casual outfit, and a trench coat and smart flats finish the office-ready ‘fit wonderfully.

5. Vital Seamless Leggings + Training Oversized Fleece Sweatshirt + Converse

We call this one our Friday fit. Now this of course depends on whether your workplace allows casual Fridays, but presuming it does, we’ve got the legging outfit for you. Select your Vital Seamless Leggings once again for unparalleled comfort, throw on your favorite shirt (it’s Friday after all!), may that be a preppy stripe oversized shirt or baggy graphic tee, and finish with our Training Oversized Fleece Sweatshirt. Cozy levels through the roof, you could style this look with a pair of Converse to lean into the relaxed vibes or wear your favorite loafers or boots if you want to add a smarter touch.

Work attire has relaxed over the years since COVID-19, with companies recognizing that comfort is high on the list of their employee's priorities after long stints of working from home and living in athleisure wear. There’s no reason the office can’t be a place where you can be comfortable in what you’re wearing, while still maintaining a professional dress code… and leggings have officially made it into the work-week rotation. Go get yours now.

T.G.I.F. Are you ready for the comfort that awaits you on the weekend? Check out our comfy sweatsuit options for all your lounging needs and cozy weekend plans.

Fancy a bit of lunchtime retail therapy? Download our Gymshark app and shop your favorite workout fits and work bits below.

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