Skip to main content

Can you wear leggings to work? Yes, if you follow these rules

A few years ago, wearing leggings was a big fashion “don’t.” People spent hours online debating whether this gym-wear was appropriate to wear in public at all. These days, the rules have changed — leggings worked their way out of the athletics section and into our casual wardrobes.

But are leggings appropriate on the job? The answer largely depends on where you work, but, for the most part, wearing leggings to work is becoming increasingly common. We’ll dive into when it’s appropriate to wear these comfy bottoms at work and how to style them professionally.

Woman wearing leggings at the office
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

When can you wear leggings to work?

Businesses typically have their own dress codes, some of which may explicitly prohibit wearing leggings. However, many workspaces are moving toward casual attire, so if your office is more relaxed, you can certainly dress up a pair of leggings for the workday.

The key to work attire is dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable, so you can be productive in the office without becoming distracted by constricting clothing. Wearing sweatpants to work from home is a nonissue since the Zoom camera only catches your upper body. However, if you’re going to the office in person, your favorite pair of sweats won’t quite cut it. Leggings can be the perfect compromise between loungewear and business casual.

Choose the right leggings

Though you can wear leggings to work, not all leggings are equally work-appropriate. In general, avoid wearing leggings with bright, neon colors or busy patterns and logos. The ideal work leggings are dark and neutral in color (black really is best) and don’t expose any part of you that shouldn’t be seen. In general, opt for thicker, opaque materials, basic colors and patterns, and focus on a good fit. While leggings are designed to fit close to the body, you don’t want to look as if you are wearing a pair that’s a size too small.

Additionally, consider the material used to make the leggings. Stretchy, thin yoga pants are associated with athleisure wear, and might not be suitable for the office. To keep it more professional, select leggings that appear the most pants-like.

Pair them with a great top

You can boost the professionalism of leggings by simply choosing the right top to wear with them.

  • Since leggings are tight, create balance in your outfit by wearing a loose-fitting shirt.
  • For more modesty, wear a long, flowy shirt that covers your behind with a hem that reaches your thighs.
  • On colder days (or if your office is always freezing), wear an oversized sweater or cardigan to create a similar effect, all while staying warm and cozy.
  • To further ensure your leggings aren’t the centerpiece of work talk, consider wearing a dress over them. This is a great way to continue wearing your favorite summer dresses even through the chilly winter months.
  • Topping your look with a blazer adds an air of professionalism and draws the eye to the upper half of your body. Combine it with a long shirt and always be sure your rear is fully covered.

When styling leggings, the name of the game is balance. If your leggings are more casual, pair them with other pieces that are more traditionally professional.

Woman wearing faux leather leggings and red heels
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Don’t forget to accessorize

Choose some eye-catching accessories to add a little extra panache to your outfit. Colorful jewelry, shoes, and other accessories can easily elevate your office look and let your personality shine. Choose a statement piece of jewelry or a scarf that draws the eye and makes your outfit appear more professional. When it comes to footwear, a pop of color looks especially fashionable with black leggings, but for more traditional dress codes, keep it simple with a pair of black flats. Alternatively, you can look more professional with a pair of short heels, or loafers. High, flat-heeled boots are also a good choice.

So, can you wear leggings to work? Yes! As long as you keep it modest and use the tips above, you can incorporate your favorite leggings into your work attire. By focusing on a professional look in the rest of your clothing, you can still wear your leggings while maintaining a business-appropriate appearance.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

Editors' Recommendations

Shannon Cooper
Freelance writer
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
The best fall boots for 2021 for making you look on trend
Woman wearing black knee-high boots

Boots are the definitive shoe of autumn. They keep your feet warm as the temperature drops, and they look oh-so-cute in your apple-picking Instagram photoshoots. Some types of boots are always in style, like black leather ankle boots. But, if you want to refresh your wardrobe this season, why not shop some of the season’s biggest boot trends? These are the eight must-have fall boots of 2021 that are worth the investment.

Knee-high boots have been a wardrobe essential for a few seasons now. If you don’t have a pair already, now is the time to look for one. You can choose the timeless, simple knee-highs in a neutral shade, like black or brown. Or you can embrace this season’s trend and look for a pair with a chunky sole. Taller boot styles like these always look great with miniskirts, midis, or, for casual outings, leggings.
Chunky Chelsea boots
This fall, you can’t go wrong with a chunky sole in almost any style of boot. And while we love the chunky knee-highs, chunky Chelsea boots are fantastic for virtually any occasion. These thick-soled boots have a grungy aesthetic. To create balance in your outfit, pair the Chelsea boots with lightweight, flowy designs. Wear a floral midi dress or loose-fitting, flared pants and a stylish sweater.

Read more
10 last-minute Halloween costume ideas you can find on Pinterest
Family dressed up as ghosts for Halloween

Early fall always flies by, with the start of the school year and trying to soak in as much outdoor fun as you can before the winter arrives. And now, Halloween is nearly here! Do you have your costume picked out yet? Not to worry; Pinterest is here to help. There are so many ideas on the site that can inspire your festive outfit. Here are 10 last-minute Halloween costumes from Pinterest that you can copy with minimal effort.

When it comes to last-minute Halloween costumes, you can’t go wrong with the classics! Making a bedsheet ghost costume is as simple as undressing your bed (though you might want to wash it first). But this unique twist on the traditional ghost from Press Print Party! can take your costume to the next level. They suggest using screen material to create the eyes and mouth holes, and they even provide a printable template you can use.
It’s raining men
This adorable costume posted by Heathered Nest is based on the disco classic “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls. And though it’s simple to put together, it’ll look like you’ve been planning your costume for weeks. To create this look, all you need is a rain jacket or trench coat, an umbrella, some string, and photos of your favorite male celebs.
Scooby Doo, where are you?
Scoob and the gang have been beloved and recognizable characters since the show originally aired in the late 60s. And since the characters’ outfits are so basic, they also make for great, simple Halloween costumes for adults, couples, or families. In the pin posted by Niki Demar on Twitter, you can see a couple dressed as Velma, wearing an orange turtleneck and red skirt, and Shaggy, wearing a green V-neck tee and brown pants.
Deviled egg
Who doesn’t love a punny costume? This deviled egg costume from Jennifer Priest is so funny and adorable. Making an egg shirt is simple. Get a plain white t-shirt and draw on a large yellow circle using a fabric marker or sew on a yellow fabric circle. Then, put on some devil horns and a tail. Voila, deviled egg!
Laundry basket
This laundry basket costume from Almost the Real Thing is too cute to pass up. You’ll need an old laundry basket that you or your child can fit in comfortably to create this costume. Cut out the bottom so you can stick your legs through and add straps to hold up the basket on your shoulders. Then, drape some clothing in and over the rim of the basket, and your dirty laundry costume is complete.

Read more
Feeling left out at work? Follow these tips to get back on track
left out at work tips woman office exclusion

The feeling of being excluded can affect us more than we expect. As much as we may want to deny or downplay the pain of exclusion, it can knock your self-esteem and affect your relationships with the people around you. This feeling can sometimes arise in the workplace, where productivity is often tied to how well we socialize with colleagues, even if they aren't friends outside of the office.

When coworkers organize an event or activity but leave you off the guest list, it’s natural for hurt feelings and anxiety to arise. You can’t change the actions of others, but there are things you can do to manage the situation and your own FOMO.

Read more