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 wearing leggings as pants outside of the gym was appropriate at all. These days, the rules have changed completely — leggings worked their way out of the athletics section and into our capsule wardrobes.

But are leggings appropriate for work? 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 leggings 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. In these cases, you should stick to more traditional slacks. The same goes for business formal offices, like legal services, where the suit and tie look is the norm. 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 are 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 and don’t expose anything in the fluorescent lights of office buildings. In general, opt for thicker, opaque materials and basic colors and patterns.

Additionally, consider the material used to make the leggings. Stretchy, thin yoga pants are associated with athleisure wear, which might not be suitable for the office. To keep it more professional, select leggings that appear the most pants-like. For an upscale, luxe look, try a pair of faux leather leggings.

Pair them with a great top

You can boost the professionalism of leggings by simply choosing the right top to wear with them. This way, you can draw attention away from your leggings, ensuring the office gossip doesn’t revolve around how tight your pants are.

  • 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.
  • If you prefer to wear a loose blouse with your leggings, add a jacket or blazer on top to add a little formality.

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

Last, don’t be afraid to accessorize! Colorful jewelry, shoes, and other accessories can easily elevate your office look and let your personality shine. Choose a statement piece of jewelry that draws the eye and makes your fit appear more formal. 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, loafers, or other formal business shoes.

So, can you wear leggings to work? Yes! As long as you look presentable and use the tips above, you can incorporate your favorite leggings into your work attire. By focusing on professionalism in the rest of your clothing, you can still wear your comfiest leggings, all while keeping up 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