Leggings have become a favorite staple in many women’s wardrobes, but when it comes to wearing them in the workplace, the question arises: are leggings business casual attire? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of wearing leggings in a professional setting, examine companies’ dress code policies, offer styling tips, and provide real-life experiences from employees on the topic.
Pros and Cons
When it comes to leggings in the workplace, there are both advantages and drawbacks. On the plus side, leggings are comfortable and flexible, allowing for greater movement and productivity. Additionally, they can provide a polished and stylish look when worn correctly. However, some may argue that leggings are too casual for a professional environment and may not project the level of professionalism necessary.
According to Claire LaRocca, a certified HR professional, “Leggings as business casual attire are a no-go. While this may vary depending on location, industry, and company culture, I recommend erring on the side of caution and opting for dress pants or skirts instead.”
While opinions on the matter vary, it is essential to consider the workplace environment and the company’s values when deciding whether leggings are appropriate for a professional setting. For example, in some casual startup companies, leggings may be considered perfectly acceptable, while in traditional corporate settings, they may not be allowed.
Dress Code Policies
To determine whether leggings are appropriate as business casual attire, it is important to review the company’s dress code policies. Some companies have strict rules on what is acceptable attire, while others allow employees to use their discretion.
For example, Lululemon, a popular activewear company, allows employees to wear leggings as long as they are not see-through and are worn with a top that covers the buttocks. On the other hand, Goldman Sachs, a finance firm, recently updated its dress code guidelines to prohibit “too casual” clothing items, including shorts, flip flops, and ripped jeans, but did not specifically mention leggings.
It is essential to keep in mind that even if leggings are technically allowed, their perception by colleagues and bosses may be negative, potentially affecting career advancement opportunities.
To create a business casual outfit with leggings, it is crucial to maintain a professional appearance. This can be achieved by pairing leggings with a flowy tunic or blouse and a blazer or cardigan. Dress shoes or ankle boots can add an extra touch of sophistication to the look. Avoid wearing tight or clingy tops, visible undergarments, or athletic shoes with leggings.
Jenna Marie, a fashion expert and writer for The Spruce, suggests avoiding bold prints and patterns on leggings in the workplace to keep the outfit professional. She also recommends choosing leggings made of sturdy, thicker materials rather than thin or shiny options that may appear more like athletic wear.
Many athletic and fashion brands now offer leggings that are suitable for a business casual setting. The Athleta Powervita tights are a popular choice among working women, featuring a wider waistband and a flattering silhouette. The J.Crew Pixie Pant, which looks like a pair of slacks but has the comfort of leggings, is another great option. For those who prefer a more classic look, the Spanx Ponte Ankle Leggings offer a dressier appearance while still offering the comfort of leggings.
Interviews with employees who have worn leggings in the workplace have revealed mixed feedback. Some have received compliments from colleagues on their outfit, while others felt self-conscious or judged for their choice. One employee from a marketing agency in New York City shared, “I always make sure to pair my leggings with the right top and shoes to ensure I look professional. I’ve never had any negative feedback from coworkers or managers.”
Overall, the decision to wear leggings as business casual attire depends on the company’s dress code policies, company culture, and personal preference. While leggings can be comfortable and stylish, it is essential to consider their perception in the workplace and ensure that the overall outfit appears professional. Always communicate with managers or HR to confirm that leggings are acceptable apparel in the company’s dress code policy before wearing them in the workplace. By following these guidelines, you can navigate the debate of whether leggings are business casual attire and make informed decisions about your wardrobe choices.