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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

Workwear in the Time of Athleisure

Kristen Berry

We’re living in a time when many of us can stroll into our 9-5 offices wearing leggings on a Wednesday without the boss batting an eyelash. In many ways, this is a wonderful thing. Most of us spend so much of our lives at work. Shouldn’t we be comfortable while we’re there?

However, we are going to work, not to work out. So how can you find the right balance of comfort and professionalism? And how can you “dress for the job you want” without looking weirdly corporate in an office full of casual?

Here are some helpful formulas to achieve this mix, a few of my go-to retailers, and several items you can shop right now to get this look.

Everlane and Modern Citizen – Two brands that nail office-appropriate casual

Everlane and Modern Citizen – Two brands that nail office-appropriate casual

There is, luckily, a formula to all of this:

Casual Cut + Elevated Fabric

OR

Sophisticated Cut + Comfy Fabric

And what about footwear?

Dressier Outfit + More Casual Shoes

OR

More Casual Outfit + Dressier Shoes

It’s all about balance. Harmony. Sartorial Ying and Yang. There are a few relatively affordable brands that have nailed this concept – a couple that I’ve saved to my shopping bookmarks are Everlane and Modern Citizen. Choosing neutral and subdued hues for these pieces also helps to make them appear more elevated. It’s much more difficult to discern that something is made from sweatsuit material when it’s in black than in heather gray. And one of the best things about this look is that these pieces easily translate into weekend wear, ultimately extending your wardrobe.

Ready to get this look? Check out ten pieces under $100 available for purchase right now, and why they work, below.

The Street Fleece Pant in Black, $65, Everlane.com.

The Street Fleece Pant in Black, $65, Everlane.com.

These pants are made from sweatsuit fabric, and you’d never know it thanks to the clean streamlined waistband and fly, slim fit, and zipper detailing at the ankle.

Michael De Feo™ for J.Crew painted daisy vase T-shirt, $40 at Jcrew.com.

Michael De Feo™ for J.Crew painted daisy vase T-shirt, $40 at Jcrew.com.

The painterly details make this t-shirt feel instantly special. I’d totally dress down my pleated navy below-the-knee skirt with this top.

Pure + Gold Perennial Sweatshirt, $98 at Anthropologie.com.

Pure + Gold Perennial Sweatshirt, $98 at Anthropologie.com.

This is a sweatshirt. I’m just going to leave this here.

ASOS Knitted Midi Dress With Cold Shoulder Detail in Navy, $46 at ASOS.com.

ASOS Knitted Midi Dress With Cold Shoulder Detail in Navy, $46 at ASOS.com.

This dress just looks soooo cozy, and would easily go from the office to a happy hour date. If showing a little shoulder feels a bit much for your office, just throw a jacket (denim, perhaps!) on top.

Aerin Tie-Waist Knit Skirt in Grey, $62 at ModernCitizen.com.

Aerin Tie-Waist Knit Skirt in Grey, $62 at ModernCitizen.com.

No constricting pencil skirts over here. This piece is made from cotton, with an asymetric front closure that keeps things interesting.

Topshop Diagonal Colorblock Cardigan, $85 at Nordstrom.com.

Topshop Diagonal Colorblock Cardigan, $85 at Nordstrom.com.

Nothing will ward off the office chill like this puppy, and it’s so much more polished than the company-branded fleece hanging on the back of your chair.

New Look Minimal Wide Leg Pants, $38 at ASOS.com.

New Look Minimal Wide Leg Pants, $38 at ASOS.com.

Essentially your favorite comfy around-the-house drawstring pants, dressed up in an office-ready material and tie-front waist.

Top with Asymmetric Sleeves, $30 at Zara.com.

Top with Asymmetric Sleeves, $30 at Zara.com.

So much more than a basic white tee.

Silence + Noise Lara Dolman-Sleeve Utility Bomber Jacket in Cream Multi, $89 at UrbanOutfitters.com.

Silence + Noise Lara Dolman-Sleeve Utility Bomber Jacket in Cream Multi, $89 at UrbanOutfitters.com.

A stylish print and blousy cut give this bomber jacket blazer-like vibes.

Ambra Tie-Front Flutter Dress (Navy), $98 at ModernCitizen.com.

Ambra Tie-Front Flutter Dress (Navy), $98 at ModernCitizen.com.

The cut is both ladylike and casual, thanks to the relaxed knotting at the front.

What’s your go-to office style?