Are leggings work appropriate?

December 21, 2009

in Contemporary Clothing,Professional Clothing

Work Appropriate for Causal Workplace

Work Appropriate for Causal Workplace

A reader submitted a question to Fashion Chronicles after reading the post, How short is too short?  Thanks for your question and please keep them coming!

Leggings and tunics can definitely be work appropriate depending on the type of office you work in.  The reader mentioned their work environment is conservative yet modern, so the look should be acceptable if a few simple guidelines are followed:

1 Texture of Leggings
Leggings that are shiny (such as the liquid leggings pictured in the How short is too short post) are generally evening wear and not professional looking. Try to stick to leggings that are heavier in fabric, like wool or a thick cotton/lycra blend.

2 Thickness of Tunic
If you plan to wear a longer tunic in a flimsy fabric (like silk) with leggings, consider wearing a long cardigan or boyfriend blazer that you cinch at the waist with a wide belt. This makes it winter appropriate and adds a bit of style.

3 Length of Tunic
Generally the length of the tunic should be long. I consider a tunic which sits around mid-thigh (pictured above) work appropriate with leggings. If it’s shorter than mid-thigh, it’s not work appropriate and pants are the better choice (think skinny jeans or cigarette pants).

4 Height of Heels
Like I mentioned in the post on OTK boots, be mindful of your heel height. If you plan to wear tall boots with leggings at work, go for the lowest heel possible. On the other hand, higher heels are work appropriate with leggings if the heel is chunkier (like cone or cowboy style). Stilettos higher than 2.5 inches are certainly not work appropriate in any office environment.

Finally, the best advice I received from an HR professional when asked about work dress code: If you look in the mirror and think your outfit may be inappropriate for work, it probably is.  If you have any hesitation when putting leggings on when getting dressed for work in the morning, then it is best to keep them for going out on the weekends.

What do you think — Are leggings work appropriate?  Post your anonymous comments below.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fashion Chronicles December 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

I totally agree! Great comment.

2 skye October 7, 2011 at 7:55 am

When you have a camel toe or butt toe – definitely not appropriate

3 Jenn May 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm

It is hard to say. I was thinking about this the other day and I was going to wear black leggings with a long sweater that covered my butt and boots, but I chickened out. It came down to the fact that my coworkers don’t wear leggings and I didn’t want to be the first one to do it. I might try it sometime because I don’t think it would look bad, I just need more courage next time!

4 cr April 20, 2011 at 5:14 am

Absolutely not! Leggings are not appropriate. How could you wear what you wear to workout or go out to work. Think about it ladies…. look classy not trashy.

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