Athleisure is one of those unfortunate mashup words, like Brangelina or Bendghazi, that you find yourself using despite your best intentions. The trend of wearing athletic-inspired clothes for non-athletic pursuits, like brunch, has swept through the fashion world over the past couple years.
And it isn’t going anywhere. If anything, the athleisure trend is becoming more mainstream. Sales of jeans have taken a big hit as a result. Designers are now not only creating tailored sweats, they are incorporating performance fabrics into non-traditional garments like suits.
Now it’s time for sweatpants to conquer the final frontier: the office. As corporate dress codes have eased, or been completely erased, sweats are slowly making their way into the workplace. But it isn’t the easiest look to pull off. Regardless of what garments you have on, the goal is always to look stylish and pulled together, and not every pair of sweatpants accomplishes that. (Save those for sleeping in). To help you rock sweats to work confidently, follow these tips.
PICK YOUR MOMENT
A day when you have to give a presentation to your boss, your boss’s boss, and your boss’s boss’s boss is not the time to break out the sweatpants. You don’t want people focusing on your pants instead of the cool shapes on your PowerPoint. Instead, look for a day when your calendar is pretty wide open. If it’s a casual Friday all the better.
KEEP IT SLIM
In matters of style, fit is everything, and that includes sweatpants. Stay away from pairs where you could fit both of your real legs into one of the pant legs. Look for a pair that is cut as slim as the jeans or pants you wear on a regular basis, but still roomy enough that no one thinks you have on leggings.
GO TO THE DARK SIDE
Having a good pair of heather grey sweatpants is essential. But those aren’t the right choice for the office because they announce themselves as sweatpants. Black is going to be your best bet. It goes with everything and is perfectly understated.
AVOID LARGE PRINTS AND LOGOS
This isn’t the time to wear your Zubaz. (In fact, there is never a time to wear your Zubaz).
THE TOP IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE BOTTOM
Sweatpants add all the casual elements that your outfit needs, so make sure that what you wear on top is a little more formal. No sweatshirts. You’re not a gym teacher. A simple white or blue button-down with an equally simple merino or cashmere crewneck sweater will do it. And don’t tuck either into the elastic waistband.
HAVE THE PROPER SHOES
Sneakers are the obvious choice to pair with sweatpants. But it’s important that they’re the right sneakers. They should be clean and minimal. You can’t go wrong with a Nike Air Max 1 or Roshe One or an Adidas Ultra Boost or Stan Smith. A darker color will help them blend in better with your sweats, but white can work too as long as it’s clean.
You are wearing sweatpants to work. While you don’t want to scream that fact from the rooftops, you don’t want to hide from it either. As with any sartorial decision, confidence is king. And don’t be surprised if the co-workers who question your choice one day are sporting a similar look a few weeks later.