Ever since I embraced comfort-core, I have been having a recurring dream that the world’s official weekend uniform is decreed to be athleisure. Imagine this for a second: a dystopian world where policemen patrol the streets fining anyone who “disrupts society with their unusual uncomfortable clothing!”
Prior to the rise of athleisure, we were programmed to reserve our “Sunday Best” clothes for the weekends. Since then, we have turned a full 180, taking great strides to relaxing our dress code standards for casual settings.
So, the logical next step is to anticipate whether we are ready to revolutionize the workplace with athleisure as well.
Are We There Yet?
The answer is a muffled “maybe.” As it stands, it may not be safe to declare that the new business casual statement piece is the yoga pant. The biggest reason for this is because we are all free-thinking individuals with our own sets of opinions. And, it just so happens that we haven’t reached a consensus about athleisure yet. Some of these disconcerting views on athleisure include:
It’s Not About That Bass
Every year, there is at least one sensational news report of airplane passengers being ejected of planes because of their on-flight ensemble consisting of very snug and sheer yoga pants. The fissure starts when on-site airline staff judge passengers’ clothes to be risqué or age-inappropriate. And who can blame them? Remember the Lululemon see-through pants controversy?
From Normcore to “Slobcore”
Many consider athleisure to be emblematic of a “slob-core” mentality. In the workplace, there are people who believe that wearing athleisure (to work) indicates a lack of ambition and commitment. It is said that you should “dress for the job you want and not the one you have,” so if you want the CFO’s job then you need to dress like one.
Just Another Fad
Many believe that athleisure is simply a passing fashion fad. The people who prefer more classic styles will make a snap judgement about your “trendy wardrobe.” Although it could be argued that athleisure is the style of the decade and it has good staying power.
The rise of athleisure is not due to increased sports activity but rather due to our forged enmity with zippers and creases. So, if you are a bit bent out of shape then you could come across as a lazy slob rather than an athletically-inclined individual when wearing athleisure.
Do It the Right Way
Work clothes tend to share characteristics with that needy ex of ours: they need constant attention, have special needs and tend to cost us a lot of money. Thus, even despite the niggling arguments against athleisure, I still think that it makes our lives easier.
The key is to wear it in the right way, especially in a corporate setting. Here is a definitive guide to wearing and flaunting athleisure in the professional world:
1. Wear Dark Clothes
A good rule of thumb is to wear darker shades instead of the current athleisure trends. What’s in right now in athleisure is lighter shades, funky prints and see-through mesh – all of which are inappropriate for the work environment.
Remember, the world is not ready to accept the yoga pants yet, so try to ease everybody in. Once they start to see how much more comfortable you are, then you might even make believers out of some people.
2. Add More Bling
One of the biggest arguments against athleisure is that it is a very unassuming style. It is at the essence of normcore – a sweeping millennial fashion trend. To make your outfits more memorable, add vibrant accessories such as ones with gold trimmings. The dark shade clothing combo with gold-trimmed accessories is a great look. Other options are to add heels and bags and a nice up-do hairstyle to your outfit.
3. Don’t Stink!
Sports clothing avidly advertises their revolutionary dri-fit technology (meaning the clothes dry quickly). But, it doesn’t mention that they also retain a certain musky smell. It is advised that sports clothes are not washed frequently after each wear, thus it puts us in a bit of a conundrum. What do we do about that smell?
It’s simple, if you do happen to wear your athleisure clothes to the gym on Monday and then wear those same clothes to work on Wednesday, then you’re carrying some funk. The best practice is to wear clean, unused athleisure clothes to the office. Or better yet, have a separate pile of athleisure clothes for the workplace and another for the office.
4. Pick the Right Sports Bra
Like zippers, another dastardly component of clothing that I find extremely annoying is bra under-wires. More and more women are choosing sports bras and sports crop tops instead of underwire bras.
The sports crop top or sports bra and bomber jacket look is sadly inappropriate for the office, but you can replace your traditional bra with them. The key is to pick a sports bra that does not squish your bosom into a boxy shape, but one that retains the proper shape.
5. The Hoodie
The hoodie is a classic comfort-core and although it is not appropriate for any traditional business establishment, it is worn by many professionals in the creative and the tech field. The hoodie and jeans is the athleisure version of the t-shirt and jeans outfit that many tech CEOs are known to rock in the Silicon Valley.
6. Shoes Only
You can limit your comfort-core to the shoes only. You can pair your sneakers with any sort of formal dress, pant suit, work pants and shirt combo, etc. This can be a great stepping stone for you to start meshing athleisure into your work clothing.
If you start with this step then you are not only easing yourself in but also your coworkers who may or may not be fully on board with athleisure. So, tread lightly!
Common sense should suggest that any creative line of work will be more welcoming of athleisure than a more traditional set-up. And some traditionalists (in any field) might still argue that wearing yoga pants is equivalent to limiting your career aspirations.
Thus, the choice to wear athleisure to work is entirely up to you, but know that the rewards of being comfortable at work are far greater than engaging in ruthless office politics anyway. You can let your work speak for itself while you enjoy the lap of comfort-core!