Leggings in the Workplace: Dare to Bare?


The other week, some girlfriends and I ended up in a conversation on the topic of leggings at work. My friend had been part of a group text and someone referred to them as “my business leggings.” Not only was this a serious text, but it was a serious group text, and it may have included the opinion of men in the conversation. I’m not going to lie, we laughed our corporate Lulu’s off.

A few days earlier, my husband and I had a similar conversation about leggings in the workplace. He doesn’t think that leggings would be positively received at his workplace, which puzzles me a little since it’s a university and wearing PJs to class is the norm. Mind you, pajama fashion is quite of the moment.

And then there’s the whole airline that must not be named (okay, it’s United) and you can’t fly the friendly skies if you are a guest passenger in leggings scandal. Clearly that company has a dress code (among other less desirable policies) and leggings are o-u-t. I’d say that leggings on the plane are the least of their worries these days.

So let’s get down to business and talk about today’s topic, business leggings. Do you dare to bare or are they an office no-no?

I would like to take the position that leggings in the office are perfectly fine, but there is a way to wear them in an office appropriate way, and there is a version you should never wear unless it is past 5 pm. And that doesn’t mean it’s happy hour somewhere. Though it is!

But first, let’s define “business” leggings. To me this would mean leggings that are a thicker fabric and more chic then your casual Fabletics. Think something along the lines of Aritzia’s faux-leather or faux-suede Daria legging. So there’s your leaping point.

Second is how are you pairing them? Leggings are great with tunics, oversized sweaters, long blazers, long blouses, a cape, poncho or blanket cardigan and essentially anything that covers your bum, and not by a hair’s length unless that’s a mermaid’s hair length. I prefer mid-thigh or longer for the office unless the look is particularly sweet (or you are). And never show your butt.

Leggings are great with dresses, especially those that really are barely more than a shirt. You know the kind where you beg to differ that this is NOT a dress. I don’t care what the tag says.

When wearing leggings to the office, keep it pretty, dressed-up or preppy.

Coporatize your leggings by pairing with accessories, booties with heels or flat, street sneaks, creepers, brogues, tall flat boots, ballerina flats, and more shiny ponies than you ever imagined. Avoid doing the business legging with a to-the-knee or thigh high boots and leave that for cocktails and weekends.

And of course consider your workplace. If you work in finance or a law office, avoid, avoid, avoid. It won’t go over well. If you work in a more casual or creative industry than take your queue from the higher ups. If they are wearing them, so can you. However, keep in mind that you could get pulled into a meeting at any time, in which case you may instantly regret your wardrobe choice that day. 

Lastly, I tend to reserve wearing my “business” leggings to Thursdays, when you are crawling your way to casual Friday. Somehow Thursday seems to me like a day that I can go just a bit more casual than I would want to do Monday through Wednesday. but not as casual as Friday when you get to pull out your favourite “business” jeans.

It’s up to you (and of course your office dress-code policy), but for me I’m team leggings. Leggings are pants, I say. Just sayin’.

Carolyn Bissett



  1. Love The Fashion Fix! So clever. I would love to see one on hiding muffin top. Looking for jeans and tops that won’t break the bank!! You rock Milady.

    • Noted. I will put it on my list of topics. So happy to hear that you love reading my blog. Thank you.

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