Joggers for Work: Comfort Meets Style
Joggers are a favorite style of pants for many, and for good reason. They're sleek, comfortable, and extremely versatile. The form-fitting silhouette moves with you wherever you go. They're just as cozy watching a movie at home as they are dynamic in the gym, and work wonders as a substitute for jeans. But does that versatility extend to your place of work?
There was a time when wearing joggers to the office was completely out of the question. For one, office dress codes were much less flexible than they are these days. Secondly, joggers as we know them now haven't been around very long. They're an evolution from traditional sweatpants in a stylish direction that has been popularized by streetwear and contemporary health and fitness trends.
Today, workplaces are more lenient. They've come a long way from the flannel suits, cufflinks, and fedoras that were standard in the 1950s. Bright colors were introduced to the workplace in the '60s. Casual Fridays didn't become so universal until the '90s. Sneakers didn't really find their place in the office until the 2000s. The trajectory of workplace fashion has naturally become less and less traditional, so if there's ever been a time to don your joggers to work, the time is now.
Before getting to the tips about how to best style your joggers for work, let's look at some basic arguments supporting why joggers at work should be acceptable at work (if not encouraged). These arguments are more theoretical, not necessarily to use in a combative effort against your official workplace dress code.
Know why wearing joggers to work is awesome and how to style them appropriately, and your perspective alone should be enough to qualify your joggers as certified work-ready attire.
Don't employers value a comfortable working environment? Does that not include comfortable clothing? Studies show a positive correlation between working in a comfortable working environment and work performance. But that doesn't take a whole lot of science to understand.
It makes a difference what kind of chair workers are sitting in, what kind of lighting the space is under, and the availability of a coffee machine. Comfort in the workplace matters on several levels. What's more comfortable than a pair of joggers?
It's not even that traditional work pants are always super uncomfortable; there probably are some comfortable suit pants out there. It's more so that joggers are so supremely comfortable that it is essentially ludicrous to disallow them in any environment whatsoever. On the street: Nice joggers. In the court of law: Nice joggers. At work: Nice joggers
Joggers go with just about everything, but there are ways to style them specifically for work that will make you look as professional as ever. Take these style tips as a jumping-off point to a whole catalog of work attire based around your favorite joggers.
There are several characteristics of black clothing that make it a logical choice for a business setting. Black is elegant, powerful, and serious. You wear black to the office because you want to exude that kind of energy as you conquer the workday. Or you wear it because you like it and it's easy to match with. Either way, styling black joggers to work will make you look and feel like a boss.
To get the most formal look out of your black joggers, pair them with a black blazer. This look is sleek and classic. Chances are your coworkers will just assume they're part of a suit set. The shirt and shoes you wear to complete this fit will determine how traditional or casual the final look is.
A white or light blue dress shirt will make for the most dressed up, traditional look. If you go this route, pair it with some black oxfords or flats and you've incorporated joggers into a classic black suit-inspired look.
For a business casual look, rock a shirt without a collar under your black blazer. Try a white henley or polo to hint at a traditional white shirt and black blazer look. Rock a black v-neck for a super sleek, all-black look. Minimal white leather sneakers are a can't miss option for the business casual outfit.
Black joggers will make any colored top all the brighter. Pair your black joggers with a neutral sweater and a colorfully patterned shirt or blouse to show a flash of fun energy while maintaining a dependable workplace demeanor.
Grey pants are common in the workplace. Grey trousers, slacks, chinos, and now joggers. Grey is neutral and conservative, it doesn't really stand out on its own. This is why it's easy to wear to the office. It also means that you can style your grey joggers in a way that allows your top to stand out. Before getting to some outfit ideas for your grey joggers, there are a few things to note.
Beware that heather grey joggers are more likely to look like regular sweatpants, and therefore need to be supplemented carefully to pull off a work-appropriate look. Solid shades of grey are a safe bet, and it's best to stay away from 100% cotton joggers. Opt for a blended material with more sheen. This will appear dressier and blend into the office environment more easily.
You can wear grey with other shades. The whole spectrum from white to black pairs with itself, but it also works well with a spectrum of brown. Wear light grey joggers with a dark brown sweater to make each of these drab colors pop. Dark grey joggers with a warm brown or tan jacket will have the same appealing effect.
This look creates energy without the use of color; it works proficiently without the need to over-exert itself. That is a sustainable workplace demeanor everyone should aspire to embody.
Navy is another color commonly found in office clothing. With this in mind, you can treat your navy joggers similarly to how you might style a pair of navy pants that you might already be wearing to work. The difference is that they'll be more comfortable and you won't be itching to change out of them when the workday is done.
It's not difficult to pair navy with other colors or shades. It's a color that suits every season of the year, and although it is more colorful than, say, your typical workplace khakis, it's not going to draw a lot of attention as orange pants might. This means that navy joggers are another solid choice to serve as a base for endless office-ready outfits.
For a uniform look, a navy blazer or sweater will look natural. Wearing white and navy together will evoke a naval vibe, which has its place in the office as well because, well, what's more professional than the Navy? Take it a step further by adding a double-breasted jacket or overcoat.
Pair navy joggers with a light shirt and brown shoes or boots and it's smart, professional, and effortless. Substitute brown shoes for a pop of color, and the same outfit becomes a bit fun without losing the professional touch.
Lighter shades of blue are fantastic to pair with navy. It creates a calming sort of spectrum that is reliable and well-suited for the office environment. Cool greys will have the same effect working with navy. If you have a light blue jacket or sweater, it was made to pair with navy joggers.
For more contrast, wear navy joggers with other colors. Warm colors like orange, salmon, or yellow are complementary. If outfits with more than one color aren't normally your thing, remember that your navy joggers serve as a foundation to hold up the rest of your outfit. Pick the right color to pair with it and they will only play off one another, not compete.
If you're still not totally confident about letting bright colors freely radiate from your outfit, use that pop of color as more of an accent.
Regardless of what you're wearing, shoes can really make or break an outfit. Wear the wrong shoes and they'll bring down your entire outfit: your favorite gym outfit is ruined if you pair it with cowboy boots, or any kind of boots, really. It just doesn't go. The right shoes will compliment your outfit, or push your whole vibe in a particular direction, without negating what the clothing represents on its own.
Because joggers on their own are more casual than a traditional pair of pants you'd wear to the office, dressing them up a bit will make them at home in the office environment. You can really dress up your joggers with the shoes you select to go with them.
Oxfords are a simple and logical way to do this, as they've been a business professional standard for ages. Wear your joggers to the office with a pair of oxfords and you'll look both professional and sporty. With this combination, a button-down shirt is all you need to complete a smart and streamlined office look. Wear it with a jacket or without, whatever the weather calls for is going to look more natural.
Loafers, like joggers, can be dressed up or dressed down. Wearing loafers and joggers together for the office requires an additional piece that's a bit more formal in order to make sure you're not too casual (unless of course it's casual Friday or your dress code is lax).
Tuck in a button-down into your joggers and finish the look with a nice cardigan or blazer that matches your joggers. Beware of your sock choice as well, as the cuffed joggers and the low-cut loafers will leave room for either sock or skin exposure.
Wearing boots with joggers will cover up one of their key identifying features, the cuffed hem. This works well for wearing joggers to the office, because if the hem is covered then most people won't even realize that you're wearing an athleisure staple rather than typical office wear.
Laced boots are a great choice to pair with joggers and a long coat. Chelsea boots for men will look really smooth with joggers and a parka.
Sneakers and joggers are best friends. They go together naturally in any casual or athletic setting, but to wear to the office you'll need to select your sneakers carefully and wear them with an upper half that will make the joggers and sneakers appear more professional.
It goes without saying, but you're not going to want to choose running sneakers, cross trainers, or anything with visible performance-oriented technology such as air bubbles, foam, etc. Go with classic leather sneakers. The more minimal, the better. White is the standard way to go. Black or grey is the road less traveled but not a rocky cliff.
You'll want to wear a collared shirt tucked in to increase the formality of your outfit. Stick to solid colors for this outfit, as color blocking will blend business and casual more seamlessly than if you were to wear a patterned shirt with your joggers and sneakers. Throw on a sweater or an open jacket to pull it all together. A messenger bag is a perfect accessory for this look, and you might even be able to convince people that you rode your bike to work.
Styling joggers to work is all about balancing the comfortable and casual aspects of your joggers with pieces that will elevate their professionalism. Just the same way wearing a nice pair of slacks with a faded old band tee-shirt would make the slacks appear less traditional and professional, wearing joggers with pieces that fit well in the office setting will accentuate the smart qualities of a good pair of joggers.
The main thing you need to pull off rocking joggers to work is confidence. If you have a great pair of joggers that fit the bill for both casual comfort and professional style, then the confidence should come along naturally. You'll feel good, look good, and your confidence and work performance will follow.
Go ahead and put on your joggers first thing in the morning and discover how the other items in your closet can work with your joggers to enhance your style and comfort as you crush the workday.