with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
Getting dressed for work can be tough — but what if your work day is wearing out your wardrobe? “I teach music classes to children from birth to age 7,” Elizabeth writes. “Every day I am crawling, rolling, running, skipping, bouncing etc. on the carpet with little ones. I’ve been wearing dark jeans and a nice top, but I’m finding that I constantly am wearing holes in the knees! Do you have any suggestions? I want to look professional (I own the business), but practical. I’ve been thinking about going in a ‘fitness instructor’ direction, with yoga pants and tees. I do have a little flab to hide. What do you think?”
I think Elizabeth is on to something.
All That Pant, $59 at Athleta
In general, I am not a fan of yoga pants for work; yoga pants are meant for yoga, and for lounging at home. But Elizabeth’s job isn’t your typical desk or office job, which means that her work uniform isn’t going to consist of slim skirts and silk blouses. A closet full of workout wear might be exactly what she needs to be both prepared and professional at work each day.
However, that does not mean that she can roll out of bed in the morning in the yoga pants she slept in and head off to teach. If she wants to make her workout wear look professional, she’s going to need to keep a few things in mind:
Fit: Elizabeth wants to look for yoga pants that fit like regular pants. She should stick with yoga pants that fall straight from the hip, for several reasons. A pair that falls from the widest part of the hip will camouflage any extra weight she’s carrying; they will also look a little less like active wear and a little more like real clothes. Both Athleta and Lululemon make terrific yoga pants with a wide leg.
Proportion: Elizabeth wants to pair her yoga pants with tops that fit properly; she wants to steer clear of oversized tees and sweatshirts and opt for more fitted pieces on top. She should look for really well-made tees (Michael Stars tees last forever) that she can layer under a thin cardigan for a polished, professional look. She should also think about mixing her yoga pants with non-athletic tops — head to toe workout gear will make her look less like a teacher and business owner and more like a personal trainer. Keep the look uniform by sticking with soft jersey and knit fabrics and light sweaters.
Quality: Elizabeth should invest in good quality active wear since this is her work wardrobe and not just her workout wardrobe. Cheap yoga pants will pill and stretch and wear more quickly; Elizabeth will wind up replacing them frequently, and she’ll won’t look as professional and polished as she would like on a daily basis. I would also suggest that she take extra good care of her work clothes — line dry her yoga pants, for example, and give them a “rest” day between wearings, to let them recover from any stretching.
Detail: Finally, Elizabeth should pay attention to the details of her outfits. Even if she’s wearing yoga pants and a tee to work, she can add pretty earrings or a light necklace or simple scarf; she can pair her yoga pants with cute athletic-inspired shoes to complete her look (rather than tossing on an old pair of running shoes, for example). There’s no reason she can’t roll on the floor with the babies and still look professional enough to speak to parents — all in the same outfit.
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