I'm confident in the fact that I'm not the only woman who has faced defeat time and time again trying to build a wardrobe of clothes that look great and feel great. Take office attire for example. It takes one episode of Mad Men to know that through the decades, women were expected to look a certain way and put up with certain behaviour - all while in heels. Who was is that said "women can do anything a man can do, but backwards and in high heels?" Times have changed, and yet a lot of our clothing is still restrictive. I'd love to rock a blazer and pumps and be comfortable doing it. I've seen a strong trend of women demanding their clothes fit them, not the other way around; and it's high time all of fashion took inspiration from the same philosophy.
Sexy and sporty - turns out we can be both! Here are my favorite ways to style activewear ('athleisure', as we like to call it), for the woman who likes to get things done and look amazing; all without the restriction of a judgemental waistband.
Our Modern Office
Whether you're working from home or commuting in - it's important to dress up for success. I love a good pajama-themed work day as much as anyone when it's a lighter Zoom morning; but if I need to focus I want to feel like I'm put together. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it's the importance of what my friends and I call "soft-wear"; that is, stretchy pants you can wear out of your house and still feel like an active member of society. You can style 'soft-wear' with pretty much everything that's already in your closet.
A cropped and collared button-up, a tweed blazer, and high-waisted activewear shorts. You're undeniably dressed up without having to wear a belted trouser (if you're not feeling 'hard-pants' today). This look is intentionally flattering and still comfortable. Pair with a cropped turtleneck and long trench coat for colder days.
Don't shy away from combining business formal with sporty casual. The sneakers, high socks, and red blazer pictured above fit perfectly with the look you're going for: a boss woman who doesn't have time to feel uncomfortable. Matching the blazer to the outfit for a monochromatic look is balanced by the grey sneakers. Also - let's start normalizing wearing bras as shirts, shall we? We saw it consistently on runways during 2021 fashion weeks and it's not a trend we're letting fade.
Now you've pulled off country chic in the depth of the city! With activewear shorts, try a mid-length heeled boot to match your structured blazer. You've put effort into this outfit and it shows.
Pictured: Verie, Everyday Sweatset in Rose
Not into wearing leggings at the office? No sweat. A crewneck tucked into a long leather or wool skirt is a look no one can deny looks professional. Plus, tucking into a higher-waisted skirt will create that cropped look even if your crewneck isn't. Try a colored tartan or plaid skirt and combat boots for wintery styled outfit.
Pictured: Verie, Everyday Sweatshirt in Black
If you want a more fitted pant rather than a skirt, wear your crewneck or zipped-sweater with trousers or a bra and blazer. You'll still have comfort where it matters most while looking put together.
Styles for Colder Streets
For the winter months, we have accessories and layers to work with since we're usually bundled up when out of doors. Really lean into that layered look by doubling up on sweaters. Try a tighter turtleneck as a base layer followed by a cropped knit cardigan and trench coat. High-waisted colored leggings will add that splash to the usual whites, blacks, and beiges of winter time.
I'm really into monochromatic styles when it comes to activewear - especially if I'm running around to multiple events. It just looks incredibly coordinated and sharp, especially in bold colors like black and red.
Pictured: Verie, Finn Legging in Black
I don't know about you, but I live in my fleeces all winter long: quarter-zips, full-zips, a pullover crewneck, teddy coats, Patagonia Fleeces in '80s style patterns, or just solid colored sweaters are where it's at. They're trendy and cozy and the sign of a quintessential winter afternoon. Pair with Converse sneakers and thick socks because it's important to balance style and warmth!
I used to fret when it came to outerwear if I was spending the day outside - especially if I had spent so much time and energy putting together an outfit; what's the point if no one can see it? I dress for myself but I'm also proud at the looks I create and they deserve to be noticed, don't you agree?
Try pairing a cropped puffer coat with a sports bra and high-waisted shorts or leggings. If it's cold out, find an even shorter cropped shirt to place over your bra so the bottom band is still visible. Try a bra with an extended bottom band - I prefer these since I can use them comfortably as a bra underneath shirts or as a shirt themselves underneath sweaters. And again, you can't go wrong with white sneakers and matching socks.
If you're rocking the matching sweatshirt and sweatpant and don't feel quite ready to step out the door as is, throw on a jean jacket or leather coat. It adds that layer and new color to the outfit without covering the matching set.
For Sweat Days
I'm either sweating because I'm running from one appointment to another or I've mustered the motivation to go get some exercise. Either way, I'd like to still look good in the in-between moments. Also, who has time to change after the gym? Not I. I love just throwing on a flowy linen button-up over my gym-wear. If you're in a thrift or consignment store, check out the men's section. It's less picked-through and you can find longer, boxier button-up plaids or linen shirts for a looser-feel and look.
Vests were trending all fall season and that hasn't changed because snow is falling. Puffer vests look stunning over long-sleeve activewear or crewnecks. If you're moving a lot, you can unzip for airflow while still staying relatively warm.
Pictured: Verie, Finn Legging in Black.
So whatever is on your agenda, don't let yourself be constricted by rigidly structured clothing. There's a time and place for specifically tailored pieces. I find that a couple of well-placed activewear pieces can be strategically paired with what's already kicking around your closet. These will create a truly becoming outfit for the office, home, and in-between. Remember, your clothing should work for you, and you deserve to be comfortable and sexy. Activewear isn't just for the gym anymore.