Why leggings will ruin your career


It seems that a week doesn’t go by where I don’t receive a call or email from a manager or business owner expressing complete frustration with how employees are showing up dressed for work. As a corporate image consultant I listen with empathy assuring them that they’re not alone.

Save us from leggings

One of the most common business dress for success infractions is the current trend of wearing leggings (or really skinny pants that resemble leggings) to work. They fit like a second skin and leave way too little to the imagination.

Who’s to blame?

Let’s blame this trend on celebrities for bad role modeling. We have to remember that celebrities don’t have ‘real’ jobs, they don’t go to the office like we do, they only pretend to on TV or movies or music videos.

Corporate Image consultant warns about wearing leggings to officeOne look that never works in any industry (entertainment/bawdy industries excepted), no matter the situation is wearing leggings with tops or tunics that are too short and reveal all your assets – pun intended 🙂

But I like leggings

I’m not suggesting that you not wear them ever… just that this look at best is more suitable in a casual setting, hanging out with friends, shopping, going to the gym or a night out etc.

What about for work?

So can you wear leggings to work?
Yes, they can be okay at some jobs if ALL the following criteria are met:

  1. They are teamed with a longer tunic or top that reaches at least mid thigh
  2. You work in a creative industry or it’s casual Friday
  3. You are not interested in advancing your career

It’s up to you

Managers may not tell you they have a problem with your dress. They may hire us to put dress in a business perspective or help them draw up and implement a written dress code. Or they may simply move you out of client’s sight and pass you over for promotion. Are your leggings worth it?

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Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Corporate Image Consultant and seldom leggings wearer

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your observations Diane. Very insightful.

    Another reader emailed me this comment today:

    “I totally agree with your article on leggings. I was at City Centre Mall today and all I saw for miles was women wearing leggings. Not smart, ladies, not smart! “

  2. I have to agree with this. I was wearing leggings (with professional clothing) in replacement to tights and stopped when I was talking to a friend/colleague who pointed it out as dressing “young”. I wear the same outfits with opaque tights and get the same look. I’ve noticed a difference in the way I carry myself and the way people interact with me.

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