How to Make Leggings 'Business Casual'

Leggings have revolutionized our wardrobes, offering unparalleled comfort and versatility. But can they truly be appropriate for a business casual environment? With the right styling techniques and high-quality pieces, absolutely! This comprehensive guide will show you how to elevate your leggings from workout wear to office-appropriate attire, using some fantastic options from Pursue Fitness.

Choosing the Right Leggings

The foundation of any business casual leggings outfit is selecting the right pair. Here's what to look for:

  1. Fabric: Opt for thicker, opaque materials that don't reveal underwear lines. Leggings are known for their quality and durability. Look for options made from:
    • Ponte fabric: A thick, double-knit fabric that holds its shape well
    • Scuba material: Smooth and structured, perfect for a more polished look
    • High-quality cotton blends: Ensure they're not too thin or see-through
  2. Color: Stick to neutral colors like black, navy, or dark gray. These are easier to style professionally. Pursue Fitness offers a range of black leggings perfect for office wear.
  3. Length: Full-length leggings are typically more appropriate for office settings. High-waisted leggings can provide extra coverage and a sleek silhouette. They also pair well with longer tops and blazers.
  4. Design: Avoid loud patterns or mesh inserts. Solid colors or subtle textures work best for a business casual look. If you want some variety, consider leggings with:
    • Small side pockets: Functional without being too casual
    • Subtle seam details: Adds interest without being distracting
    • Slight compression: Offers a more structured look
  5. Fit: Ensure your leggings fit perfectly - not too tight or baggy. They should smooth over your curves without being restrictive.

Pairing with Longer Tops

The key to making leggings office-appropriate is to pair them with longer, more structured tops. Here are some detailed ideas:

  1. Tunic Tops: A long, flowing tunic that covers your hips is perfect over leggings. Look for:
    • Button-down tunics for a more formal look
    • Asymmetrical hem tunics for added interest
    • Belted tunics to define your waist
  2. Oversized Blouses: An oversized button-up shirt can create a polished yet relaxed look. Style tips:
    • Leave it unbuttoned over a fitted tank top
    • Half-tuck the front for a more tailored appearance
    • Roll up the sleeves for a casual-chic vibe
  3. Long Cardigans: A knee-length cardigan over a fitted top and leggings can create a professional silhouette. Consider:
    • Waterfall cardigans for a softer look
    • Structured, long-line cardigans for a more formal appearance
    • Belted cardigans to add shape to your outfit
  4. Shirt Dresses: These can be worn open over leggings for a layered, sophisticated look. Try:
    • A crisp white shirt dress for a classic office look
    • A patterned shirt dress to add visual interest
    • A denim shirt dress for a more casual office environment
  5. Oversized Sweaters: Perfect for colder months, pair an oversized sweater with leggings for a cozy yet professional look. Opt for:
    • Turtleneck sweaters for a sleek silhouette
    • Cable-knit sweaters for texture
    • Color-block sweaters to add visual interest

Adding Structure with Blazers

A blazer can instantly elevate your leggings outfit to business casual status. Try these combinations:

  1. Leggings + long top + fitted blazer: This classic combination works well with a variety of body types. Choose a blazer that hits at the hip or slightly below.
  2. Leggings + oversized t-shirt + structured blazer: This look balances comfort with professionalism. Opt for a high-quality, plain t-shirt from Pursue Fitness.
  3. Leggings + tunic + cropped blazer: This combination works well for petite frames, creating the illusion of longer legs.
  4. Leggings + button-down shirt + long blazer: For a more formal look, pair your leggings with a crisp button-down and a long, tailored blazer.

When choosing a blazer, consider:

  • Material: Opt for structured fabrics like wool or polyester blends
  • Color: Navy, black, or gray are versatile choices
  • Fit: Ensure the shoulders fit well and the blazer doesn't pull when buttoned

Thoughtful Accessorizing

The right accessories can transform your leggings from casual to business-appropriate:

  1. Statement Necklaces: A bold necklace can draw attention upward and add sophistication. Try:
    • Chunky chain necklaces for a modern look
    • Pendant necklaces for a touch of elegance
    • Layered delicate necklaces for a softer approach
  2. Belts: If wearing a longer top, cinch it with a belt to create shape and add polish. Consider:
    • Wide belts to define your waist over cardigans or blazers
    • Skinny belts for a subtle touch over shirt dresses
    • Statement buckles to add interest to a simple outfit
  3. Scarves: A silk scarf can add a touch of elegance to a simple leggings-and-top combo. Try:
    • Tying it around your neck for a classic look
    • Using it as a headband for a creative touch
    • Knotting it on the handle of your bag for a pop of color
  4. Watches: A classic timepiece adds a professional touch to any outfit. Look for:
    • Leather strap watches for a traditional office environment
    • Metal bracelet watches for a sleek, modern look
    • Smart watches that blend functionality with style
  5. Earrings: Choose earrings that complement your outfit without overwhelming it:
    • Stud earrings for a minimalist look
    • Small hoops for a classic touch
    • Drop earrings to dress up a simple outfit
  6. Bags: Your choice of bag can significantly impact your overall look:
    • Structured totes for a professional appearance
    • Sleek laptop bags for a functional yet stylish option
    • Crossbody bags from Pursue Fitness for a sporty-chic vibe

Appropriate Footwear

Your choice of shoes can make or break a business casual leggings outfit:

  1. Ankle Boots: Pair leggings with sleek ankle boots for a put-together look. Opt for:
    • Leather or suede materials for a polished appearance
    • Stacked heels for comfort and style
    • Pointed toes to elongate your legs
  2. Loafers or Oxfords: These classic shoes add a professional touch to leggings. Consider:
    • Patent leather for a glossy, formal look
    • Suede for a softer, more casual vibe
    • Embellished styles for added interest
  3. Ballet Flats: For a feminine yet work-appropriate option. Look for:
    • Pointed-toe flats to elongate your silhouette
    • Metallic finishes for a touch of glamour
    • Embellished flats to dress up a simple outfit
  4. Low Heels: A small heel can elevate your look without sacrificing comfort. Try:
    • Block heels for stability and comfort
    • Kitten heels for a classic, feminine touch
    • Slingback styles for a sophisticated look
  5. Knee-High Boots: In colder months, knee-high boots can look sleek and professional with leggings. Opt for:
    • Flat or low-heeled styles for comfort
    • Leather or suede materials
    • Neutral colors that match your leggings

Strategic Layering

Layering is key to creating a polished leggings look:

  1. Leggings + Long Tank + Cardigan: Start with a long tank top from Pursue Fitness, add leggings, and top with a structured cardigan. This combination works well for various body types and is easily adaptable to different seasons.
  2. Leggings + Button-Up + Sweater: Wear a crisp button-up under a crew neck sweater for a preppy vibe. This look is perfect for more conservative office environments.
  3. Leggings + Tunic + Blazer: Layer a blazer over a tunic for a more formal look. This combination offers coverage and structure, making it suitable for important meetings or presentations.
  4. Leggings + Turtleneck + Long Vest: For a trendy yet professional look, pair your leggings with a fitted turtleneck and top with a long vest or sleeveless coat.
  5. Leggings + Dress + Belt: Wear a knee-length dress over your leggings and cinch with a belt for a layered, interesting outfit.

Considering the Occasion

While these tips can help make leggings more office-appropriate, always consider your specific workplace culture and any important meetings or events you have scheduled. Some occasions might call for more traditional business attire.

Styling Tips for Different Body Types

  • Pear-shaped: Focus on longer tops that skim over the hips, paired with dark leggings. A-line tunics and long cardigans work well.
  • Apple-shaped: Try a flowy tunic with structured shoulders to balance your silhouette. Layer with a long, open cardigan or blazer to create vertical lines.
  • Hourglass: Emphasize your waist with belted tops over leggings. Wrap-style tunics and peplum tops can highlight your curves while maintaining a professional look.
  • Rectangle: Create curves with layered, textured pieces over your leggings. Ruffled or pleated tunics can add volume to your silhouette.
  • Petite: Opt for monochromatic looks to create a lengthening effect. High-waisted leggings paired with a tucked-in blouse and long blazer can make you appear taller.

Dos and Don'ts


  • Choose high-quality, opaque leggings like those from us
  • Pair with longer, structured tops
  • Add sophisticated accessories
  • Opt for professional footwear
  • Ensure your outfit is wrinkle-free and well-maintained


  • Wear leggings that are see-through or too tight
  • Pair with crop tops or very short shirts
  • Over-accessorize
  • Choose leggings with loud patterns or athletic details
  • Wear leggings with visible panty lines or worn-out areas

Seasonal Adjustments

  • Summer: Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics in your layering pieces. Consider:
    • Linen blazers over a sleeveless top and leggings
    • Flowy, lightweight tunics in breathable fabrics
    • Open-weave cardigans for a light layer
  • Winter: Pair leggings with long sweaters and boots for a cozy yet professional look. Try:
    • Layering with thermal underlayers for extra warmth
    • Pairing with knee-high boots and a sweater dress
    • Adding a scarf and gloves to your blazer and leggings combo
  • Spring/Fall: Layer with light jackets or cardigans for versatility. Consider:
    • A trench coat over your leggings outfit for rainy days
    • A denim jacket for casual Fridays
    • A lightweight wool blazer for transitional weather

Maintenance Tips

To keep your leggings looking professional:

  • Wash according to care instructions to maintain shape and color
  • Avoid wearing the same pair multiple days in a row
  • Invest in quality leggings that will last, like those from us
  • Use a fabric shaver to remove any pilling
  • Store leggings folded or hung to prevent stretching
  • Consider using a steamer to keep your entire outfit looking crisp

Building a Business Casual Leggings Wardrobe

To create a versatile business casual wardrobe with leggings, consider investing in:

  • 2-3 pairs of high-quality black leggings
  • 1-2 pairs in other neutral colors like navy or gray
  • A variety of long tops, including tunics, button-downs, and sweaters
  • 2-3 blazers in different styles and colors
  • A selection of appropriate shoes
  • Versatile accessories that can mix and match with various outfits

Bottom Line

With thoughtful styling, leggings can indeed be part of a business casual wardrobe. By choosing the right leggings, pairing them with appropriate tops and layers, and adding professional accessories and footwear, you can create polished, office-appropriate outfits that don't sacrifice comfort.

Remember, the key is to treat leggings as you would slim-fit trousers, ensuring the rest of your outfit is refined and work-appropriate. With these tips and some high-quality leggings, you can confidently incorporate this comfortable staple into your professional wardrobe.

Always consider your specific workplace environment and use your best judgment. When in doubt, it's better to err on the side of more formal attire. But with these styling techniques, you'll be well-equipped to make leggings work for your business casual office.

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