8 tips for work environments that run the gamut from formal to casual to WFH.
There’s no singular definition of “work-appropriate” clothing — it varies so, SO much by industry. Add the whole work from home trend into the mix, and what you end up with is an “office” that looks different for everyone. Below, we’ve rounded up tips for how to wear jeans to work, whether you’re working from home, in an office setting, or some combination of the two.
01 For a more formal look, opt for black jeans
It’s sleek, it’s classic, it goes with pretty much everything, and it won’t let you down. Here are some of our top picks:
L’Agence Claudine Skinny Ankle Jeans
Transcend – Hoxton High-Waist Straight Leg Jeans
Seven7 Jeans Plus Lia Tummyless Micro-Bootcut Jeans
02 In a more casual work environment? Or have flexibility on casual Fridays? Don’t discount blue jeans
Just because black jeans are more classically formal doesn’t mean you can’t rock a blue pair of jeans to work — but we recommend erring on the side of dark-wash rather than the more casual light-wash. Here are examples of tried-and-true denim that look polished enough to wear at home or in the office.
Ann Taylor Petite Curvy Sculpting Pocket High-Rise Skinny Jeans
Numero High-Rise Flared Jeans
NYDJ Slim Straight Leg Ankle Jeans
03 Don’t forget about denim trousers!
Call it what you want — trousers, wide-leg pants, palazzos — but this cut has workwear written all over it. Because they widen at the low hip, they’re roomy and comfortable…but not in an unprofessional, sweatpants-esque kind of way.
04 Stay away from overly distressed denim & ripped jeans
Depending on your office setting, a slight distressed look *may* work. But nothing extreme — save the vintage, well-worn, street style jeans with the knee holes for home.
05 Be careful with jeggings
This one’s a bit of a doozy. While we don’t recommend wearing leggings to work, jeggings *can* pass in certain circumstances when they mimic the look of jeans (just with added comfort). Case in point: this sleek pair from Numero.
06 If comfort is top of mind, look for jeans with a bit of stretch
If your office is also your living room and you’re looking to give your leggings a break, go for jeans made with a higher percentage of spandex or elastane since 100% cotton tends to be more rigid. Here are some stellar options:
7 For All Mankind Women’s b(air) Ankle Skinny
Levi’s 711 Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans
07 Pair with a classic black blazer, cardigan, crew neck sweater over button-down shirt, or blouse
These four options are all incredibly versatile — plus, they layer well for a look that’s simultaneously chic and functional (anyone else have an ice-cold office? Just us?).
08Be strategic with your choice of shoes
Jeans can only go so far without the right pair of shoes. Here’s what we recommend on the scale of formal to informal:
- A slight heel (2-3 inches max) that’s on the chunkier side for more stability
- Ankle boots/booties
- Suede loafers
- Ballet flats
Just starting out at a new job and not sure what’s appropriate and what’s not? Here’s what we recommend:
1. Err on the formal side — but keep a close eye on what your manager and colleagues are wearing. That’s the best way to get a better grasp on the unspoken dress code.
2. If you don’t know what the “official” policy is on attire, ask! There are the most common options:
- Casual: what you would wear in public outside of work (think T-shirts, jeans, open-toed shoes, etc)
- Smart casual: a step up from your everyday casual look — still informal, but with a touch more polish (think LOFT dresses, blazers, trousers, etc)
- Business casual: a mid-way point between casual and formal (and the perfect “safe spot” if you’re not sure which direction to go). Includes items like button-down shirts, blouses, maybe even a pencil skirt.
- Business professional: this is what you’d expect from industries such as law, finance/accounting, or government (dress pants, pantsuits, slacks, pointed-toe pumps…the whole nine yards)
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