Open Letter: Stop Wearing Athletic Wear When Not Being Athletic

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - 1700 Block of 2nd Avenue NW


Ladies,

Have you ever asked yourself, “I wish I was taken more seriously.” Or how about, “I wish I felt more confident?” If you have, please know first, you are not alone.  Second, you are capable and attractive. Third, that said, it may start with something simple and fixable AF.

It may not be what you’re saying or the quality of your ideas. Rather it may be what you’re telling people without even opening your damn mouth. Your style, or lack thereof, may be conveying all the wrong things. Oops.

In a perfect world what one wears would not matter how people perceive them. Of course that’s not true because the world is not close to perfect AND people judge you. All. The. Time. Perception is reality, right? Say the accurate thing. Say it now. Say it… silently?

Here’s the most basic-oh so-simple rule for dressing for success: Stop wearing workout gear in public.  

That’s right. Unless you are in a gym, at a fitness class, or in the great outdoors in the middle of a hike never, ever, wear athletic gear. No running sneakers. No zip up hoodies. And no certainly no leggings. Sporty gear has its place but only the one place. To be taken more seriously you should, at the bear minimum, wear proper clothes and change right before your workout to suitable gear. And change out of it right after. You can get away with it certain times, right? Think again.

Style Question: Are you going to meet girlfriend for weekend brunch and think your denim jacket over a cotton tunic with tights looks good?  

  • The Truth to It: It doesn’t. You look like a teenager and that’s not a compliment. It’s lazy.

Style Question: Running to the mall for a few things and you grab a cozy hoodie before you head out the door?

  • The Truth to It: No. Don’t. Put on a knit sweater or jacket for required layering.

Style Question: Think you can get away with a longer shirt over your tights and top it with a blazer and heels to dress it up for work?

  • The Truth to It: Up top and your feet are likely fine but down below you’re all wrong. It’s a mess. You’re going to work so get dressed as if you are going to work. If you are a smart woman you’ll turn back around and put on something smart. Look smart = smart. It’s style math, duh.

Style Question: Let’s say you’re heading to the airport for a getaway weekend. It might be nice to be comfortable in leisurewear, yes?

  • The Truth to It: You’d be wrong again. Unless you are traveling with your high school sport team put on actual clothes. This isn’t hard. Of course dress with comfort in mind but try jeans that are a more relaxed fit or have stretch in them. If jeans are not your jelly how about a maxi dress or skirt (and hosiery if chilly)? Anything but sweats.

An everyday situation aside here is the style skinny: You never know whom you will bump into or where your day will take you. Be prepared. Be honest with yourself. You will not feel as confident in sweats as you will in a proper fitting pair of jeans, pants, or skirt. You just won’t. Getting full tough love on you please hear this: if people look at you and think you are too lazy in your dressing, they may start to wonder what else is messy in your life. Doubt is poison. It’s gross but absolutely true.

Need a test? Would you go on a date with a celebrity crush wearing west coast athletica? I think not. So why won’t you give yourself more credit that that in your everyday life? 

If you’re up for the challenge try not wearing sweats outside of your home – unless you’re working out – for an entire week. You’ll likely get a compliment (or a hundred) for stepping up your style. Treat yourself better by dressing better. At the end of the style challenge week take some time to consider how it was. You’ll likely look better but it’s more that that. More specifically ask yourself, “How did I feel?” Betcha it felt great.  

You’re welcome.

Looking for more Open Letters? Closet Overhaul & To White Clothing It’s the Leggings