How To Incorporate Sporty Vibes Into Office Workwear? (Reader Question)

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We got an interesting question from one of our readers, Annie. She wrote:

Dear TME Team,

I have been a loyal reader since I became a mom 2 years ago (actually, let’s be honest, it was about 9 months before I actually became a mom, because I’m a planner like that). Thanks for all your awesome content and helping me figure out my mom style!

I have recently been faced with an unexpected style challenge. I’m getting my PhD in Organizational Psychology and recently took on a part-time HR consulting gig. My first work trip is coming up in a month for a project with NFL, which I am super excited about. HOWEVER… my boss told me the team dresses in standard football-coach-inspired attire to fit in with the culture (think khakis, Under Armour, and athletic shoes) and that I should plan to dress accordingly. The problem is, I have a capsule-like wardrobe with a grey/black/ivory base and a few pops of color from favorite retailers like J. Crew, Everlane, and LOFT… and literally NOTHING in my closet that remotely looks like an athletic coach. So clearly I need to buy a few things, but the big question is: Is it possible to dress like a football coach and still look remotely stylish?!

If you have time, please help me! If not, hope you get a kick out of my quirky fashion dilemma.

We DO get a kick out of your quirky fashion dilemma, Annie! And I knew just who was needed to help solve it. Amber, a longtime friend of mine, is currently the Director of Merchandising at Under Armour (and before that, she worked at Adidas), so this is a girl who has been successfully combining sportswear with workwear for…20 years? Additionally, she’s a total badass and tons of fun, and most of the time she IS the party — especially if you’re having a bad day (she turns it around like it’s her job) — and I swear everybody needs an Amber in their life.

Of course, getting normal people (and by “normal” I mean non-fashion-bloggers) to send over a pic is like pulling teeth but here’s Amber:

The “use this…oh wait, do I look naked?” pic…

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

The one that doesn’t surprise me….

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

And here’s Amber with her adorable daughter (apparently ‘non bloggers’ only take photos during the holidays?)

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

 

Anyway, I texted her, and gave her the scoop on Annie’s fashion dilemma. At first we had to get through some ranting, “I hate that to be a woman that fits in with men you should dress like a man!!” Roger that. Agreed. And then we got to the good stuff. She ultimately suggested that incorporating a few sporty pieces into an otherwise business casual wardrobe was the best bet. (And maybe swapping out heels for some seriously cool sneaks if you’ll be doing a ton of walking.) And as I recall….when I worked for Lockheed, I would routinely pair a cool Adidas soccer jersey (stolen right from Amber’s closet) with a pencil skirt and heels, just to change things up.

Amber then pulled a few pieces from Under Armour that she would recommend incorporating, and the resulting looks (based on your preferred color scheme, Annie) were so good, I think they’re worth rocking —even if you’re not working with the NFL!

Last note: We went for a professional vibe overall, but if your office is more conservative, swap out the moto jackets for blazers, and stick with a pair of pumps (or flats).

One: Dress Down Your Suit

This one is dead easy: instead of the usual button-down or silk shell, try a muscle tank with sporty vibes. Heels would be so sharp with this (especially if you are doing happy hour after — just lose the blazer), but we’re kinda loving this look with a pair of sleek sneaks.

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

jacket | tee | pants | sneaks | watch

Two: Try High-Rise Trousers

I love the idea of a short, boxy top with a pair of really elegant high-rise trousers (nobody should show belly at the office). Add a pair of cool sneaks and the vibe is like a sporty Katherine Hepburn.

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.jacket | tee | pants | sneaks | hoops 

Three: Slim, Patterned Pants + Hoodie

This one is great for a day where you’ll be running around. It especially works if you stick with a pretty neutral color scheme (like black & white). Need to take it up a notch? Swap the sneaks for black pumps and add a blazer.

Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office

coat | hoodie | pants | sneaks | earrings 

Four: Pair a Sweatshirt with Dressier Pieces

Similar to the outfit above, this one elevates a cool sweatshirt into something that you can wear to the office. We like the plaid trousers for the subtle pop of color…but this sweatshirt would look equally cool with a simple black pencil skirt and pumps, too.
Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

jacket | tunic | pants | boots | earrings 

Five: Sporty Trousers + Graphic Tee

I love the side-stripe trousers for infusing a sporty vibe into your workwear. Play it up with a graphic tee, then serious things up again with a trench and loafers. (Or swap the trench for a blazer or structured cardigan if you need that extra polish indoors, too.)
Not all jobs require suits & heels — it's true, y'all. For working w/ athletes, sporty vibes in professional outfits are key. See how to win this office.

coat | tee | pants | loafers | belt | hoops

This was a fun one, Annie! Thanks for writing in! (And Amber, thanks for playing along, girl. Love you to pieces.)

xo,

S

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About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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5 Comments

  1. Love this post and all the style tips for Annie! More importantly…I would like both Annie and Amber’s jobs!!!

  2. Elizabeth Rafter on

    This is so fun!!! Love these suggestions! And occasionally, non bloggers can sneak in a birthday or vacation picture, too! Ha!

  3. I know we’ve all probably heard way too much about Rothy’s lately… but I think they might be a really helpful fit here. The loafer or sport shoe styles they have might offer a comfy (I can walk a mile kind of thing) option while still giving the polished office look.

  4. Y’all are the best. So creative. I hope she sends in pictures of her choices! And congratulations on getting close to that PHD! Under armor makes great women’s clothing and their running tights are magical. If her style is a bit more preppy (like mine) I could see her rocking a colorful polo or polo dress just fine with her existing jcrew-ish stuff! Good luck and go sports!

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