I’d love to hear your take on how to dress for a job where it’s important to look nice but be able to move. I’ve worked in libraries for awhile, and though there’s plenty of desk time, pencil skirts aren’t good for pushing book carts, sitting on the floor and stretching/climbing to reshelve books. I imagine teachers (especially of young kids) have some of the same issues, and I’m sure other professions do as well.
I’m pretty good at finding outfits that work for me, but I could definitely use some more ideas, especially from a fellow skirt-and-dress devotee.
Some advice that is applicable to Esti’s situation can be found in this post about durable dressing, but here are a few other tips for those of you in need of clothes that allow for easy movement:
There’s a great big world of gloriously fluid, drapey, sumptuous jersey knits out there, and it’s a world that all women who need comfort and range of motion should explore. Jersey dresses, waterfall cardigans, skirts, and tops can all look sophisticated and elegant but they’re stretchy, relatively breathable, and washable. Ideal for women who need to stretch, climb, and sit cross-legged on the floor.
Another amazing fabric that looks as great as it feels is ponte knit, a heavy-weight, stretchy, double-knit interlock fabric that is more sturdy and stiff than jersey, but almost equally flexible. Due to its stability, clothing made from ponte can be structured and architectural, which means that this fabric can play tailored to jersey knit’s flowy. Ponte pieces are available everywhere from Old Navy to Saks these days, and range from slim pants and pencil skirts to blazers, dresses, and tunics. Pick up a piece or two and see how they fare in those active environments.
LEARN ABOUT LAYERING
For those working in fast-paced, kid-centric, or borderline-athletic environments, you’ll probably need more than a few fab fabrics to make your wardrobe workable. If you’re dancing with toddlers, climbing to high library shelves, or engaged in activities that might put your rack or ‘tocks into plain view, you’ll need to embrace layers. For your upper body, simple stretch camisoles under blouses and v-necks work beautifully, as do scarves. For your lower half, tights are the obvious choice for cold weather, but cropped and footless versions can work when it’s warm outside.
My enduring love-affair with leggings is well documented here at Already Pretty, yet I know that some of you loathe ’em. Here’s the thing, friends: Leggings are comfortable, flexible, cute, versatile, and it is entirely possible to make them look polished enough for work. (Assuming you’re not a lawyer or a corporate CEO.) Take your brand new ponte tunic, a pair of cute ballet flats, and a sweet scarf. Now throw on a pair of cropped or ankle-length leggings and tell me you don’t look darling. Leggings also pair beautifully with boots, and if you’re worried about shortening your leg line, pairing dark leggings with dark boots mitigates stumpification quite tidily. Give it up, people. Leggings rule. ESPECIALLY if you’re working somewhere that requires loads of running, jumping, and climbing.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that women working in jobs that move will mostly be annoyed by brooches, belts, and delicate clothing embellishments that might pop off at any moment. While a nice jersey knit wrap dress is probably perfect and a cute tee with some fabric ruffles will definitely work, loads of accessories aren’t practical and garments that require vigilance, tugging, or rearranging will merely annoy. Keep your looks and layers simple and sleek, and all that moving you’re doing will continue unimpeded.
Top image courtesy Athleta
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