As I sit down to write this I’m wearing athletic leggings..that I wore to drop off my kid at school.
Gasp! Horror! Shock! A personal stylist wearing leggings? How could I betray my kind?!
Well, to be honest, it doesn’t happen that often. I know in my head, and because I teach it to women everyday, that putting on a pair of jeans with that cute tee shirt and a pair of fashion sneakers is just as much effort as pulling on my athletic leggings (girl, they are tight these days) and that same tee shirt with those old runners. But alas, even as a stylist, my default without coffee and with a hungry 4-year-old nipping at my heels in the morning is athletic wear.
Let me tell you why this is okay AND how to level-up if you’d like to.
First, let me just say that as a stylist I so often get lumped in with a more fashion-forward crowd. Personally I love trendy pieces and working them into my closet full of versatile classics, but its frustrating because style is VERY different from fashion. “Style” is a language you speak with your clothes that tells a story about you before you speak. “Fashion” is just the tool we use to illustrate that story. Style is forever. Fashion is for right now. Style is natural, ongoing, and evolving. Fashion is trending, quickly changing, and to be kept-up-with. Style, and in-particular personal branding (my speciality and what I built an entire course on), is so much more than just a fashionable pair of jeans or what “flatters” you. When you are telling the world who you are and where you are going with your style, you feel EXTRA confident, on-top of it, and open to the world seeing you.
So, though I may revert to my athletic wear roots from time to time under stress and in a hurry, there are some tips I utilize to help myself out:
1. I have purged all the gross. You know, the holed items. The stretched out neck tees. The stained sneakers. The man-shaped, over-sized hoodies. If I’m going to go lazy with my style choice for a day, I’m going to do it in clean, not-sloppy options by removing all other options from my groggy view.
2. I balance out the casual with something unexpected, but still easy. Popping on a black moto or bomber jacket with some athletic wear gives it a fun, stylish edge.
3. I keep my athletic wear in neutral colors so it all “goes”. This is a great tip. If everything is in neutral colors (black, white, cream, navy, grey, olive, etc etc) it all goes together and I can’t miss match anything before coffee is in hand. It also polishes up the look, especially if you add in the above jacket idea.
4. I polish up athletic outfits with more classic pieces for a more “athleisure” look, which is very on trend, but SO easy to do. Take that neutral athletic top and legging, then top if off with a cardigan or a long wool coat instead of that Columbia jacket, and pair it all with fashion sneakers instead of athletic shoes. You will look so trendy, but remain so cozy and comfortable.
Word of warning: this isn’t for work (unless you are a fitness professional). This isn’t for meeting potential clients. This isn’t for date night (unless you’re going…I don’t know…night hiking?). It’s for those errands, the drop offs, the pickups, the casual coffees with your bestie. I specialize in helping women brand themselves with their style, but WE CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO BE ON ALL OF THE TIME. You’ll burn out and we don’t want that. Let’s give ourselves some grace. Let’s give each other some grace. I’m certainly giving it to you today, mama. You look great.
Rose Jubb is a wardrobe stylist, image consultant, speaker, course creator, and author who developed Style Class - an online platform that helps women Style themselves for the lives and businesses they want with the help of free resources and affordable online courses. Her course Closet Goals helps women business owners style themselves for success, using their closets to up their confidnece. Find out more here .