Monday, June 7, 2010

Office Dress Codes – The Legging “Issue”

Now that the weather is getting warmer and summer is around the corner, my lovely HR department has sent out a general memo about “Summer Office Attire”. I realize that there are numerous levels of business dress-styles, everything from “Formal Business” to “Casual”. My particular workplace abides by “Business Casual/Casual”.

Most of the people around here (execs included) seem to lean more toward “casual” as the typical outfit seems to be Jeans, running shoes and a polo shirt/T-shirt/Hoodie. Yes hoodie. Imagine meeting the Disney or Paramount Reps in running shoes and a hoodie – not my cup of tea, but luckily I don’t actually work with any important people.

Anyway, I consider myself to be fairly well dressed. Even when I do succumb to the Jeans-Runners-Hoodie uniform (which is quite often in the winter) I make sure I look nice and well put-together. I enjoy dressing up occasionally, but also want to be comfortable.

This coincides with the new “Summer Office Attire” memo. According to the policy, skirts and dresses must be no shorter than an inch and a half above the knee.

Alright fine.

My issue is this:

I’m between 5’10 and 5’11. The same skirt would be a lot longer on someone who is say 5’5 or 5’6, so it is virtually impossible for me to find dresses and skirts that are the right length without actually being floor length. I’m not going to argue with HR about this technicality (even though I think it’s perfectly valid) because I believe I might have found a solution. Leggings. I figure with leggings I can wear shorter dresses in the summer and top them off with Capri-length leggings.

The sweater-dress I have on today is definitely nowhere near an inch and a half above my knees, it sits probably about 5 inches north of my knees. I figured this was acceptable because I’m wearing dark stretchy leggings that are actually slightly looser than some jeans I’ve worn in the past. I walked into the office this morning and my boss gave me a slightly disapproving once-over, but didn’t say anything. This has lead to paranoia on my part.

I practically live in dresses and skirts throughout the summer months, and the thought of having to resort to jeans or capris all summer long is depressing.

Do leggings count as pants? Or as panty-hose? What are your workplaces like? What do you think? Can I get away with a shorter dress and leggings?


  1. many people are against me on this, but i think leggings count as pants. i mean they cover your butt, they are not see through... so its not like you are flashing your undies to the world.

    I think its completely fine to wear a shorter dress with leggings.
    Just do it :)

  2. My goodness what is your workplace my old HS?? We had rules like growing up in my public school. All skirts & shorts had to be no higher then 1 inch off the knees.

    Well my love, i would assume if you are matching everything up correctly & pairing a nice sandal or flat or heels with your outfit you should be find with leggings. (You could also explain why you put leggings under.) But also will they seriously measure your dresses to make sure they are that long? I mean a dress that is still acceptable length and not trashy short is better looking then jeans and a hoodie! :o)

    I work for a fiancial firm and we are suppose to be business - but I get away with business casual - like alot of skirts/dress/slacks with cute tops or sweater sets. I probably should wear a jacket but....seriously - so uncomfortable & they guys don't even wear them. My 1 big no-no that i get away with in the summer is sometimes leaving my flip flops on all day even with meetings here. lol (but at least i make sure i have a fresh french pedi at all times!)