Running Fashion Police: Your Office to Track Wardrobe

You don't have to run in a three-piece suit to transition from work to running!  Img cc license via harald_nistelberger on flickr
You don’t have to run in a three-piece suit to transition from work to running! Img cc license via harald_nistelberger on flickr

Recently Juniper gave us some tips on finding pants for your smokin’ hot runner legs. I’m going to take a tangent from that subject and talk about the office wardrobe.

Fortunately, my office dress code is business casual, but I can’t get away with wearing race t-shirts, running tights, or racing flats. Nonetheless I’ve discovered a few tricks along the way for making an easier transition from office to track, saving me time and even money when some items can do double duty!  More after the jump!

As much as I prefer very low-cut and brightly-colored socks, they look silly peeking out from professional pants. Crew socks and compression socks in neutral colors can stay on your feet all day long. Calf sleeves will go unnoticed as well. Make sure to launder your socks well so there’s no mystery odor during your morning meeting. Bonus tip: Wool seems to stay the freshest.

If you’ve got some itty-bitty shorts in your running wardrobe, you may be surprised to hear me suggest that you wear them to the office…under your work pants. I realize this may sound ridiculous but hear me out! Sometimes I am in a real rush to fit in my workout before heading home. If you’ve ever tried to change clothes in a tiny bathroom or – god forbid – in your car, already having shorts on will help you avoid nudity awkwardness.  Plus if they fit right, they’ll double as a smoothing agent, like Spanx.

The same goes for sport bras!  I just wear them all day long.  I like the ones with skinny straps that hide nicely under a sweater. Watch out for any wild patterns that might peek through a thinner shirt.  It might feel a little funny to wear your running bra all day, but it also might feel good to have the extra support, especially if you’re more ample-chested.  It’s best to experiment and try on lots of different bras at the running store to figure out if there’s one you’d like to wear for everyday use.

I don’t think I’m that old, but wow, have women’s running tops come a long way in the 20 years since I began running! Many companies now make tops that could pass the dress code at a business-casual office. You can always just get plain-colored v-necks as inner layers, especially if you’re tucking them into a skirt or pants. Ask a non-runner nose to make sure there’s no lingering stink after laundering.

Do you wear running clothes to work? Any suggestions for making the transition completely smooth?

I'm a 20-year veteran of competitive running, USATF certified coach, mom of a toddler -- and still trying to set PRs. I write about training from 5k to marathon, motherhood and competitive running, and the elite side of the sport. The 5k is my favorite race (16:56 PR) but I've got a score to settle with the marathon.

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  1. I love this piece! Recently I forgot my regular bra at the gym, so I had to wear my sports bra (I had a second clean one in my bag) all day. I was surprised that it didn’t bother me at all, so I’ll definitely be doing that more on days I’m pressed for time. And as for running tops, you’re right Catnip. I have several Nike tops and a recent Oiselle purchase that I love that I can wear to work and no one would know the difference. I’ll have to look into that short shorts-under-the-pants trick.