Is the summer already almost over? It must be, since most style quandaries, questions and complaints sent my way recently involve stripping down, covering up, or desperately wanting to ask someone else to do either or both.
As with most of my Q&A columns, the following are composites of several similarly themed questions.
Think Before You Stink
Dear MintStyle: This summer I vowed to get in shape, only I have very little time in the morning before work to hit the gym, much less shower, de-funk myself and get presentable before heading to the office.
Half of my co-workers are on vacation and the other half are dressing down. Is it okay to go to the office in my gym clothes?
Signed, I Think before I Stink
Dear I Think: In a word, no. Sorry, I know that you probably anticipated an answer celebrating your commitment to working out (go, you!) and commiserating with the time crunch presented in modern life. You have my sympathies.
There are only so many hours in a day and so many of them tend to be dedicated to work and errands and relationships. I just still wish you’d shower and change before leaving the gym.
The thing is, that in addition to the low-grade whiffiness swirling about you for the rest of the day, there’s something inherently unprofessional about going to work unshowered and in your gym clothes. (Unless, of course, you’re a personal trainer, in which case you should go for it!)
You haven’t mentioned your profession, so I’m going to assume there’s some sort of dress code in place. If you must wear workout clothes outside of the gym or yoga studio, try covering up key parts.
There’s a new generation of athletic style dresses that take you from the hiking trail to the office. For example, Athleta has a great selection of multitasking athletic gear. Layer a piece with a knit shrug or tank top for a slightly more dressed up version.
Jamie Hanna, creator of chic active wear brand Zobha offered some tips on gym-to-office fashion for when you absolutely don’t have time to change before heading back to work.
She says, “While it is perfectly acceptable to wear booty shorts and a sports bra to exercise in, here are a few tips to maintain the ease of transitioning from gym to street, while still presenting yourself appropriately.”
Only expose one major body part: If you’re wearing a tennis skirt, throw on a layering jacket to cover your upper body.
Cover your midriff: A looser tank or layering tee that falls below the waist works well over yoga pants.
Cover your bottom: Even a form-fitting tank works well as long as it hits top of the thigh.
Don a stylish jacket: A jacket can instantly turn you from jock to fashionista. Zobha tunics not only cover most flaws, but they also add a dressed up look to even leggings.
Stop the Fashion Clock
Dear MintStyle: I know I’m supposed to be dissatisfied with the way that I look, but I’m not. I really like the way that I look right now.
What I mean by right now, is that I think I’ve found the pants that suit my height and shape, the hair color and style that are most flattering and even the signature look that works best for me (tailored with feminine touches).
I’ve bought quite a few print dresses this summer and I would hate to think I’ve invested in a look that’s going to go out of style as soon as soon as the calendar hits September.
I think long and hard before I spend on my clothing and I’m tired of the constant need to update what I’m wearing and keep spending to stay stylish.
Can I keep dressing the way I am and stop trying to update everything every few months?
Signed, Stop the Fashion Clock
Dear Stop: First of all, congratulations on finding the version of yourself that you like. Too many women and men spend most of their lives trying to do just that.
Conversely, so many people fall into a fashion rut: they end up buying the same exact pants, jackets or cardigans year after year and only updating them when they start looking shabby. It can be a fine balance; trying to remain fashionable while not jumping on every single trend.
I always advise people to find the basic styles, outlines, or pieces that suit both their shapes and wallets. Again, it sounds like you’ve done that. As for constantly needing to update, don’t feel pressured to confuse trends with true style.
If it’s outrageous or adorable, chances are it was made to fade by the next season. For example, I’m so relieved that I resisted the temptation to splurge on a neon pink purse.
And for the record: if the runways are to be trusted, patterned dresses will still be going strong this fall. Pair one with loosely structured blazers or a cotton cardigan, or wear with clunky boots and tights as the days get cooler.
Do you have a personal style question for Rachel Weingarten? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Weingarten cringes when she sees people wearing sweaty gym clothes while out shopping. She’s a style expert, marketing strategist & personal brand consultant for CEOs, politicians and celebrities and the creator of MintStyle. Rachel is the award-winning author of Career and Corporate Cool® and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ‘40s-‘60s, and a regularly featured expert on TV shows including Good Morning America and The Today Show. Visit her online at http://racheletc.com or on Twitter @rachelcw Write to her at email@example.com with your burning style questions.