Workout to Workplace: Transitional Layering Made Simple

 If you, like me, are a woman on the go, you try to fit multiple activities in your morning, and often have to do a quick Clark Kent transformation in the Starbucks bathroom, or even the back seat of your minivan. With my crazy schedule and varying activities, I have had to get creative in coming up with “transitional outfits”. Here are a few tips to help you always feel that you are dressed appropriately.

What’s on Top?


  • Wearing dark colors or prints are ideal. These tops disguise sweat and dry more discreetly.
  • Use a tight tank as a base layer, and top it with a blazer, sweater, vest, or shrug.
  • Hybrid or loose tank tops are great. Sweat dries quickly when your tank isn’t tight on your torso. Lightweight, quick drying fabric is soon to be your best friend when you’re moving on a mission.
  • Flowy long sleeve shirts or lightweight tunics are great. They are comfortable in the gym, and also look dressy enough to pull off in the office.
  • Be sure you choose fabrics that are wrinkle free and quick drying. This way you will always look crisp and polished.

What’s on Bottom?


  • Leggings are no longer just for working out in. You can easily throw a dress or skirt over them and be appropriately layered. Just be sure you don’t have an obvious logo or label showing. This can be a dead give away that you are in workout wear.
  • Nice yoga pants are easily disguised as work wear. Find a pair that fits you well and has either a flare at the bottom or a drop crotch for a looser fit. Paired with the right shoes, these are easy to dress up and are still appropriate to work out in.
  • Look for prints that are similar to those found in traditional work wear: Houndstooth, pinstripes, pique and more can become your favorite go-to pants both inside the gym and outside in the real world.



  • A workout dress can be great for a quick transition. Kick off your sneakers and slip into some heels or sandals for an instant transformation. Throw on some jewelry and a little makeup, and no one will know you just got out of a workout.
  • A scarf is an instant accent that will kick your outfit up a notch. I am currently obsessed with the lululemon Vinyassa Scarf. There are over 10 ways to wear it: from traditional scarf, to vest, shawl, and more. This piece adds a pop of color and pizazz to any outfit and also is easy to put on and take off to regulate body temperature.
  • A good pair of boots can instantly dress you up and make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s all in the details. Finding tops with fun necklines or side rouching gives your pieces interest and flair. Finding the right jewelry or shoes to put on can make that quick switch up easy and effortless. Pair one printed piece, like a bottom, with other solid pieces in neutral colors, like your top. I am all about making outfits, but veer away from an entire workout outfit that might look just like that. By adding dimension with layers you can make that one print pop and use your neutral colors to tie everything together.

Athleisure wear has become a new genre of clothing; companies are making more and more pieces that people can wear for multiple activities. These companies are finding that when people feel good and are comfortable, they look good and can perform better! Why not create pieces that are more of “lifestyle wear” rather than just traditional “gym clothes?” Once you start opening your mind to the possibilities in mixing genres of clothing, the sky will be the limit, and your wardrobe will expand instantly! The outfit making possibilities are endless.

Soon, you will be like me, and will no longer own jeans or khakis. Let’s be honest…life is too short to NOT live in leggings.

Get FitAuthor: Genevieve is the Athletic Director at NorthCreek Academy, Junior High Athletic Coordinator, and founder of Active8 Group Fitness, an exercise program and support group for women and their children. She was a cheerleader for 10 years and through her experiences believes total life transformation can happen when we work on our lives from the inside out. Check out her website at:


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