Why My Power Suit Is A Pair Of Leggings And A Tank Top

Skip the LBD and skinny jeans.

January 11, 2018
woman jogging
AMR Image/getty

I feel better in my work-out clothes than anything else I own, and I’m not about to apologize for it.

Every time I slip into my leggings and wrestle on my sports bra I feel ready to take on the world. They make me feel powerful, confident, in control. These clothes remind me of the miles I’ve run, the tons I’ve lifted, and the challenges I’ve taken on and overcome. That isn’t to say I don’t like dresses or appreciate jeans that fit like they were made for me, but when I need a confidence boost, I shimmy into my running shorts first.


What we wear matters. Research has shown that your clothes can change the way you feel about yourself and even change the way you act. What we wear can change the way we think and push us to be more creative or think abstractly.

Loving what you wear makes a real difference, and it’s not always the magazine-touted outfit that makes your heart beat a little faster or that feels exactly like you. I’m tired of hearing about how I have to wear red to assert myself or don a tailored pantsuit with 4-inch heels to be taken seriously. I cannot calmly read one more article about what women should wear to work while it’s perfectly acceptable for our male counterparts to show up in a wrinkled graphic tee and a hoodie. Isn’t anyone else tired of wearing clothes they hate for more than 40 hours a week just because they "should"?

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Sure, I can’t waltz into the office in my race day outfit or take meetings in my neon coral half marathon finisher’s tee. Even as a Californian who lives in Silicon Valley, I have my limits for what I’m willing to wear to work. I’m hyper aware that women are judged by how they present themselves in the workplace and that clothing choices can easily be misinterpreted or unfavorably judged. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wear what makes me feel the best anywhere.


Try this smoothie for a morning pick-me-up:

During my first job out of college I would wear my workout leggings under a dress or my gym clothes beneath a sweater. I felt like Clark Kent, always hiding a secret identity that none of the people asking me to find their files or fact check stories would ever know. On my way out of the office I’d transform fully and head off to flip tractor tires at the gym or chase down my goal pace at the track.

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I’m not about to give it up. I feel killer in a pair of sneakers. I rock them in the office and at the farmers’ market every weekend. My teal GPS watch adds the perfect pop to bracelet-length sweaters. My running jacket is my go-to layer for a sleek commute.

Yes, these clothes are comfortable, but stretchy fabric isn’t what makes me hold my head higher or challenge my boss in a meeting. Each piece is a reminder of who I am and what I have achieved. They are a reflection of my identity and the best parts of who I am. They echo my tenaciousness, my drive, my power. They remind me of what I have fought through and what I am willing to do to succeed.

There is power in wearing the things that make you feel like you have electricity running through your veins. Work culture matters, but so does respecting what you love and what makes you feel fearless. Vibrant. Happy. Unstoppable.