Except for finance and law and a handful of other industries, overall professional attire has become quite casual in the last five years and heck, let’s just say it, sloppy. Thanks to the invention of athleisure wearing clothing you would wear both during and after a yoga class has become the norm attire in many a startup. To be comfortable is a great thing and can help you be more productive, but there is something to be said for looking sharp even if it means your outfit is a bit less flowy. After all the wrong clothing choices can still negatively impact an employee’s career, according to a new OfficeTeam survey. Out of those surveyed, 86% of professionals and 80% of managers said clothing choices can keep people from advancing on the job.
However, when it comes to dressing sporty, there is no other group of athletes that looks more sharp and ready to focus than equestrians (well maybe fencers, but the face mask would be awkward in an office setting.) Those stirrup pants and blouses, the dapper jackets and, of course, the riding boots. Even though people hoist themselves upon large animals and run and jump around, they still look more dressed up than many of the people you probably saw going to work today.
That is why the new brand Free x Rein may replace athleisure as your new office wardrobe go-to. Accomplished riders Andrea Hippeau Vogel and Dana Schwartz, who worked in film and venture capitalism, found themselves frustrated by having to change when they went straight from the office to the barn. They conceptualized Free x Rein to solve their own problem as well as the problem of so many other busy women who also ride. Combining the best in high-tech and sustainable fabrics with classic equestrian silhouettes and design, they sought to create a line of clothes that is as wearable as it is stylish for all aspects of the day.
The line currently carries bodysuits and pants and will launch two new styles of bodysuits including a short sleeved one next month. They will also offer their first non-bodysuit option in June as well as their first leather accessory which is an equestrian inspired hip bag. These clothes are certainly a refreshing change to yet another pair of leggings and zip up hoodie. Kelsey Mulvey of NY Mag’s The Strategist wrote of the line’s Signature Ponte Riding Pants , “Over the last few months, they’ve become my go-to pair for just about everything. The versatile silhouette looks great with blouses, sweaters, and dressier shirts, while the cropped ankle pairs well with heels, sandals, boots, and flats. They also happen to be incredibly flattering. Whenever I pull these pants on, my legs magically look more sculpted. And the suede patches along the inner thighs and two exterior zippers offer a fashion-forward flair, making me feel like a slightly cooler, more 2018-era Tess McGill.”
Plus people will automatically think you ride horses and be impressed. Ladders spoke with Vogel and Schwartz about why Free x Rein could end your office dressing dilemmas.
On choosing to make equestrian-style clothing
Free x Rein was born out of years of frustrations with our equestrian clothing specifically that it was not transitional to the rest of our lives. We met riding and spent many hours commuting back and forth from the barn to the city [for work] and always felt like we had to change even though equestrian style is so iconic and has inspired so many fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and Hermes. Everyone loves the polished equestrian look but in reality, the clothes you actually wear to ride are made out of thin synthetic materials with unflattering silhouettes. We never thought we could actually do anything about it since neither of us have a fashion background (Dana was a film producer and Andrea worked in venture capital) but the final straw was when we heard a woman say that she was wearing spanx under her riding pants because she was so embarrassed about how she looked. We knew we had to at least try to make a better option!
On why this is a step up from athleisure
Athleisure has clearly become a staple of the casual office uniform but this is actually a dressier step up from essentially what you could wear to a yoga class.
While yoga pants have become a staple for brunch, they are still not professional enough for most work environments. With our Signature Ponte pant, you get the same comfort and wearability as yoga pants with a much more polished look. They are perfect for any professional woman since you can dress them up and down really easily.
On styling the pieces for the office
For a more professional look, you can pair The Signature Ponte pants with a blouse, blazer and heels. For the office, you can also pair The Elite Bodysuit, which is an elegant blouse that will never come untucked, with trousers or a skirt for an outfit that will stay polished all day. For a weekend outfit, The Moto Bodysuit pairs perfectly with high waisted jeans and your favorite flats.
On working together
We have pretty opposite work styles that complement each other perfectly. Dana is very creative and Andrea is very organized. Where one of our skill sets drop off, the other’s picks up!