Homeworking has relaxed work attire, but some trends could be here to stay even as many return to the office. Casual business attire for women is rising as we find ourselves in the new normal of office work.
The Rise Of Hybrid Working
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work in 2020 and has forced most US office workers into a large-scale Work-From-Home experiment. Employers and employees alike have been able to experience just how effective Work-From-Home can be.
It is no wonder then that many companies have announced to make increased home office a permanent change in the way they are working. Whether a return to the office is on the horizon, WFH is here to stay.
Besides, people will increasingly work in different work settings, such as smaller satellite offices away from city-center HQs or co-working spaces. As a result, hybrid working situations will emerge: Zoom meetings, less personal interaction, and remote working arrangements characterize the new normal in office life.
The Pandemic Accelerates The Trend For Casual Business Attire
Hybrid working will increasingly characterize the way we work in the future. Dressing for work is not untouched either. With remote working becoming the new normal, most of the work currently happens in less formal clothing.
“According to a poll from market research group NPD, only 10% of people get dressed for working from home at the start of the day and then change into comfortable clothes later.” (The Guardian, July 2020)
The pandemic only accelerates a trend that has existed before: dress codes have relaxed for a while, with casual business attire for women on the rise for the last few years.
Millennials, who are now the largest group in the country’s workforce, have previously driven this trend alongside big tech companies such as Apple or Facebook and start-ups.
People are allowed to come to work in jeans and hoodies all week. Only half of the workplaces now have a dress code, and the move towards casual office-wear means such dress codes have been widened to take in what is and isn’t acceptable when dressing down.
Even conservative institutions, such as banks, have recently relaxed their dress code, asking staff to exercise “good judgment” in what they wore.
Whereas this accelerating trend might not mean swapping the tracksuit for a suit, more athletic and casual pieces will probably seep into our work wardrobes.
Besides, while working from home, we have become more comfortable and versatile, and I believe work dress codes will adapt with these interests in mind.
Dressing Appropriately For Work Remains Important
Although the popularity of business casual attire will increase, dressing for work – in my opinion – will remain important.
It allows you to retain an image of professionalism – this is no different whether you are on camera or “Life” at the office. It also makes you feel more confident and conveys respect to others, gives you credibility.
Dressing up for work when working from home is extremely important since there is no physical change of location to put you into “work mode”. Wearing proper business attire will help you shift your mind to “work” and make you more productive.
As a recent article on The Ladders states: “By dressing appropriately for meetings, whether in the office or via Zoom video calls, you also project a professional image and understanding of the business culture.”
Casual Business Attire For Women – Here Are Some Of The Things You Can Wear In the New Normal
Casual business attire seems the ideal new hybrid solution to office wear. Tech companies and start-ups have practiced this for a few years now with casual office styles that combine simple jeans with more formal pieces such as a blazer. They are great for work and play and ideal for the new hybrid working world!
With lots of us wearing activewear during our home office days, this trend might rise and might become acceptable office wear in the new normal.
More work outfits will blend dressing up and dressing down, and wearing the same attire will become more accepted. Tighter budgets, too, will lead to greater interest in basic and neutral pieces.
I believe plain and simple items will be on the rise and recommend maximum comfort and versatility for home and office. There is no need to invest in expensive and formal office wear now, but you can easily stay trendy by updating your office wardrobe with a few simple pieces.
Retailers are stocking evergreen items like plain T-shirts, jeans, and khaki pieces. Joggers and leggings are selling well, and trendy colors are staying on the shelves.
I recommend sticking to comfortable and versatile, easy-to-wash clothing made from high-quality fabrics such as cotton or linen. Hybrid clothing such as pants that work for yoga and the office, polo shirts for work, and a run are just examples of great casual workwear choices.
That is precisely the kind of workwear I have recommended, as these kinds of things make it so much easier to dress right for work and play with the kids.
A completely new addition to the work wardrobe will off course, be the matching face mask. At the beginning of the pandemic, people chose simple surgical masks.
As we realize that masks are here to stay, we will increasingly look for different colors and styles to find mas that match our outfits and express our personality.
Find face masks in work-appropriate styles on Ann Taylor
It remains to be seen how the pandemic affects shoe styles. I expect there to be far less interest in high heels and that more comfortable shoes will rise. Smart sneakers would be the ideal hybrid office companions.
The choice of casual attire is so high that ‘work from home pajamas’ is officially a thing on the net. They are nothing but our everyday loungewear, but you can see the marketing linked here with the demand and trend.
Casual Business Attire For Women Is Here To Stay
The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards casual business attire in recent months. With hybrid working situations on the rise, I believe the movement is here to stay.
Whereas more comfortable and relaxed clothing will probably be acceptable at the workplace, I firmly believe that dressing for work will remain important: it increases productivity and professionalism and sets your mind into “work mode”. If you invest in comfortable yet versatile pieces and combine them with some of your more formal office wear, you cannot go wrong.
What will be the new normal for business attire, in your opinion? Please leave a comment below; I would love to hear from you.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, make sure to leave me a comment, and I will be happy to help you.
All the best,
The Guardian (July 2020): “’The Zoom shirt’: how the pandemic changed work dress codes
The Ladders (May 2020): This is what business attire will look like in a post-COVID-19 world
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