Bye Bye suits? Reinventing Art of Workwear in The New Reality
As the seasons shift so does the need to adapt our wardrobe to accommodate our requirements and style, especially when it comes to office attire. The linen dress you wore only a few weeks ago won’t provide enough coverage for the cooler temperatures arriving and closed shoes start to feel like a more appropriate choice.
Indeed, work is one of the most sartorially conservative places. Adding to that, we might feel more uncertain than ever on how all of this translates to post pandemic times. Many of us have had to work from home for some time as lockdown measures are eased. As a result, the dress codes have been relaxed and have highlighted the importance of being comfortable even more.
For many of us a ‘home office’ might now become a regular occurrence rather than an exception, which raises questions about the future of workwear dress codes. Now it seems the boundaries between business and casual attire blurrier than ever. The idea of wearing a sleek blazer with a good pair of joggers might be acceptable now, especially for creative work environments.
However, if you’re expecting that the traditional office dress code will never come back in our new reality, experts speculate in the opposite direction. According to them, the future of office fashion will be inspired by the ideas of dressing up and looking sharp, leaning towards tailored yet comfortable looks rather than too casual and relaxed.
‘Business Casual’ and ‘Smart Casual’ - What’s the difference?
Don’t fret! We know everything seems rather confusing right now. But let us make it clear that unless you work in a very strict office environment it’s likely that the wardrobe pieces you’ll need are more business casual than ‘formal’ business attire.
Let us explain: while the traditional “business” attire means suits—a trouser suit set, blazer and skirt combo, or tailored dress—the term “casual” makes us think of t-shirts, khakis, cotton, and sporty shoes.
Business casual takes professional office attire down a step, but remains conservative with blazers, blouses, skirts and flat shoes. On the other hand, the smart casual attire tends to be more versatile, relaxed, and fashion-forward. In either scenario, you can still have a lot of fun and creativity with your wardrobe. You can play with different textures like denim, tweed, leather, corduroy, and suede, or even wear a casual top with a sleek blazer.
If your workplace is rather casual, stick to well-fitting jeans that look professional- rather than trendy styles. Also, trainers that are on the discreet side will be more versatile and polished. Smart casual doesn’t mean flashy or flamboyant—it is much more elevated and polished than your typical weekend looks. After the pandemic, there will be much more mixing between dressing up and dressing down with professionalism in mind.
Pieces for work play and beyond!
When selecting versatile pieces for the office, you would want to look professional while being stylish and ready for any occasion. Do you know a smart casual dress code is more about creating a unique, stylish ensemble than about the actual pieces themselves?
A tailored blazer works for both business casual and smart casual, but it can also dress up your lace tops and sheer blouses for the weekend. It can be a great idea to stick to well-fitting classics like wrap dresses, tailored pants, cardigans, sweaters, and pencil skirts, but play with textures, colors, and patterns.
You may infuse some personality to your office attire, but don’t overdo it with trends and clashing patterns. To add interest to your button-down shirts, think of high waist cigarette trousers in classic prints—but skip those sequins and anything that screams party.
In the light of our new normal, the dress code might mean different things in different cultures, cities, companies, and industries. Keep this guide handy, you’ll make a good impression and show respect for the people you’re meeting in and out of the workplace.
So, where’s the middle ground?
Business casual takes professional office attire down a step. This creates a mix of flat shoes, crisp shirts cute, yet put-together dresses here and there, and trainers.
A deconstructed version of the professional wardrobe, where the separate components (suit jacket, button down, pencil skirt) are liberated from their normal pairings and allowed to interact with other elements of your wardrobe.