Whether you’ve been out of the game due to personal reasons or out of harm’s way at home due to pandemic best practices, returning to work can be daunting for a lot of reasons — and your wardrobe is likely one of them!
Having been hunkered down in your home office for so long now, there’s a good chance that at least some of what you own is older and poses the risk of looking dated — and that’s whether it’s worn in person or on Zoom. Combined with the way that remote work has redefined workwear and the fashion industry, now may be a better time than ever to reimagine your work wardrobe! And while nothing can compare to your pajamas, the way that remote work has redefined workwear and the fashion industry is by incorporating pandemic style priorities such as comfort, versatility and personality. So whether you incorporate cute and comfortable work shoes for women in the office that feel like your slippers from home or you apply your love of loose pants to your professional pieces, we encourage you to incorporate these pandemic style priorities into your return to work fashion staples as much as possible!
Veer Toward Versatility
For the last three years, your pajama pants have taken you from meetings to midnight snacks — but your office slacks may not be so versatile. Instead of filling your work wardrobe with pieces that you strip out of the second you’re done for the day and dread getting back into, though, do your best to find versatile pieces just like your pajamas (only a bit more professional! Not only to improve the way that you look, but the way that you feel, as well!). Depending on your place of work and way of life, this could mean something as simple as replacing stiff stark white dress shirts with more comfortable cotton alternatives in subtle colors or suitable patterns that you could be wearing for family dinners, casual dates or even as bed shirts!
Integrate Your Personality into Your Professional Identity
It’s been a while since we’ve presented ourselves to the world — so even if you haven’t lost touch with your professional identity, this makes for the perfect opportunity to reinvent it! To integrate your personality into your professional image as you rediscover or reinvent it, consider: playing with your permanent hairstyle or color, picking some personality showcasing socks that peek out from the bottom of your pants, finding cute flats in cool colors that call to your character, swapping out your shoelaces for a more personality-suiting color or pattern, brandishing a brand new bag, finding your new favorite face mask or honoring your outfit with an awesome hat.
Keep the Comfort
Nothing is going to compare to the pajamas you’ve been wearing at home or the sweatpants you’ve been hiding on Zoom — but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer in stark white shirts and stiff work slacks. Consider these alternatives to achieve your preferred professional image while keeping the comfort.
- If you’ve gotten comfy in your oversized sweaters, consider professional but equally comfortable alternatives that match your style as appropriately as possible, like appropriate and on-trend oversized dress shirts, blouses with balloon sleeves, cardigans and classy sweaters.
- If you’ve gotten comfy in your sweatpants or pajama bottoms, consider professional but equally comfortable alternatives that match your style as appropriately as possible, like paper bag waist pants, yoga pants-inspired dress pants and even maxi skirts.
- If you’ve gotten comfy in your tights or leggings, consider professional but equally comfortable outfit alternatives. This means that you could still potentially get away with rocking them, but that you’ll want to pair them more mindfully. (Consider pieces like tunic style tops, dresses and jackets that make your leggings more appropriate for the workplace!)
- If you’ve gotten comfy in your onesie pajamas, consider professional but equally comfortable alternatives that match your style as appropriately as possible, like comfortable dresses, fashionable overalls and especially jumpsuits!
Our Strongest Staples
- Yoga Pants-Inspired Dress Pants
Do yourself a favor and find dress pants that are made to mimic yoga pants! These types of pants are mindfully designed with a combination of nylon and spandex (similar to yoga pants) for the comfort and stretch that it offers — and because of this, they also tend to be incredibly wrinkle-resistant and absorbent. With a thick band-style waistband, these types of pants also prove highly beneficial for those who do a lot of sitting or a lot of bending in their jobs. You can normally snag these types of pants in different styles, and while all are great, you likely also want to aim for features like all four functional pockets, belt loops, potentially pleats and even a faux button and fly for added formality.
- Rounded Bottom Button-Downs
A rounded bottom button-down means that you can wear your shirt comfortably untucked while still appearing to be at an unrivaled level of professionalism. Most shirts in this style have been mindfully designed for additional comfort, so they are generally made of more comfortable material as well.
- Wrap Dresses
Wrap dresses can be as comfortable as they are completely flattering, and may cater to your current obsession with onesies, thanks to the fact that you can simply wrap it on in the morning with no mixing, matching or questioning required! With that in mind, they can also be accessorized and amplified in a ton of ways! So when you’re feeling enthusiastic about going out to the office, you can show it with your sunshine colored shoes and sunshine patterned purse. When you’re using your versatile dress to go downtown for a drink after work, you can throw on your leather jacket and a bit of jewelry and amplify its evening charm!
- Comfortable Closed Toe Shoes
After working from your couch or home computer where you can kick up your feet and care for your comfort, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get to your office or workplace will be to kick off your shoes — unless you invest in a pair of comfortable shoes that feel like your slippers! A cushioned sole and extra internal padding should do the trick, but you’ll want to ensure that you get your exact size and inspect them well first for any signs of possible discomfort. In general though, shoe styles like flats, Oxfords and loafers will take you far if you’re returning to work, acting like secret slippers! When it comes to casual closed toe shoes for work, though, it’s always a good idea to aim for materials like leather or suede to amplify the polished and professional aesthetic.
- Cozy Cardigans
Owning a professional cardigan or blazer means that no matter what shirts, blouses or camisoles you have (or don’t have), you can present yourself appropriately — and it doesn’t stand out as strikingly to coworkers that you’ve worn the same thing every day because it’s an outer layer! You’ll want to make sure that the color and texture of the cardigan or blazer you choose is subtle, though — whether that be to ensure that it’s cohesive with the rest of your clothes or to keep attention away from the fact that you don’t have the rest of your wardrobe yet! To keep them as comfortable as your COVID clothes, consider truly cozy cardigans and cardigan style soft blazers.
Returning to Work in Style
With the majority of professionals pursuing or being pushed onto work-from-home paths over the last couple of years, it’s only natural to feel butterflies inside as we approach post-pandemic work. As we do, though, we bring with us our improved style priorities that make it a lot easier to embrace the butterflies of the season around us instead of the ones inside us and head back to the office in style and excitement this spring!