Zoom blouse on top, PJ pants on the bottom. For those of us who have been lucky enough to work remotely throughout the pandemic, it’s safe to say we’ve gotten accustomed to prioritizing function over fashion. Cue the vaccine rollout and a looming return to the office, which begs the sartorial question: Is there a place, post-COVID, for the structured dresses and heels that have been collecting dust in our closet since last March? We’re seeing an upswing in requests for blazers and office attire, but will it be the same? Here’s our expert opinion of what to expect from the office dress code as we re-emerge.
1. Restrictive Workwear Is Out, Flowy Attire Is In
About those structured dresses and heels… As we transition out of pajamas and loungewear, there’s going to be a rebellion against anything that feels too formal or restrictive. Instead, you’re going to see relaxed jumpsuits with cozy cardigans, maxi skirts, oversized blazers, fluid dresses, wide-leg trousers, draped blouses and more. We are seeing this already as professionals are asking for comfort all the while in the smart, pulled together outfit. Everything just gets a little more relaxed. We know that women have proven they can make things happen, all the while wearing their PJ’s, but when the influx of people return to the office, the attitude will be centered around professional, good feeling, fashionable comfort.
2. The Emphasis Will Also Be On Mix and Match Separates
Post pandemic workwear is about versatility. Our store manager Ashley says she’s noticing people are buying more suits from C’est Sera but not wearing them together. “Our customers are mixing and matching formal pieces with casualwear, such as suits worn with sneakers and loungewear with a tailored blazer over the top,” she says. Bottom line: Dressing for comfort and practicality seem to be the driving force behind style decisions for the office on the other side. “We anticipate comfy knits and blouses, elevated pull on pants and less-structured blazers to be top of mind for our customers as they return to work.”
3. The Return to ‘Getting Ready’ Again
No, you don’t have to be done up all day to prove what a boss you are, however there is a return to putting in some effort when it comes to style. After cocooning in our homes for so long, many women want to experience fashion as an adventure. All things luxe are flying off our racks. Faux suede, satins, chiffons. How you wear those to the office depends largely on your industry, of course, but the chance to get all dressed up and feel normal again is exciting right now. It’s the whole revenge shopping trend—we’ve missed our “going out” clothes!
4. Invest in Fewer, Nicer Things
An edited closet is the best closet. As we make our way back to the office, you can expect a renewed energy when it comes to purging and keeping only what you’ll actually wear. Rounding out your wardrobe with a handful of investment pieces that you can stretch the life of will become a priority, so that when you do have to go into the office, you know exactly what to throw on and feel good about it. Ultimately, it’s all about a no-fuss approach. I think women will invest in durable, functional pieces—high-quality, indie made, and interesting styles are investments that will get you looking forward to commuting again. The focus will be on what’s important and also give a big nod to sustainability.
5. ‘Casualization’ Is the Post-Pandemic Work Trend That Will Dominate
There’s a new freedom taking hold when it comes to office fashion after COVID-19 and while the dress code might not change forever, expectations will. Do a check in with your workplace for dress code requirements. We are seeing many industries relaxing the office culture. Casual dressing can still be professional. Think of it as a more approachable way of working. Wearing runners with your suit, pairing a cute blouse with your drawstring pants, or a maxi skirt with a slouchy sweater. There’s going to be an adjustment period for everyone. But, we know that comfort and practicality are here to stay.