What does the word ‘workwear’ mean to you? It used to refer to heavy-duty clothing worn by laborers, factory workers, etc. It has since come to me anything you might wear to work. But even that definition is going to change in the near future. Why? Because the work-from-home phenomena has forever changed what people will wear to the office.
Some companies have given the green light to employees wanting to continue working from home indefinitely. But others are calling their people back to the office. They are the ones who will redefine office workwear moving forward. How they define it remains to be seen. But know this: change is coming.
Dressing for Zoom
Working from home means no longer having face-to-face contact with people. We are no longer sitting around conference tables drinking coffee and having hours-long discussions. And because we do not see one another in person, there is little need to get dressed up. As a result, many of us have learned how to dress for Zoom.
When you’re on a video call, the camera only shows you from about mid-chest to the top of your head. Thus, it doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing below the waist. You could be rocking your pajamas or an old pair of beat-up, stained sweatpants. Just so long as you are wearing business attire above the waist, all is well.
Dressing for Zoom is now such a cultural phenomenon that TV commercials are showing it. Script writers are working it into their material as a way to market products to at-home workers. It’s crazy. And yet, here we are. The question is this: what happens when we start returning to the office?
No Going Back on Comfort
Working from home affords the opportunity to work in more comfortable clothing. Think about it. Would you rather dress in a pair of stretchy pants and a crop top or a formal business suit with a tight jacket and high heels?
It’s hard to believe that people who have gotten used to working in comfortable clothes for the last 12 months would be enthusiastic about embracing business clothing to return to the office. Some may be forced to, but few will go willingly back to the workwear of a year ago.
Clothing brands are even recognizing the coming trend. According to The Stockist, a Salt Lake City men’s and women’s clothing boutique, we’re just beginning to see an emerging trend of more comfortable and casual workwear for office workers.
Comfort and Style Together
Many of the new workwear designs combine comfort and style to create a happy medium everyone can live with. Once again, stretchy pants are a good example. Designers have figured out how to make comfortable pants that still look professional and stylish. And because they are made of stretchy material, they are a lot more comfortable than the rigid business slacks women have been wearing for years.
Do not expect the trend toward more comfortable workwear to be limited to women. Designers and manufacturers are likely to come up with a few new things for the men as well. More flexible waistlines and stretchy pleats immediately come to mind. Even more comfortable shoes are on the table.
Working from home has given millions of people an opportunity to do their jobs in a more relaxed and comfortable environment. As the world goes back to the office, the work-from-home mindset will force changes in office workwear. It will have to. No one wants to go back to wearing uncomfortable clothing for 8 to 10 hours a day.