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Transitioning back to office dress code post-COVID

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Many things have been put into perspective as a result of the pandemic, and one of those is that employees desire to work in a less formal manner. 85% of adult employees would like to embrace a “hybrid” employment style, which refers to a combination of working in the office and at home. With this, office dress code etiquette has recently become a hot discussion topic. It represents current societal attitudes, wherein companies are realizing that people do not like to be told what to wear, whether at work or elsewhere.

If you've been working from home for the past year or two, you've probably traded in your crisp formal wear and stiff leather shoes for pieces that are somewhat more comfortable, such as sweatpants, T-shirts, and sneakers. However, now that more offices are reopening, it's again time to consider what to dress for the workplace, and how to make the shift from your work-from-home wardrobe into clothes you can wear in front of your boss.

The new challenge is for you to figure out how to dress decently for work, without compromising your comfort. Even if what you wear has nothing to do with your expertise, it does have an impact on how people view you and what they believe you can and cannot do. Give it priority because it is an important aspect of your image and identity.

Going back to your office doesn’t mean you have to wear uncomfortable clothing. A lot has changed as a result of the pandemic, and more businesses are somewhat slightly lenient towards their dress code policy. To update your wardrobe, invest in a few key pieces that can be combined to create several looks, such as an oversized blazer, ballerina flats, trousers, and a knit dress for women. As for men, polos and a pair of slim-fit jeans should do. Sneakers may also be allowed as long as they are clean and made of a similar material to leather or suede shoes.

Invest in a few high-quality key pieces rather than buying fast fashion apparel. These will last a long time and never go out of style. Additionally, pay attention to the colors you select. When choosing your key pieces, we recommend sticking to neutral hues so that they can be easily used in combination with your other clothing. In addition, neutrals, being simple and pared back, are known to have a calming effect.

After finalizing your key pieces, add a few pops of color as this seems to be dominating the current fashion trend, especially for women. Bright, warm hues like yellow, orange, pink, and red are termed happy colors. Pastel tones like peach, light pink, and lilac can also help to raise your spirits. Combining primary and secondary colors for a vibrant, lively impression is another way colors can elicit positive emotions.

On the other hand, cool hues such as blue and green can help you relax. Colors in the pastel group, especially those with cold tones like baby blue, lilac, and mint, have a calming and relaxing impact. And if you’re one of those people who enjoy highly pigmented bold colors such as royal blue, turquoise, magenta, and emerald green, you should definitely give it a go as they have a stimulating effect and make you feel fresh and energetic.

Also, avoid wearing flip-flops, shorts, athletic clothing, or anything else that exposes your undergarments to avoid appearing sloppy.

The goal is to have sophisticated, comfortable, and versatile professional clothes. You can always ask your boss or the human resources department if there are any new guidelines to follow if you are unsure.

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