Before the pandemic, it was common practice to avoid wearing the same outfit in any given week at the office. Now, with the ongoing slowing of the pandemic, many returning into offices or juggling both remote and hybrid working schedules are facing an inevitable shift in their wardrobe patterns and fashion choices.
Wearing tracksuits for the past 18 months of this pandemic has been a challenge, and companies have learnt that professionalism, productivity, and motivation doesn’t include a suit.
But what does the future hold for dressing more casually in professional scenarios, and how should you dress for the office going forward?
In this article, Debbie Cantley, founder ofSecret Label shares six office dress code trends we can expect to see in both our physical workplaces and remote settings this year.
1. Expressing individuality at work through our fashion choices is only set to grow
Whether in the office or working from home, it’s clear that employees no longer want a restricted dress code knowing that they can be productive without suiting up daily. The movement towards function and away from formal is coming up fast and businesses are becoming a part of this popular trend.
Workplaces that continue to implement strict dress codes and don’t allow employees to showcase their individuality and personal style at work undoubtedly will see effects on team creativity and overall morale too. In fact, for many, this will be considered a huge red flag!
2. Dressing for the office may feel more like a special occasion.
The consequence of hybrid working may result in office days becoming 'smart days' when dressing up for the office in 2022 will feel a lot more like an occasion.
It seems we love getting inspiration for formal office wear too, given there are over 35.5 million views on TikTok for the hashtag #officewear! But if you’ve entered a new job or career during the pandemic undoubtedly it can be hard to navigate what’s suitable without a pre-pandemic introduction to your office dress code!
If you’re still trying to figure out what your office style is and what clothes make you feel confident in the workplace, a good place to start is to review your current wardrobe and pick out which items you feel represent your capsule collection ie. a collection of basics that you can mix and match to create timeless looks. Build upon these outfits by creating your own fashion inspiration mood board which will allow you to create new looks too.
3. The future of ‘formal office’ wear will include jeans and trousers
There are 54,000 searches every year for ‘business casual dress code’, so it’s apparent there are still question marks as to what exactly counts as formal or casual office wear. Traditionally, a grey area has existed around whether trousers and jeans are considered ‘formal office wear’, but the truth is: when styled correctly these items can be considered formal dress.
If you’re stuck on what type of jeans or trousers to opt for, a safe bet is adarker pair of jeans for men andcoloured trousers for women. Choosing a darker or more neutral colour palette for these items will also allow you to be more colourful and creative with your shirt or blouse pairings too!
4. Dressing smart to impress is still important, especially with the rise of hybrid meetings
Whether you’re meeting a new colleague or business partner in an office setting, dressing to impress will only continue to be more important in 2022. This being said, there will be a lot less emphasis and reminders on dress code in general, so going forward a good tip if you’re new to the workplace is to check out your company’s social media to give you a good idea of what your colleagues might be wearing too.
Ultimately dress codes will be largely influenced by the number of times people are needing to be present in a physical office space, and if they are seeing a large number of external people, keeping formality is key when giving first impressions to people.
5. Blazers have seen a 156% increase in searches since the start of the pandemic
When analysing the future of office wear fashion trends, there has been a huge rise in interest in purchasingblazers over the last 2 years, and it’s only set to rise in 2022. Popularised by influencers like Molly Mae, throwing a blazer on top of any outfit is sure to make you look much more formal and stylish too.
A trend we can see becoming more popular this year is less dark coloured blazers and more bright and neutral coloured blazers. The power suit is here to stay, and it's only set to get more popular!
6. Old fashioned professional “rules” around dress codes will change for the better
If companies have learnt anything from this pandemic it's that employees prefer flexibility, and many businesses have found that having a dress code for the sake of a dress code isn't productive. Workers are now finding that they’ve gained time back into their schedules due to not having to primp themselves up for the sake of presentability.
Dressing up for work should still allow you to give self-expression and comfort! If you’re looking to shop for affordable and environmentally conscious office wear in 2022, check out our full range ofoffice attire on our website.