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Corporate up top, pjs down below! Or let’s be real, eventually it’s just athleisurewear all round. This became everyone’s normal attire during what seemed to be never-ending WFH days across the many lockdowns of the pandemic.
It goes without saying that covid has left an indelible mark on various aspects of our lives, including the way we dress in professional settings.
And as the corporate world now adapts to a hybrid way of working (or as it has more commonly become known TWaTs – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday office days), this has made way for a new dress code – corporate comfort.
People are continuing to live and work flexibly between home, the office, gym, cafes and more. This means businesses must reflect on what constitutes corporate or workwear and determine how this can become more relaxed, comfortable, and individualised to meet the casualisation trend, while at the same time remaining professional, practical and on brand.
So what are the new corporate comfort workwear trends and how can businesses adapt to ensure their brands are still being represented correctly in the hybrid working world?
1. Prioritising comfort and well-being
One positive change sparked by covid has been our heightened awareness and understanding of well-being and self-care. This newfound focus has permeated into corporate dress codes, specifically through an increased emphasis on comfort.
Athleisure brand, Lululemon, conducted a global study that found 81% of participants perform better at work when they dress comfortably1. Ultimately the pandemic has shown that comfortable clothing can positively impact an individual’s mental and physical well-being, contributing to productivity and overall job satisfaction.
Consequently, we have witnessed a rise in the popularity of breathable fabrics, stretchy materials, and ergonomic footwear options that prioritise comfort without compromising professionalism. This means sneakers worn with dresses or trousers, and more oversized, minimalist looks being the preferred styles for hybrid working professionals.
Businesses should allow for this expansion of “business casual” to permeate their offices and include clothing options that strike a balance between professionalism and comfort. The inclusion of such elements in corporate company dress codes signals a more empathetic and employee-centric approach to work environments.
2. Celebrating individuality and self-expression
The pandemic also saw an accelerated movement towards embracing individuality and personal expression in the corporate world. With the rise of Zoom meetings and video conferences, professionals have gained more control over their visual presence (including the use of the beauty “touch up my appearance” filter – and don’t we all love that). Companies should support their employees to feel confident and empowered in continuing to express their unique style and personality through their work attire both at home and the office.
3. Accepting athleisure wear, but ensuring professionalism
During the pandemic, the need for traditional business suits and formal wear naturally diminished. And while there is still a place for the business suit and tie or dress and heels, this is often no longer required on an everyday basis. Athleisure and loungewear became the go-to relaxed, casual style and so as now whether working from the office or from home, a less rigid uniform policy must be established by corporate businesses.
By allowing elements of athleisure wear, such as tailored jogger pants, stylish sneakers, or structured knit tops, employees can experience greater comfort and mobility while maintaining a professional appearance. This fusion of athletic and professional attire can promote a more inclusive and flexible workplace culture, accommodating various work styles and supporting employee well-being. However, it’s crucial companies strike a balance by setting clear guidelines to ensure that athleisure wear remains appropriate, avoiding overly casual or overly sporty looks that may undermine the professional atmosphere.
At Uniformity, we offer a range of corporate uniform pieces for brands looking to meet the casualisation trend while maintaining presentable, professional looks – get in touch with our team today to explore our full corporate range.