After two years of the pandemic, getting dressed has undergone drastic changes. What we used to love and wear no longer fits or feels right, and what’s deemed appropriate at work looks different.
This has left many women confused.
Can I wear jeans to the office?
What should I wear to my Zoom interview?
Will I look overdressed if I wear a suit?
What do I wear instead of my leggings and tee?
Obviously, everyone’s situation is unique. Each industry has different standards, and personal styles will vary depending on body, preferences and lifestyle.
To help guide you in getting dressed post pandemic, I’m sharing 2 rules to keep in mind. Apply these rules to your individual circumstances for more clarity on what to wear.
The Pandemic gave us permission to be comfortable in our clothes, and many of us went all-in with the cozy style. Personally, I created a hierarchy of sweatpants. I had my fancy sweats that I wore “to work”. Then I switched into my loungey sweats that signaled the end of the day.
Soft pants weren’t the only pandemic markers. There were also high heels which fell by the wayside. Rather than suffer in uncomfortable shoes, women went for flatter options like Rothy’s and Birdies because the extra height wasn’t worth the discomfort.
Whether you got comfy in sweats or you’ve swapped out your heels, the good news is that the fashion industry is on board with the relaxed aesthetic. Athlesiure is trending for spring and summer 2022, and there’s a new category of clothing called workleisure which gives you a professional silhouette in more comfortable fabrics. Knitwear blazers and work trousers with yoga-pants-style stretch have become work-friendly staples.
The idea behind this new rule is that your clothes must always support you. Once dressed, you shouldn’t think about your outfit anymore. If your feet hurt, or the shoulders on your blouse are too tight, it will distract you. Comfortable clothes allow you to be more present in your life.
There’s a caveat to this rule, however, and it’s when you prioritize comfort to a fault. You know when you sink into a super deep couch and it starts to suck you in? It’s hard to get off that couch! That’s what happens when you’re prioritizing comfort to a fault. As a part of its support, your clothes must also motivate you so that you feel energized and ready to do your thing.
If your clothes lack energy, you’re choosing comfort to a fault and it may be time to get off that couch.
Have you seen the sci-fi show Severance? It’s about a group of people who opted in for a brain chip that removes their memory outside of work. So they become two different people with two separate lives — one is in the office, the other is out of the office.
For those of us who have been working at home since the pandemic, we’re experiencing the opposite, or a “blended” life where our home and work days have merged into one. I remember a live presentation that I gave last year when my Zoom-schooling kids were making their own lunch, and they set the fire alarm off. I had my presentation participants wait while I tended to the fire alarm.
Real life has seeped into our work days, and this has paved the way for a level of authenticity not normally seen. In terms of our style and getting dressed, you have more freedom to show others who you are. It’s an opportunity to have fun with what you wear. But most importantly, it’s a call to dress for how you want to feel, and not what others think. This means no more wearing something because you think you should. You can still dress the part, but remember that you are the main character. Showing personality breeds confidence, and sets you apart from everyone else.
We are in transition when the old way no longer works, and the new way is uncertain. Despite what you may believe, it’s a beautiful opportunity for reinvention and to create your new way. And this is what we will do in my free challenge to Reclaim Your Style! This is perfect for you if you’re looking to renew your sense of style with confidence and ease.
In 3 days, you’ll create a stylish, timeless signature. This will set the foundation for all your looks so that you effortlessly put together confidence inspiring outfits.
Even if you have been stuck wearing tee shirts and leggings, and you don’t know what else to wear, I’ve made your first steps to reclaiming your style so easy for you.
Click play to watch the video! It’s an interview I did with Career Coach Mo Faul and we discuss the changing rules of style in the workplace.