But, What Do I Wear?
Guest Blog Post: SouthCott Threads
Have you ever stared into your closet and were not sure what to wear to work? I have been there, especially over the past two years. It is no surprise that how we work has changed and so has what to wear to work. Whether you work from home, in the office, or a hybrid, our closets have evolved to meet our new needs. I look back at how our work and style have evolved and intersect. I also share why the T-Shirt should be a staple in your closet to keep you stylish and comfortable no matter what life throws at you.
Returning to the office elicits every feeling and a wide variety of opinions. I certainly had mixed emotions when I was piloting going into the office two days a week. I had to scrounge up my work pants and blazers. I had to rearrange my schedule to accommodate the commute and new way of working. Whether you are team “Work from Home”, “In the Office”, or “Hybrid” we know this can cause disruption to your routine and closet.
So how many people are really going back to the office? It really depends on the company and industry, but flexibility is key. According to a CNBC article in March 2022, “50% of employees want workers back in the office 5 days a week.” But don’t toss out your loungewear set just yet... the same CNBC article shares that only “52% of workers said that they are thinking of switching to a full-time remote or hybrid job in 2022.” In other words, the desire to go back to the office is not mutual between employers and employees, leaving various options to redesign the way we work. One thing is certain, workers are more empowered, and flexibility is more valuable than ever.
[Insert photo such as this one with a woman in front of home https://southcottthreads.com/collections/mix-match-sets/products/go-to-cardigan-sweater?variant=41326548910258 ]
Where does this leave us with our closets and work wear? With varying schedules, it can be hard to know what to wear and what is considered “business appropriate” anymore.
For “Work from Home,” we have seen progressively more casual and chic looks. The key being comfort. In a time with much uncertainty and disruption, it is only natural that we default to clothes that are comfortable and make us feel great. Think joggers, slouchy sweaters, and all things French Terry. According to a USA Today article, “loungewear became the new stay-at-home uniform.” As people gained experience with remote working and virtual meetings, blouses became the focus. A “zoom appropriate” blouse allows for an elevated look without sacrificing the comfort. Don’t forget about the colors, these work from home tops showcase various colorways, necklines, and fit to add interest to the traditional remote working experience.
[Insert photo of jogger set such as https://southcottthreads.com/products/anguilla-sweater?variant=40905159901362 ]
Has office wear changed? In my personal experience, a resounding yes! I have seen sneakers and jeans to the pre-pandemic power suit. I am not alone, The Wall Street Journal article shares from a Klarna Bank AB survey, “More than two-thirds of American consumers plan to change their wardrobe from pre-pandemic styles when they return to the office.” But this is not universal... the same article shares, “Some are worried about the social implications of their choices.” With the concept of “business attire” being more fluid it can cause confusion to employees on how to best “look the part.” It shows that the way we dress still impacts the way people see us in the world and at work. The style direction appears to be coming from the top with leaders setting the tone for company dress codes. If senior leadership wears more casual looks, the rest of the company will feel less hesitant to follow suit. Others may take working in the office as a time to separate work and home life in over two years. In some instances, employees may take to dressing up more as a way to provide a style boundary between the new dynamic of work and home.
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As employees are more empowered, I believe they will continue to redefine what “business attire” looks like. Similarly, clothing brands are looking to design to the athleisure trend, combining comfort and style. The Wall Street Journal article shares, “Many brands are scaling back their production of suits, adding more stretch to their pants and using new phrases such as “workleisure.”” This trend will offer more variety for employees to bridge the style gap between the remote working and working in the office.
What does this mean for transitional pieces?
Regardless of your desire to elevate your looks or keep it casual, the T-shirt is the closet staple you need. It has countless possibilities to transition with you, no matter where or how you work. The T-shirt can easily be added to any look during your transition from home to the office. As we look to find comfort and style in our lives, the T-shirt is sure to be a go-to item in your closet.
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Why the T-shirt should be your new closet staple:
A T-shirt is anything but basic. A great T-shirt looks and feels great in a variety of settings. It can be dressed down with a cute jogger set or dressed up layered under a blazer or jacket. A T-shirt can be layered, worn over or under a dress offering many styling possibilities.
Nothing quite says comfort like a great fitting T-shirt. It is so soft and flattering it can stand up to your loungewear and pajama sets.
But will any T-shirt do? Not really, when it comes to versatility and comfort, the right T-shirt is a must.
What should a great transitional T-shirt have?
The T-shirt should not be see through. We are looking to bridge comfort and professional attire, so see-through or opaque shirts are not your best friend. Add some office lighting and it can be a shirt mishap. You want the shirt to have enough weight and coverage to be worn on its own.
One of the keys of professional dressing is the fit. Whether it is a T-shirt, or a suit, a great fit is needed to look the part. The t-shirt should flatter your body shape. Don’t let this mislead you, every BODY can look great in a T-shirt and have the perfect fit. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide to help you find the best fit for your body type.
Look for fun design elements to dress up any look. Some examples include a unique neckline, added drape, or sleeve detailing. This is great to wear in virtual meetings on its own or with a cardigan or sweater. The same look can be enhanced with accessories and under a blazer or jacket.
A T-shirt is a great option to jump on the trend for bright colors and color blocking. It has been theorized that the bright colors on the runways are to aesthetically combat the uncertainty and hardships of the times. We tend to look at the bright side (pun intended). Wear a neutral T-shirt to contrast a bright colored skirt or pant. Or wear a bright colored shirt paired with other bright pieces for extra boldness.
[Insert photo such as a close up of the blue blouse https://southcottthreads.com/collections/long-sleeve/products/sarasota-cotton-modal-sweater-knit?variant=41721509413042 ]
We are transitioning our way of working and the style to match. As more people are going into the office, A T-shirt is a go to part of your wardrobe for work, home, and everything in between. When looking for a T-shirt to bridge the work from home to office, look for one that offers versatility, comfort, and a great fit. No matter what life throws at us, we are ready to take it on in style.