As pandemic restrictions ease up and more workers return to the office, professionals must once again transition from pajamas and sweatpants to blazers, suits, and slacks. Looking sharp in business attire is necessary for creating the right impression in professional environments, but it’s tough to let go of the comfort that a good old athleisure combo provides. Can there be a middle ground between your throw-on loungewear and your meeting-ready corporate ensemble?
Some offices have relaxed their policies and now allow employees to wear sneakers and drawstring pants for their 9-to-5 jobs. If your office isn’t quite as casual and requires its workers to be in corporate wear, however, you don’t have to give up on comfort entirely. Here are some tips to help you combine ease and style the next time you plan your office outfits.
Opt For Clothes With Stretchy Fabrics
Traditional office wear is usually associated with rigid fabrics, but modern clothing manufacturers have developed clothes with stretchier fabrics that have the same polished look. These textiles make clothes more comfortable to wear and more flattering on different body sizes. Some people may have gained weight during the pandemic, and having comfy office clothes that can stretch to fit changing bodies allows for more wardrobe options. You may also try wearing antimicrobial leggings and tights along with a button-down blouse and skirt as a stylish and more feminine alternative to trousers.
For extra comfort, consider choosing pieces made from blended fabrics that contain a certain amount of synthetic fibers. Pieces with 1-3% of synthetic fibers can deliver comfort without making the entire look appear too much like activewear. Jersey knit and Ponte fabrics are also soft, stretchy, and durable enough to suit various body types.
Go For Soft-Structured Clothing
The global transition to remote work saw countless workers bring out their sweatpants, yoga pants, and hoodies for a whole day of desktop tasks and video calls. As office work makes its comeback, you can still retain comfort while looking professional by choosing soft fabrics such as blended knits and cotton.
Instead of hoodies, you can wear sweater blazers with shoulder seams to add structure. Upgrade your traditional trousers by wearing high-waist pants fitted with an elastic waistband as well as closure buttons and zippers. You can also wear leggings and drapey dresses if you want something more feminine with a formal touch. Small details like standup collars, zippers, or a splash of color in jackets or sweaters can also elevate the “smart casual” look and make it more polished.
Don’t Be Afraid To Accessorize
Wearing accessories can upgrade even the simplest of outfits. With the right pieces, your office outfit can look more put-together and stylishly intentional even if it’s more on the casual side. If you’re into loose, flowy dresses, you can add structure by wearing a thick, eye-catching belt. Statement necklaces or earrings can also frame your face and give a bit of edge to casual sweaters. For men, wearing a wristwatch with straightforward details and neutral colors can elevate any business casual outfit.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Working for 8 hours can be tiring, so it’s important to do your job in your best shoes. The work-from-home setting allowed us to hold meetings in our flip-flops and fuzzy slippers, so as we go back to our office desk, we must now balance the need for comfort with appearing professional. It’s hard to concentrate on work if you wear shoes that pinch your feet, so it’s best to choose well-cushioned shoes that can give support while evoking a neutral, businesslike style. Low-heel shoes and flats are conservative enough for office wear and can work with a wide range of clothing for women. Men can also go for loafers and Oxfords as polished alternatives to loud, chunky sneakers.
Assess The Fit Of Your Clothes
The best office-appropriate attire is well-fitted from your shoulders through your natural waist. For effortless elegance, wear shirts, jackets, blouses, and dresses that are fitted at the waist area and properly line your body while allowing a bit of movement for comfort.
Pants are another piece of clothing that you should check for good fitting. Make sure that your pants are snug but not too tight, and neither baggy nor too slim. You can pair jackets or tops that fall along the waist to cover pants with elastic waistbands or drawstrings.
Most Importantly, It’s How You Wear It!
No matter what you wear, confidence is the key to any business-ready look. For your weekly outfit plan, make sure to pick pieces that feel comfortable to move in but are tailored enough to make you look presentable. Remember, clothes aren’t just meant to give a good impression; they’re also a form of self-expression. By putting your personality into your clothes and adding elements of comfort, you might feel more focused at work and motivated to be your best self.
This article was written by Sophia Anderson and originally appeared on Thrive Global.