What to Wear to Work- Redefining Work Attire
For many of us, work has looked very different over the past two years, with our homes becoming workspaces and long commutes transformed into a walk down the hall. And, of course, the way we dressed for work changed too. Hoodies replaced dress shirts and we stepped into slippers instead of loafers or heels.
Now that we’re beginning to shift into a full return to the office, a hybrid work model, or continue to work from home, it’s a chance to redesign what to wear to work.
What will work wear look like for you? Are you ready to swap your sweats for a suit? Or is comfort something you’re not willing to give up? With some style tips, inspiration, and innovative Canadian clothing designers, you can find a work wardrobe that works for you.
Designed for You
When thinking about work clothes, the best place to start is in your own closet.
What pieces do you reach for again and again?
For example, if you’ve got Zoom-friendly shirts that have been your go-to, what is it about them that feels good? A flattering colour, a pleasing pattern, or the perfect mix of comfort and professional?
Do you want to bring the comfort of home with you into the office?
Do you want to elevate your work-from-home gear so that you can cue the end of the work day with a change into loungewear?
If you’re thinking more eco-consciously, the most sustainable (and budget-friendly) way to shop is with the clothes you already own. You may have clothes hanging in your closet that haven’t left the hangers in a long time. A trip to the dry cleaners (or to your laundry room) can reunite you with almost-forgotten pieces.
What’s your budget? Over the last few years, you may have discovered that quality wins over quantity. If there’s a style of shirt that fits you perfectly, why not buy several? Creating a capsule wardrobe of fewer pieces that can stand up to frequent wear can be a more cost-effective, simplified way of building a wardrobe.
Now is the perfect time to assess how you want to dress moving forward. Having a clear understanding of your own preferences and needs will help you plan your ‘post-pandemic’ wardrobe.
Versatility is key in choosing pieces for your work wardrobe.
Working from home, you want something that is comfortable enough to wear while walking the dog on your lunch break yet presentable for your afternoon meeting online.
Need to make a trip to the office mid-day but have no time to change? That’s not a problem if you have clothes that can take you wherever your day needs to go.
Over the last two years, many designers and businesses have found innovative ways to address the needs of the ‘new normal’ workplace.
Seeing the need for comfortable clothes that are still professional and put-together, these innovators have found stylish ways to let you flow through your work day.
One of the best examples of this innovation, versatility, and style was developed in Kelowna B.C.. 6 AM Workshirts was created by Jeremy West who needed a solution for his workday that began with an often sweaty bike ride to work. Arriving at his professional work setting in bike gear wasn’t an option, and a dress shirt would end up looking and feeling disheveled after his commute.
Jeremy knew he couldn’t be the only person facing this challenge to their workday. Executives, teachers, servers, and even those who worked from home needed something that could take them ‘seamlessly’ through their busy day.
The solution? The story of the perfect dress shirt for high-performers is explained here:
Jeremy took an old dress shirt and an athletic jersey to a tailor and asked him to cut out the sides of the dress shirt, and insert the jersey material. He ended up making a totally custom shirt that Jeremy could test out over the course of a hot summer.
The concept worked in more ways than one. Less sweat, better fit, easier to iron, no odor, and just down right more comfortable. 6AM WorkShirts was born and would continue to make commuting, and working in high energy professional or service situations more comfortable than he ever imagined.
The 6 AM Workshirt combines versatility, and sustainability with comfort and style. In addition to the innovative mesh panel design, the workshirt features ChitoSante material. This new, environmentally friendly treatment is made from crab and/or shrimp shells and produces a material that is absorbent, breathable, fast-drying, soft, and static-free. With natural antibacterial properties, the fabric inhibits odor and stains. It is also the only antibacterial bio-agent in the world that is certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Available in both black and white and for both men and women, the 6AM Workshirt offers a perfect solution to your workday attire, whatever your workday looks like.
Neutral colours and classic styling make it perfect for layering under a blazer or cardigan for in-person, work-from-home, or hybrid work settings.
And, after a quick ride to your local coffee shop or your ride to work, you can still show up feeling and looking fresh and ready to take on your day.
Go with the Flow
After having a taste of the flexibility that’s possible for our workdays, it’s hard to imagine that a full return to in-person, 9 to 5 was ever a thing. With the help of technology, you may have found that office hours can happen on your back deck or on the patio of a cafe far away from home. With a laptop, tablet, or phone (and some wi-f), productivity can take place anywhere.
Need to escape the noise of a busy family in the background at home? Heading to the library for a change of scenery? To enhance your ability to move from home to the office, and anywhere you travel, it’s important to have something worthy of transporting your devices and other work essentials.
The Hudson by BraveSoles is an upcycled leather messenger bag handcrafted from reclaimed plane seat covers. It offers a super-durable, sustainable and stylish solution for taking your portable office supplies with you anywhere.
Made with real leather & recycled materials, this crossbody bag is designed for fashionistas on the go. This purse is ready to run out the door with you. It can be lengthened to be worn cross-body or shortened for a longer shoulder bag look. The leather back of the purse rises seamlessly to close over the front and is secured to the matching leather front. The width of the purse is done in one seamless piece of tire inner tube. This crossbody is strong enough to keep your phone or tablet safe and secure while you’re on the go.
Choosing a messenger bag, tote bag, or backpack that is both sturdy and stylish is an essential consideration for your workday gear. Something that lets you ‘set up shop’ wherever you choose.
While the last few years have been challenging, to say the least, some of the lessons and experiences have the potential to help us move forward with more ease and clarity. Thinking about what to wear for work is not just superficial. It can play a major role in defining who we are, personally and professionally.
What has the last few years taught you about your relationship with work? Do you feel more productive at home or do you crave in-person interaction? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and this can be reflected in our clothes.
With some easygoing work wardrobe essentials, you can make your workday fashionable and comfortable. By thinking about how you want to look and feel throughout your day, you can design a wardrobe that inspires you to do your best work.