5 Ways the Pandemic Affected Corporate Dress Codes

Sophia Smith
on 22 April 2021

image source

A couple of years ago, with the boom of athleisure, companies have started changing up their dress codes drastically to accommodate the new concept of the corporate culture. More casual than ever, the new workplace has made room for colourful, easy-going dressing styles, especially in regions like Australia, where the weather calls for such flexibility in dressing. As the pandemic swooped in, more companies sent their employees home, and this, in turn, brought on a shift in the perception of workwear.

When getting ready for a Zoom call with your boss, do you throw on a nicely pressed jacket only to hide your bunny slippers and leggings outside of their field of vision? So, naturally, more people started embracing the PJ workwear in their home offices. Unless investors are involved, of course! 

All jokes aside, the pandemic has changed how corporations and small businesses alike treat workwear and their dress codes have become significantly different. This is likely to continue this year and beyond the pandemic, so let’s explore the most notable changes in workwear in the post-pandemic world.

Using clothes to reduce stress and tension

image source

Worrying about what you’re going to wear to work is the least of your troubles in the midst of a crisis, right? Naturally, employers don’t want their teams to feel added pressure or stress simply because they don’t know what to wear. So, many businesses will gladly revisit their dress codes in order to recognise the emerging post-pandemic trends and make room for more casual options.

Bosses everywhere have already started empowering their teams to wear anything they find comfortable – as long as it’s not offensive or inappropriate for video calls, of course. Large t-shirts, oversized hoodies, sportswear in general, and simple, but comfy blouses will become a stress-busting option for workers everywhere, even in the world after the pandemic. 

Comfort and style combined

image source

On the other end of the spectrum, many people have noticed that putting on something stylish, but comfortable, puts them in the right mindset for being productive. It’s been already widely researched and recognised that “dressing for success” is a phenomenon worth using to our advantage at work. Now that working from home is the norm, women’s workwear in Australia is focused on stylish but comfortable sweaters, tunics, blazers, loafers, and the like.

Anything that gives you a sense of professionalism without depriving you of a sense of coziness is the right pick for ambitious women in Australia. Especially considering the weather in this region, comfort will come first more than ever before – and the rest of the world will follow suit.

Different settings call for different clothes

image source

Sure, we all like to believe that wearing whatever we please will entirely dictate the fashion trends in the post-pandemic world, but it’s important to remember that not all workplaces have the same liberties. Take, for example, the healthcare industry, working in a legal office, or being a psychiatrist. To a great extent, professions that heavily depend on image, reputation, and setting the tone of their job with the right clothes will likely not experience the same major shifts in wardrobe. 

Heels, anyone? Nope, thank you!

image source

In all fairness, high heels were beginning to lose their status even before the pandemic, as most modern offices and corporate positions no longer push for formalwear to such an extent. Yes, we still love them, but we’re not buying them nearly as often as we did: high heel sales dropped 71% during the pandemic, and we don’t seem to be too eager to go back to our previous shopping, heel-wearing habits.

For home-based work, many women will opt for wrap dresses for warm weather to add a little flair, while keeping their right to wear flats. Many will go for athleisure, perfectly low-maintenance and easy to match with clean white sneakers or flat sandals. Thanks to these changes, ankle booties will soar! 

The rise of the Zoom shirt

image source

At the time when the pandemic began, not everyone had a fully equipped home office and a closet sitting conveniently right next to their desks. Chances are, most would use their kitchen table to take Zoom calls, while the kids were having breakfast five centimetres away. 

Many would roll out of bed with barely enough time to grab a cup of coffee before logging on. This alone has spurred another strange but loved trend dubbed the Zoom shirt – that one top you have on your desk chair, waiting for every official call you have to take so that you look presentable.

The Zoom shirt can be the clean white shirt you used to wear to work, but it can also be something else nice, clean, and comfortable, like a simple beige blouse. This is, perhaps, the most prevalent fashion trend of all, and it will likely remain present across the world for as long as people stick with remote work.

Fashion is all about changes, but this health crisis is more about the workplace mindset than it is about anything else, which raises a slew of other relevant questions when people choose what to wear on Monday morning calls. Our offices will reopen, and people will once again attend courts, visit investors, and schedule client meetings in person. When that day comes, we have yet to see who will stay in their Converse flats and jeans, and who will gladly go back to their suits and clean white shirts. 

Related News

More WLT News