Office fashion is going through an evolution in the 21st century. The question of what to wear to work is always changing, but this century it changed more drastically than it had for perhaps the entire 20th century. In our present century, office wear for men and women is looser. Dressing well doesn’t mean a suit and tie the way it used to. You can show up to the office without a tie or jacket, and in many cases, no one will care.
Modern offices put a greater priority on comfort than presentation. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are among the notable influencers of casual work fashion. I’m not saying these men are the office fashion models you should be following, but they have been impactful in relaxing corporate dress codes. To many, they are proof that casual comfort helps foster creativity. Thanks to changing social norms like these, the suit and tie are falling to the wayside. Here are the workplace fashion pieces that are swooping in to take their place.
The fact that there are casual jeans and designer jeans should indicate the fashion industry’s changing relationship to jeans. These staple American trousers are acceptable in almost any situation in the 21st century. Wear them on a picnic, on a date, to a chic bar, even to the office. The question isn’t whether jeans should be part of your fashionable work outfits, but which jeans you should choose. Typically, darker styles work best in the workplace.
You want a pair that can sort of pass as nice slacks. This means no holes or scuffed knees and a plain design free of unnecessary sparkles or sequins. It can depend on the office you work in, too. Feel out the vibe during your first week at a job. A lawyer’s office may really expect you to come in slacks or a dress unless it’s Casual Friday. A media company might let you come in your favorite, broken-in jeans every single day. Pay attention. Jeans are in and you’re going to need some for the office either way.
Comfortable shoes are always nice to work in. This office trend is especially exciting for women who walk around in heels all day. Give your feet a break. Sneakers are the next big thing in footwear and you can get away with wearing a nice pair to the office. If you don’t have any fresh sneakers, check out our guide to the sneaker trends for 2017 and go grab yourself a stylish pair. Casual work style is about feeling comfortable. You still need to dress to impress. Women’s workplace fashion needed a breakthrough to get rid of heels and here it is. Men, you can join in the fun too. Just don’t come to work in those ratty old Reeboks you’ve had since high school.
Your top can be a dress shirt, a blouse, a jumper, a sweatervest. It can even be a t-shirt. A blazer can elevate whatever you slip on over your head in the morning and make it look a little more presentable. You probably don’t need a blazer every day. Add it to your ensemble when you need some extra punch, for presentations and formal meetings. Don’t wear a graphic t-shirt for these occasions either. The casual blazer is a subtle way to mix classic office fashion into your contemporary look and works for men and women. The blazer hasn’t always been seen as office wear for women, but it is today. Have one in your wardrobe for work occasions and other semi-formal situations you need a style boost for.
The perfume you wear to the office should be casual, too. The aromatic approach to office fragrance was big in the 80s, but in the 21st century, no one cares if you went out and bought the latest scent from Calvin Klein. No one wants to smell you, aromatic or stinky. You only need enough perfume to cover your body odor. Some modern offices even have a no-fragrance policy so you really can’t go crazy applying anything. Most just abide by the classic rule: less is more. It’s nice to smell good for your colleagues, but there’s no need to become a walking fragrance sample.
THE BARE FACE
Doing your makeup on the train or while stuck in traffic is a classic gag. In the movies, it makes for plot-inducing disasters. In real-life, it’s unsafe and can result in a less alluring look than you started with when you left the house. The difficulty of applying your makeup while en route to work has inspired a growing number of women to forego office makeup altogether. It’s extreme, but there are enough ladies adopting this idea that it’s really trending. If you want to eliminate some unnecessary stress from your day, this office fashion trend is a great way to do it.
If you haven’t started to evolve with office fashion, it’s time to start. Workplace style is turning in suits and ties for jeans and sneakers. Your fashionable work outfits could be a lot simpler. Why not get with the times and make it so.
— Scarlett Price