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Casual look prevails in pandemic workplace dress code | News




There was once a time when men wore suits and ties to work and women wore stockings and heels. Step into 2020, when many of us telecommuted from home in our sweatpants or pajamas and bunny slippers.

We have not yet returned to a normal post-pandemic situation. But for those who have returned to work in person, is there a new normal when it comes to work attire?

Stephanie Stone, head of marketing for the family and MWR, thinks there’s been an overall change, but said she still dresses for work.

We still like to dress up because it makes us feel good, Stone said, recalling that most meetings before the pandemic were in person.

Obviously, when COVID-19 hit, it changed how we were able to communicate with our customers, she said. Commercial communication was carried out by telephone, teleconference and e-mail.

Today, many customers prefer to continue such communications as it saves them time, she noted.

The need to dress has changed, Stone said. As a result, comfort sometimes trumps the morning struggle over what to wear.

Carolyn White, employee assistance program coordinator, said her office has stuck to the same dress code as before the pandemic.

If anyone is dressing more casually than before, it’s probably me because I’m doing less live workouts, White said.

The general dress code in her office is business casual, but some dress up more than others, she added.

Some of us lean more towards comfort while others are definitely the most stylish of the bunch, White said.

Alicia Irmscher, public affairs officer for the FBI Redstone, said a business dress code is maintained for most employees except those working in the ongoing construction area.

On certain days, employees may be more dressed if they have an external meeting with the community or other federal partners. For example, wearing a suit and tie rather than an open collar, sports jacket and pants, Irmscher said. Either way, our employees take pride in representing the FBI in a professional and appropriate manner.

James Lomax, director of lettings at Redstone Gateway, still sees many customers dress up or down when entering his offices adjacent to the Arsenal.

It’s a new difference from working from home in their comfort clothes, he said.

Lomax still considers business attire the norm, but is considering possible changes in the future as people adjust to a return to in-person work.

Air Force and Missile Command historian Kaylene Hughes is literally the only person in her office, so there’s no one to dress up for.

But even before the pandemic, Hughes said, her job wasn’t conducive to the everyday wearing of dresses and heels.

We have to move boxes and handle old documents which can get messy, she said. So my style of work attire has always been governed by practical considerations above all else.

Although she doesn’t usually wear anything as casual as jeans and t-shirts, Hughes regularly wears simple blouses and pants.

I still pass other people in the hallways who are dressed in the more accustomed style of business office attire, she said, although comfort versus style is well represented.

Amelia Hice, a public affairs specialist at the garrison, worked in person in the office for most of the pandemic, but people at work were scarce, she said.

Since there were so few people working in person, high-end jeans and leggings replaced pants and dresses, Hice said, adding that she preferred the new aesthetic and a nonexistent dry-cleaning bill.

I only put on a suit or a dress when I meet high officials, she said. Otherwise, hello Lévis.




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