“For the past year, everyone has just dressed from the waist up, wearing nice shorts for Zoom calls,” stylist Sascha Lilic joked.
Many workers who have already returned to the office notice a new relaxed atmosphere.
“I saw someone just wearing their socks when they picked up something in another department,” recalls Deanna Narveson, a reporter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I think I dress a little more casual myself,” added Narveson, who nevertheless makes sure she wears “real clothes” when working from home.
According to employees of several companies, the flippancy happened on its own without intervention from management or HR teams.
“Shorts and t-shirts at the Pentagon were pretty new,” said Matt Triner, head of computer consulting firm Hunter Strategy, which the US government hired to carry out several projects.
The relaxation of dress codes in the professional world was already underway long before the pandemic, with the tech sector and the generation of start-ups in the lead.
The appearance of the workplace will become more individualistic, but also respectful of the office environment.
He was even popular in the banks.
“We have had a ‘flexible’ dress code policy for almost two years now, which encourages our employees to use their own judgment as to what is appropriate to wear for their workday,” said a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs. .
The pandemic, however, has seen the trend towards comfort accelerate.
“Suits and ties were already disappearing in IT. The pandemic gave the latest suspensions an excuse to let go,” Triner said.
The trend has been catastrophic for formal menswear companies like Brooks Brothers and the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse, both of which filed for bankruptcy last year.
New York designer David Hart, a specialist in luxury men’s ready-to-wear, has taken a “step backwards” from sewing to focus on knits, masks, sweaters and polo shirts.
The pandemic will have “lasting consequences” on the way people dress for work, especially men, according to Lilic.
“The outfit will become more casual. It will still be a suit, but there could be a drawstring waist or an elasticated waist,” he said.
Lilic, who has worked with several major fashion houses including Hugo Boss and Elie Saab, predicts more moccasins and far fewer ties.
“The open-necked shirt is going to be great,” he told AFP.
The WFH trend has been catastrophic for formal menswear businesses.
The shift is already visible among fashion brands, which are increasingly pushing cotton and linen jackets as well as polo shirts and even simple sneakers.
The appearance of the workplace will become more individualistic, but also respectful of the office environment, says Lilic.
“It will respect your personality more,” he says. “But I don’t think it will have such an impact on menswear that everyone will show up in their bank as a rapper.”
Appearance and some formalities are “still important to some customers,” Triner said, although “as customers get younger it changes quickly,” he added.
“I think the costume will stay but it won’t have the obvious physical effect. It will be less (being) something to hide behind,” said Lilic.
For the American designer David Hart, “there will be a strong urge for men to start dressing again” after the pandemic.
“I think people will start to dress for themselves and not because they have to dress for themselves,” he said, confident that the rise of menswear will continue. .
Hart, whose brand was built on bespoke jackets and pants, even dreams of a post-pandemic world where “suits and ties will become disruptive.”
“The man in the suit will be the new rebel,” he said.
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