Ministry of Supply, a brand that specializes in comfortable business wear, recently sent thousands of suddenly outdated items back to the factory for a post-pandemic makeover. Slimming down pant legs, so they look good with sneakers, and hemming dress shirts to make them more flattering untucked. Perhaps we are in a different era now. One that has hurried the loosening of corporate dress codes, initially led by Silicon Valley. Pre-pandemic, startups and their leaders ditched suit-and-ties for Hanes T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. This accelerated movement comes with people pushing for flexibility in more aspects of the office than just work wear. As they shift out of working from home, gender norms, pay inequality, and remote work are topics that come to mind, that are all, along with office wear, tied together by the need for offices to adapt to changing times.
This new mindset will undoubtedly influence not only what we choose to wear every time we go to the office, but also how retailers and brands approach workwear. Lisa Sun, CEO of clothing label Gravitas, says that versatility is the future of workwear. Having had to pivot her brand in the midst of the pandemic, she created a velvet top and bottom set that sold out very quickly, because it gave women the option of comfort, while looking put together for their Zoom calls. StitchFix, a personal styling service, is categorizing the new workwear as "business comfort." As brands change their products to be slightly stretchier, there is excitement for newness and dressing up again while maintaining comfortability.