Returning to the office after a long time? Here is how to nail the right look.

Covid has changed our lives around in the last year, and that is no hyperbole. Would you now be careless about anything when it comes to health? We've become actively conscious about the food, water, and air that we consume. However, there is one more thing that has changed drastically over this one year. What, you ask? We’ve been wearing our PJs, every day, non-stop, as office-wear, and as loungewear. T-shirts, sweatpants, and shorts have been our go-to clothing items during and after our working hours. 

Now, a lot of us will have to return to a physical workplace sooner or later and our perception of office dressing has to change again. From sweatpants to trousers, from t-shirts to blazers, the journey is not going to be easy because we have become way too comfortable with our outfit choices and the time to go back to the office is near. To make it easy on you, we've come up with a short guide on workplace outfits for 2021. Have a look!

And before we get to the outfit ideas, make sure you are thorough with these two tips:

Do not assume the dress code

If your dress code isn't explicitly dictated by your superiors, there's a lot that you could do to come up with creative outfits every day. Most of the time, you tend to imitate the style of your co-workers if there isn't any specific dress code mentioned in your policy. However, in such a case, you aren't prohibited to experiment a bit and take your professional dressing game a notch up. As we said, do not assume the dress code!

Read the Room

There might not be a stringent workplace dress code clause in your agreement with the company but try and understand how professional is their “professional”.  You don’t have to wear exactly similar outfits to them though. But instead of asking them about the kind of outfits permitted in the office, better have a look at yourself. As the rules of workplace dressing change with time, outfits that are professional today, were considered to be casual 10 years ago.

What are the best workplace outfits for 2021?

Let's divide the outfits into three categories for our convenience.

Business professional or business formal:

These are two separate categories but have been merging closer with the evolution of fashion. The traditional, suit-and-tie office outfit can be categorized in this class. Commonly, finance, law, hospitality, and similar industries tend to have this dress code for their employees. If you happen to work in any of these industries, don't worry. The area you can experiment with the most in these outfits is their colour and texture. 

If you are a woman, you can switch between a suit and a skirt for your business formals. Instead of always picking blue, black, and grey for your formals, try and experiment with other colours such as white, dark green, dark red, or mauve. With regard to the print and texture, subtle prints do really well with professional outfits.

Business casual:

This dress code eliminates the need to be extremely formal and allows you more space and variation to experiment with bright colours and prints. You don’t always have to match the elements of your outfit. Instead, just coordinatingco-ordinating them is more than enough. Business casuals also permit you to skip the heels and wear casual shoes to the workplace. However, collared shirts and knee-length skirts are still in. Some smart-casual options also include slip-on sneakers and jeans. You could pull off a business casual outfit just by adding a stylish blazer on the top of a basic t-shirt with a pair of polished shoes. 

The point here is that the elements could be used for a casual outfit separately, but the moment you bring these elements together, there needs to be a slight touch of "professional" in your outfit. Floral elements, louder prints, and a wide colour palette are all the perks of business casual.

Creative casual:

Here comes the king of all dress codes! Well, unless you are in love with business formals or business casuals, creative casual is the dress code you'd want to wear to your workplace. The best thing about this type of dress code is that it is inclusive, catchy, sparks conversations, and gives you the freedom to be who you are. Creative casual allows you to express your personality, along with falling under the category of office-appropriate. Now, isn't that cool?

A lot of new-age companies are being more liberal in their approach to the dress code and hence allowing self-expression in the workplaces. Creative casuals are literally anything ranging from graphic t-shirts to your favourite ruffled dresses. There is a wide variety of outfits you can explore if your office dress code falls into this category. Just remember to be respectful of your workplace, colleagues, superiors and then choose the outfit accordingly.

And there you have it!

With the ever-changing scenario of what and what doesn’t count as professional, we can’t really define the dress codes in a stringent manner. However, 

Keeping in mind the creative freedom you can take with your everyday outfits at the workplace, the industry you are in, the comfort level you’d prefer, and the situations at your workplace, you can pick appropriate outfits that help you work comfortably while blending in the workplace environment.

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