How to dress for the office after all that time working from home

Sick of sitting in your tracksuit pants at home? This is how to start getting used to dressing for the office.

Sick of sitting in your tracksuit pants at home? This is how to start getting used to dressing for the office. Photo: Pexels/Alena Shekhovtcova

It’s been a strange time for fashion for the past two years or so.

The onset of covid and at-home isolation saw us all rapidly shift into wearing comfy, cosy clothing 24/7: no shoes unless they were slippers or trainers, and zero need for interesting accessories.

Those of us who could work from home via Zoom meetings adopted a new work uniform, which was office appropriate from the waist up, complete comfort from the waist down.

As we came out of lockdown, our reliance on these easy pieces of clothing continued, as it’s hard to give up the elastic waist stretch pant once you’ve tried it.

My go to Zoom uniform outfit is still a cotton button down shirt, hoop earrings and lipstick, while the bottom half of me could be in anything from pyjama pants to bike shorts.

Our love of athleisure is continuing but as we head into 2023 it appears that many employers are hoping that their employees will be spending more time in the office, so what to wear to work now is a very valid question.

Corporate wear is never really going to look like it did before now we’ve all had a taste of comfort.

No one is going to sign up for strict suiting, pencil skirts, tight waistbands, or restrictive jackets but office attire should be a couple of levels up from a tracksuit, at least.

Part of enticing staff back into head office means letting them have some leeway with how they dress for work and embracing a kind of hybrid dressing that’s part corporate, part work from home.

Here’s three good options:

Soft suiting

For women this can be in linen in a high waisted pant with an oversized loose jacket, worn with a white singlet or sleeveless shell top.

There is some conversation around whether crop tops can be worn for work and this really depends on the formality of the work environment, but suffice to say a crop top would be best with a high waisted pant or skirt. 

Soft suiting is the perfect way to look formal but still prioritise comfort.

More corporate offices may require a more formal shoe such as a loafer or heels, but the suit will look just as great with flat sandals or sneakers if your workplace is more relaxed.

Short sleeved shirts for men

Designers have really upped their game in this department and there are fantastic short sleeve shirts around in interesting fabrics from corduroy, to fine button, through knits and stripey seersucker.

Again, it will depend upon how corporate the workplace is as to whether they can be worn with shorts or long pants, but they are a better summer option than a logo t-shirt or a too tight polo.

Jennifer Garner wore this office-appropriate matching set on the red carpet.

I’m hoping to see the short sleeve shirt tucked into walk shorts, and a handlebar moustache comeback again to be honest.

Matched sets

This means wide tailored pants and a sleeveless top in the same fabric (such as black linen), relaxed pull-on pants with a longer line top, or a print mid-length skirt with a shirt.

Matching fabrics mean they have a corporate formality, but with an easy sense of style, and you can change the look a million ways with a well-placed accessory and shoe.

We may be going back to the workplace, but we still want clothes that work for us.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.