This article was reported on – and first published by – Digiday siblings Glittering
There has been a lot of speculation over the past 19 months as to whether the so-called sweatpants revolution will continue after returning to the office.
The predictions were shared. Some have said that people are so used to it wear comfortable clothing – in addition, the dress codes in the office are loosening anyway – that they go to work in sweatshirts and styles that could also serve as pajamas. Others have said that after many months of wearing nothing but the same sweatpants, people feel like they have Opportunity to dress up.
In conversations with executives in the fashion industry, it becomes clear that a change in style is taking place. Office cabinets are more casual and comfortable than ever before. However, for some – especially those who find themselves personally fulfilling through their style – returning to the office is indeed a good reason to give your all.
Sarah LaFleur, founder and CEO of womenswear brand MMLaFleur, said she took the opportunity to purchase an entirely new wardrobe before the company returned to the office in June.
“It was a small investment, but I bought a new capsule wardrobe,” said LaFleur. “I have four new pants, three new dresses, four new T-shirts and six knitted tops. Knit tops are inherently stretchy, so they’re my first choice when it comes to looking polished yet comfortable. “
LaFleur, who gave birth to twins during the pandemic, said comfort has become a priority for her since she returned to the office. And she sees the same trend in the brand’s sales: knitwear made up 25% of MMLaFleur’s sales in 2020, up from 16% in 2019.
John Shumate, vice president of global brand marketing at Champion, said the pandemic had drastically changed the clothing of many of the company’s employees, including himself.
“At Champion, we wear our sweatshirts, sweatpants, and hoodies, but that wasn’t always the case,” Shumate said. “It was more common to wear suits and traditional office attire, but the reason I love working at this sportswear company is because we have the flexibility to express our style and feel confident in what we wear. When I put on a fleece, jogger or hoodie to work, it feels sublime and I feel good in it. It enables me to think creatively and do a great job. ”
In particular, Shumate said he wore Champion’s reverse weave and tech fleece hoodies.
Activewear brands have taken up the desire to dress more comfortably in the office. While the Rhone and Vuori were booming during the pandemic, recently thanks to the incarceration of people at home, they have made the decision to make office-friendly clothing like shirts and polos for men from stretchy materials.
But not every manager attaches importance to comfort. Molly Howard, co-founder of women’s fashion brand La Ligne, had the opposite path for her personal office style last year. Before the pandemic, she dressed much more comfortably in the office.
“When we started La Ligne, I rebelled against my previous career in finance, where we had a super strict dress code and wore these really uncomfortable clothes for 20 hours a day,” said Howard. “When I started La Ligne, my style was always about comfort. I wore sweatpants all the time and encouraged the team to dress how they wanted and be as comfortable as possible. “
But for Howard, more than a year and a half at home left her longing for the chance to dress up. She also had a baby during the pandemic. The combination of wearing the same sweatpants all the time and the stress of pregnancy has resulted in her expressing herself through clothing in ways she was unable to.
“I’m putting more energy than ever into what my outfit looks like,” said Howard. “I’ve lived in a pregnant body for so long, haven’t made nearly as much contact as I used to, and haven’t even touched a pair of jeans in more than 11 months. And I wanted to get something back from that expression. “
Howard said her team has been on a similar path since returning to the office in September. At an e-commerce photo shoot she attended on Wednesday, she found that no one was wearing sweatpants. Howard stressed that La Ligne has no dress code and that wearing sweatpants is in no way discouraged. “I wouldn’t even think of making a rule about what people can wear,” she said. But more and more members of their team are simply dressing up because they are happy to have the chance.
“It feels good to match my shoes with my sweater and button up a pair of jeans and wear them, even if they are less comfortable than sweatpants,” she said. “I embrace the discomfort.”