Even before the pandemic, the trend to work from home had taken off. Shutdowns across the country sped up the movement, with 97 percent of North American employees working from home more than one day per week, up from 67 percent who’d never done it before, according to a Global Workplace Analytics study.
Almost overnight, the future of fashion changed as well.
These are my three predictions for how fashion will be forever changed by the work from home revolution.
#1. A Continued Boom in Athleisure
Most of us figured out after a week (or three) of sweats that it really wasn’t the best outfit option for a truly productive day. So, we defaulted to the next most comfortable, but slightly more put together choice: athleisure.
While overall apparel sales plummeted during the pandemic, activewear rose, according to CBS news.
Lululemon, a popular athleisure and fitness apparel brand reported sales increases, noting that not only are people working from home but they are also working out at home more.
Now what I hear my clients wanting is clothing that will seamlessly transition throughout their day- no matter if their working or working out. I advise my female virtual styling clients that this doesn’t mean you need to live in leggings, which can give you the same frumpy feeling as the sweats.
There are many more options now.
I also predict we will see new and creative innovations in this field to accommodate the Zoom from home and take a quick job on your lunch break crowd.
This could include elevated styles that feature details around the shoulder and neck (the only visible parts during a video call) and elevated styles for pants and shorts that fit well with athleisure tops that can be worn for work meetings.
Layers will continue to be our friend through this trend, as throwing on a sweater over a tank and shorts can look just as professional on a call as ever (add some earrings if you aren’t quite sure).
Lately my virtual executive image consulting for men involves discussing integrating athletisure into your work wardrobe.
#2: The Death of Suiting
When’s the last time your trusty black suit saw the light of day? Oh, March 10th ish?
Suits, almost overnight, became one of the most obsolete pieces of workwear in our closets, and the trend isn’t stopping as states reopened.
Turns out, many of us are enjoying the break from suits.
Market research firm NPD group reported to CBS that suits, dress shirts, dress pants, and dresses were down in sales by 50 percent since March.
Even before the pandemic, my clients were rarely reporting to me that they needed a great fitting suit, or a suit at all. As a variety of professions transition to more business casual office settings, or even to having no dress code at all, the suit is becoming obsolete.
#3 Bundle shopping
People are ready for no nonsense outfits, and bundle shopping offers just that.
Brands are completing looks so consumers don’t have to think about mixing and matching, and they are selling two pairs of pants and three shirts in combinations that can all be worn together.
One such example is Eileen Fisher’s “The System” which offers black and white options in various tops and pants, creating an easy capsule wardrobe in a few clicks.
As employees continue to work from home, they’ll grow tired of wearing their usual thread and crave something new, but not really have the time or energy to figure out what to buy. Companies are aware of this, and taking the guesswork out of it.
Bundles are a practical idea, and I predict companies will start to advertise work from home bundles that allow people to elevate their wardrobe without having to find individual pieces.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals.
Next Level Wardrobe has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Today and CNN. See here.