What does business casual look like in 2022?
What should I wear to work in an office?
These are questions a lot of people are asking right now.
After two years working from home, many professionals are unsure of what to wear to the office in 2022.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help.
Keep reading for our 2022 Next Level Wardrobe Back-to-Office Style Guide:
WFH pants (that you can actually leave the house in)
Going back to the office means the return of pants–and, no more sweatpants!
But that doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable.
Today professionals have more comfortable but still professional trouser options than ever before.
I recommend looking for something in a high-quality material (ideally something that won’t require ironing) and that offers some stretch.
Looser styles (like the herringbone trousers above) are also a great option.
Another tip for comfortable office pants?
Choose a pair with a drawstring!
Not only are drawstring pants stylish, but they’re also perfect for clients who are going through body transitions. Whether you’re gaining weight or losing it, they’re comfortable during any changes.
For example, check out this pair from Officine Generale:
You’ll notice that even though it’s a drawstring pant, the pant has a subtle pinstripe pattern and a professional cut. This makes them perfect for your return to the office.
Regardless of the style you choose, make sure you have your pants tailored.
One of the biggest style mistakes I see is wearing poorly fitting pants.
In particular, it’s important to make sure you have the right pant length and that the waist fits. Remember: a belt is an accessory, not a necessity. If you need a belt to hold up your pants they’re too big.
Professional casual cardigans
What’s next on our list of what to wear to the office?
Cardigans for layering. Forget about the formal blazer, it’s all about soft and cozy (even in the office).
In particular, I’m a huge fan of cardigans with a zipper.
A zipper looks modern and fresh. It’s an update to the traditional button cardigan. Plus, it’s easy to add or remove from your outfit as the day goes on.
The cut and collar give it a professional look while a high-quality cashmere will keep you comfortable year-round (especially in chilly office air conditioning!).
In general, this style is a great choice for executives and business owners that are returning to the office.
If you don’t have this style in your closet, start by investing in one in a core color (black, white, gray, or navy).
These colors will make sure you can easily match it with the rest of your closet and get plenty of wear out of it.
When shopping, it’s easy to forget about layering pieces (like cardigans).
But they can make all the difference in your style.
The right cardigan or jacket can make your outfit look professional, put-together, and confident.
To dress for success as you return to the office, a comfortable professional cardigan is a closet must-have.
Comfortable t-shirts (hint: try a style with buttons)
If you work in a casual office, a button-down can feel overdone and excessively formal.
Try a polo or t-shirt with buttons, especially in soft knit fabric (think stretchy).
These styles (like in the photo above and below) are a great way to strike a balance between casual and professional.
Small touches like high-quality fabrics, a collar, and buttons create a look that is more professional than a regular t-shirt.
Plus, these shirts look great on both men and women.
Check out this short sleeve version from Alex Mill:
You can even go for a henley shirt (like the one below) if you have a casual dress code.
In particular, a henley would be a nice style for someone working in tech or a creative field:
As you progress in your career, small details like how you dress become more important. In other words, the people around you start paying more attention to how you dress.
In fact, studies have found that missing the mark when it comes to style can actually harm your chances of receiving a promotion.
As many of us go back to the office, your style will only become more important.
Our executive clients often hire us when they’re up for a new promotion, taking a new leadership role, or looking to improve their professional image.
Does this sound like you?
Our team at Next Level Wardrobe will help you create a professional brand that makes you look (and feel) your best.
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. Cassandra’s been featured in Greatist, Livestrong and NY Mag.