Are you heading back to the office after months of working from home? Are you going to be dividing the work week between the office and home? Or maybe you’re working remotely full-time? There are so many questions yet to be answered, but most of us are looking for some type of return to normalcy and revamping our wardrobes can be a fulfilling way to start our journey forward.
Why did we wear what we wore doing Covid? The fact is that we didn’t simply throw on any old thing, we actively chose pieces that felt comfortable, that could serve as a cocoon to envelop us in safety. Sweats and slippers became our armor against the very scary unknown. As time went on, we realized that choosing not to get dressed at all made us feel like we were not coping, a signal was sent to our collective brains that life was not normal, that we were barely hanging in there! There was a drastic change in our mental health when we took a shower, put on “regular” clothes and at least a swipe of lipgloss. It also signaled to those around us that things were not completely foreign and out of control.
Blending Office and Home Wear
What was acceptable for work had already been relaxed somewhat before the pandemic. But what does this mean now? The answer is a melding of casual and corporate. You will see plenty of blazers and trousers for women, but in much more fluid fabrics. These items will be shown in oversized styles as well, creating a much more casual look that can easily go from desk to dinner, or can be worn for both working in the office and at home. The main thing to remember here is that when you wear one piece that is oversized or slouchy, wear something fitted on the other half. For example, “paper bag” trousers (pants that are pulled in at the waist with a belt or tie, should be combined with a fitted top. Otherwise the look will seem sloppy and frumpy.
Pieces to invest in are a black pant that can be worn with both heels and flats (we love a modern loafer or ballet flat), blouses in softer fabrics - silk, viscose, rayon, Tencel, to name a few, blazers that can be taken on and off during the day (we know how cold central air conditioning can be in an office, despite the steamy heat of early fall in the South!). Blazers can be worn on and off duty; throw the blazer over your shoulders after work to look chic and sophisticated.
Look for dresses that are less structured and fitted, that can be worn with everything from a ballet flat to a tall boot to a pump in lightweight, autumnal colors. Throw on a cardigan or blazer or scarf to add warmth as the weather cools. Knits were also everywhere on the runways and presentations for Fall ’21. Everything from fitted polo-style ribbed tops, to cable knit sweaters, cropped cardigans and matching cashmere sets- a top and matching knit skirt and pants, blending comfort with glamour. Sweater dresses will continue to be shown; these pieces are the perfect canvas for creativity. You can add sweaters, jackets, blazers, accessories and shoes to create multiple looks- the sky's the limit here! A lightweight sweater dress can easily go from coffee at The Red Cat at Railroad Park to dinner at Bottega Cafe simply by the accessories you add.
One Wardrobe - Multiple Occasions
As always, “work casual” doesn't mean “anything goes”. Coming across as polished and organized is especially important as dress codes relax. Remember you are creating your personal brand so to speak - what you wear speaks volumes about who you are. You can set the tone for how people perceive and treat you simply by what you chose to wear. Use your wardrobe as a visual representation, a platform to tell your story.
There is a new blurring of the lines between work and off duty style. Kick-start your updated wardrobe with a cross-section of structured and less structured pieces for an effortlessly chic, elegant and versatile look. Don’t think about having two separate wardrobes, instead choose pieces that can be worn in multiple ways for various occasions. A black suede pump can be worn with a dinner dress or just as easily with frayed jeans. A turtleneck sweater can be worn with tailored pants and a pump for important meetings with or without a blazer or jacket, or it can be worn with a pair of track pants or jeans and sneakers, or a denim skirt and tall boots (yes they are back!) for a perfect on-trend, retro 70’s inspired style. Add a pair of oversized sunglasses for a look straight off the runway! It’s all about blending style with practicality.
Think of building your wardrobe the way you would build an art collection. You don’t need “more”, rather you need highly functional, versatile pieces of the best quality you can afford. It takes time and money to build an art collection, the same goes for a timeless wardrobe. This fall is the perfect time for a reset. We have been given a unique opportunity to reinvent, to elevate our personal style. What could be better than that?
For more fashion and styling tips from Alison and Delia, follow The Style That Binds Us on Facebook or Instagram. You can also listen to their Podcast or join their email list for up to date styling tips and trends!
Lead Photo: Some of the season’s sharpest looks include maxi dresses and soft suiting.
Photography by Kassady Gibson, JiaWei Zhang, and Lydia Hudgen