There was a time not so long ago when fashion journals taught how to look stylish but still meet the requirements of office dress codes or how to preserve professional appearance wearing jeans. Nevertheless, as time goes by and companies actively employ the generation of the newest technologies, the challenge of forcing them to wear traditionally acceptable clothes becomes unbearable.
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Because young people are not used to dressing up and wearing suits and high heels in everyday life, they do not feel comfortable in their workplaces. Studies are proving that wearing uncomfortable outfits decreases employee productivity, as it is connected with relaxation and boosts creativity (Salemi par. 10). Other investigations point out that dressing up is related to feeling expensive that has a destructive influence on attention to details and concentration on fulfilling job duties (Greenfield par. 13).
Recognizing the correlation between comfort in the workplace and employee performance led to the establishment of a new trend in office fashion – athleisure. It implies choosing clothes that are comfortable, bright, and adaptable but are still appropriate for office life. They highlight individuality due to the variety of models and cutting and help to avoid turning into a corporate clone (Epaminondas par. 5-6). These are different sweatshirts, jersey-knit coats, plush suits, T-shirts, and, of course, comfortable shoes. This trend was imposed by Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg who never dressed up for work (Walker par. 3).
The establishment of the new trend and preference to comfort could not but motivate the emergence of fashion startups. For example, a Kickstarter campaign, Ministry, launched the production of moisture-wicking stretch for men’s shirts. As for now, this brand offers a wide range of apparel, suits, and shirts. Moreover, they offer clothing for women (Binkley par. 16). Another appropriate example is Aella, Los Angeles-based designer of office-ready apparel from polyester and other soft and comfortable materials that are now represented in Bloomingdales (Binkley par. 11, 15). Also, athleisure has become popular with luxury brands such as Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Hermès, Valentino, Ferragamo, Balenciaga, and Brioni that started designing interesting and bright suits to meet the new trend (Gallagher par. 1). Berluti and Gucci are also not exceptions to this rule (Binkley par. 6, 8).
I believe that this trend will gain momentum in the future. There are several reasons for justifying this statement. First of all, the expansion of the newest technologies and the Internet in everyday life blurs the lines between work and personal life. It means that as people feel that these two spheres of life grow interconnected, there should be no distinction between dress codes and no place for discomfort.
Moreover, choosing clothes that meet the requirements of the corporate dress code should not become a stressful process. So, the popularity of easily adaptable outfits will build up because both luxury brands and new designers support it and recognize its attractiveness and practicability. Finally, the potential of the modern garment is limitless so there are numerous options for making office garments bright and attractive turning them into more comfortable and soft to satisfy the needs of both companies and consumers.
Binkley, Christina. “The New Trend in Office Wear: Comfort.” The Wall Street Journal. 2016. Web.
Epaminondas, George. “Comfortable Work Clothes for Men.” The Wall Street Journal 2016. Web.
Gallagher, Jacob. “Has Fashion Abandoned the Suit?” The Wall Street Journal. 2016. Web.
Greenfield, Rebecca. “The Office Workers Left Behind by the Casual Dress Revolution.” Bloomberg. 2016. Web.
Salemi, Vicki. “If You Want Productive Employees Let Them Wear Sweatpants.” New York Post. 2016. Web.
Walker, Harriet. “Work Smarter – How to Be Fashionable but Comfortable at Work.” The Australian. 2016. Web.