How The Pandemic Changed What We Wear to Work—Not Just Where We Work

“Well, where are you going?” I asked my husband a couple of weeks ago as he rounded the corner in a suit. My visceral reaction got me thinking about how the pandemic has changed how we think about what we wear to work—not just where we work. As a designer, I understand the importance of aligning an organization’s culture, values, and policies with the aesthetic of the space. Lawyers, developers, and bankers in their formal business attire look appropriate in their wood and stone workplaces. Tech firms with concrete flooring and coffee bars are a better fit for the t-shirts and sneakers vibe. It makes sense. But now, whether you have been going to your office or not, I can safely say—we aren’t dressing the same. We aren’t dressing up. In a predominately virtual world, we are dressing for ourselves. We talk about the pandemic being an accelerator of remote work and collaborative technology. It may also accelerate heels and ties right out of our work attire forever. The evolution of the suit and business attire, like all fashion, has followed a trend pattern that mirrors major economic and cultural shifts in our country—a reflection of our values, lifestyles, and sentiment. For example, in the 1920s, embellishment dominated preferences as tie pins gained popularity and shirts became more colorful. Click to read more at