Office fashion can be a little confusing in the modern age. The business world is changing and a lot of industries are redefining their office culture. A new era of much more casual atmospheres is changing the way business is being done, but office attire is changing with it. The uniform is changing. Here's how it's changing and why.
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that with more casual workplaces comes more casual office attire. The days of wearing stiff suits 9-5 is changing for a lot of businesses. This generation is dressing for comfort much more than anyone before them. Sneakers that are both stylish and comfortable are taking over for the formal shoe. There's more stretch to clothing than ever before, so while clothing might not be necessarily tighter it is more flexible.
Even color is being revamped and the traditional grey, blue, black, white, and tan are making room for new colors. Men are choosing trendier colored suits that don't stick to the traditional color scheme. Women are embracing the same trend, with colorful pantsuits which can vary in cut, style, and color with endless possibilities.
Personality is being expressed more than ever before. This can be a little tough for women because the man wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt is being perceived differently than his female co-worker in matching attire. Women suffer more dress-code stress and while it might seem like there are more options and more flexibility that often is a double edged sword. Women's looks and attire is judged much harsher than men and it can be expensive to keep up appearances while keeping the focus off your wardrobe and on your work. This is where women have to be careful.
So why is this happening? Well, a big part of the change is being fueled by Silicon Valley. The technology industry is young, hip, and exciting and taking over the world. Companies are taking note and beginning to try and mimic that aesthetic hoping it will bring the same cultural changes. Also it's just a reflection of our relaxation of the concept of 'social decency'. We aren't holding men and women to the same social restrictions of the past. If you look at other times of upheaval that were relaxations from previous norms you can note fashion shifts. Women were fighting for suffrage and the corset, both a literal physical and a figurative symbol of restriction, was removed from their wardrobes. The second wave of feminism saw the rise of women wearing pants. Social change is reflected in clothing.
So what does this shift mean for the business world? Honestly, it depends on the industry. Younger industries will reflect these changes much more than industries where formality is the law of the land. It also means, the casual atmosphere will most likely spread and offices are going to be more casual in the future. These trends of more active comfortable clothing isn't going anywhere. Clothing is going to get more personalized as people step away from the general notion of a uniform and instead embrace their unique style. It's about personal branding and expression, not fitting in.