Return to work: How to dress for the office

A group of people gather in a shaded office environment.

With the pandemic numbers diminishing in many areas and vaccine rates on the rise, some of us are faced with the prospect of – gasp! – returning to the workplace. 

Yes, it’s hard to think about. We have all grown accustomed to rolling out of bed, making coffee and starting work, all while in the comfort of our sweats, robe or pajamas. Unfortunately, we must prepare ourselves for the inevitable return to work.

That means stepping out from behind the screen into real life. With that in mind, we’ve created a helpful list of do’s and don’ts for attire and appearance options for your big day back!

Don’t wear PJ’s 

Sorry everyone, it is no longer acceptable to wear your comfy jammies or your well-worn sweatpants for a day of work. Business on top and party on the bottom only works for video calls, not in real life. 

If you show up to your place of business in your pajamas on your first day back, be prepared to be met with a polite (or not so polite!) request to go home and change.  

A man is sporting some trendy glasses in a business meeting at the office.

Don’t have bedhead  

You’re going to have to set your alarm a little earlier so you can have time to actually style your hair and maybe restart your makeup routine.  

We know how easy it has become to log in to a video meeting on your computer with the “video off” button clicked, but that will not be possible when people begin returning to the workplace.  

Although it may make your team laugh and raise some spirits, showing up with bedhead does not strike confidence with clients or coworkers.  

Don’t forget to wear shoes  

Our feet have been naked for far too long. In fact, you might want to make sure your favorite work shoes still fit. After a year of being free, your feet may need some new kicks. 

Coworkers consult a computer screen in the workplace.

Do wear appropriate work clothes 

Different workplaces have different rules. If you’re headed back to the corporate world, you’re most likely looking at button-ups, blazers, suits, blouses, skirts, polos and slacks. Or maybe your environment is more business-casual. 

Some companies have adjusted post pandemic to allowing more casual dress than before, but it’s doubtful pajamas are on the approved attire list.

NOTE: Just like with your feet, your body may have – *ahem* – changed shape over the past year. It’s a good idea to go through your wardrobe well ahead of your return day to make sure your everyday work clothes still fit comfortably.  

Do check with your employer for new rules 

Many companies have realized that working from home is a viable option for employees and are allowing hybrid schedules. Check to see what rules may apply for virtual meetings when you’re at home but other members of your team are at work. 

Camera on and business appropriate clothing might be required on the screen, even if you are still clad in your fuzzy slippers out of the camera shot. 

Three coworkers sit around a conference table in the workplace dressed in business attire.

Do be open to something new  

If you ever needed a reason to sample a new style, a global pandemic triggering a year of working from home will do just fine. 

Want to spice things up? Try a vibrant new color or maybe some funky, eccentric shoes or new frames for your glasses. If you’ve always resorted to mix-and-match solids, consider some new patterns and designs for shirts, skirts or pants. (We’re talking to the people with five pairs of khakis and polo shirts in every color of the rainbow.)  

There are plenty of ways to keep things fresh when it comes to fashion. Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else is wearing, rather, be adventurous and try something new. You may end up with a new look you love! 

Do give people grace 

It’s fun to joke about working in pajamas with our pets on our laps, but it’s been a rough year for many of us and returning to full-time, in-person interaction might be just as rough. 

Give people the grace and space they need to adjust and feel comfortable. Be discreet when you tell them they’re wearing two different shoes or their shirt is on backward. It’s going to take some time for us all to reacclimate to the outside working world. 

Want some more tips and tricks for easing back to work? Check out additional blogs at Amway Connections

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