Office Attire 2021

This recent article in the WSJ (by Suzanne Kapner) was fun to read, but boy oh boy did it rile me up! Some of the points that annoyed me:

  • “Dressing for success is at odds with our growing desire for comfort.Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable! Were we all really so uncomfortable pre-pandemic??? Maybe people were buying the wrong sizes!
  • “No one is tucking in their shirts.” Baloney and hogwash! Men of all ages absolutely are still tucking in their shirts in the office and for social events – untucked shirts sometimes look good when wearing very casual styles and/or with resort wear, but never for business. Heaven help us, and put on a belt.
  • The retailer, Birkenstocks, has made a metallic style dubbed “The Work Birk”. Birkenstocks in a business setting??? NO WAY. AWFUL IDEA.
  • Even in fields ranging from law to finance, “expectations have changed”. Puh-leez. With all the money a consumer spends on a legal or finance professional, you don’t think we should expect someone who is well-groomed and professionally dressed??? You would be ok with a guy wearing a fleece vest and New Balance sneakers??? (Maybe you would, but I certainly would not.)

Deciding on what to wear to work in 2021 really isn’t that difficult, nor is it that different than pre-pandemic…has your dress code at work changed? What is the culture of your business? We recently updated our dress code to be more current and flexible, yet we always expect a professional appearance, even on Fridays.

Keep in mind – and I can’t stress this enough: How we dress affects how people perceive us. At work it is likely that you want to be taken seriously and respected for your talent/skill. This does not require a high-priced designer wardrobe whatsoever, but it does require time, effort, attention to detail, and a desire to dress to portray a certain image.

Here are a few Candy Costas tips as you consider revamping your work attire for 2021:

  • Dressing well will never go out of style.
  • It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  • To portray a serious image, stick to neutral colors and basic, classic styles.
  • Styles do change over time; if you never adjust your personal style you can look outdated.
  • If wearing a fashion sneaker to work is new for you, be sure the rest of your outfit is all business; such as a blazer with a slim skirt.
  • Alternatively, try wearing a tee-shirt with a blazer and a skirt, but with a dressier shoe.
  • Adjust your outfit (dressier or more casual) depending on what’s on your agenda for the day.
  • Remember, it’s about casual vs dressier – not comfortable vs dressier. ALL YOUR CLOTHES SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE! (Sweatpants and pajamas don’t count!!!)

Are ya with me ladies????

Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy every day.

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  • I am! All through pandemic I dressed professionally casual and did my hair and make-up EVERY DAY. I NEVER once made the excuse that working at home meant dressing in PJ’s or sweats.
    I do it for ME.
    I derive great pleasure from dressing up and I enjoy when others take notice with a compliment. I don’t “feel” me if I am not looking my best. Whether I am working or off for the weekend/on vacation, I always look my best.

    • AMEN!!! Could not agree more! One day early on in the pandemic, my son-in-law asked my daughter why I was still dressed for work and had makeup on. Answer from Hayley: “When you see my mom not ‘dressed’ and without makeup, there is something really serious to be worried about!” :-0 Hahaha!

  • It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed translated to “always dress for a tie” . Put the shirt, the tie, the sports jacket or suit on to the meeting. When you meet you are either the same or you can slip off the tie and drop a few buttons so nobody is giving off the power vibes. Never know whats going to walk though the door. The only reason my pants were too small was I skipped the pool a few days and had a few too many “sherberts” (alcoholic beverages) before bed.

  • Business styles seem to get more informal as you go from east to west, where the business attire was “presentable but comfortable” in the western states and west coast going back to way before the pandemic. When I went to a job interview in Colorado wearing a dress with a jacket and nice shoes in 2008, the interviewer looked at me, aghast, as he exclaimed, “This is a CASUAL company”.

    • Holy moly! What does “comfortable” mean??? My blazers and dresses are all comfortable! Did you get the job? Did you want the job? Haha, I will stay away from the West coast! ;-)


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