One of the few perks of working from home has been dressing our top halves like Gordon Gecko, and our bottom halves like Homer Simpson. Track pants have become the go-to home office staple. Business socks and underwear has been totally acceptable (as long as you don’t have to stand up during a Zoom meeting).
Although offices are gradually re-opening, and you’re having to suit-up for the first time in months, some of that WFH casual vibe is here to stay (just to clarify, you will have to wear pants). The old days of corporate chic are over. The days of comfortable work wear have arrived. Here’s how to navigate the ‘COVID normal’ of office fashion.
Suit & Tie
Some offices will always require a suit and tie, global pandemic or not. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck hobbling around in painful business shoes. If your workplace insists on leather lace-ups, try something with more support, like our MOTLEY dress shoes. They’ve got our special D’oro innersole, backed with soft rubber latex. It’s like walking around on two very stylish marshmallows. For something a little more casual, and warm weather-friendly, check out our ALBERTO loafers. You can even kick these off under your desk for that weirdly satisfying socks-on-carpet feel.
Smart casual vibe
A lot of offices are starting to realise there’s more to life than a three-piece suit. These are the ‘smart casual offices’ and they require smart casual shoes. (Pro tip: if your office has a mini-fridge stocked with beer, or any number of ping pong tables, it’s a smart casual office). This is the perfect excuse to mix up fabrics and try new things. During the summer months, opt for natural fabrics like linen and cotton, as well as roomier, wide-leg chino pants, cuffed high. A high-ankle Chelsea boot, like the KEEGAN, is a solid, all-round option here. You can even get away with a soft leather driving shoe, like the BALFORT.
Sneakers in the office
A few years ago, this would have been a hard ‘No’. But we’re living in a post-apocalyptic corporate world now, and the old rules are off. You can definitely get away with sneakers in the office now, especially as a commuter option. We’ve written an entire guide to business sneakers, but here are some simple rules to follow. Keep your sneakers clean and sharp. No crazy patterns or clashing colours. Look for good-quality leather sneakers, like our DECO or BARROS. And think about colour, too. White sneakers will work under navy chinos, while tan or khaki sneakers will complement an earthy linen suit. If in doubt, double check with your boss.
Go to Chelsea
We always tell guys: if you’re stuck for ideas, go to Chelsea. The humble Chelsea boot is one of the most versatile boots you’re ever going to buy, and it can comfortably go from weekend road trip to Thursday WIP meeting. For the slightly more formal office, look for a dark leather Chelsea boot with a slim silhouette and chiseled toe, like our WARNOCK or BEAUMONT. These will look great under anything, including your best suit. For a more laid-back vibe, underneath some cuffed chinos, try the rounded DAYTON or the suede grey KEEGAN.
Next level relaxation
If you work really doesn’t mind what’s on your feet, and all you care about is comfort, try espadrilles. Fair warning: these are only appropriate office footwear if you work in an organic ashram or Silicon Valley tech start-up, but their kick-on, kick-off flexibility is perfect for summer. For something equally flexible, but slightly more formal, check out our TULSA slip-on shoes, or CONNOR tan moccasins. Pair them with some loose-fitting chinos and a linen shirt and you’ve got possibly the most laid-back office outfit ever designed by man. Definitely a ‘Casual Friday’ special.