TechnologyForm v/s Function: The Workwear Dynamic

Form v/s Function: The Workwear Dynamic

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With the change in work structures came the change in silhouette structures — and the result? Post-pandemic fashion is quite a mix of easy breezy clothing and formal pieces, creating a never-before-seen aesthetic. Here’s how form embraced functionality, and created a new variety of regular clothing

Fashion has gone through multiple phases in the past two years. Social media and TikTok took over the lockdowns, thus emerged microtrends, while the fashion industry woke up to realise that seasonless shows work best. But one of the most drastic changes were seen in workwear. One no more had a wake-up-and-dress-for-the-boardroom routine, and that made all the difference. Zoom meetings meant smart casuals and loungewear, which were major style trends that birthed comfort clothing. Think of a nice T-shirt or knit jumper along with shorts or regular joggers to deal with your work day, because who would really know what you are wearing?

We saw a jump in thrift stores and secondhand clothing because sustainability became the talk of the town, once again. Now in 2022, people are trying to incorporate pandemic-style trends into their everyday routines such as outfits for work, while running errands, and for outings. “One of the biggest trends that caught a lot of attention during the pandemic was the emergence of athleisure, fuelled by consumer demand for comfort wear. It gained a lot of focus in the work-from- home days, but this trend has evolved further as people have now started incorporating various elements of athleisure at their workplaces as well,” explains a spokesperson from Selected Homme.

The pandemic definitely brought about changes in consumer preferences when it came to clothing, the most significant difference being the choice of fashion while dressing up. Consumers have now become more experimental with their sense of style. People like trying new fabrics, newer and bigger prints, and incorporating subtle fashion elements. Another shift in fashion choices is the focus on sustainability. People are mindful while they shop, as they prefer buying long-lasting and timeless outfits.

A variety of brands also hopped on to curate workwear edits, including loungewear, athleisure wear, as well as smart casuals. Brands such as Uniqlo, Jack & Jones, United Colors Of Benetton, Zara, and H&M were among the many who offered separate edits of trends that were a part of workwear edits as well. While coming to the luxe bit of workwear, Balenciaga, Raf Simons, Zegna, Tod’s, Carhartt, Yohji Yamamoto, Prada, and other regulars are known for this.

CEO & MD Mr. Ramprasad Sridharan of United Colors Of Benetton thinks that the pandemic had varied effects on consumers in every segment. “Comfort was a key preference, which has affected industries across various segments. In terms of casual wear, the statement continues to drive as a trend of how people are styling themselves even today. In the Benetton Fall Winter 2022 Menswear collection, certain top wear pieces that have incorporated ‘stretch’ as a key comfort feature are Stretch Polo T-shirts, Supima Cotton T-shirts, Poplin Colour-blocked Shirts, Popcorn Crew Neck T-shirts, and Flannel Check Shirts. In the bottom wear category, relaxed fits have been incorporated with styles like Bi-stretch Flexi Waist Trousers, Relaxed-fit Lyocell trousers, and Lounge Denims,” he adds.

Over the years, workwear has definitely become more lightweight, easy to wear, and travel-friendly. Additionally, this year, a big change that we have noticed when it comes to workwear is that formal trousers have overtaken denim, making a distinct style statement by incorporating catchy prints, wearing different-coloured formal trousers, and focusing on lightweight fashion. “A must-have oversized shirt or an oversized jacket is great to compliment your workwear. Another idea to amp up your style would be to put on a classic lightweight knit and pair it with a lightweight blazer and a clean pair of denim,” recommends the Selected Homme spokesperson.

Another factor that has majorly influenced workwear is the average Joe’s awareness of how their personality drives their style — be it conventional clothing or more expressive clothing within the guidelines of workwear. Cuin, a homegrown contemporary fashion label, focuses on curating timeless garments. The brand opines, “I feel that post-pandemic, people have stopped caring as much about dressing up. They care more about functionality, sustainability and durability now than ever. Style is moving towards being more comfortable. Work timings have become more flexible and people have started going out more right after work, so they want to wear clothes or silhouettes that are versatile, something that they can go out in but also have the comfort that working from home has gotten them to use.”

Speaking of whether the workwear change is here to stay, Selected Homme believes that these changes have taken the fashion quotient up a notch. “We have been following the usual formula of pairing a formal shirt and a pair of trousers. It’s great to have a change that swings the mood from the old days and makes way for the new generation who are more open to experimenting. This will increase people’s confidence in their style, and ultimately inculcate a feel-good factor when it comes to dressing up,” they opine.

Like our current work situation, workwear in the post-pandemic world is all about the hybrid mixture of trends and comfort.

Images: Getty Images

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