The New Office Look Is 'Power Casual.' But Save The Stiletto Crocs For Happy Hour Some employees went without workplace staples like ties, heels and dress pants during the pandemic. But will those pieces make a fashion comeback as more people return to work?

The New Office Look Is 'Power Casual.' But Save The Stiletto Crocs For Happy Hour

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For more than a year, many of us have not had to think about what to wear to work, but it is time, folks. I talked to Robin Givhan, who's a senior critic at large for The Washington Post.

I looked back to the last time you and I talked, and it was last year, right at the start of the pandemic. And our conversation was about whether or not we could work from home in our drawers, basically (laughter).

ROBIN GIVHAN: So you mean we last spoke a hundred years ago (laughter).

KING: You were advising a more professional way of doing things. I think your advice was keep dressing up. We had no idea, though, that it was going to be more than a year.

GIVHAN: We did not. Honestly, I stand by that recommendation only because as the year wore on, I felt like, increasingly, I needed clothing to serve as a kind of signal to when my workday began and when it ended. Otherwise, it was just one enormous blur.

KING: I actually felt the same way. I went, at the beginning, from dressing up every day, to then wearing yoga pants for about six months straight, to then going back to dressing up. But I did notice that the work clothes I'm wearing now in my home office - they're actually - they're just more comfortable. I don't know if that'll hold when I go back into the actual office.

GIVHAN: I don't think that we will completely, or at least immediately, forget about how great it felt to be comfortable sitting at a desk for a large portion of the day. But I do think that there will be a sense of polish.

KING: OK, so some things may have changed. We might not go back to six-inch spike heels, but there are those dresses in the closet that you want to put on again. I was trying to think of things that I have bought over the past year - and again, like, a lot of yoga pants. I didn't buy any nice dresses or nice tops. How did the fashion industry respond to this past year?

GIVHAN: You know, I think - you know, sort of statistically, some of the things that we learned, you know, were the incredible power of e-commerce. We saw people shift more of their dollars towards, you know, beauty and skin care and hair care products. And absolutely, you know, you're right. We saw people buying much more comfortable clothing, whether it be yoga pants, track pants. And I have to say that as things have started to reopen and rev up again, I really feel like a enormous part of the industry is kind of returning to form.

KING: Any tips for listeners who want to get back into the world, remain comfortable but also stay chic?

GIVHAN: Yeah. I mean, I think the industry is very attuned to the fact that people are not going to want to give up that feeling of comfort. And so I am seeing, you know, much looser silhouettes. I am seeing trousers that have a really easy feel to them. And, you know, I'm also seeing things like kaftans and, you know, jackets that have sort of the comfort level of a cardigan.

KING: Robin Givhan, senior critic for The Washington Post, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.

GIVHAN: Thank you.


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