We’ve reached that point in the COVID-19 story where we’re sort of half-in and half-out of it. Not that the tail on this whole thing isn’t mighty long and we don’t still have a ways to go, but there has been a return to some pre-COVID things. Granted, these things are greatly revised but at least we’re not on total lockdown any longer. I’m heading back to the gym this week, people are clamoring to eat at restaurants outdoors, and some people are going back to the workplace. For many returning to work, this will be a limited in-office schedule which will include some days still telecommuting. It’s hard to predict how long we will live in this state.
When COVID hit and we were all told to stay home, women put their professional clothing on ice in exchange for things like yoga pants and sweatshirts and concentrated solely on what they looked like from the waist up. The term mullet outfit was coined and like with anything new, we struggled to adapt. And now, we’re adapting again in this hybrid world of being half-in and half-out, a world that looks a bit like a time we once knew, but not quite.
DUAL PURPOSE STYLE: PIECES THAT WORK FOR THE OFFICE AND FOR TELECOMMUTING
As we adapt, it got me thinking about how a woman maximizes her wardrobe for the way things are at the moment and how to plan out a wardrobe. Using the graph above to explain, imagine taking two circles and overlapping them. One circle is the clothing that is exclusive for the workplace and the other circle contains the pieces that are work-from-home only. The area that overlaps are the pieces that serve a dual purpose and can be worn for telecommuting as well we in-office. The amount of overlap between circles can shift based on your needs and how often you’ll be working-from-home vs. going into work.
Dual Style Looks
To give you some examples, I have taken four pieces that fall into the overlapping circles and styled them for in-office and for telecommuting to show how you can wear them for both.
In these looks, I used a basic Eileen Fisher tunic sweater in burgundy. For the workplace, I styled them with a pair of ponte kick-flare pants from Halogen in grey and finished the look with teal loafers from J. Crew and a patina statement necklace from J.Jill.
Companies that focus on workwear have pivoted a bit during COVID, realizing that the needs of working women have changed. Take, these “joggers” from M.M. Lafleur. They look like trousers but are pull on and have an elastic back. Between COVID weight gain and a general interest in being comfortable at work, I styled the pants with a printed blouse and jardigan, both also from M.M. Lafleur, and finished the outfit with a pair of burgundy booties and drop earrings from Gorjana.
This basic t-shirt dress from Universal Standard hardly looks like a dress that can be worn to work, but with a few adjustments I dressed it up. First, I added a belt to give the dress a waist. Next, the tailored blazer from J. Crew adds some structure to the softness. I finished the outfit with a pair of almond-colored booties from Vince Camuto and a chunky gold statement necklace.
A cardigan is a pretty universal piece that can be styled in a variety of ways. I styled this olive cardigan from Leith with olive pants from Vince and a surplice top from Chelsea28. I finished the look with a pair of rose-colored comfort pumps from Everlane and a beaded necklace from Anthropologie.
One day things will be normal again, or at least as close to normal as we can get after surviving this. A wardrobe plan such as this can continue beyond these times when working towards creating a balanced wardrobe.