Saturday, 1 August 2020

Dress Code for Working at Home ?

'The fun of getting dressed is gone.' As consumers adjust to the pandemic, retailers feel the strain
Yes. Your shoes miss you, too.

July 28, 2020, 1:16 AM CEST / Updated July 28, 2020, 1:18 AM CEST
By Ahiza García-Hodges

"I loved doing my hair and getting ready, picking out a nice pair of pants and a dressy blouse or a dress and heels," said Ashley Krasnoff, who used to go to her Los Angeles-area office every weekday. "With that came jewelry and a watch and picking out a purse."

Now, "I wake up about five minutes before I have to log on," she said. "I usually throw on yoga leggings, a sports bra and a sports tank top. I think once I might have put on jeans."

Krasnoff isn't alone.

Sequestered at home since mid-March, many workers have adopted a new "work uniform" that better suits their new environment. The look involves fewer high-heeled shoes, handbags, suits, ties and coats — and more loungewear and athleisure.

The dress code shift has naturally also led to a change in what consumers are buying.

Brands that sell comfortable and athletic clothing have seen major boosts in sales, but workwear and formal wear companies are bearing the weight of this shift. Sales in those segments dropped dramatically during the pandemic, according to Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.

Retailers such as Ann Taylor, Men's Wearhouse and Brooks Brothers are feeling this acutely. Ann Taylor filed for bankruptcy protection last week, and Brooks Brothers did so in early July. On Tuesday, Tailored Brands, which owns Men's Wearhouse, announced it would be closing 500 of its store locations.

"No one is shopping them," Saunders said of formal wear brands. "They depend on people going into an office — and no one wears full suits on Zoom meetings."

Ann Taylor and Tailored Brands did not respond to a request for comment. Arthur Wayne, a spokesperson for Brooks Brothers, said that while the company is known for suits, many of its other popular items such as "khakis, polo shirts, sweaters and other sportswear" are "perfect for a more relaxed working environment.”

Most of these types of stores already had issues before the pandemic started because they were a "bit tired" and were struggling to grow and appeal to younger consumers, Saunders said.

But he said even stores such as M.M.LaFleur and Suitsupply, which are popular with that demographic, are taking a big hit during this time.

“Demand is obviously impacted," said Fokke de Jong, CEO and founder of Suitsupply. "There’s uncertainty about how long this pandemic is going to last in the U.S., but luckily we’re not just based there.”

Sarah LaFleur, founder and CEO of M.M.LaFleur, told NBC News, “We’ve had to get creative with the way we market and talk about our clothes throughout the past few months. We’ve needed to reframe our marketing a bit so customers understand our clothing works well for this moment.”

The underlying business model for these brands is "much more robust," said Saunders. "They're suffering from the same issues, but for them it’s a matter of trying to buy their time and wait for things to normalize."

Work style in many industries had already become much more casual, from hoodie-wearing executives at Twitter and Facebook, to suit-and-tie stalwarts such as Goldman Sachs, which last year announced it would allow a less formal dress code.

The pandemic's new level of casual dress could bolster that movement, making buttoned-up formal wear in the office seem as out of date as the typing pool or the switchboard.

"Generally, I think the trend has been a relaxing of business attire — and this probably just expedites that a bit more, within reason," said Andy Shalbrack, who works in finance. When he started in the industry, he used to wear a full suit and tie. Now, such formal wear is mostly only necessary when seeing clients, as a way to show respect.

Now, his new "uniform" involves a lot more shorts — and facial hair.

"It's the one time you can kind of grow out your beard or mustache, since it's all conference calls," Shalbrack said, adding that Zoom video calls are rare in his field.

However, the new casual likely won't hold up once his team returns to the office, he said.

Already there are signs of people buying more formal clothes in countries that are opening back up as coronavirus cases begin to settle at lower levels.

LVMH, the biggest luxury goods company in the world and the owner of brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, has also noticed a turnaround in sales. For the period between April and June, it reported a 37 percent drop in sales within its fashion and leather goods segment and a 52 percent decrease in its watch and jewelry division. But since June there have been “strong signs” of a recovery, the conglomerate said on Monday.

Another area Saunders sees taking a hit from the pandemic is the subscription services segment. He said companies such as Rent the Runway, which rely on consumers renting clothing for work or special occasions, aren't doing well right now.

"There have been a lot of issues there because people are just canceling their subscriptions," Saunders said. "They’re tailored around occasions and working and people needing to look nice, so it’s hard to see how they could come back any time soon."

Krasnoff said she has already noticed changes in her own habits — and to her bottom line.

"The only online shopping I did at the beginning was just to buy more athleisure and comfy clothes to sit around in," she said.

And while she's adjusted to this new lifestyle, she's grateful it's only temporary.

"The fun of getting dressed is gone," Krasnoff said. "But I’m saving a ton on dry cleaning."

When you work from home, every day is (very) casual Friday
By Kelly Murray, CNN

Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT) March 23, 2020

(CNN)There is no dress code in the home office.

How disheveled do you look when you're working from home? Do you stay in your pajamas all day? Do you even shower? Or are you one of those people who insists on looking your office-best even while pecking away at your keyboard at home?
As officials try to control the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of white collar workers — normally bound by dress codes and expectations in the office — are trading business trousers for sweat pants, and stiff blazers for that hoodie they would only ever allow their family, roommates or dog to see.
For some work-from-homers, comfort-first attire is a source of shame — a symptom of broken routines and under-motivation. For others, it's ultimate liberation.
After all, fashion in general has become increasingly casual over the past few decades. These days, activewear or "athleisure" is customary weekend wear, even outside the gym.
Plus, formal work environments have become the exception, not the rule — a trend often blamed on millennials in tech startups. Even notoriously buttoned-up Goldman Sachs is adopting a more 'flexible' dress code.
But even in a casual work environment, there's a limit. When going to a job interview, 65% of Americans feel it's important to wear a suit, regardless of how formal the company's dress code is, according to a 2019 survey by Ranstad US.
In the same survey, 50% of respondents say they wear business attire from the waist up and casual clothing from the waist down when they have a video interview.
So, given the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, is it unhealthy for people working from home to just wake up and stumble over to the computer screen in their pajamas?
"If that works for us and we can be in that place to put our energy into work the way it needs to be — to do the job — there's nothing wrong with that at all," Atlanta-based psychologist Erik Fisher told CNN.
On the other hand, the CDC has told people it's important to keep up their routines to ease anxiety during the pandemic.
"It's all about mental preparation," Fisher said. "If this helps somebody to mentally prepare and to go through that habit (of getting dressed), and that's the habit and the structure they've created for themselves, don't change that."
Researchers have long been fascinated with the meaning behind clothing, not only as a way for people to communicate with others, but as a way to shape one's own perception of oneself. One 2015 study found that people who dress up tend to think more creatively.
But that just depends on the individual.
"If you pay attention to staying disciplined, showering as soon as you get up, eating a good breakfast, putting on clothes that make you feel good, you're going to have a good day," said Joey Schweitzer, the founder of the successful motivational YouTube channel Better Ideas and who works from his home near Vancouver, Canada. "You're going to pay more attention to the work that you're doing, and you're going to feel like a functioning member of society."
Some employees fortunate enough to work remotely are even trading casual Fridays for fancy Fridays, donning cocktail or black tie.
"It's nice to build a sense of community and create a reason to make a work day special during such uncertainty," said Laura Anne Cotney, who works with a real estate software company in Athens, Georgia.
Fisher recommended that if a person is working from home in his or her pajamas and feels like they "should" be dressing up, they need to look at where that inner voice is coming from.
"When people feel judged, they often go back to a place of shame and guilt and inadequacy, and that's why I think we have to be able to be our own self-observers," Fisher told CNN.
"All the looks are exact outfits I've worn," said professional illustrator Tyler Feder. "It was so surprising for me to see how many people commented saying they related!  I assumed I was alone in wearing schlubby PJ combos all the time."
"All the looks are exact outfits I've worn," said professional illustrator Tyler Feder. "It was so surprising for me to see how many people commented saying they related! I assumed I was alone in wearing schlubby PJ combos all the time."
"In other words, we're looking for the "right" way to do things," Fisher said. "And if it's not the right way, then it must be wrong, and if it's not the good way, it must be bad. And if it's not the strong way, it must be weak. So, ask yourself, where does that voice come from? And then be able to stop and tell yourself, it's my own internal place of comfort and peace that will find my ability to succeed, not how I look on the outside."

1 comment:

Hels said...

When you work on the computer at home eg zoom, you need a smart shirt, elegant earrings, carefully done hair and slightly more makeup than normal.

From the waist down, you can be totally naked.