For many, it’s time to bid farewell to working from home and head back into the office. If this is you, you may rue the day when you fold up your favorite joggers set. Or maybe you’re excited to strut your professional stuff again, but you don’t know where to start. Wherever you fall on this post-pandemic women’s fashion dilemma, we’re predicting workleisure as the simple, elegant, and comfortable solution. Keep reading to learn more about this trend and what items to add to your wardrobe.
WHAT IS WORKLEISURE?
As you can probably tell from the name, workleisure is a blend of workwear and leisure or lounge clothing. This top fall women’s 2021 fashion trend strikes a happy balance between polished-looking pieces and soft, stretchy fabrications. Think of it as the post-pandemic answer to business casual, except this time, it’s business comfort. Instead of sharp-shouldered blazers and rigid pencil skirts, we’re anticipating the rise of knits and airy shapes. Excited to give them a go? Us, too.
Now that you have the scoop on what women’s workleisure is, let’s explore what the “new normal” is for tops. Topping our list are knits. Think mixed-material shells or roomy surplice styles. These shirts look just like your before-times blouses but with way more comfort. Spice up your choices with juicy colors such as tangerine and lime green. Trend-forward details including square-neck tops with statement sleeves that first amped up your video call style game are also livening up in-person work. If you’re not ready to give up on wovens just yet, no worries. This is the moment to embrace loose, gauzy button-downs in luxury high-end fabrics like silk and linen. Contrast the flowy silhouette with a tailored bottom or embrace the return of 70s fashion with a wide leg. Consider a splash of color with a new headband. Still missing that professional pop? Then it’s time to layer up.
LUSH AND LAID-BACK LAYERS
The impact of COVID-19 on workwear is especially evident in layering pieces. While structured blazers and jackets used to be the standard, softer silhouettes and cardigans now dominate women’s workleisure. We’re seeing an increase in demand for plaid-printed blazers and additional stretch for more form-fitting silhouettes. To prepare for your first day back at work, settle into a tunic blazer with stretch fabrication. The longer silhouette gives your ensemble a laid-back look while still feeling smart. If your office still leans formal, opt for classic colors and patterns like black or a neutral houndstooth this fall. What about offices fully embracing the leisurely vibes? Frame your outfit with a career-ready cashmere cardigan. Features like a draped collar or a button-front will set you up for success.
One thing that’s sure to make your transition back to the office more enjoyable is the relaxed silhouette of women’s workleisure bottoms. Say goodbye to the day of starched trousers and hello to this new era of knits, drawstring waists and billowing hems. Noticing a theme? Comfort reigns supreme. Keep scrolling for our style forecast on workleisure pants and skirts.
Secretly Relaxed Pants
Workleisure pants have a different job description than the work pants of yore. They’re meant to move in and feature softer fabric texture, so you feel at home—at the office. Look for ribbed-knit pants that cuddle you like a hug or french terry interiors on button-up joggers secretly keeping you cozy. Just make sure to pick out these touchable options in an office-appropriate length and the right size for a polished effect. Another way to bring at-home ease to the workplace is with straight-fitting silhouettes and wide-leg pants outfits. Search for these looser pant legs with a paper-bag waist and you’ll forget all about your favorite sweats. These shapes naturally allow for more room and flexibility, perfect for settling into a new routine. Plus, for those entering a hybrid work model, these pants can easily transition back to your WFH jam. Toss your hair into a messy bun with a velvet scrunchie to get stuff done. And just like that, you’re rising up the ranks of the new business casual.
Workleisure Skirts: Soft and Smooth
Sometimes, you’re just not ready to welcome back pants into your life. We get it. It’s not for everybody. Even before the days of workleisure, skirts were a gal’s best friend. Now, we’re upping the ante with the rise of flowy midi skirts and elastic waistbands. Rake in the style points on your first day back at the office with a pleated midi in a satin finish. Silky textures will feel like butter against your skin while looking elevated and elegant. Partner your skirt with a cable-knit sweater for a look that’s Monday meeting-ready. For offices with a more muted dress code, keep your colors conservative. A drawstring-waist skirt in olive green or moody plum will fit the bill. Throw on a belted blazer to close the deal. But wait—you’re still wearing your slippers. Time for real shoes, too.
As you head back to the office after a year of working from home, you’ll want to start off on the right foot. Our predictions for women’s workleisure shoes see footwear becoming a place for you to show off your personality. Whether it’s a patterned heel, chic loafers—or, yes, even sneakers—the new normal has your feet feeling fancy-free.
Workleisure’s Labour of Love: Loafers
With a name like loafers, it’s no surprise that these bad boys are a shoe-in for workleisure footwear trends. These shoes are never out of style from season to season and offer a comfortable fit without losing a drop of sophistication. For a sleek finish to your workleisure outfit, pop on a patent leather pair. If you favor feminine touches, opt for a canvas loafer with a fabric knot or bow around the toe. Though these shoes can cut a more serious tone, color can make these shoes whimsical in a snap. Why not channel your inner Dorothy Gale with a ruby red set? Now click your heels together three times, and we’ll take you to a land where sneakers are workwear.
How to Wear Sneakers as Workleisure
Before we pledge our allegiance to sneakers, let’s get a quick disclaimer out of the way. Even as many offices embrace workleisure, these shoes aren’t the right fit for all workplaces, such as, corporate or political offices. When in doubt, take cues from your colleagues to see if a sneaker can sneak by. If your work is relaxing the dress code and embracing the way of business comfort, you’re in luck. Neutrals like black and white are safe sneaker bets. Just make sure you know how to clean white sneakers to keep them looking smart. When you’re ready to dabble in color, try easy-on-the-eye tones like a dusty rose or pale indigo. Partner them with one of the flowy skirts we mentioned earlier or a chic-style, black legging-pant for a minimalist look.
Take Workleisure to New Heights with Heels
Some of you might have cheered seeing sneakers on our workleisure trend predictions. But we know others wait with bated breath for the verdict on heels. If pumps were your go-to shoe before 2020, don’t worry. Heels haven’t left the building. Instead, lower heels are shaping up to be a top footwear trend. And we couldn’t be happier. Kick on a pointed-toe kitten heel in a playful pastel to jazz up your outfit. Complement the retro vibes of your wide-leg pants with a chunky block heel. Remember when we said your personality can shine in the shoe department? Look for contemporary details like tortoise-shell printed heels or multiple enamel buckles to put some pep in your step.
For all the girls who love a touch of glam—this one’s for you. Workleisure builds on the idea of blending professionalism with—let’s all say it together—comfort. But you don’t have to sacrifice your inner fashionista. If anything, the impact of COVID-19 on workwear widened the definition of career clothing. That includes dressing up, too. Try a stretchy, knit dress that can transition into off-the-clock fun. Looking for a way to take your look to the next level? How about styling your ensemble with pearl accessories? Don pearl drop earrings to light up your computer screen for collaborators still Zooming in. Add instant elegance to your favorite pair of wide-leg pants with a bodysuit. Wondering how to wear a bodysuit at the office? It’s all about balancing proportions. Layering trendy pieces and styling a shacket with this look will strike the perfect work-play balance. Now, you’re set to go straight from work to your first happy hour back with your coworkers.
Ready to add women’s workleisure to your style résumé? Ask your stylist for any of these pieces in your next Fix!
Article is compliments of Stitch Fix and written by Pauline Arroyo and Jessica Glass. Visit http://www.stitchfix.com to schedule your fix!