Unsuited to the new normal? Formal fashion hangs by a thread

The new normal has people stranded at home and attending work from their desks, couch or even the bedroom. Online video meetings over Google Meet or Zoom do not require wearing a coat or a tie. Sometimes people attend meetings with their videos off which does not require the effort to clean up or dress up even presentable. The uncertainty in formal fashion due to the situation of work from home has been looming over since the last couple of years. Lounging around in pyjamas and working from the comfort of home seems appealing to plenty of people around the world. Switching back to the normal mode of offline office-going has also been impacted due to the habits created during the last past two years.

Relaxation of dress codes in professional world

Video meetings required dressing up only for the top half, and throwing on a formal shirt or coat was easy and convenient. Rules relaxed even more as time passed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and dressing up formally for meetings was even discarded by many companies. Since work timings became more flexible, employees worked beyond their usual office schedules, and the demand to dress up formally for longer hours just seemed impractical. Now that companies are resuming working from office, employees are not ready to give up their comfort. Big and boxy silhouettes of three-piece suits or pantsuits and skirts just does not seem practical for most of the employees. There has been a spike in the trend of relaxing of dress codes in the professional world. Highly formal corporates are also implementing these changes. The finance industry, Information Technology, hospitality industry, almost all of the industries are reviewing their dress codes. While some companies are allowing casual wear for some of the days of the week, others are designing semi-formal uniforms for their employees. Relaxed-fit shirts, and comfortable trousers are taking over the office fashion.

Suits n Ties are going away

Since more relaxed fits are being embraced, ties and suits are losing their demand. If employees sport casual wear or semi-formal shirts, pants and dress, the need for ties automatically go away. Moreover, suits have always been debated over as being a necessity in the professional world. After a whole revolution in the way people work, a new path of approaching professionalism has been created. Donning up a suit is no longer a marker of professionalism. Therefore, suits and ties have been losing their charm in the formal fashion world.


Workleisure is a concept born in the era of post-pandemic. Workleisure is a combination of work clothes and leisure clothes. They are not formal, they are comfortable to wear, but they are not casual wear either. Palazzos, wide-legged trousers, high-wasted pants, chinos, and bell-bottoms are some of the fits that are considered to be bottom wears for workleisure apparel. Tops include a variety of shirts in solids, pastels, fun colours and pattern. Shirts are no longer restricted to checks, stripes and solids. Workleisure is a modern take on the formal wear to adapt to the changing trends in professionalism and work.

Formal fashion is on the wane in the face of new and upcoming trends in work wear. Professionals have found channeling their work ethic and dedication through other mediums than dressing up in a suit and tie. Therefore, the exercise of freedom and self-expression through clothing is taking up the professional world as well. Unless there is a fashion revolution that brings the cool back to three-piece, there is very little hope for formal wear to return to the horizon. For now, workleisure is the order of the day.

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