The kitchen table has become the new workbench of the world's economy. The 'work from home' lifestyle has changed everything we know about the office: from suits to trackie-dacks, working and not working, professional development and learning how to paint. Even hallway gossip seemingly needs a zoom link. Quarantine has given us an entirely new perspective on everything workspace, and the boundaries that define workwear have blurred, some may argue irreversibly. Harper's Bazaar has even lauded "an entirely new style genre," Introducing, "biz-leisure."
The end of the open-plan office
Unsurprisingly, many believe COVID-19 has spelled the end to open-plan office space, and the return to small, traditional offices. People will continue to work from home. The National Bank of Australia, for example, which has 32,000 employees working from home, intends to return its offices to only 20 percent capacity by mid-June. A staggered workplace may become standard, with smaller groups coming in on alternate days and shifts that avoid rush-hour peaks.
More time at home, less time at the office will change how we fundamentally think about office attire
The start of the biz-leisure workplace
In this new office environment, function will trump form in the officewear stakes, and the revolving wardrobe of suits will likely be replaced by new tailored offerings. According to Harper's Bazaar, in the post-lockdown office, biz-leisure will see us embrace “an unexpected yet brilliant mix of tailored and comfort pieces,” although don't expect a 'sweatpant-blazer' revolution any time soon. For the returning professional, a wardrobe that is presentable, comfortable and versatile seems inevitable; a kind of 'bleisure travel' scenario, where corporate travelers pack for work and leisure, ending up somewhere in-between.
Shoes for the biz-leisure workplace
In this new environment, we will need shoes that are less about fast fashion or rigid formality. For those who buy work attire because they must, this will be uncomplicated. For the style-conscious, footwear choices will be made as the opaque evolution of menswear starts to re-shape. According to Michael Williams, founder of A Continuous Lean, a leading online destination for men's contemporary fashion, the state of play for menswear post-COVID will be unlike any movement we've seen, with a sway towards the understated and minimalist, but in new, unpredictable ways.
The Penny Loafer
If someone was to say, "I've invented the perfect shoe for the post-COVID office," They would be too late. For we already have the Penny Loafer.
No leather shoe even comes close to matching its versatility: wear it with suits, chinos, jeans, shorts; wear it minimally; wear it with wild extravagance. It is a foundational item that binds everything together - and anything you can throw at it - with no small dose of style.
The Semi-Brogue Oxford
The time has come for the Brogue to shine. For years, menswear purists have demanded that brogues not be worn for formal or even business occasions. The Semi-Brogue Oxford is about to change all that.
The Semi-Brogue Oxford is conventional and striking enough to be worn comfortably with a daytime suit and everything from jeans and T-shirt to chinos and chambray shirts. If a versatile wardrobe is required, acquire a pair of Semi-Brogue Oxfords you must.