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Comfy Work Clothes

Comfy Work Clothes for Your Return to Office Life

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How am I supposed to get dressed up for work when I’ve been living in leggings and slippers all year? Heels? Slacks? I think not.

Summer is in full bloom, the birds are singing, and COVID restrictions are lifting. Here in New Mexico, starting July first, all COVID-19 restrictions will lift. We won’t even need to wear masks (goodbye mascne). Hallelujah! There is light at the end of the tunnel. 2020 was traumatizing and the first part of 2021 wasn’t much better (um, terrorism at the capitol?). While most people are pumped to return to some sort of normality, many of us dread going back into the office. For those of us who have been working from home the past year and a half, it’s going to be a little difficult to pull on some slacks instead of sweats to begin the workday- especially if you gained that quarantine fifteen, or more in my case. So how can we transition back into the IRL workforce both mentally and through our wardrobe? How can we look presentable while also being comfortable?

Here’s a Little Guide to Comfy Work Style:

Start with Dresses

Good news: It’s summer. In most locations, the weather is so hot, the idea of putting on any type of pants is dreadful. Pull out your sundresses from the back of your closet. Dresses are the easy way to go when it comes to planning an outfit. It’s literally one piece. Add some comfy work-appropriate shoes and a bag and BOOM, you’re good to go. Find something free-flowing with breathable fabric like cotton or linen. This can make you feel like you’re in a robe or loose shirt. Make sure the hem of the dress is not above the knee. Save the mini dresses for weekend BBQs.

Skirts

Skirts are another item that can be loose-fitting but still professional. For work, I would suggest skirts below the knee. I go through these phases where I just buy one thing I love in every color available. Right now I’m obsessed with satin midi skirts. They’re comfy, breathable, and easy to come by if you’re thrifting. They’re flattering on most body types. If you like to shop online, you can find them by searching either “satin midi skirt”, “silk midi skirt”, or “slip skirt.” Make it fun by finding a skirt with a funky pattern and pair it with a bright, solid-colored blouse.

Stretchy Pants

Stretchy pants? At work? Yes. There are pants out there that are made to look like slacks or fancy trousers that are made from a stretchy material. If you’re someone who prioritizes comfort in what you wear, there might already be a pair in your closet. For those who are new to the stretchy trouser phenomena, they are a brilliant invention. These pants are typically a blend of polyester with spandex so it makes them easy to move around in. They’re an actual life-saver. Now that it’s summertime, you can probably get away with wearing some linen trousers as well.

Jumpsuits

Who doesn’t love a good jumpsuit? Just like dresses, jumpsuits are a one-piece outfit option that doesn’t require a lot of thought or creativity. Look for one that is a cotton/polyester blend so it’s comfortable but still professional. Also, make sure it’s not see-through. Your corporate boss is paying you to work, not to see your bits. Save it for OnlyFans. This goes for any item of clothing at work but I have seen some jumpsuits that have very thin material that feels wonderful to wear but it’s just a bit too sheer. If you’re heading to the beach, those types of jumpsuits or rompers are perfect!

Shoes

My go-to shoes for work are platform heels or sandals. When you’re wearing shoes with a platform heel, it looks like you’re wearing higher heels than you are. Platforms allow you to wear shoes without a high arch, saving your feet from aches and pains. Not only are they easier to walk in, but they’re also really comfortable. Invest in good, comfortable shoes. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on them or anything, but don’t settle for low-quality shoes that are just going to end up hurting your feet.

Hiding Your Quarantine Fupa

So you gained a little weight in quarantine. That’s perfectly fine. Some researchers say that people in the United States gained more than half a pound each month of lockdown on average. It adds up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our bodies are constantly changing. If your old work clothes are fitting a little snug, here are some tips you can utilize to still look cute with a little extra weight on your bones.

The Rubber Band Trick

The rubber band trick is usually used for people who are pregnant but aren’t ready for maternity jeans just yet. You can use it for your food baby as well. Take a hair-tie or elastic band and loop it through your buttonhole. Loop one end of the hair-tie through the other to secure the band. Now you have a new buttonhole! You can find a demonstration here. Make sure it’s not visible by putting your shirt or blouse over it.

Paperbag Waist Pants

I love paper bag waist trousers. They make you look snatched while giving you leeway for your weight fluctuations. They give you space to gain and lose weight because essentially they are already wide around the waist, and you use a belt to cinch them in. Plus, I find that they usually have roomy pockets. Who doesn’t like extra pant storage?

Classic Dior-Esque Dresses or Skirts

Are you familiar with “The New Look” by Dior? It was the trend of dresses and skirts that dominated the 1950s. 50’s era skirts and dresses flare out at the waist, giving you the illusion of a smaller midsection. You can take this concept and apply it to your modern-day wardrobe without looking too mid-century if that’s not your style.

Bodies Change, Embrace It!

Body PositivityThere is nothing wrong with gaining weight, period. These are just techniques and tips one could use if they’re feeling a little self-conscious or don’t want to go out and buy bigger clothes. You can always try to make what you already have work for you. You shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable in your clothes so if you need to get new clothes to fit your new size, do it! No one is judging you. When you wear clothes that fit, you feel better, and when you feel better, you’re more confident. Confidence spills over into every form of your life; school, work, dating, etc. It’s always good to gain confidence.

While it’s a bit nerve-racking to be back in the office full-time, it’s a great opportunity for self-expression. For fashionistas like myself, it was a bit depressing to look in my closet every day and see all these pretty clothes that I loved, and having nowhere to wear them. Don’t get me wrong, I still got dressed up some days just to make myself feel better. But, it’s just not the same. I wish you luck on returning to work!

Imani is a writer and social media manager who assists with community outreach and marketing. Her own struggles with mental health and experience in therapy give her a unique perspective to empathize with people. Her experiences influence the blogs that she writes and the social media content she produces. In her free time, Imani enjoys traveling, making YouTube videos, reading, and obnoxiously singing to show tunes.