The definition of ‘business casual’ is about to get rewritten in the post-Covid era. As mass vaccination effort against COVID-19 is getting underway globally, more employees say they’re ready to return to the office. While adherence to safety protocols means the office itself may look different, office workers also expect themselves, specifically their clothing, will be different too.
In a recent study conducted by Kontoor Brands, the parent company of Wrangler and Lee, majority of workers (85%) expect their office will have a business-casual dress code. But, the time away from the formal working space seems to make their definition of “business casual” evolve.
Surveying 1,006 working adults, Kontoor Brands asked how their return-to-work wardrobe will compare to their pre-pandemic office attire. The findings are:
“With the trends and expectations we’re seeing, employers should consider rewriting the ‘business-casual’ definition,” said Scott Baxter, President and CEO, Kontoor Brands. “What the survey findings suggest is employees prefer their clothing to provide a seamless transition between their evolving professional and personal roles.”
The overwhelming majority of office workers (84%) said a wardrobe refresh is in order. On average, these consumers plan to spend $445 on new clothes. And more than 8 in 10 (82%) indicated they’ll buy new jeans in the next 12 months, many of whom plan to wear jeans more frequently when they return to the office. As for the reasons behind the denim demand, respondents said their current jeans were old or worn-out (45%), no longer fit (32%) or felt buying new jeans would brighten their mood (34%).
Baxter added that clothing is an extension of individual, and during times of uncertainty like today, people are buying and wearing clothes that make them feel more comfortable.
Furthermore, the survey found office workers expect their clothes to provide for an easy transition from the office to events. For example, consumers indicated they’re likely to wear jeans for a night out with friends (73%), a concert or live performance (70%) or date night (63%). And a surprising number said they plan to wear jeans to more formal events, such as weddings (31%).