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Post Covid Attire: What is acceptable in the “new normal”?

september dresscode blog

By: Melissa Callum | Aug 30, 2022

The pandemic has changed a lot, including our work wardrobes. Not only do people question what is acceptable for in-person events, but what is the wardrobe for virtual calls? Now that some people are back in person while others work virtually, each call and in-person meeting seems to have a diverse wardrobe approach.

What makes you decide what to wear during your meetings or events? Is it the person you are meeting with, or is the meeting intention swaying your wardrobe choice?

While I am not an expert on what to wear, it has been something I am constantly keeping an eye on and observing in different settings. But it seems we all have the same questions, as I constantly receive emails specifically to figure out what is appropriate. While virtual calls may still allow the flexibility of business on the top and gym shorts on the bottom, what do people wear in-person in this post-Covid, more relaxed, casual time?

At a recent in-person event, I noticed that gone are the days of ties for men, and formal suit dresses for women, and what remains is the “smart casual” approach to the event for the guests. Smart casual has been a term that describes dress attire for an event, but not many attendees understand what that means. However, I think it is the direction in which we are going.

For those unfamiliar with the term, smart casual is a dress code that combines the well-fitted polished look of business wear with casual attire elements. It is a judgment call of the presentation you want to make to those around you. The smart casual attire combines the work-from-home style with business attire. 

The key to acing “smart casual” is to dress up a more casual outfit piece. If you want to pull out your jeans, make sure to pair them with a well pressed button-up or collared shirt. Dresses no longer require a blazer to be “work appropriate,” and heels are a fashion choice instead of a requirement. Men have moved into more casual footwear, with dress shoes that look and feel more like sneakers, and quarter zips or vests making the perfect chilly day ensemble. The influence of Gen Z and their fashion choices that are innately casual also could be a factor in how more seasoned generations feel they can get by with a smart casual look. 

While dress attire may change on a regular basis, the rule of thumb remains, “dress for the job you want”. After all, isn’t it all about looking and feeling put together?

Let me know your thoughts and what the new normal of event attire is, in the comments below.


Melissa Callum
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Life Sciences Pennsylvania


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