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Is “Power Casual” the New Normal Look to Embrace for Office Outfits?

power casual is the new normal look we're supposed to embrace for our office outfits right now

Back to normal, back to the office, and back to needing work outfits! Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy has curated a list of the new luxury post-pandemic work wardrobe essentials to buy and wear in the office, including jumpsuits, trousers, oversized shirts and sandals. If power casual is the new normal look we’re supposed to embrace for our office outfits right now, here’s how it’s done.

Power casual is the buzzy new idea for office outfits post-pandemic

After a year of conducting meetings barefoot in elasticized pants (or no pants at all), it may seem stifling to return to the office outfits of yesteryear. Heels? Tucked in blouses? Pencil skirts requiring shape wear? No thank you.

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As more and more workplaces adopt a hybrid model, our office clothing is also undergoing a transition. Employees are prioritizing their physical and mental wellbeing after this challenging time.

Our take on new office outfits that are power casual, and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic.

Our take on new office outfits that are power casual, and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic.

And it should come as no surprise that feeling comfortable in our skin and clothes actually boosts productivity and a sense of empowerment. In fact, according to studies before the pandemic, 61% of employees claim to be more productive when the dress code is relaxed.

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So what are the new post-pandemic work wardrobe staples to buy now? There’s a renewed focus on casual and relaxed styles that still look polished. We’re feeling the ease and sophistication of a uniform — one and done pieces that get you out the door with minimal fuss.

The sweet spot between a pair of sweat pants and trousers, between a nap dress and form-fitting sheath dress.

power casual is the new normal look we're supposed to embrace for our office outfits right now

Our take on new office outfits that are power casual, and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic.

Ahead, check out our favorite contenders to be best and most comfortably dressed in the office.

new office outfits that channel the power casual vibe right now

1. the jumpsuit

The jumpsuit has been melding form and function since its beginnings as a military uniform during World War I. The instant outfit looks effortless and polished and we love the cool, androgynous vibes.

Outerknown is legendary surfer Kelly Slater’s sustainable fashion brand and this seasonless sage jumpsuit ($168) is their all-time best-selling one piece. It’s made from a super soft organic cotton and linen blend to keep you comfy all day long.

new office outfits and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic, including jumpsuits

Our take on new office outfits and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic, including jumpsuits.

Alex Mill created the perfect overall/jumpsuit hybrid in this upcycled denim Ollie Overall ($155). The weight of the denim is perfect and smooths out any lumps and bumps. We know because we tried it on and bought two!

Vetta specializes in refined capsule wardrobes based on a few key staples. This cape jumpsuit ($159) is a must-have for its alluring shape that can be worn and tied two ways.

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2. the pant

We have a love-hate relationship with pants. And after lunch, it’s mostly a hate-hate relationship. Enter soft elastic pants that look luxe and elevated to save the day.

Cuyana’s timeless collections encourage customers to purchase fewer but better quality pieces that they will love and treasure for years to come. When it comes to new office outfits, these high-waisted cropped pants ($175) are perfect, rendered in languid washable silk. You won’t miss your sweats at all.

post-pandemic wardrobe

You’ll reach for ADAY’s smart pants ($155) on all those days you “have nothing to wear.” The gathered waistband and self-tie add instant style without sacrificing comfort.

Leather joggers are the update to the terry sweats you’ve been working in. This pair ($995) from Veronica Beard are kinda casual, kinda glam, and infinitely cool.

3. the dress

Dresses can get a bad rap for being overly fussy. But that doesn’t need to be the case. For work, we prefer a minimalist and monochrome look that can be layered with statement jewelry if needed.

First things first. Apiece Apart’s flowy dress ($325) is fitted with an elastic waist. But it has enough thoughtful details like a mandarin collar and half sleeves to give you shape and proportion.

post-pandemic wardrobe

Post-pandemic wardrobes: Courtesy Photo.

Perenially cool French girl brand, A.P.C, always creates timeless pieces that still feel fresh year after year. This polo dress ($335) made with a thick weave cotton is the uniform we need.

It’s got the ease of a t-shirt and the polish of a dress. Made with pima cotton, Cuyana’s gathered dress ($125) is laidback and flattering.

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4. the shirt

The post-pandemic work shirt is getting a make-under. Think less tailored and more unstructured. Less tucked in and more attitude.

We’re not ready to give up our tie-dye yet. Luckily, Faherty Brand marries traditional shirting with an ocean-inspired print ($148) washed to perfection.

This voluminous blouse ($495) from L.A-based CO gives us authoritative and artsy vibes. Roll up those extra-wide cuffs and get to work!

Can you wear a sweatshirt ($187) to work? We think so. This one in a muted and elegant green is given a bit more structure with padded shoulders and added visual interest with balloon sleeves.

5. the sandals

While almost anything goes in the new hybrid workplace, shoes are non-negotiable. Thanks to the ubiquity of Birkenstocks, “ugly” and comfy sandals are in and a totally appropriate way to finish off a casual work capsule.

The Odells brand is the epitome of California cool. These puffy slides ($220) are constructed to mold to your feet over time and pair perfectly with culottes or a dress.

We love Loeffler Randall’s sporty platforms ($295) made from Italian vachetta leather that ages beautifully over time. The snake embossed pattern adds a bit of downtown edginess to a minimalist ensemble.

Crafted in Greece from vegetable-tanned leather, these clean and crisp sandals ($310) come with plenty of personality thanks to its playful heart buckles.

office outfits and how to dress for work in the post-pandemic new normal

That’s our take on new office outfits that convey power while being casual and comfy, and how to dress for work in the new normal post-pandemic.

We might not be 100% ready to start commuting to work again but there’s no surer way to boost enthusiasm than new clothes you can’t wait to wear. Every little bit helps. Happy Back to Work Shopping to all the grown-ups!

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, and fitness. Julie lives in New York where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing. And spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.

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