Covid-19 and dress code etiquette. 2020 was a year full of pajamas, sports pants, and slippers, and many other preferred items of leisure clothing for workers. This was endorsed by those who were forced to retire to their home office.
With nowhere to go and with kitchen tables, sofas, or beds being the prevailing workstations, what was the point of wearing formal clothing?
However, with vaccines circulating, employees now face the possibility of getting back to work and unfortunately may have to abandon their casual pants for smarter, more job-appropriate suits.
Workplace-friendly fashion is evolving rapidly as uniforms, once a mandatory corporate requirement, have been replaced by flexible workwear.
The onslaught of COVID-19 has further changed people’s views on office wear and tear, choosing comfort over appearance every time.
With nowhere to go and almost no one to impress, the vast majority of people this year spent more time in their pajamas than they rather admit.
Consumers are prioritizing comfort over style, giving up buying fashionable clothing for basic clothing in neutral colors and comfortable fabrics. Because, let’s face it, who’s going to judge seeing you in the same shirt three days in a row? Your cat? Your roommate?
“We want to be professional, but we also want to be comfortable,”
Now that remote work seems to have become the standard, it will inevitably change the way people dress for work, “It’s going to be hard to get people back into those awkward clothes after a long time of being in very comfortable clothes.
Covid-19 dress code etiquette: Comfort is critical
Casual and flexible dress codes were already in vogue before COVID-19. Now, many don’t think twice about lowering their closets before starting their workdays. Professionals have begun to realize that what they wear does not affect the quality of work.
Covid-19 dress code etiquette: Formal clothing won’t optimize your job performance
Also, with all modern results-oriented companies, bosses don’t care what their employees look like, as long as deadlines are met, and high quality of work is achieved during crisis time.
However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to resort to rigid, starchy wear and tear in the office. We’ve come a long way since the days of wearing the suit. Except for some industries, traditional corporate wear has been given the boot.
With workers returning to the office, fashion forecasters anticipate that loose clothing made of breathable materials is coming back into fashion.
As you meditate on your back-to-work style, you may want to invest in sustainable clothing, not waste your money on formal clothing you wear from time to time, but classic pieces that you can see yourself wearing outside the workplace.
It is recommended worldwide to follow respiratory hygiene measures such as the use of disposable masks and gloves, and above all to wash your hands and use antibacterial gel, in case washing is not possible.
Families also opt for a change of clothes and a bathroom when they get home.
When leaving home, remember that international standards establish the use of masks only for healthcare personnel and for people with respiratory symptoms.
However, at the moment the use of a mask is common as a preventive measure. If a mask is worn for more than six hours, it becomes damp, as well as if it is improperly stored. Health professionals say that this leads to respiratory infections.
Therefore, they must not be reused and must be discarded every six hours and hands washed.
5 recommendations for those who leave home in times of COVID-19
- Have only one pair of shoes for going out to the street. When you return home, disinfect the sole with bleach or wash them with plenty of soap and water. Never use them indoors, leave them at the entrance and use other footwear: slippers, for example. Apply the same with all who enter (it is recommended not to receive visits). Mop the floor of the driveway when you or someone comes from the street.
- Outside the home, wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Spend 20 seconds cleaning before touching your face. Heathcare professionals say that the use of gloves is not a safe guarantee outside the home. Latex can also store the virus for a long time. That means that when touching your face with gloves on, there is a greater risk of contagion. Gloves should be discarded after contact with foreign objects; wash your hands before and after removing them.
- Wash your hands and face when you get home (and if possible your hair) or better bathe with plenty of soap. If you wear glasses, also wash them; if they are made of plastic because they can be a source of infection. If you are going to go out, avoid wearing jewelry, bracelets – metal or woven – or accessories that could end up being contaminated and infecting loved ones in your home or yourself by wearing them to your face (the virus is contracted through the mouth, nose, and eyes).
- Do you wonder if you should change clothes when you get home? Do it if you work in homes, have been found in a place where people meet or if your clothes came into contact with objects that could be contaminated with the virus (handrails, elevator buttons, chairs, bus tubes, etc.). The virus stays up to four hours on surfaces like copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, two days on steel, and up to 72 hours on plastic. It is advisable to put the clothes in the washing machine, without shaking them inside the house.
- Disinfect objects that you carry in your hand. Keyrings, wallets, credit cards, personal documents, wallets, cell phones … should be cleaned with a cloth moistened with 70% alcohol. You can do the same with laptops, headphones, etc.
Covid-19 dress code etiquette: The ideal outfit
Grau indicates that to choose the ideal outfit, three factors must be taken into account:
The company you work for
How are the people with whom you interact daily? The circumstances of the moment should be stated if you have more formal meetings or Fridays at work are more informal. It should also be analyzed if there is a dress code in the company, since “a collaborator is not only the image of himself but of the company for which he works for”. The clothing must be the image of the company.
“We speak of the correctness of dress more than of good dress. Beyond clothing, other elements make up the good public image of the person. It is useless to be well-dressed if you do not have good hygiene, inadequate bearing, or poor verbal and bodily communication”.
It is not about to being attractive
The goal of having a proper personal image is not about looking more handsome or prettier as is usually thought. It is the ability to convey who we are without words.
Given this, it is also important to know how to choose the colors according to the situation that will be experienced at work. If you have an important negotiation, the ideal is to dress in blue and white tones because they provide confidence and transparency. Very bright tones such as reds should be avoided because they denote aggressiveness and a dominant attitude.
Another key moment in the way of dressing is when attending a job interview, where the person must study the type of dress in the company, their work culture, and adapt to it. If you are dressed very formal when they are not, you may be at a disadvantage.
Photo by: Joe Doucet