Fashion at the New-Age Workplace: How Gen Z is Redefining Workwear in 2024

October 4, 2023

Gen z workwear focuses on comfort and functionality rather than formality. Cropped blazers are a popular option for millennials because they are a more casual look that still looks nice and professional. Gen z workwear is often seen as an inspiration for all because it focuses on comfort and practicality while still looking professional.

Office fashion has gone through a drastic change over the years. With Gen-Z joining the workforce during the pandemic, workwear has gone from stuffy professional suits, to comfy sweats at home, to the latest TikTok fashion trends. If you’ve been shopping for blazers online, you might have noticed that many of them now come in cropped styles. Millennials are showing up in the workplace wearing casual outfits, and workwear.

The dress code of private offices often called for gender-specific outfits a few decades ago, but the current generation is advocating for a unisexual approach. Today, Gen-Z is hellbent on changing the status quo and introducing a new range of office attire that promote individuality and self-expression.

But what is the cause behind this change? And how is Gen-Z redefining what we wear in an office space? We need to dial the clock back a century to find answers to these questions. 

What is Gen Z Style of Office Wear?

Gen Z’s approach to office wear signifies a blend of comfort, personal expression, and sustainability, breaking away from the traditional corporate dress code. This generation values individuality and tends to incorporate unique, versatile pieces that can transition from office settings to social gatherings.

What are the Characteristics of Gen Z workplace attires?

Characteristics of Gen Z Office Wear

Gen Z’s work outfits are a reflection of their values and lifestyles. Here are key characteristics of Gen Z office wear:

  • Flexibility and Comfort: Emphasis on clothing that allows for ease of movement, often incorporating athleisure elements into daily work attire. Gen Z’s love for athleisure wear has extended to the workplace. Athleisure pieces like joggers, hoodies, and sneakers are comfortable and convey an active and dynamic lifestyle.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Fashion: Preference for brands that prioritise environmental sustainability and ethical manufacturing processes. Sustainability is at the forefront of Gen Z’s fashion choices. They opt for clothing made from organic or recycled materials, and prioritise brands with transparent sustainability efforts.
  • Personal Expression: Incorporation of bold colours, patterns, and vintage pieces to express individuality, while still maintaining a professional appearance.
  • Tech-Incorporated Accessories: Utilisation of smart accessories and wearable tech as part of the overall outfit. Outfits with sensors to monitor health, self-heating mechanisms, and lighting choices have been the trendiest wear of the generation.
  • Blending Styles: Mixing casual pieces with more formal items to create a balanced look that’s both professional and relaxed.
  • Gender-Neutral Dressing: Gen Z is breaking down traditional gender norms in fashion. Gender-neutral dressing is a hallmark of their work attire, allowing for self-expression and inclusivity.

The Evolution of Gen Z Workplace Attire

The Gen-Z approach to office dressing – sometimes too casual and too bold – has become a concern for private offices worldwide. But the truth is that Gen-Z is not the only culprit responsible for bringing about a change in office dress codes.  

We have experienced a change in workplace attire every few decades.

In the early 20th century, offices were extremely formal places. As a result, men wore full sets of suits, while working women had to wear traditional gowns. But after 30 years, there was a change in workplace attire. Women’s clothing started sporting collars, and men’s outfits were a bit more relaxed, even though suits were still the norm.

Over the next few decades, things remained more or less the same. Women would alternate between skirts and pantsuits, while men would wear variations of business suits. But as the 90s knocked on the door, there were some evident changes in how people started to dress professionally.  

Bold colours were introduced, with office-goers no longer hesitant to wear bright red or yellow outfits. Casual wear also transitioned into workwear, with men sporting a new range of fashion called “Business casuals”.

Over the years, business casual became the new norm in offices. Men would now ditch the suit and instead showcase slim-fit shirts and trousers. Women, on the other hand, would wear sweaters, classic blouses, and collared shirts.

Gen Z Friendly Private Office Spaces

Private offices that foster freedom to workplace attire

Gen Z’s Take on Workwear 

The Gen-Z, the newest addition to the private office workforce, has already managed to spark various opinions around them. This cohort, known for its creativity, individuality, and tech-savviness, is set to revolutionise how people dress for work. 

Gen-Z professionals are challenging traditional workplace attire norms, and are ushering in an era of versatility, sustainability, and self-expression. For this generation, dressing up for work is about feeling good rather than following a norm. They want to show off their taste in fashion without compromising on their comfort or workplace norms. Workwear has quickly gone from bleak, traditional business formals to more casual, colourful, bold, and printed attire. 

Safe to say, the next time you walk into your office space, you might catch your Gen-Z coworker sporting a relaxed outfit, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, high-waisted trousers and  jeans.

How to Get Dressed for Office: Tips for Gen-Z Work Wear

The workplace work style is not the same as in 2000s, and so is the fashion that comes with it. In 2023-24, Gen Z is bringing a fresh perspective to workwear, blending comfort, individuality, and professionalism in unprecedented ways. As we explore the corridors of modern offices like GO (Garden Office) Bermondsey, it’s clear that the new generation is not only redefining how we work but also how we dress for it.

1. Embracing Comfort Without Compromising Style

Gen Z has grown up in a world that values comfort just as much as style. Gone are the days when stiff suits and tight dresses were the norm. Instead, you’ll find tailored joggers, stylish yet comfortable sneakers, and breathable fabrics. This shift is not just about feeling good but also about increasing productivity. After all, when you’re comfortable, you can focus better on your work.

2. Personal Expression Through Fashion

One of the standout features of Gen Z’s approach to workwear is the emphasis on personal expression. This generation isn’t afraid to incorporate bold colours, unique patterns, and even statement accessories into their work outfits. It’s a reflection of their desire to bring their whole selves to work, breaking down the barriers between personal and professional identities.

3. Sustainability is Key

Sustainability is a significant concern for Gen Z, and this is reflected in their fashion choices. They prefer brands that are environmentally conscious and often opt for thrifted or vintage clothing. This not only reduces their carbon footprint but also adds a unique twist to their wardrobe.

At GO (Garden Office) Bermondsey, we’ve noticed an increasing number of employees sporting eco-friendly fashion, which aligns with our values of sustainability.

4. Blurring the Lines Between Casual and Formal

The traditional boundaries between casual and formal wear are becoming increasingly blurred. Gen Z is masterful at mixing and matching pieces to create looks that are both professional and relaxed. Think blazers paired with jeans or a chic dress with comfortable flats. This hybrid style is perfect for the flexible and dynamic work environments of today.

5. Tech-Savvy Wardrobes

With the rise of remote work and digital meetings, Gen Z is also considering how their outfits appear on screen. High-quality fabrics that look good on camera, minimalistic designs, and subtle details have become important. They are tech-savvy and understand the impact of visual presentation in virtual meetings, ensuring they always look polished, even if they are working from a co-working space like GO – Garden Office Bermondsey.

Fashion Tips for Elevating Your Workwear

If you’re looking to refresh your work wardrobe, here are some tips inspired by Gen Z:

  1. Invest in Versatile Pieces: Choose clothing that can easily transition from casual to formal settings. Blazers, neutral-toned trousers, and versatile dresses are great options.
  2. Prioritize Comfort: Don’t sacrifice comfort for style. Look for pieces made from breathable fabrics and opt for tailored fits that allow movement.
  3. Express Your Personality: Don’t be afraid to incorporate elements that reflect your personality. Whether it’s a bold colour, a unique accessory, or a vintage piece, make your outfit your own.
  4. Go Green: Consider the environmental impact of your fashion choices. Support brands that prioritize sustainability and explore second-hand shops for unique finds.
  5. Adapt for the Screen: If you’re frequently on video calls, consider how your outfits appear on camera. Opt for clean, crisp designs that present well digitally.

Gen-Z’s Impact: Blending Modern Work Attire with Work-Life Balance

Experts believe that the main reason behind this shift in mentality is Gen-Z’s attitude towards the pre-existing work culture. Unlike their predecessors, Gen-Z is about comfort, individualism, and work-life balance. 

Since most new joiners got their first break during the pandemic, they became more comfortable in a remote working space. As a result, they understood the need for work-life balance, and the importance of life after office hours. 

Even after the end of lockdown, this mindset continued. Hence, even when companies reintroduced working from offices, Gen-Z remained adamant and refused to mould themselves into traditional workplace norms. This choice was reflected in the way they dressed, with outfit choices that blurred the lines between professional and casual environments.

List of Gen Z Workers Dressed to Stand Out

Gen Z icons known for their inspiring office wear and overall style include:

  1. Emma Chamberlain: The influencer and entrepreneur is known for her unique blend of vintage and modern workwear fashion, often incorporating casual yet chic elements into her outfits that can inspire office wear.
  2. Timothée Chalamet: Although not typically in an office setting, his fashion-forward public appearances showcase how traditional menswear can be reimagined with bold choices and fluidity.
  3. Zendaya: Known for her impeccable style, Zendaya often blends sophistication with modern trends, making her red carpet looks a source of inspiration for elevated office wear.
  4. Hailey Bieber (Baldwin): As a model and media personality, Hailey Bieber’s style is a blend of modern chic and comfort, often sporting elegant yet wearable looks perfect for a young professional’s wardrobe.
  5. Greta Thunberg: While primarily known for her environmental activism, Greta’s approach to fashion with a focus on sustainability and minimalism also influences a more conscious selection of office wear among her peers.

These icons reflect Gen Z’s values of sustainability, individuality, and adaptability, influencing a shift in what is considered appropriate and inspiring office wear.

How can You take Inspiration from Gen Z Style?

Generation Z is known for its commitment to individuality, environmental consciousness, and the blending of high and low fashion. Here’s how you can incorporate elements of Gen Z style into your own wardrobe or design philosophy:

  1. Embrace Individuality: Make your own style. Mix and match pieces in unexpected ways to create unique outfits. Gen Z isn’t afraid to stand out, so consider combining vintage finds with modern pieces, or mixing patterns and textures that traditionally wouldn’t go together.
  2. Sustainability First: Gen Z is highly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases, so incorporating thrifted or upcycled items can also reflect this value.
  3. Comfort Meets Style: Look for ways to combine comfort with style. Athleisure and oversized clothing are popular among this generation, proving that you can look fashionable without sacrificing comfort. Incorporate stretch fabrics, sneakers with formal wear, or sweatshirts with stylish accessories.
  4. Bold and Expressive: Don’t shy away from bold colours, statement pieces, or graphic tees that express your opinions and interests. Gen Z uses fashion as a form of self-expression and activism, so wearing items that convey a message or represent your personality is key.
  5. Tech-Savvy Accessories: Integrate technology into your style with smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearable tech. Accessories are not just about fashion but also about functionality and staying connected in a digital world.
  6. Gender Fluidity: Embrace gender-neutral clothing and styles that break traditional gender norms. Gen Z is leading the way in dismissing outdated fashion rules based on gender, promoting a more inclusive approach to style.

To Sum Up 

The transformation of workwear led by Gen Z dress code is not limited to clothing choices but extends to workplace norms. Companies, recognising the need to attract and retain young talent, are adopting more flexible and relaxed workplace practices. 

At GO (Garden Office) Bermondsey, we support a modern and open-minded workplace approach. The working spaces offered by GO Bermondsey are equipped with contemporary workplace services, and a range of amenities.

Take a leap towards the future with a contemporary office space! Rent your office spaces with GO Bermondsey today!

Frequently Asked Questions

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