It’s official: I’m back to a hybrid work schedule after years of full-time work from home (a privilege, I know). But it’s interesting—the main challenge I’m facing isn’t the return to routine (a commute, in-person meetings, what to pack for lunch), it’s actually far more superficial. I can’t decide what to wear.
An example: Ahead of a recent trip into the city (how I refer to my subway commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan), I hemmed and hawed in front of my closet the night before. I laid out a shirt. Then paused to steam the shirt. No, maybe I’d don a dress. And what about accessories? Should I add a cute boot? I tried everything on including my coat.
This was a dramatic shift from my pre-pandemic routine where aside from a big meeting day, I basically wore jeans and fashion-y sweatshirts to the office. (Think something from Clare V.) Yes, my company’s dress code prioritized casual and comfortable, but the return to work came with added pressure: If my colleagues get to see me in person once, maybe twice a week, shouldn’t I dress to impress? Wow them with my non-virtual polish, something that’s lost via dimly lit Zooms?
I asked other women how hybrid work has impacted their personal style. Guiliana, a Canada-based government project manager, says her two-day in-office routine has her in full Working Girl mode. “I spend at least ten minutes pre-planning outfits because I only have a couple of chances a week to see my co-workers and it makes going into the office more fun,” she explains.