Bosses want bodies back in their cubicles, but that doesn’t mean things will look the same as they did before the 2020 exodus. The most notable aesthetic change may be the workplace suit—or the lack of it. The fusty old two-piece was already in decline before the pandemic, destabilized by casual Fridays, defied by Silicon Valley’s power vest, and upstaged by the popularity of streetwear.
Covid-19 was just another nail in its coffin. A 2022 forecast from personal-styling service Stitch Fix found that half of millennials say they never plan to wear a suit again, preferring to search instead for categories such as “business comfort.” Sales at clothing curator Thread actually went up in the past year, despite “significant declines” in the sales of suits, ties, and Oxford shoes.