What’s your hybrid workwear style?

Woman sitting at table, using laptop

Workwear has always been about more than clothes – the armour of a power suit for example, or the bullishness that came with the thickest pinstripes. But now we have seen another shift, with flexible work environments driving fashion trends that reflect the agility of the new world of work.

Lockdown home working, and the hybrid boom it accelerated, has brought us many things. But one of the best, arguably, was the tracksuit. Yes, they’ve always been around, but they became cool again, and so did everything else that is soft, comfortable, and elasticated around the waist. Onesies? Sure. Cashmere? Absolutely. Shirt and tie for Zoom cameras and joggers out of sight? Yes, we all did that.

IWG’s Workwear Reimagined study, which polled 1,000 US-based hybrid employees, found that nearly 80% of them dress differently now as an impact of a more flexible work environment. 35% said they blend casual and formal elements of clothing and 53% said they chose clothing that will straddle both professional and personal tasks.

“Post-pandemic, we all want to have a little fun with our looks and hybrid working allows for creativity and flexibility,” says New York City-based stylist and creative consultant Diana Tsui, who partnered with IWG on the study.

So what are the key trends?

To identify the most common themes, the hybrid workers IWG spoke to were asked for their insights on current and future fashion, what is considered appropriate to wear in a hybrid environment, and how they’ve evolved their style to reflect the present day. Their answers were captured in the recent IWG study “The Evolution of workwear fashion in a hybrid world”. Here are the trends that emerged:

  1. Quiet Luxury: This was the most popular style choice, with 47% of respondents saying that it was their go-to vibe. If you’re wondering what ‘quiet luxury’ means think of Gwyneth Paltrow, who is the queen of this timeless style. In essence, it’s business casual reimagined for 2023: sleek clothes and accessories, adopting a less-is-more approach that emphasises design, fabrication, and wearability – whether it’s jeans and a t-shirt, a roll-neck jumper, or trainers, each item reflects understated quality and sophistication.
  2. Dopamine Dressing: Zingy colours, bold shapes and some statement jewellery – dopamine dressing is about lifting the mood and bringing the energy. In the IWG poll, 38% of people said this formed an important part of their working style and it’s perhaps the clearest response to post-pandemic work life. It’s celebratory and social (dopamine dressing boosts others around you too), while also having an underlying awareness of mental health and the emotions that can come with work.
  3. Preppy Streetwear: A quarter of respondents said they go for this blend of styles, which fuses refined elements with urban, casual aesthetics. The characters in TV shows Sex Education and Gossip Girl are adherents to this look and it’s perfect for hybrid working because it can feel both smart and casual at the same. Preppy streetwear is a particularly Millennial/Gen Z phenomenon.
  4. Individualism: And then there will always be those people who just want to do their own thing. To break free from the fashion rules and push any workwear traditions to the boundaries. 22% told IWG that they go for individualism above all, and in a world where dress codes are often still in force (79% of respondents said their companies have strictly enforced policies) that in itself presents an interesting view of modern work life. It could be creative employees putting new twists on the classics, or a quiet protest in the form of a lurid shoe or a slogan T-shirt. Whatever the reason for individualism, every office needs a few of these rebels.

Of course, there are plenty of traditional styles and choices, and most people do look great (and feel great) in a suit. There are some more niche trends too – Tomato Girl/Boy, for example, which involves natural hues highlighted by a dash of red. What’s important though, is that the flexibility of hybrid and the segmentation of the working week between company headquarters and workspace closer to home, has empowered people with the freedom to find their own style. As IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon says: “The demand for hybrid work continues to increase dramatically, and this evolution impacts everything from real estate to fashion.”

Explore our Spaces and find a workspace that aligns with your unique workwear persona and style.

Share this article
These work health start-ups are trending. Here’s what you need to know. Read now These work health start-ups are trending. Here’s what you need to know. Pitch perfect: 7 secrets for a standout business presentation Read now Pitch perfect: 7 secrets for a standout business presentation