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For the past year and a half, a lot of us have turned sweatpants into a uniform, realizing that one of the many perks from that work-from-home life is that you can put your Zoom call on "audio only" while wearing a leopard-print robe and an eye mask (or maybe that's just me). Now that the world is opening up, many people are returning to the office, trying to navigate our new "normal." The thought of wearing pants with a zipper every single day can be a daunting thought, especially for those of us who put on some pandemic pounds (or maybe that's just me, again). But, don't worry. Going back into work doesn't mean we have to completely revert to our old ways.
Say it with me people, "hybrid style." There are plenty of styles that are office-approved, but aren't actually a major departure from your just-chilling wardrobe. Case in point, the dress pants/yoga pants combo does exist. And the hybrid way of thinking can go beyond that leap from your couch to the office. There are lots of clothes that work in an office setting that you can dress up or down for other occasions.
When it comes down to it, we are all about the multi-functional wardrobe pieces. Keep on scrolling to check out our suggestions.
1. Comfortable Pants
Yes, there's nothing better than a cozy pair of sweats or leggings, but there are some suitable substitutes.
Betabrand Dress Pant Yoga Pants- Straight-Leg Classic
No, that's not a typo "dress pant yoga pants" are actually a thing. Just click this link to see photos of women stretching, jumping, and lounging in these pants. They have all the comfort of yoga pants, but no one seeing you would even realize. Betabrand also has other options, including, boot cut, wide leg, pockets, cropped, and more.
Athleta Skyline Pant II
Athleta also comes through with the comfortable pants options. How polished does this pair look? But touch the fabric and you'll feel silky sleek and light as air. The lightweight fabric is perfect for work, travel, and honestly, pretty much anything else on your schedule.
Lululemon City Sleek 5 Pocket 7/8 Pant
You know how much we love Lululemon, but we have to emphasize that they come through for more than just activewear. These pants are designed for the woman on the move (literally). They're made from Warpstreme™ fabric, which has a 4-way stretch and it's wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking.
2. Shoes That Won't Hurt Your Feet
It's gonna be tough to switch things up from wearing socks and slippers at home, but that doesn't mean office shoes can't be cute or that cute shoes can't be comfortable.
Sarto by Franco Sarto Grayson Slingback Flat
These flats are made from a super soft leather that epitomize casual elegance. Sure, these are great for work, but you can also wear them outside of work. There are plenty of colorways to choose from.
Sam Edelman Felicia Flat
These best-selling Sam Edelman flats are a wardrobe essential. If you get these could-like flats in nude or black you're set for any outfit, in and out of the office.
3. Carry-All Tote Bags
Going back to work means you'll have to think ahead and pack up your essentials before you leave the house. You need a durable bag with organizational compartments that's actually stylish.
J.Crew The Carryall Tote
J.Crew's The Carryall Tote is made from a soft, luxurious leather. You can fit a laptop in here easily. You can even pay $10 to monogram it. It comes with a matching zip-up pouch for your smaller essentials too. Get the brown tote, the black tote, or both. Hey, it's on sale right? Just don't forget to use the code BESTSALE at checkout to save an additional 50% on the tote (which is already on sale).
Dreubea Women's Soft Faux Leather Tote Shoulder Bag
Don't let the $12 price tag fool you. This bag is durable for everyday use. You can fit your iPad, charger, wallet, books, phone, keys, and the rest of your essentials in there. There's one big pocket and a smaller pocket on the inside for additional organization. There are 100+ colors to choose from, which means you can get one to match every outfit. If this sounds too good to be true, read the 22,000+ 5-star reviews gushing about the tote.
4. Button-Down Tops
The suggestion that you should wear a button-down top to work is hardly innovative, but hear me out. The suggestion here is that you can actually wear that button-down top outside of work, hence the whole "hybrid" thing. We're trying to ditch the concept of a "work only" wardrobe... and figure out if it's a "button-up" or a "button-down."
Pair your button-down top with jeans, shorts, skirts, or even turn it into a bathing suit cover-up. You can button it up all the way, wear it completely open, or button it partially. You can roll up the sleeves. Just think about it: a button-down shirt has so many styling options. And if you really want, you can go all Risky Business with it and wear the button-down shirt as pajamas.
Runcati Womens Button Down V Neck Shirts Long Sleeve
Summer House star Paige DeSorbo recently raved about this white button-up and shared all her styling insights. She emphasized, "There are so many different situations where you can wear one." She suggested tying up the shirt and rocking it with biker shorts and a crop top or wearing it as a swimsuit cover-up to the beach." Paige said, "You can wear it open or you can wear it tied up," suggesting a pairing with leggings or jeans. If you don't have a white top like this or if you just need a wardrobe refresh, get this one from Amazon.
J. Crew Slim-Fit Puff-Sleeve Shirt in Stripe
This blouse is the perfect combination of sleek and easy. Get it in blue, red, or both since it's on sale. It's not your typical button-down shirt. It has voluminous sleeves. It's extremely comfortable, made from organic poplin with just the perfect amount of stretch; i.e. you won't feel constricted when you wear this one.
5. A Blazer
You're probably thinking "duh." Again, wearing a blazer to work isn't reinventing the wheel, but you can switch things up a bit with fun colors and patterns. And then, on the weekend, you can wear a bright blazer with shorts just like Hailey Bieber did recently. You can wear it on your shoulders sans sleeves, which is just so chic. Don't let the blazer wear you. You wear the blazer. You can make it as casual or as professional as you want it to be. It's all about the styling. And, confidence, of course.
Lulus Miss Punctuality Green and Black Floral Print Lightweight Blazer
This Lulus blazer is available in two floral prints and several solid colors. The prints are just so fun, but it's a blazer, so this would be appropriate for a work function.
Boston Proper Beyond Travel Blazer
This boyfriend-style blazer is a piece that you can wear anywhere. The yellow color is to die for and you need to check out the powder blue, red, and ivory options. If you're looking for a chic pop of color, this is it. Oh, and the best part: this is wrinkle-resistant fabric. You can wear this all day or put it on straight out of your suitcase without worrying about a thing.
Lulus Blooming Sophistication Cream Floral Print Blazer
This print is bold, but the muted colors make this blazer perfect for any setting.
6. A Midi Skirt
You can never go wrong with a mid-length skirt. You can dress it up or dress it down, making it much more versatile than the mini skirt or the maxi. Wear a midi with a button-down top, a blazer, or a nice top for the office. Or you can just throw on a crop top or a t-shirt for a casual function.
Loft Plus Cheetah Print Pocket Midi Skirt
I know what you're thinking: "Leopard, for the office? Really?" If you think about it, leopard is really just an amalgamation of neutrals. You will redefine cubicle-chic with this animal print midi skirt. And you're also gonna wear this one on the weekends too. Just think about all the outfits you can make with the tops, jackets, and shoes that you already have.
Madewell Paperbag Button-Front Midi Skirt in Stripe
You'll be ready for a meeting with this midi skirt and a white top or blazer. Outside of the office, you can be more chill in a t-shirt, tank top, or crop top with a denim jacket. This is another midi skirt that can be styled in a plethora of different ways with other pieces you already own.
Lulus Superpower Blush Suede Pencil Skirt
The Lulus website says it best: "You'll be a multi-tasking maven in the Lulus Superpower Blush Suede Pencil Skirt!" This vegan suede skirt is available in multiple colors. You can create a sophisticated office look or turn things up for a night on the town. Just picture it with your favorite boots in the fall. Once again, there are so many styling options.
7. A Wardrobe Subscription Plan
If you don't want to invest in a whole new work wardrobe (or all the laundry and dry cleaning that comes with it), try out Rent the Runway. It's a clothing subscription service with options to rent multiple items at a time. You don't have to wash the clothes or pay for shipping. That's all included. It doesn't get any easier than that. And if you're not currently at your typical clothing size or you just tend to fluctuate size-wise, this is a great option to get exactly what works for you at the moment.
If you want to add to your closet, but you just want someone else to do the styling, we love Nordstrom's Trunk Club and Stitch Fix. Both options take your personal preferences and budgets into account with personalized picks from fashion stylists.
If you prefer to pick your own clothes, but you don't want to commit until you try it out, check out Amazon's Prime Wardrobe service. You can have up to 8 items for a 7-day period. Keep the ones you like and send back the items you aren't feeling. You'll be provided with a prepaid box for returns.
If you love wearing heels to work, but don't want to sacrifice your comfort, check out our roundup of the most comfy options around.