• Peter Yawitz

What Should I Wear When I Return To Work?

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

I started my first job last year and have worked from home since Day One. We’re scheduled to return to the office this summer and I’m not sure how I should dress since people have only seen me in the same four or five shirts, scruffy beard and a man bun.

Thanks,

Returning Soon


Dear Returning,

We’ve all become accustomed to wearing a somewhat decent looking top and a whatever-goes bottom. Before you go to your office I would check in with your manager or HR rep to see whether your company has a newly stated post-covid attire policy. If not, I’d revert to standard pre-pandemic business casual and then see how things adapt over time.


For guys: wear clean and wrinkle-free button-down shirts, polos or sweaters, and well-fitting unstained trousers. Standard khakis or grey pants are always a safe bet, but you may find that your company may be relaxing requirements on trousers, so black jeans and other more casual pants might be fine. I’d stay with dark or patterned socks.


Shoes: Spend some time dusting off and removing mud from shoes, and polish business shoes if you decide to go that route. Ties (when was the last time your wore one of those?) and blazers are fading away from business wardrobes more and more, but have a couple on hand in case your team has to make an “appearance.” Same with suits.


Face & hair: No rules here, but the safest move is to shave and get a haircut. You have to think about what people will focus on more: your ability to do great work and make a good impression before senior people and clients or your appearance.


Note that if your workplace has always been super casual (t-shirts or tanks, sweats or shorts, bare feet or flip-flops, clown wig) my only advice is launder everything (including your feet), or better yet, buy some new stuff, before you return to work.

Good luck,

SED