The everyday struggle one goes through in deciding what to wear to work can be a challenge at times. But the question, “what to wear to work”, has changed dramatically in recent years with the advent of so many brands dedicated to office wear. From printed shirts to long skirts, flare dresses to ethnic kurtas for women. And from stylish cotton trouser and chinos to trendy shirts and polos for men — office wear today is more colourful, vibrant and comfortable. The trends in workwear have evolved over the years. People nowadays prefer clothes for work which are more casual yet have that professional look.
In summer, being comfortable and choosing light colours remains a priority. Considering one spends most time of the day in office, choosing clothes that are comfortable is always preferable. It is thus, designers these days tend to use fabrics which have a comfy feel about them.
Sneha Mehta, founder of brand Kukoon says, “The most easy and comfortable fabric for work wear is definitely natural fibre namely cotton and silk, which is known for its softness and smartness. However, the easier to maintain would be any poly blend content fabric as it is effortless and does not crease easily.”
“Work wear now is not restricted to just crisp white shirts and pant suits. New shapes like silk blouses with cropped trousers, ruffle tops, easy shift dresses, shirt dresses, fit and flare dresses, skirt suits, are also a part of the work wear trend. And as for the colours, neutral and pastels has surpassed the classic regular blues and whites. Accessorising it with pop colours are fashionable now. Coming to accessories, sneakers and shoulder sling bags add a little quirkiness and more comfort to the formal looks,” she adds.
Ashish Gurnani, co-founder of PostFold.com, points out the best fabrics for summers. He says, “Considering it is the season of summer, we usually work with a lot of poplin shirts to ensure the crispness one requires while dressing for work. Apart from this, for women — rayon, georgette, linen and cape are some of the other main fabrics used to design and produce comfortable yet chic looking office wear for the customers. Fabrics that work best for men in summers are oxford, dobby, chambray, filafil.”
“If one has to look at the design aesthetics adopted by us, we prefer – Boho, Monochrome, Nautical play a major role inspiring our current summer’16 collection. When we talk about silhouettes, one needs to focus on focus kimonos, maxis, skater dress, shirt dress,” Gurnani adds.
What is noticeable in the workwear fashion trends is that it is quirky and colourful designs are in vogue. Patterns like stripes, aztecs, florals, colour blocks, paintings, motifs like robots , bold brush strokes, stylized lips, 3D cubes, marbling waves prints are incorporated in clothing line which gives them an attractive and sophisticated look. But Ahmedabad-based designer Purvi Doshi believes that Khadi still remains all time rage. “Linen and Khadi are always in fashion and it is one of the most comfortable fabrics that can be worn in this hard-hitting summer,” she says.
“Work wear now is not restricted to just crisp white shirts and suits. New shapes like silk blouses with cropped trousers, ruffle tops, easy shift dresses, shirt dresses, fit and flare dresses, skirt suits, are also a part of the office wear trend.”
When it comes to workwear a lot of brands are also offering customised clothes according to the taste of their customers. Simran Arya of brand Carousel says, “We like to customise workwear as per our client’s needs, so we keep in mind the kind of work they do and their body type while designing. We mostly keep the look minimal and chic, focusing on flattering silhouettes, matching pant suits and skirt suits as well as mono chrome ensembles. Skirt suits and jackets with peplums are the hottest workwear trends.”
Designer Lalit Dalmia, believes that the retro feel in work wear is something that is still in demand. He says, “Mono colors and straight line silhouettes are off trend for office wear and formals. With growing awareness people crave for more different looks and feel as far as formals are concerned, checks and meshes had been evergreen since time immemorial. People crave for more retro feel in this modern age and era. The retro feel engulfs old school and steam punk trends. This could possibly be a great outbreak in recent time fashion. Apart from being visually more classic this trend sets our minds and moods into a typical working environment.”
Not to forget, ethnic clothing lines are always in demand. Long kurtas and cotton sarees can never go wrong when it comes to be in the office limelight. Jaya Bhatt, co-founder of Indigene says, “Ethnic clothes always look good. We usually keep it basic. But we try to create garments that can be worn in several ways like a long dress can be worked with a pair of pants or even a churidar to give it an ethnic twist. We also do combinations such as overlays and throw layers to add more to a basic top or a dress.”
While the other co-founder of Indigene, Ruchi Tripathi says, “We mostly work with traditional printing techniques. It could be a global theme or just something that inspired us. In our current summer range, we have used Ajrakh which is inspired by the African mud hut paintings, keeping the pallet natural.”
But for some designers, quirky prints are somewhat not professional enough to be worn to work. “Prints don't look professional and they have a very short life. And more so, we believe in slow fashion,” says Doshi.
When it comes to office goers, young entrepreneurs are not the only ones who opt to experiment with their style quotient. “Our clothing lines are designed for each age group. We have pencil dresses, versatile summer jackets, sleeveless blazers and tops that can be taken from day to night simply by switching accessories,” says Arya.
“We have several long dresses, teamed up with over lay options. Pants having comfortable fittings and jackets scarves and stoles are some of the collection that goes for any age group,” says Tripathi.
These days, men can also be seen experimenting with all the modern kind of patterns that are retro yet modish. “This season major trends for men are a mix of knit and woven fabrics. Designers have been seen experimenting with silhouettes like baseball shirts, long line shirts etc. Our USP being AM to PM dressing, we have used subtle Boho elements on poplin shirts, contrast elbow patches, colour blocks and knitten woven combos. This helps in maintaining a good balance of the AM to PM concept.” Says Gurnani.
“Men’s work wear possess strong elements this season. It is all about details like, top stitches, high low shirts, necessary front creased trousers being called as press pants. In terms of textures bold stripes and muted prints play are a great add on to menswear wardrobe,” says Mehta.
With the evolving work culture, workwear too seems to have evolved. Wearing fashionable clothes to work is something that could make one’s otherwise boring and monotonous work life exciting.