On a Saturday night not long ago, I found myself scouring my closet for something to wear to a friend’s small, outdoor birthday gathering. It had been months since I’d gone out in anything other than slippers, sneakers, or sandals and, in a decidedly ambitious move, I stepped into a pair of black boots with heels.
My body’s reaction was swift and decisive. Why was I moving so slowly? Had my strides always been this short? Pre-pandemic, I’d considered those same boots my everyday shoes, comfortable enough to wear from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back again. But now, they felt ridiculously formal, like I was teetering around in the strappy heels I’d stolen from my older sister’s closet in middle school. After several minutes spent wobbling around my apartment, I had no choice but to change.
Like so many of the cultural shifts brought on by the pandemic, It’s hard to anticipate the extent to which this past year of cozy, at-home dressing will influence workwear once we return to physical office spaces. While some women are undoubtedly eager to start getting dressed up again in the traditional sense, others, like myself, may never make a full return to pre-pandemic norms, opting instead for a simpler, pared-down aesthetic.
But pared-down has its limits, and even I can admit that some quarantine impulse buys are less suitable for the office than others. While my tie-dye sweatsuit will likely stay at home, these nine versatile pieces have officially transcended the loungewear category, proving themselves more than worthy for a day in the office.
1. Leset Lori Wide Leg Pant and Tank
For whatever reason, knit separates weren’t exactly on my pre-pandemic radar. But when a friend recommended these insanely comfortable Leset pants, I went all in on the matching set. The medium weight material is best suited for summer or fall, seasons in which many of us may still be navigating the transition from leggings and sweats to zippers and buttons.
2. Lunya Cozy Cotton Silk Mock Neck
As a connoisseur of black turtlenecks, trust me when I say this Lunya mock neck should absolutely be in your arsenal of cold weather staples. The thick material is extra flattering, and hidden thumb holes keep things cozy.
3. Aritzia Ganna Jacket
Aritzia’s Ganna shirt jacket (shacket?) is a little bit like the jeans from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: flattering on body types so different from one another that magic must somehow be at play. It’s structured enough to hold its shape out in the world, but cozy enough to wear around the house. I’m always surprised by how many compliments it garners—on Zoom and out in the real world.
4. Skims Fits Everybody Triangle Bralette and Brief
There’s been much discussion about the future of bras—after months spent without them, will anyone bother to wear one post-pandemic? While I personally am not ready to eschew them entirely, I am absolutely in favor of something a bit more comfortable. Enter: this wireless bralette and brief from Skims.
5. Everlane Forever Sneaker
It’s become abundantly clear to me that any serious transition back to heels will take some time (see above). And to be honest, I anticipate wearing them much less frequently. These super simple Everlane sneakers are comfortable, they look good with literally everything, and they’re machine washable.
6. Reformation Varenne Cashmere Tank and Cardi Set
Sweater sets are yet another category of clothing to which I’d given little thought pre-quar and frankly, I regret not discovering them sooner. This unbelievably soft Reformation set is 100% reentering society with me.