Met Gala | Why workplace authenticity is ingrained in personal style

Why workplace authenticity is ingrained in personal style

The beginning of this week saw the much awaited 2024 Met Gala in New York City. Every year, onlookers wait to see what the world’s biggest stars are saying, but not with words or through their art, but through fashion.

Throughout the years, the event has seen some incredibly creative and ‘out there’ costumes. Yet, despite their artistic edge, every person’s outfit still embodies a unique sense of the identity of the person who is wearing it.

Personal style is something we all have whether we are conscious of it or not. The decisions we make around our wardrobe are based on multiple socio-economic and social factors. But generally, these decisions reflect who we are as a person and our own unique taste.

That’s why having a personal style at work can be a way people show up authentically, because they are expressing who they are, not only at work but outside of work.

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When work wear meets personal style

Recent figures revealed that UNIQLO sales had risen sharply because of Gen Zers returning to the workplace in the wave of return-to-office mandates. In response, UNIQLO’s CEO said the sales hike was largely due to young female shoppers wanting to buy clothes they can wear to the office and on a night out after work.

This news highlights the fact that style considerations are still very much a part of the working world. Sometimes there is a burden, particularly on women, to show up to work ‘looking the part’, which can put unnecessary pressures on people and cost time and money.

However, cultivating a personal workplace style is also a way staff can express themselves, but it isn’t always easy finding an equilibrium between clothes that are professional and yet still show off your personality.

As a Gen Zer, this is something I found personally challenging returning back to the office post-pandemic. Clothes and personal style are ways I show the world who I am. However, I graduated university in a pandemic and when everyone was working from home. So, my first introduction to workwear was my big t-shirt and pajama bottoms.

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For a lot of people, balancing the professional aspect of an outfit, so that you’re taken seriously, with your own personal flair is a challenge. And many people spend their whole work-life figuring out what this looks like.

Since the opening up of society after the pandemic, however, workplaces have become more relaxed in terms of dress code. Now, more casual attire isn’t only reserved for Fridays, but is often welcome any day of the week. For many employers, this is a small sacrifice to be made if staff are willingly coming back to the office.

I think this can only be a good thing because it encourages staff to be authentic. And it also encourages a culture of non-judgement towards quirky styles, jogging bottoms, primary hair colours, tattoos, or piercings – because these things all represent an employee’s authentic self, which is what employers have been trying to achieve for a while.

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