Workwear will never be the same again. Whether you work in an office setting or not, 2022 has us deserting the traditional work uniform (stiff suiting, form-fitting pencil skirts, uncomfortable heels, and fussy blouses) in favor of a look that’s entirely personal. We’re making room for relaxed silhouettes, sharp denim, bold colors, and, most importantly, pieces that spark joy. Nope, this isn’t your grandmother’s office attire — and that’s the point.
The fun part is that there aren’t many rules to this new approach. Think of it as a comfort-first mentality with an elevated twist. The key is to look and feel like a polished, ready-for-a-promotion version of yourself. Take risks, find joy, and keep an open mind.
Pre-pandemic, Carmen Loo, like most of us, was commuting daily into her New York City office. She had two completely separate wardrobes — one for work and one for everything else. As someone who works in the insurance industry, she had to dress professionally, and for her, that meant formal work dresses, pants, and button-downs — not because she enjoyed wearing those things, but because she thought she had to wear them. And in a way, she did.
After two years of working from home, reevaluating not only how she wanted to work but also what she wanted to wear while doing it, she realized — along with everyone else — that she no longer wanted to feel confined. Sacrificing ease of movement and personality suddenly became a non-starter.
Today, Loo, who’s also a content creator, operates on a hybrid schedule, working both in-office and from her apartment. On office days, comfortable power pieces are her go-to. She relies on looser fits and more casual items like jeans, boots, and oversized blazers. She feels more like herself and enjoys the freedom of dressing for her mood and with self-expression top of mind.
Just like her office, New York has also re-opened in the past year, giving a newfound vibrancy to the city. Loo’s busier than ever and her refurbished Monday-through-Friday wardrobe keeps up with ease. Arguably, the most important element of every outfit, at least according to Loo, is shoes. She needs something with both comfort and style; something that’s as dynamic as her lifestyle. Her answer? SOREL.
“The right shoe pulls together my outfit and provides function so I can live my everyday life comfortably and fashionably,” Loo tells The Cut. “I count on SOREL for sensibility and style. I love that these shoes have thick, reliable, and comfortable soles and heels so I can walk wherever I need to go comfortably.”
Versatile enough to wear all day — to the office, errands, dinner, wherever — SOREL offers trend-first styles that Loo can pair with just about anything. After all, now is the time to wear a maxi skirt with a puffer vest and a utility boot to the board meeting. Then, four hours later, hit up Le Dive for cocktails downtown.
One of the shoes at the top of Loo’s current favorites list is a sneaker-boot in an unexpected collage of minty green and scarlet red. “When I wear them, I feel like I’m walking on clouds,” she says. They’re also waterproof, which makes NYC’s unpredictable weather a non-issue.
Styling them with wide-leg leather trousers (rather than wool-blend trousers) and a bright green blazer (rather than a black one) is the perfect way to add a touch of something extra to an office look. We all deserve a bit of indulgence right now, and it’s special details like color and material that go a long way in making Loo feel both confident and professional.
Rocking a denim mini skirt with a chunky turtleneck and laminated trench coat is another example of Loo’s modern take on office attire. Once again, a pair of SOREL boots complete the outfit, grounding it in effortlessness. “Everyone needs a Chelsea boot and I love SOREL’s take on the classic,” she says. Swapping heels for a polished boot like this is the epitome of post-pandemic workwear — it’s playful, unexpected, and up-for-anything.
With the foundations of how we work shifting, and work-life balance becoming more important than ever, this anti-dresscode is a way to experiment with personal style in a way that we never could before. It’s permission to feel like yourself 24/7.
Whether you call it “power casual,” “business comfort,” or “workleisure,” the bottom line is that workwear in 2022 is less of an outward projection and more of an inward expression. We now know firsthand that life can change on a dime, so, the least we can do is let optimism and positivity lead the way — both in the style department and outside of it.
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