In a recent TikTok video, Dani Klarić, a young interior designer/creative director, happily shared her work outfit: a white miniskirt, a short-sleeved shirt worn completely unbuttoned to reveal a lacy yellow bra and a pair of transparent yellow thigh-high boots. socks.
“If I had a corporate job this is how I would go dressed to work,” the TikToker confidently says in the post, which garnered more than 200,000 likes. “Like who’s gonna stop me?”
Gen Z is getting back to work and the office, but they don’t dress for the role, at least by traditional standards. On TikTok, there are thousands of videos tagged #workoutfits that show Gen Zers and millennials sporting office outfits — short skirts, sheer tops and sweatshirts — that once would have warranted a serious conversation with HR on looking too casual or too provocative.
“I understand the dress codes, but I think they’ve become outdated,” said Keely Bouroncle, a 31-year-old who lives in Fort Lauderdale and works at a business. Bouroncle, who likes to embrace her figure with tight, brightly colored clothes, said what she wears shouldn’t matter as long as she’s doing her job.
“The way a person dresses is a statement of themselves,” she said. “I want to look good to feel good.”
Those working in human resources observe the younger generation’s approach to office dressing with a mixture of dismay and wonder.
“I’ve noticed a few issues with young people,” said David Bradshaw, 45, president of Northstar PMO, a Boston-based human resources outsourcing company. He said he observed young workers dressing too casually.
Cindy O’Peka, of O’Peka Human Resources and Consulting in California, has long been in favor of more relaxed dress codes in the office, but she thinks the new generation sometimes seems more clueless than aware of what they’re doing.
She observed certain outfits on younger employees that are much more “appropriate for clubbing” than a professional setting.
“[But] I think they might actually feel like they’re dressing up because that’s what they wear when they go out,” the 41-year-old said.
Clothing brands, meanwhile, have been quick to note and market the changing standards. LA trend brand Reformation caused a stir online last month with an email announcing their “work edition”, with models donning their strappy dresses, cropped blazers and cropped shorts “ready for the desk”.
“Add ‘best dressed’ in the office to your resume,” the email read.
Suzanne Smallshaw, senior director of fashion and styling at Rent the Runway — a company that rents out designer clothes and accessories — told the Post that when workers return to the office, they’ve noticed the number of outfit rentals traditional “professional” is almost half of what it was in 2019.
“They’re saying goodbye to the basic black suit or sheath, opting instead for bolder, more printed options when they get back to the office,” Smallshaw explained, adding that denim usage has increased 56% since 2020, indicating a more relaxed workplace.
Bradshaw said some companies don’t fight blazers and cropped bellies, and just let employees wear “pretty much what they want” as a “perk” of sorts. Gen Z can have their cake and show off their toned bellies to their cabin mates.
“[Expression] is very important in some industries, especially the creative industries,” he said. “People want to bring not just their work to the table, but their personality, style and creativity.”