With movies like “Office Space” painting this soul crushing picture that the business world is where all of our dreams go to die. Sitting behind a desk, keying 45 words per minute and engaging in painful water cooler banter with robots on a cubical farm is possibly the biggest fear of any young professional. That fear is keeping us out of the corporate world and has us running into our own arms. The number of entrepreneurs is growing and to compete with the allure of creating a workspace that is perfect for you, businesses are having to shift the corporate work culture.
The self-esteem movement of the 80s and 90s was pushed forward by the idea that everyone was special- in turn giving birth to the theory that we all had a special way of learning; Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic, which transferred into the way that we work. Along with the evolution of technology and problem solving, the way we think and work efficiently has changed. Work smarter not harder has been the wave for the last few years and creating spaces that encourage a collaborative environment and multiple work styles is on the rise.
In the beginning, rain or shine the only attire that was appropriate for the office was a suit. A matching pants and jacket set of the same material, in the same color paired with a white or light blue dress shirt and a tie. After the second world war the conventions became a hit more relaxed. Hats started to disappear out of fashion along with waistcoats but for the most part, in any office setting you wore a suit.
The emergence of Apple, Microsoft and other computer and software companies in Silicon Valley birthed the often hated but well known office dress code, business casual. Khaki pants, a button up and comfy shoes became the new normal for many business around the world. This made the work space a little more tolerable, eliminating the restrictions suits may cause to one’s comfort, however the plain color pallet and out right boringness of business casual still left a few people unable to fully express themselves through their clothes like they wanted.
Along with open work spaces companies also started allowing employees the freedom to express their personal style in a way that isn't distracting to the environment or productivity of the office. Another tool to entice the youth to bring their talents, innovation and skills to them as opposed to their competition or even becoming the competition.
Collaboration is a huge theme for millennials and Gen Z. Mixing ideas, culture exchange and understanding has spilled into everything including workplace fashion. Taking elements of the classic suit and pairing them with streetwear is one of the more exciting partnerships. It’s fun, creative, approachable and universal. The older generation can see those timeless silhouettes and you can feel like you’re not suffocating behind a style that isn’t you with brighter colors and more texture.
There are those who oppose this change and feel we should just accept the cubby lifestyle, keep our heads down and be uniformed. They think we’re spoiled, but i say this exercise of freedom makes us more powerful than our predecessors. Young professionals are changing things one laced up sneaked at a time.