Why pyjamas are not appropriate for the office - but relaxed workwear is | Kanebridge News
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Why pyjamas are not appropriate for the office – but relaxed workwear is

COVID, cost of living and a shift towards more sustainable fashion have changed the norms around appropriate workwear

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Mar 8, 2023 7:00amGrey Clock 5 min

The past few years have seen a radical shift in what many would consider appropriate workwear. After months working from home, office workers have adapted to a hybrid model defined by ‘anchor days’ and flexible working hours. For International Women’s Day, stylist and sustainable fashion advocate Madeleine Park has partnered with Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organisation designed to empower women to gain financial independence by enabling them to face the job market with confidence. Here, Ms Park addresses the challenges of dressing for the new workplace amid cost of living pressures and hybrid work environments.

What is appropriate office wear in a hybrid workplace? How did COVID change what we wear to work?

Anything that says you’re ready for work (i.e. not your pyjamas!) is appropriate, but COVID certainly softened and eased the rules on what’s acceptable. People want a level of comfort not only in what they wear but how they interact with others and this is interfacing with how things are being designed. So whilst suiting has had a moment in fashion for some time now, it’s a deconstructed and softer version of the traditional suit. The modern suit is often seen in fashion-forward colours and in relaxed and oversized fits, carrying the ideas of comfort, ease and adaptability. There is also a trend towards the high-low. So, mixing high-impact items with low-key staples and comfort pieces. An example of this could be a very fashion-forward pink suit with pleated wide-legged pants and an oversized blazer paired back with sneakers, cotton t-shirt and a cross-body bag but this is subverted into a weekend look. Once this suit is deconstructed, the pants on their own offer a lovely sophisticated silhouette that can be paired back to a more traditional fitted business shirt providing a classic silhouette more appropriate for corporate environments.

How are we shopping for workwear now when more people are working from home at least part of the week?

From a consumer perspective, individuals are requiring more adaptability in their wardrobes as well as trying to understand their wardrobes in more sustainable ways. Their clothes need to be chic while driving more functionality across different environments, and as things get tighter financially, this will continue as individuals seek maximum cost per wear out of their garments. So, those pieces that look smart but are comfortable and can translate across different contexts e.g collared t-shirts, a knit midi skirt or tailored pants in natural fibres such as linen, or silk. Consumers are also shifting towards repurposed pieces and investment pieces so there is more longevity to their wardrobes. 

Sustainable fashion advocate and podcaster, stylist Madeleine Park

Women are now being encouraged to be more assertive in business environments, whether that’s asking for a promotion or getting their point across in meetings. How can you dress for that kind of success?

You only get one chance to make a first impression so it is important to present yourself in a way that is contextually appropriate, resonates with your audience but offers an insight into who you are. While that can feel like a lot of pressure on one outfit, finding that look that makes you feel assertive, is a great way to enter into a confident mindset. Combining that confidence with a sense of self is a very individual thing, but you can fall back on some straightforward styling principles to guide your look. For example, choosing shapes and silhouettes that provide a stronger presence, finding your look in a colour that suits you but in a shade that makes impact and, lastly, accessories – whether it’s the right shoe height, a piece of jewellery that shines a light to who you are or a belt or scarf that adds interest to an otherwise straightforward suit – accessories are a great way to add individuality and lift your look. 

Is it possible for women to look professional and feel comfortable in the workplace?

Absolutely! As there is a shift in the fashion industry to design with purpose, we are seeing more and more styles that are adaptable to various environments. As a result, more traditional workwear pieces are being produced in softer, more free-flowing fabrics and in more relaxed silhouettes. Not only is this a more modern way to conceive of workwear, considering the various hybrid work environments a lot of people are operating in, but generally, this translates to looks that offer style and comfort whilst having multiple purposes.

Does the ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you have’ rule still have relevance?

You can think about using your wardrobe as one of the tools in your kit to give you impact. However, as we see more inclusivity across job roles and changing work environments, the rules around dressing for the job you want have changed. Just take the example of Melanie Perkins, the CEO of Canva and billionaire – she has broken the mould in so many ways, not only with a female-founded start-up but she presents as approachable and relatively casual and is fairly vocal about anti-materialist sentiments. So we are seeing a shift in the expectations of appearance and relying more on a focus of an entrepreneurial spirit. Across the board, that sense of entrepreneurialism is associated with more casual looks that wouldn’t have traditionally been associated with negotiating multi-million dollar deals. 

Are there different rules around work wear for women and men? What are they?

There are definitely still environments that lend themselves to more traditional gender rules for corporate dressing like a suit and tie for men, blouse, skirt and blazer for women, however these protocols are specific to the individual workplace. As concepts of gender become less polarised and we embrace more size inclusivity, the way fashion is constructed, and trends are evolving, we see more styles designed to fit any body shape. The world is changing so whilst this sentiment might not be as overt in more traditional environments, there are definitely signs that what men and women wear to work is not necessarily defined by gender. 

Is it still worthwhile for men to invest in a suit? What about investment clothing for women?

Investing in classic items that stand the test of the time is always worthwhile, whether it be a tailored suit or a classic cut blazer. Made-to-measure pieces tend not to be transient pieces in your wardrobe, they feel better to wear, and they stand the test of time. Interestingly, there has been a surge in women’s bespoke suiting services and I think this is because women are seeking out that same tailored service that traditionally has been the placeholder for men. Corporate environments are shifting in terms of formality around workwear but suiting shapes are also softening and becoming more relaxed to adapt to the changing work trends. 

If you had to name one failsafe work wear outfit for women, what would it look like?

As a general rule, something that is a classic style, well constructed and made from natural fibres is always going to be a winner in terms of feeling good and carrying you through your day. As we are all different body shapes, express ourselves differently and have different priorities, I can only speak to my one failsafe look, which would be a waisted midi dress in cotton or silk. The conservative but fashionable length carries me into various contexts and the natural fibres are breathable and comfortable. By changing shoes and adding/taking off an unstructured blazer, I can easily get myself from school drop-off to work meetings (on or offline) to, if I’m lucky, a date night with my partner!



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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

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