Workplace Wardrobe Of The Future

Your Money Matters

Should you be allowed to wear yoga pants to work? Just a few years ago, most of you would have likely answered, “No,” to that question. 

However, the workplace wardrobe is changing. 

KELOLAND News went to South Dakota State University to talk with those studying and teaching fashion.

For more than 40 years, Nancy Lyons has been teaching SDSU students about style, including Sophomore Madelyn Vancura. 

“Someday I hope to have my own store. Start an online boutique and then grow from there to a brick and mortar store,” Vancura said.

Online boutiques did not exist when Lyons started teaching in 1977. That’s the same year the women’s Dress for Success book was published.

“It was decreed that in the workplace you would wear a dark skirted suit, not pants. With it you would wear a white blouse,” Fashion Studies & Retail Merchandising Associate Professor Nancy Lyons said.

Pair that with heals. 

“Even tie a bow tie at your neck to emulate a man’s tie,” Lyons said.

In the men’s version for Dress for Success from the 1970s it has 16 ways to look right without the effort. All 16 ways include a suit, tie and a collared shirt.

“Instead we have hoodies, and we have jeans. We even have ripped jeans,” Lyons said.

Lyons feels the work wardrobe has changed because there’s more of a focus on diversity in all areas of life, including clothing. Couple that with the rise of millennials in the workforce following the Great Recession. 

“Money I feel was the reason why lots of the millennials decided to ditch dressing in a suit,” Lyons said.

Reasons why this Lakefield, Minnesota woman plans to focus on casual clothing at her future company. 

“Making women feel confident and beautiful in their own skin,” Vancura said.

That’s a sense of style that never goes out of style. 

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