Here's what office dress codes look like in 2022

PHOTO: Instagram/yasminnecheng, Instagram/jesssseca

By now, most of us would have received notices from our workplaces on whether we should be returning to the office.

After two and a half years of working from home, we're now ready to go back to our physical work spaces that we were once so well-accustomed with.

This brings up another key question: What does one wear?

And after almost three years of working in home clothes, what does this mean for the office dress codes? Are we allowed to wear sweats to the workplace now? What about business formal - is that something we still need to think about?

To help you navigate the new office look, we've created a simple guide to understanding dress codes in 2022.

With the help of some stylish local celebs and shopping options, use this as your guide to nailing your back to work look.

Business formal

PHOTO: Instagram/Zoe Tay

If you're wondering what business formal looks like post-Covid, the good news is that it hasn't really changed completely. Much like Zoe Tay's look here, business formal would mean that you should be looking for tailoring to keep you looking smart.

The good news? As we've grown accustomed to relaxed looks, tailoring can afford to become less fitted and comfier. Look for blazers that are cut in roomier styles, and ditch the heels for a pair of slip-on loafers to look just as presentable.

Tailored Double-Breasted Jacket, $119, Zara

PHOTO: Zara

The double-breasted front gives you a flattering front, and the boxier cut of this blazer means you can move around with ease.

Marles Short-Sleeve Shirt, $35, The Editor's Market

PHOTO: The Editor's Market

A collared white shirt is a must-have under your jacket, but consider one with shorter sleeves to keep you feeling cooler. Plus, a short-sleeved shirt gives you more versatility, as you can easily style it without the blazer also.

Quilted Chain Loafer Mules in Chalk, $65.90, Charles & Keith

PHOTO: Charles & Keith

Slip-on loafers saw a resurgence in popularity after the pandemic, as it gave us a comfortable yet presentable footwear option to pair with our dress-down gear. Here, the quilting and gold hardware elevate this classic loafer, making it a great wear-to-work shoe.

Smart casual

PHOTO: Instagram/Jeanette Aw

Next, let's tackle smart casual. Arguably the one dress code that many of us would be relying on most; take your cue from Jeanette Aw's look and pair a more casual top with airy wide-legged pants.

This combo is presentable and cool, without feeling too stuffy or sloppy. Complete with clean white sneakers and tasteful jewellery.

Asymmetric Pleated Sleeveless Top, US$120 (S$166), Cos

PHOTO: Cos

The asymmetric neckline is a great option to regular round neck or collared necklines. Here, cotton blend keeps you cool in our humid weather, and the subtle pleating detail gives this versatile top a grown-up sense of elegance.

Rhodium-plated Millenia Bracelet, $400, Swarovski

PHOTO: Swarovski

Bling is very possible for the office place when done tastefully. Avoid anything too colourful, and stick to something classic like a tennis bracelet. Use it as a statement accent, and avoid over-accessorising.

All Coasts AM210 Sneakers, $89, New Balance

PHOTO: New Balance

Every woman needs a pair of clean, white sneakers in her shoe-robe because they offer up endless styling options! Pair it with your smart casual look for a comfy way of looking chic.

Casual Friday

PHOTO: Instagram/Jesseca Liu

Here's a dress code that we're all familiar with: Casual Friday! Traditionally, this has meant jeans and a top, and while this has not changed in 2022, we want to use this chance to remind you that it's still the workplace so some effort should be expected.

Like actress Jesseca Liu here, start with a classic pair of jeans - this means no ripped patches or crystal studs - and pair it with your fave boyfriend shirt and sneakers. Keep a light blazer on hand, just in case you're pulled into a last-minute meeting.

Flare Low Jeans, $29.95, H&M

PHOTO: H&M

When choosing a pair of jeans, try to look for something in a mid-wash blue, as lighter washes tend to look a little bit too casual. Avoid skinny jeans, and stick to something in the straight-leg or flared cutting.

Suede-trimmed Logo-print Shell Sneakers, US$212 (S$293), Chloe at The Outnet

PHOTO: Chloe at The Outnet

With a thick rubber sole, these kicks are going to keep you standing all day (and all night) because they're so cushy and comfy!

Plus, wear them beyond Casual Fridays by pairing them with your favourite floral summer dress or a pair of denim shorts.

Le Pliage Cuir Small Top Handle Bag in Beige, $895, Longchamp

PHOTO: Longchamp

Here's a great bag option to consider! Perfect for your off-duty moments, it's also durable enough to carry your work essentials. Fit a small laptop or a tablet in, and your daily necessities and you're good to go.

Office cocktail

PHOTO: Instagram/Yasminne Cheng

Lastly, as office engagements resume and after-hour cocktails return, it's important to know how to dress for the event. Obviously, you want to try to look the part in a party dress, but it's important to remember that this is still an office space after all.

So ditch the sparkly minis, and follow Yasminne Cheng's look by Peggy Hartanto from local multi-label brand SocietyA, and opt for a midi-length dress. Finish with classic jewellery and kitten heels.

Satin Shirt Dress, $139, Mango

PHOTO: Mango

If a pastel lilac tone isn't your cup of tea, try a jewel hue like this gorgeous purple instead. The flowy satin instantly looks more dressy with its sheen, so keep to minimalist accessories to avoid looking like a Christmas tree.

Icon Leather Pointed Slingback Pumps in Chalk, $89.90, Pedro

PHOTO: Pedro

Given that you're still going to be in office for most of the day prior to happy hour, keep your feet comfortable and happy in a pair of kitten heel pumps. These classic slingbacks from Pedro do just that, and can be worn with your cocktail attire too.

Pandora ME Link Chain Necklace, $179, Pandora

PHOTO: Pandora

This long chain necklace in sterling silver is a great investment piece, as it goes with just about everything. Plus, its elongated drape is incredibly flattering, as it helps the neck appear longer and slimmer. Double win!

ALSO READ: 10 back-to-office pieces from local fashion brands to add to your wardrobe

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.