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A Love Letter to Business Outfits through COVID-19

“At this point, I don’t even remember why we wore pants,” Jimmy Kimmel said during his #JimmyKimmelLiveFromHisHouse monolgue. 


Truer words have never been spoken. 


For better or for worse, quarantine has dramatically changed our lifestyles. Zoom has become our new university, party scene, and workplace. While these new norms are far from ideal, 2020 has blessed us with one change: the typical business outfit. 


Before 2020, most people were having meetings and interviews in person. That meant that you needed to wear a professional outfit on a daily basis. With everything online now though, there’s no need for that anymore. And as Jimmy pointed out, was there ever a need for all of that? 


We may think we look professional in our blazers and blouses on Zoom, but in reality, we’re not fooling anyone. I know everyone reading this article wears sweatpants or pajama bottoms while on calls, because I know I do. 


Right now, we’re stuck doing work at our kitchen table, dining room, or on super lazy days, our beds. The only people who are really seeing us are our family and roommates, who could care less about how we’re dressed. In my case, I can’t bring myself to wear anything besides sweatpants or leggings when I’m not leaving my house. So the thought of putting on dress pants or uncomfortable heels just to sit in my living room is nauseating.


I think Zoom fashion will especially be a game changer when it comes to the winter. There’s nothing worse than waking up warm in your bed just to have to put on a cold uncomfortable outfit for work or for meetings. Even worse, you have to go outside when it’s BELOW FREEZING just to get into your car. Maybe knowing I can stay warm and comfortable all day while doing work will make me more willing to get up. Probably not, but one can dream. 


There’s nothing better than dressing professionally while also being comfortable. With Zoom, you’re actually able to do that. And while I said we’re not fooling each other, it really doesn’t matter. If we’re all doing it, then we’re just going with the new trend. 


2020 business outfits have redefined what it means to be a professional, and I’m here for it. 


The phrase “dress the part” is officially dead to me. People love to say that in order to get the role you want, you need to dress for it. Clearly, that isn’t true anymore. Sure, maybe you need to dress for half the part, which can be seen on camera, but you can be wearing whatever bottoms you want and still land that job, or meet that objective.  


It’s really not about what you wear anyway. Being professional is about how you carry yourself and communicate, not what pair of pants you decide to put on that day.


If you haven’t realized it by now: this is your sign to STOP dressing up for Zoom meetings. Be comfortable. Save yourself an extra 10 minutes in the morning. Remember that professionalism is a mindset, not an outfit. Take advantage of dressing like a bum from waist-down, because who knows when we’ll get this opportunity again.

Rachel Darata is a junior at Penn State majoring in Telecommunications aiming to get a Smeal College of Business Fundamentals Certificate.
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