While the findings aren’t entirely new — 96 percent of consumers said they want to be comfortable — what is new is that 81 percent said they hope more casual styles will become a greater part of professional office attire post-pandemic. So much so that nearly one-third of U.S. Millennial-aged employees said they would consider leaving their jobs if their employer said they had to get dressed up in professional clothing again when they return to the office. Among Millennial-aged men in North America, that number is more than half.
Being able to wear comfortable apparel while at work, the survey says, improves performance and confidence, helps create connections among colleagues, fosters individual style and offers opportunities for versatility among clothing.
“We know — and the results of this survey reinforce — that wearing clothes that make you feel good is non-negotiable,” said Sun Choe, Lululemon chief product officer. “The data provides a long overdue recognition that professional workwear can and should be functional, versatile and comfortable. And when it is all three, it can positively affect performance, confidence and more. As a brand that designs for feel, Lululemon is uniquely suited to deliver what consumers need and want today.”
As the future of office culture remains in limbo — and more and more companies have revealed plans to let employees work from home indefinitely — the retailer surveyed about 20,000 individuals in 11 different markets around the world for their work environment preferences post-pandemic.
In addition to comfortable apparel helping to make people feel better, eight out of 10 participants said they actually perform better at work when dressed in more relaxed styles. The numbers are higher among Millennial-aged U.S. men: nine out of 10. Nearly the same amount are hoping employers will loosen up their dress codes post pandemic.
In addition, most participants in the survey (86 percent) said they want their employer to judge them based on the quality of their work, rather than outfit choices. Meanwhile, 82 percent said they want to purchase apparel that can be worn both in and out of the office.
“Consumers are shopping for functional, versatile items that don’t sacrifice on style,” said Ben Stubbington, senior vice president of design at Lululemon. “In many ways, both working from home and this ‘next normal’ of a hybrid work environment has amplified what Lululemon has been designing for all along: versatile, distraction-free garments that move with you through changing conditions and activities, making the wearer feel confident and looking sharp.”