Ditching the Suit? How Gen Z is Redefining Business Attire

When it comes to the phrase “dress for the job you want,” Genz chews that up and spits it out. They are beginning to redefine what is classified as appropriate office attire and are breaking out the seams of what success looks like. We are living in an odd time in life where social media stars are a thing and fashion is switching things up every two minutes. It’s becoming hard to keep up with it all, but if there is one thing that resonates with Gen Z’s, it is that we just want to wear what we want and see fashion as a route of identity, uniqueness and self-expression and sometimes the 9-5 office attire just isn’t cutting it for them.

The business world is slowly being taken over by Gen Z’s; they are emerging in all the corporate jobs and all they want to do is stand out from the crowd. What better way to do that than with their outfits? Although I will say that some of the office attire, when done right, is fabulous and is making its way in through designers like Jaded London as the next trend, it is a more refreshed and modern take on it.

Let’s dive into this more and find out the reasons why and how Gen Z is redefining business attire but first, let’s discuss the very beginning.

The Evolution of Office Attire

From the early 20th century, offices were deemed very formal places and have been on the rise since the 20s. These workers become a huge part of cityscapes and urban communities. As organisations began to grow, so did the office spaces, and the need to appear as part of the community became more desirable and needed.

Back then, wearing something smart and professional, like a suit, was a sign of wealth, status and just all round better within the business community. When it comes to salespeople, if you weren’t dressed like a successful person, then you probably wouldn’t be selling as much if you did.

This was the same for decades and only in the 21st century have we seen a real shift from the adaptation of more colourful work outfits to now full-blown smart casual. This may depend on what job you have or what your boss’s rules are but all in all, the guidelines for most office spaces are becoming shorter and shorter.

You’ve even seen this in multi-billionaire business owners like Steve Jobs, one of the greatest tech wizzes in the world, who don’t believe in wearing a suit, whether it’s during his presentations or meetings. He wears a black turtleneck and jeans. Times have changed to the point that people respect you more based on your achievements and job role than the outfit you are wearing and a suit is no longer a full representation of wealth and power. In my opinion, suits tend to be 1 out of 5 job roles in modern days, with a few being sales, finance and law.

How Gen Z’s Are Redefining Business Attire?

Comfort Takes Centre Stage

While clothing might have taken a casual turn, that hasn’t made Gen Z’s any less hard-working and they are prioritising their comfort for a day in the office. Comfort could in fact keep workers motivated and build a positive relationship with their office, as they are able to show their uniqueness while in their place of work. 

Gone are the days of restrictive suits, and tight skirts and welcome to the smart men’s hoodies sale, especially for those colder months. We are seeing a rise in relaxed tailoring, breathable fabrics, sneakers and slightly casual pieces. The shift reflects not only a desire for comfort but also an evolution and growth beyond the outdated rules of society.

Embrace Individuality

Gen Z want their individuality and identity to be celebrated and recognised. Therefore, the days of clones in suits are over and they couldn’t be happier about it. While some people might deem these as ‘woke’ office spaces, it’s more that the young generations are becoming more comfortable breaking out these barriers through little ways like adding a pop of colour, wearing loads of wholesale fashion jewelry, or even going as far as dying their hair a wild colour. 

You can still be a highly professional, educated, and smart person without sticking to the rules of suits that was soooo 50 years ago.

Sustainability Making a Statement

During these times when saving the planet takes up a huge priority, Gen Z’s sustainability couldn’t be more important and this difference extends to their clothing. While this is not to say old classics are not made with better materials, they might find it easier to find quality, sustainable clothes that don’t look “professional.”. You could say that back in the day, clothes were made with better quality fabrics and with more care, but with the rise of fast fashion, finding the same quality work attire comes with a huge price tag if it’s not sourced second-hand. 


Therefore, this could explain why a lot of Gen Z would rather spend the money on clothes they can wear beyond the office and get the most out of their money while still looking great.


Future of Workwear

White commercial real estate is expected to crash within the next year; it really shows that the future of workwear could go in any direction. As remote working is on the rise, you could say that workwear is becoming more casual every day. While this might not be true for many professions, you might find jobs where they don’t need to talk to customers or clients often to become freer with the wishes of Gen Z.

Whether it’s relaxed tailoring, sustainable materials or those extra accessories, they are creating a new narrative and a new expectation of fabulous workwear that is both comfortable and exudes confidence.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to Gen Z’s involvement with redefining business attire, we can clearly see that we are prioritising things that are far beyond the opinion of others and are choosing to let our hard work speak for itself. While that’s not to say that we want to turn up to work in pyjamas and loungewear, it’s more to be celebrated for our individuality than the expensive suit we are wearing. Knowledge is power and has been the same truth for years; therefore, I can see this becoming more and more prominent in the workplace. As Gen Z continues to enter the business world and make their mark on the workforce, we can only expect to see smart casual and fun twists on workwear, and personally, I cannot wait to get inspired and get excited to dress for work.