Back-to-Work Survival Skills for Men
What’s trending in the new casual office
Of the many challenges that mark our post-COVID world, one of the most daunting is the gradual return to work. Though questions still linger about the realities, one thing is for sure: no more gym shorts and hoodies. Of course, if you’re like me, your wardrobe of yesteryear doesn’t fare much better than your pandemic swag.
With so much time since we last set foot in the office, we’ve lost touch with what work attire should look like - let alone the desire to wear it.
The public has spoken and the message is clear: no more uncomfortable clothes!
And the message has resonated. Brands have taken this time to innovate; to create apparel that feels as good as it looks; to bridge the gap between business-casual and techwear. On the heels of this cultural shift, we've compiled a back-to-work survival guide to make the transition a little easier (at least on the eyes).
The days of fast-fashion are over. With the advent of affordable techwear and athleisure, it’s time to step up your technical apparel game. The world is unpredictable and you need to be ready for anything, from riding out a turbulent presentation in the boardroom to the apocalypse itself.
Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt - Filson
Built for year-round comfort, this is the shirt you rock come rain or snow or shine. It’s lightweight, durable, and boasts a matte black denim with complimentary black buttons. This is your everywhere shirt - it wears equally well while doing data-entry as it does while cutting firewood.
Leith Chino Pant - Vallier
Made from a comfortable 100% organic cotton, these pants mark the intersection of informal office wear and bike-courier chic. The straight-slim fit is streamlined and flattering, while the gusseted crotch doesn’t restrict movement.
Merino 150 Baselayer Short Sleeve - Smartwool
As far as short-sleeves are concerned, block colours are the way to go when keeping it semi-formal in the office. And while this t-shirt is trim and sophisticated to the naked eye, it’s also made with 87% Merino wool. Merino is renowned for its moisture-wicking and anti-odour specs - two facets that are as handy in the woods as in the boardroom.
Classics Trunk 2 Pack Solid - BN3TH
Just because no one at the office is paying attention to your down-unders (we hope), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. These boxer-briefs are made with soft, luxurious Tencel Modal fabric and feature the brand’s coveted MyPakage Pouch Technology (that’s exactly what you think it is). Trust me - your man-parts deserve it.
Tropic Crew Lightweight Lifestyle Sock - Darn Tough
These are truly the most versatile socks in your wardrobe. Made from Merino wool, you can wear them as comfortably in a dress shoe as you can in a hiking boot. Besides, the Hawaiian shirt-inspired design will help you remember what really matters in life. Like traveling and vacations.
Leatherback Sea Turtle 0300 Series Watch - Luminox
From the brand that pioneered the use of self-powered illumination, this watch will keep ticking long after you do. With its 100m water-resistance and extremely durable case, this Marine-inspired timepiece will be your anchor for life.
Holbrook XL - Prizm Ruby Iridium Lens Sunglasses - Oakley
Don’t blink when life stares you down. These classic shades are style icons that work as hard as you do. The Pure Plutonite lenses filter out 100% of UV light, while the XYZ Optics preserve image sharpness and clarity from every angle.
Vivosmart 4 Watch - Garmin
Sleek, minimalist, and practical, this smartwatch does much more than simply tell time. It features a sleep and activity tracker, heart-rate monitor, and much more. Health has been on everyone’s mind for the last year-and-a-half - take control of yours.
Umbrellas XL Umbrella - Blunt
Protect yourself from rain, wind, and snow. This umbrella is built strong: the High-Tension Canopy is designed to resist even the most powerful gusts, while aerodynamic handling keeps you in control. Don’t get caught in an unexpected downpour.
1 ¼ Bridle Leather Belt - Filson
Many of us have watched our bodies change over the course of this turbulent year, whether we’ve packed on the pounds or thinned out. But before you go and burn all your old pants, give this timeless belt a shot. The saddle-grade Bridle Leather has a manly look while the seven buckle holes give you lifelong flexibility.
Weekender Oxford Leather Shoes - Red Wing Shoes
This is the Oxford you’ve only ever dreamed of - classy on the outside, comfy on the inside. Whether you’re wine-and-dining a client or strolling through the park with friends, these shoes are laced-up for anything.
068 Chisel Toe Black Boots - Blundstone
If you don’t believe that a formal dress boot and technical survival boot could be one and the same, then you’ve never worn Blundstones. Pairs perfectly with slim dress pants during the week and realtree camo pants on the weekend.
The Roger Advantage Shoes - On
Considered one of the most versatile sneakers on the market, these shoes are exactly what you’d expect from the brand that brought you Cloud running shoes. Ditch your bulky-but-comfy runners and step into these tennis-inspired, Federer-co-created kicks. Minimal stitching, clean lines, and ultra-smooth vegan leather for the win.
GrandPro Tennis Sneaker - Cole Haan
Perfect for a stroll through the office and a bar on the way home, the hand-stained leather is polished for extra shine. Minimal stitching gives the shoe a sleek and refined look. Rubber pods at the front and back of the shoe provide additional traction. The textile-covered footbed offers extra comfort and breathability, and the EVA outsole with Grand.Os technology offers added absorption and support. At 8.8 oz, you’re not likely to find a lighter, more comfortable shoe.
Classic Shoes - TOMS
Simple, affordable, comfortable - every man needs a pair of cozy slip-ons. Whether you’re fixing things around the house or gearing up for an informal meeting with your colleagues, these ultralight and versatile shoes won’t disappoint. Plus, they’re dead ringers for the vintage kung-fu shoes as seen on Bruce Lee’s furious feet.
Black Hole Duffel 55L - Patagonia
For most of us, back-to-work means back-to-the-gym. And because life moves fast, you need a bag that won’t slow you down when you’re going between the office and the weight room. The Black Hole is a duffel bag that doubles as a backpack - perfect for storing your work and workout stuff all in one place.
Fred Messenger Compact - Cocotte Equipment
As a cyclist, you’re always focused on surviving the morning and evening commute. But what about your laptop and other critical work things? To keep them safe, you need a bag that’s hardwearing, ergonomic, and waterproof. The Fred is all that and more.
MSN Bag - RAINS
Inspired by the traditional school backpack, this true Rains classic is made from a water-resistant fabric with a matte finish. Fully lined, the waterproof yet modern MSN Bag has an inside laptop pocket and a spacious main compartment. The rucksack is completed with carabiner details, adjustable snap buttons and adjustable webbing straps.
Kanken Backpack 16L - Fjällräven
If you’re on the move and want to travel light, this iconic classic can keep up. The hardwearing face fabric stands up to abrasions, while the minimalist design optimizes internal storage. For nighttime adventures, all-round reflectors keep you safe and visible.
Gauntlet Macbook Pro® Sleeve 15" - Thule
For wherever work takes you, a rugged laptop sleeve is a must. The rigid exterior prevents damage from drops, as do the reinforced corners. With so much of our lives in the cloud, you can’t afford to go unprotected.
In these unpredictable times, arrive everywhere prepared. So next time you’re shopping for back-to-work gear, don’t just ask yourself whether something looks good. Ask yourself whether you can count on it to keep you comfortably cool in an urban emergency.
Want the woman in your life to be just as prepared as you are?
Check out our Back-to-Work Survival Skills for Women for more trending essentials.