Vancouver-based athleisure fashion brand lululemon has released a study showing how clothing impacts workplace performance, culture and experience in a new hybrid environment. The company has unveiled new fashion pieces to address changing work situations and consumer lifestyles as a result.
The study surveyed 20,000 people in 11 markets to better understand how consumers’ workwear preferences have been shaped over the past 18 months in the transition to hybrid working conditions during the pandemic. The findings indicate shifting attitudes toward workwear.
Of those surveyed, 96% said that comfort is important in their clothing — respondents in all 11 markets ranked comfort as being a top priority. Over 80% of those returning to the professional environment said in the survey that they hope that casual clothing becomes more common in the workplace.
The key global findings of Lululemon’s study show that more casual and comfortable attire does the following:
- Improves Performance: 8 in 10 (81%) say they perform better at work when they are dressed comfortably; the majority of adults want employers to recognize that the quality of work employees deliver is more important than their clothing (86%).
- Creates Connection: 3 in 4 (76%) feel casual dress codes in the workplace help people get to know each other in a more genuine way.
- Impacts Confidence: Comfort is the most important thing when choosing clothes (important to 96%) and 3 in 4 (74%) say the clothes they wear impact how confident they feel.
- Inspires Employee Respect: Over 4 in 5 (84%) respect companies that allow their employees to wear casual clothing to work.
- Increases Loyalty: More than one third of Millennials would consider leaving their job if their employer made them dress professionally again (38%).
- Intersects with Style: 3 in 4 (74%) do not want to choose between feeling comfortable and looking good in their clothing.
- Supports Versatility: Among adults returning to their previous workspaces, 82% will start shopping for clothes they can wear both at work and outside of work.
“We know, and the results of this survey reinforce, that wearing clothes that make you feel good is non- negotiable,” said Sun Choe, Chief Product Officer at Lululemon. “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.”
Survey findings also underscored that Gen Z and Millennials worldwide have the strongest opinions toward today’s style and are driving some of the biggest shifts at retail and in the workplace. Findings for various countries in the study include:
- In Australia, Gen Z have been shopping more for clothing items that meet both casual and professional needs more than other generations (30% vs. 14-22%).
- In Canada, being yourself is top of mind for Millennials. Close to 9 in 10 (87%) wear clothes that represent their personality, and 8 in 10 (79%) feel strict dress codes in the workplace limit self- expression.
- In Germany, 75% of Gen Z says the clothes they wear impact how confident they feel.
- In Hong Kong S.A.R., 71% of Millennials and 73% of Gen Z express putting a lot of thought into their clothing style choices, and 2 in 3 Hongkongers (66%) believe the way they dress for work has an impact on their career progression. This is particularly elevated among Gen Z men in Hong Kong S.A.R. (81%).
- In Japan, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) of Gen Zs and 4 in 5 (81%) of Millennials say the clothes they wear impact how confident they feel.
- In Mainland China, Gen Z has been more focused on comfort than fashion during the pandemic (39% vs. 22-28% amongst other generations).
- In South Korea, 86% of Gen Z prefers clothes that are versatile enough to wear all day.
- In Taiwan, over half (53%) of Millennial men are not looking forward to dressing professionally again when they return to their previous work.
- In the UK, Gen Z has a close relationship with fashion, with 86% representing their personality through their clothes and 82% saying their clothes impact their confidence.
- In the US, more than half of Millennial men would consider leaving their job if they had to dress professionally again (56%); 92% of Millennial men in the U.S. feel they perform better at work when they’re dressed comfortably and 87% would like their employer to loosen up dress code rules.
“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,” said Ben Stubbington, Senior Vice President, Design, lululemon. “The success and current strength of lululemon’s iconic ABC Pant, as well as several other key styles, highlight how consumers are shopping for functional, versatile items that don’t sacrifice on style.”
Recently, Lululemon introduced several back-to-work and back-to-life designs which include the ABC Pant, Commission Pant, the brand’s new Venture Blazer and its City Sleek Wide-Leg Pant and Cotton-Blend Twill Trouser, offer classic yet relaxed fits, tailored details, and high-performing fabrics ideal for the ‘new’ workplace while being mobile between home, the gym, the commute, the office and more.