THE INNER LOOP
How To Select A Vendor
Below are some key items to look for:
1. Are they a turnkey provider or do they outsource or use partners?
2. Do they provide custom solutions or do you choose from a various list of offerings?
3. How long have they been in business and do they bring their own team and staff or do they use local help?
4. Do they provide all costs up front or are there “hidden costs” or “to be determined costs”?
5. Do they provide references? (See examples of their work)
Yoga Pants Posing as Business Wear?!
Athleisure is trying to pose as the black pant workhorse. Most young professional office workers come to expect 3 things from their workwear: comfort, convenience, and a professional look. However, your standard yoga pants (from high end Lululemons to Walmart specials) still aren’t office-appropriate.
Companies that sell athleisure are trying to change that. These companies want their pants to stretch into daily life. The gym and yoga studio isn’t enough for them any longer. They want their goods worn all day, every day, just like the casual, basic button-ups, tees, and slacks are.
Although yoga pants may be a welcome escape from the restrictiveness of a shift dress and the stuffy suit they still aren’t entirely office-appropriate. Athletic clothes, long ago, crossed over to streetwear and can even be acceptable for going out at night. Activewear sales increased 15% in 2016, thanks in part to companies like Lululemon, Athletica Inc., Nike Inc., and others who sell workout clothes trendy enough to wear outside the gym.
Think about it: how convenient would it be to go from an intense cycling session to the grocery store and to meet with friends without having to change out of your soft comfy leggings. A previous shift in workplace fashion spearheaded by a brand was in the ’90s. Dockers’s khakis became a business casual uniform staple (for men) because of a marketing campaign by their parent company Levi Strauss & Co. At the time “Everybody was trying to explain what business casual was,” said Edward Yost, a human relations business partner at Society of Human Resource Management. As professional offices started relaxing dress codes, Levi’s created “A Guide to Casual Businesswear,” a pamphlet that was sent to 25,000 HR managers that showed a variety of business casual looks that all happened to feature Dockers. The retailer also held seminars, put on fashion shows, and maintained a toll-free number for those who had questions about business casual. (Bloomberg.com/news).
Even though many people are embracing yoga pants as today’s almost-anywhere pants, not all employers are. According to SHRM only 36% of companies allow people to go casual more than one day a week. Shoppers are already opting for all-day items that make sense for in the office and out. For example Ponte pants, (which are sturdy yet stretchy and have an elastic waist) is becoming a workplace staple. Owners of Ann Taylor Inc.’s Ponte Pant, describe them as “perfect for day, play, work, and night.” Some clothiers have seen this casual future and are leading the change into your office.
At Carbon38, an online athletic-wear shop that sells high-end labels believes the workplace is being won with style tips. The company has a guide called “Athleisure at the office.” In it, Carbon38 employees pose for photo shoots in their typical work wear. Even Lululemon, guru of the yoga mat, is lunging into the workday world.
What most employees everywhere want are clothes that aren’t going to wrinkle; are machine washable, comfortable and polished looking. Our casual dress expectations are already intertwining into our work lives. “We are so used to clothes that stretch, we’re used to wearing sneakers, and a lot of these elements are being integrated into the daily wardrobe,” said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at trend forecaster Doneger Group.