I find the current predictions for more casual dress as we return to the office post lockdown fascinating, especially as we can trace historical parallels.  After WWI and WWII, periods of global crisis and turmoil with massive disruptions to “normal life”, there were calls for more casual clothing – just as there are now.

Sales of athleisure and activewear have boomed during the pandemic as we’ve embraced hoodies, tracksuits, leggings and slippers for working at home. Commentators and experts have suggested that both men and women might continue this styling by wearing more relaxed clothing including looser fit tailoring and lighter or stretch fabrics when lockdowns lift.

Laurie Shea, ‘Dress Reform’, 1947. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazine Limited, ON 388/Box 009/Item 111.

I trace the similarities between now and the calls for men’s “dress reform” in the first half of the twentieth century in The Conversation. I’ve also enjoyed speaking about them on the radio, which you can listen to here:  

ABC Sydney, Breakfast with Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer (28 January 2021 from 1:26:00 to 1:33:20)

ABC Darwin, Breakfast with Joelene Laverty (28 January 2021 from 46:00 to 53:17)    

ABC Perth, Breakfast with Russell Woolf (29 January 2021 from 1:17:00 to 1:22:50)

ABC Brisbane, Mornings with Cathie Schnitzerling (29 January 2021 from 1:24:00 to 1:29:05)

2GB, Nights with John Stanley and Paul B Kidd