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Work clothing basics for your return to the office

Female business professional walking outside an office building with bag on a hand
From stylish button-down shirts to comfortable work shoes to cloth face masks, the right wardrobe basics can ease a return to the office after months of quarantine. Youngoldman/Getty Images

Concerns over the Delta variant have scared some some employers away from a mass return to the office, but many companies want their employees working in-office again, at least part time. This means that Americans who have adjusted to working from home -- in whatever they wish to wear, such as sweatpants and pajamas -- must return to more traditional work clothes.

True, the pandemic has changed the fashion industry in a number of ways, with remote work redefining what constitutes workwear. But an older wardrobe can still look dated, whether it's being worn in person or on a Zoom call. As people make their way back to the office, consider incorporating some of those pandemic style priorities, such as comfort, convenience and versatility, into your new, more buttoned-up office wardrobe.

CBS Essentials has curated a selection of comfortable and stylish basics from reliable brands such as Lululemon, Untuckit, Reformation and Everlane. Here are 10 clothing basics, including face masks, loafers, dress pants and more business casual attire, to make your return to the office a little bit more comfortable.

Timbuk2 reusable face mask 

Timbuk2 reusable face mask
Timbuk2

This 3-pack of reusable face masks from Timbuk2 is perfect for offices where social distancing measures are still be in place, and for anyone concerned about the Delta variant. These masks are made of extra soft jersey cotton fabric that's designed to create a custom fit. The ties go around the head as opposed to the ears, so this model more suited to wear comfortably for extended periods. The envelope-style pocket provides the option of adding a filter for extra protection against Covid-19.


Soft boot-cut dress pants

Soft boot-cut dress pants
Yogipace via Amazon

These boot-cut dress pants are made, like most yoga pants, with a combination of nylon and Spandex for added comfort and stretch. The fabric is moisture-wicking and wrinkle-resistant. The pants have four functional pockets, belt loops and a faux button and fly at the front to make them look dressier. 


Wool jersey turtleneck shell

Wool jersey turtleneck shell
Nordstrom

This wool turtleneck top from Nordstrom can ward off the chill from that seemingly super-powered office air conditioner, but thanks to its sleeveless design, it won't be too warm for the average commuter. This timeless top can be paired with any business casual-attire and worn with a wide range of layers for a variety of office looks. 


Untuckit Parrino shirt

Untuckit Parrino shirt
Untuckit

The Parrino shirt from Untuckit is made with moisture-wicking, wrinkle-resistant fabric, so it will still look fresh at the end of a long work day. The material is extra soft and meant to move naturally. This shirt is designed to be worn untucked for maximum comfort while still appearing professional.


The ABC Classic pants

The ABC Classic pants
Lululemon

The ABC Classic pants from Lululemon are quick-drying and wrinkle-resistant. Designed to be breathable and move comfortably, these pants are made with Warpstreme fabric, a material meant to retain its shape easily throughout the day without feeling stiff.


High-waisted midi skirt

High-waisted midi skirt
Exlura via Amazon

This high-waisted pull-on midi skirt is stylish without feeling stifling. It can easily fit in at the office and yet won't look too buttoned up to be worn outside of work hours. The timeless polka dot pattern makes this an easy piece to combine within any work wardrobe and, most importantly, it has pockets.  


The Clean Silk relaxed shirt 

The Clean Silk relaxed shirt
Everlane

The Clean Silk relaxed shirt from Everlane puts a slightly more casual twist on the classic office blouse. This top is designed to look great tucked or untucked and can be styled multiple ways. The shirt is made with Everlane's clean silk, an eco-conscious fabric, and is colored with Bluesign-approved dyes. 


The Modern Loafer

The Modern Loafer
Everlane

The Modern Loafer from Everlane is made from soft-to-the-touch leather that appears polished and professional. With a small but significant heel and a tapered toe, this shoe will elevate any office outfit without causing discomfort. Internal padding and a foam-cushioned sole make these shoes ready to wear out of the box, no breaking-in needed.


Asos rain-resistant double-breasted trench coat

Rain-resistant double-breasted trench coat
ASOS

This double-breasted trench coat from ASOS has a classic cut for a timeless piece of professional clothing. With a notch collar and belted waist, this jacket can be dressed up for the most formal of offices without looking too fancy for everyday wear. This coat will be convenient to have on hand when the office AC is set much lower than your home temperature would ever be. 


Laptop bag with USB port 

Laptop bag with USB port
Kroser via Amazon

This stylish laptop bag with a built-in USB port is a sleek step up from a casual backpack, while still providing plenty of convenient storage. This bag has space for a laptop and tablet, as well as an internal mesh pocket and several external side pockets. It can be carried like a briefcase, purse or as a traditional backpack, making this a commuter-friendly bag. Just add a power bank and this bag is ready to keep any tech charged on the go. 


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