As two young women who need to dress professionally for work, we found it difficult to find a clothing line to satisfy our need for affordable, comfortable, stylish, and professional clothes. We want to create work wear for the confident, powerful woman. A powerful woman in the workplace is comfortable, confident, versatile, and stylish. With the recent trend of athleisure companies such as Lululemon expanding into more professional-looking clothes, we decided to examine several work wear companies to see what options are available to young women today. We first wanted to examine the existing market place for professional women’s clothing that are comfortable, stylish, and easy to pack for work trips. Many of the options available on the market for professional women’s clothes tend to have a flaw, whether the dresses and skirts are too short, the clothes are uncomfortable, or the clothes are very expensive.
Lululemon: When Lululemon’s City Trek Trouser came out, it seemed that the company was expanding their offerings and would begin offering more professional looking clothes that were also stylish and comfortable. While the City Trek Trouser was a step in the professional direction, the pants still don’t measure up to the more professional look of most dress pants, partially due to the fit and the fabric. Many of the online reviews for these pants suggest that women who purchased them were dissatisfied with the pants, experiencing sagging/pilling of the fabric and claiming that the pants did not look professional enough for the workplace. At $148, these pants are moderately priced. Upon visiting the Lululemon store on Newbury Street to try-on the pants and check them out for ourselves, we found out that Lululemon is no longer selling the City Trek Trouser. They only periodically offer the style, making the pants inaccessible to women looking for more comfortable professional clothes.
Aella: Aella is a women’s clothing company that aims to create comfortable, machine-washable, and figure-flattering wardrobe foundations. Aella fabric is a blend of technical and performance fabrics with polished tailoring to create a comfortable yet professional look. While their work pants are tailored well and very stylish, their shirts and dresses fall short in terms of style. Their shirts are in the range of $80-160, pants $180-$250, and dresses $225-$275. While the fabrics may be comfortable, their prices are on the higher end for younger women and many of their clothes do not look very modern or stylish.
Lulus: Lulu’s is a popular online women’s retailer that specializes in affordable and trendy attire for young women. Though Lulu’s does not specialize in work wear, they sell a few dresses that are comfortable, well fitting, and high quality. Their “Work Wonders” dress sells for $35 and their “Quite Spectacular Midi Dress” sells for $54. The dresses can be hand washed and do not require dry cleaning. These two dresses are very close to our ideal dress for the professional woman, however the website is often unpredictable and sometimes sacrifices quality for low prices. Further, though Lulu’s “work wear” dresses are comfortable and form fitting, they are often too short and too revealing for a professional woman. Moreover, their professional offerings are limited. They do not carry matching jackets, skirts or pants. However, Lulu’s shows that it is possible to create comfortable, well-tailored, wrinkle-free dresses at a reasonable price.
J. Crew: J. Crew has been a go-to retailer for professional women’s clothing for decades. They sell multiple styles of wear-to-work dresses in multiple colors. These dresses are appropriate for work and sold in basic colors like light blues and greys. They are sold with matching blazers, skirts, and pants. However, their fabrics are not that stretchy or comfortable. Their work wear is made in one of two fabrics – the first is their “Super 120s wool” fabric and the other is a blend of cotton, viscose, and elastene. Their pieces favor simplicity over high fashion and are dry clean only. The dresses range from $100 to $200.
Roland Mouret: Roland Mouret is a high end French fashion designer known for two iconic dresses that closely represent the ideal dress for a confident, professional woman. Mouret’s Galaxy and Moon dresses are icons in women’s fashion. The dresses are 100% wool and form fitting. Their inner lining serves as a form of spandex. With their conservative necklines, capped sleeves, and knee length, the dresses are professional yet flattering. However, the dresses are dry clean only and retail for upwards of $1000, making them inaccessible to most.
We would like to expand upon the existing options to create a line of affordable, comfortable work attire that is both reliable and professional.