Suited and… flip-flopped?

People trading in their “proper” clothes for leisurewear has been a running joke in the work-from-home era, with phrases like “hard pants” (any pants that don’t have an elastic waistband) joining “the quarantine 15” and “uncertain times” in the new pandemic vernacular.

Yet even during these, um, uncertain times, business is still being conducted via platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts, and that requires people to maintain at least a veneer of professionalism.

Many have adopted an old newscaster trick in response: all business on top, but anything goes from the waist down. It’s kinda like if a mullet could choose its own outfit.

Dentsumcgarrybowen Montreal creative director Michael Aronson has some experience with just such an ensemble; during one videoconference pitch earlier this year, he combined a crisp white button-down with the training shorts he wore during a morning run.

And like any good creative, Aronson is attuned to the world around him and how it can lend itself to ideas. In this case, his new wardrobe served as the inspiration for a new tongue-in-cheek campaign for Montreal menswear retailer Henri Vézina.

A series of stylish black-and-white ads introduce the tongue-in-cheek “Work from home collection,” which combines standard business attire (suit jacket, shirt and tie) on top, with a combination of socks (black though—they’re not complete fashion disasters [ed. That’s more disastrous]), boxer briefs and flip-flops on the bottom. It’s not so much fashion-forward as it is fashion sideways.

“Henri Vézina has been with the agency since we started over 20 years ago,” adds Fanny Quenneville, the agency’s vice-president of production and operations. “It’s a small business, and we saw this change of behaviour as an opportunity to provoke some conversation around their brand and the importance of men’s fashion.”

We might once have all on our pants one leg at a time, but it seems all bets are off during a pandemic.

Chris Powell