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  4. Gen Zers are obsessed with Aritzia's $148 Effortless Pant. Uniqlo's 'work uniforms' are Asia's budget answer to it — at a fraction of the price.

Gen Zers are obsessed with Aritzia's $148 Effortless Pant. Uniqlo's 'work uniforms' are Asia's budget answer to it — at a fraction of the price.

Aditi Bharade   

Gen Zers are obsessed with Aritzia's $148 Effortless Pant. Uniqlo's 'work uniforms' are Asia's budget answer to it — at a fraction of the price.
  • Aritzia's Effortless Pant, at $148 apiece, has attained cult status for working women.
  • But Southeast Asian workers have a much more affordable local answer to it: Uniqlo.

Aritzia's Effortless Pant has made its rounds on social media as the work staple that stylish corporate girlies need to have in their wardrobe.

The pleated, wide-leg pant costs $148 a pop and is offered in a variety of colors, lengths, and materials. It has been touted on TikTok, with some users on the platform calling it "unmatched," and describing it as having a "choke-hold" on them.

So the Effortless Pant may have become 2024's work uniform for young working women in North America. But over in Asia, office-goers have found a regional answer to the Aritzia corporate uniform at Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo.

Take, for example, Uniqlo's $36 pleated pants and $30 linen button-downs. That means that for the price of one Aritzia Effortless Pant, a Uniqlo shopper over in Asia can purchase an entire work outfit.

In Singapore, particularly, the Uniqlo fit has been dubbed as the country's unofficial uniform or the "SG uniform."

The retailer has leaned into the Uniqlo-mania, turning it into a brand strategy.

"One AIRism Cotton Oversized T-shirt is sold almost every minute in Singapore," one of the company's advertisements on its Instagram proclaims.

It even used the term "SG uniform" on its Instagram, in a video that is captioned: "Styling the SG Uniform: Our AIRism Cotton Oversized Crew Neck tee is the essential T-shirt redefined."

Other popular pieces from the brand also include its various "Bra Tops," which essentially are tanks and tube tops with padded underwear built into them.

Uniqlo's other offerings — like its "Round Mini" crossbody bag — are also popular.

The bag went viral on TikTok in 2022, and was named the hottest product of the year by the fashion search platform Lyst in April 2023 — partly because of how much one can fit in it.

Lyst named it the cheapest item to ever be featured on The Lyst Index. The other items on the index include the $625 Rick Owens Kriester sunglasses and the $1,290 Alaïa Le Coeur Bag. For comparison the "Round Mini" now goes for around $15 on Uniqlo's Singapore site, and comes in 15 colors.

Young corporate women are seeking out work uniforms, and brands are answering the call

There is a reason why women are adopting work uniforms, experts say.

Richard Thompson Ford, a Stanford professor and author of "Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History," told the Wall Street Journal that the Effortless Pant is like a female equivalent of the "'Midtown uniform' for men, consisting of slacks, button-downs and fleece vests."


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Forbes listed the Aritzia Effortless Pant as one of its five best wide-leg pants of 2024, and the best in the market for office wear.

Additionally, the comfort that the wide-leg pant offers is what makes it appealing as workwear. After years of remote work in activewear and pajamas, the idea of constricting oneself in tight skinny jeans or tailored trousers isn't all that appealing to the Gen Z office worker.

But there is one common denominator in Uniqlo and the Effortless Pant's success — that they create a timeless, classic silhouette, and lean into the simplicity the quiet luxury trend has made popular.

Of course, not all Asian Gen Zers have embraced quiet luxury and minimalism.

Young office workers in China, for instance, are ditching the work uniform entirely to rebel against low pay and grueling working hours. The trend — which surfaced on Chinese social media under the hashtag "gross outfits at work" — involved young Chinese workers recording their fits for the day, which ranged from shabby loungewear to oversized puffer jackets and fluffy slippers.

Representatives for Uniqlo and Aritzia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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