Working from home grants you a more freedom in your choice of clothing than your usual office formal outfits.
But what you wear can have a big effect on how you feel and behave.
We all instinctively know that pyjamas and dressing gown signal relaxing and bedtime. Whereas putting on smart business clothing activates a ‘work mode’, problem solving attitude.
But what do you wear when working from home, when the choice of outfit is yours..
Your athleisure clothing might be calling you, but somehow, talking to your boss in sweatpants and a hoody just doesn’t feel quite right.
Appealing as it is to wear comfy lounge wear all day when working from home. It might not necessarily be the best idea for productivity and getting your head in the right frame of mind.
Niall and I have been working from home for the last 4 years or so.
We have had plenty of experience in the home office wardrobe department and have worn many dodgy mismatching outfits along the way!
Here are some of our top tips when thinking about what to wear when working from home.
(Including what to wear on Zoom chats.)
It’s time to stop wearing your pj’s until 3pm and also to stop being uncomfortable wearing your expensive too-tight jeans just to try to justify the price by saying they’re ‘work-wear’.
Firstly, what sort of work do you do?
- Are you on daily zoom conference calls or do you work mainly from a headset for phone calls?
- Do you work inside all day alone or do you have to meet clients?
Questions such as these will determine the sort of clothing you can wear.. If you’re sitting down for most of the day working at a computer, look for trousers with a bit of stretch in the waistband for a more comfortable day in the office.
If you’re having the constant battle of juggling work and looking after your children like some sort of magician. The less time you have to spend worrying about what to wear each day, the better.
If your job means you’re at working at home for at least some part of the day, then you’re in the right place for some ideas and inspiration about what to wear.
Switch to smart casual clothing
You no longer have to wear a suit and tie, or a fitted blouse and blazer.
(Unless you’re on a zoom call and have to wear smart business clothing of course.)
Explore more relaxed options like chinos, casual shirts and cardigans.
- A pair of chinos, or cotton trousers can still look smart. Providing you team them with the right co-ordinating clothing.
- A relaxed fit style shirt, paired with a neat jumper can still make you look and feel smart but be more comfortable and appropriate for life at home.
Something like the outfit above, a relaxed outfit that has a look about it of ‘I am organised and know what I’m doing’.
When putting on these clothes like these you will feel a sense of togetherness and formality.
You will also look perfectly fine and professional enough for an impromptu Zoom call that may come through at any moment.
Top tips for clothing – working from home.
- Plain or neutral colours in clothing. (Bold prints and designs attract too much attention and can feel a bit ‘novelty’
- Don’t worry about clothing being fitted or figure hugging. Working from home is a fantastic chance to actually be able to feel comfortable whilst working. – Don’t waste the opportunity by wearing too-tight clothing.
- Try to simplify clothing options wherever possible. Wearing a dress like the one below, from the new Monsoon collection is a way to create an effortlessly smart but chic outfit, with only one piece of clothing to think about.
- Keep a sense of formality. Whilst there is nothing stopping you wearing glamorous clothing, jewel embellished dresses or even a tracksuit.. a level of sophistication and seriousness in your work clothing will help you to feel like you’re at work, (even if you are really in your bedroom!).
Don’t forget shoes!
If you were working in your normal office location, you would of course be wearing your formal, (and probably uncomfortable) work shoes.
When working from home, it is easy to overlook shoes, as if you’re like us in my house – there is a no shoes inside rule.
However, shoes are most likely an integral part of your work mentality and feeling ‘ready for work’.
Whilst you don’t have to put on your smartest or highest heeled shoes to show you mean business when working from home…
It is a good idea to think about having some smart casual shoes that both keep your feet warm, and give you a sense of normality in your dress code.
They are comfortable, smart, clean cut and would work with a huge range of smart casual outfits.
Accessorise your outfit
If you have switched to working from home in the last year,
You have probably realised that you now have little use for your expensive designer handbag and purse these days…
Instead, use this opportunity to dig out some of your more unique pieces of jewellery which might not have been acceptable to wear in the office.
Enjoy wearing unique and bold jewellery, for yourself, instead of for other people for once.
(Although a statement necklace can be a really good conversation starter on a zoom chat.)
If you stick to neutral colours for clothing, you can quickly change the look of an outfit by the accessories you add.
Your favourite pair of earrings or a necklace that holds a special memory.
Accessorising doesn’t have to mean jewellery though.
Experiment with headbands, turbans and headscarves to give your same old outfit a new look.
Turn an old piece of clothing into a headscarf by chopping it up.
You don’t have to go big and bold, a simple piece of jewellery that means something to you or that just makes you smile can add a little spark of joy to your outfit.
Focus on the head and neck
Of course, when working from home, there is no one to see your carefully curated outfit but yourself.
Unless you have to partake in Zoom or Skype calls.
So give yourself a little break from obsessing about what clothing goes with what accessories and have a little fun.
You might look a bit weird and mismatched some days, and other days, think; ‘why have I never put this combo together before?’
If you do have face to face meetings through a web camera, remember there’s only your face and top of your chest visible.
So wearing a few simple accessories with some simple but elegant clothing can give you an effortlessly chic and ‘together’ look.
Stop buying ‘wear once’ items
This is a good excuse to stop buying new things for a while and instead sort though what you already own and really focus on what you love and what makes you happy.
Another necklace for £4 from Primark is not going to stand the test of time.
Once you have worn it a few times, you will likely be bored of it and be looking for something new.
Likewise with throwaway clothing, I was once the person who bought a new piece of clothing every week, often more than one item, plus accessories and shoes.
Part of growing up and having worked from home for the last few years is that I now have a different appreciation for clothing, styles and accessories.
By thinking very carefully about clothing before buying, you too can cut down the amount you buy.
I really only buy clothing now when something falls apart or I need a specific item that I don’t already own.
Instead of owning lots and lots of choices of clothing, and often ending up feeling overwhelmed by what to wear…
Focus on choosing multifunctional pieces that will work in different combinations for different seasons.
Our Working From Home Outfits
I hope this article has been useful in giving you some ideas of what to wear when working from home.
On a day to day basis, I usually wear a casual dress with leggings and a cardigan.
In the winter, our house is freezing cold! Just after Christmas I bought myself a knitted poncho which is amazingly warm and I would recommend one to anyone working from home.
It seems to keep all of your body heat in and I get warmer and warmer wearing it.
My partner Niall wears chinos, a t-shirt and a jumper most days.
We tend to stick to wearing slippers most days, instead of shoes as our online business has a more relaxed feel than working in a traditional office.