Work-From-Home Fashion: Biz-Leisure, Slob-Chic, and the Importance of Getting Dressed
The beginning of Covid-19 pandemic in the Western world can be summed up by a news anchor appearing on Good Morning America via Zoom, without pants. Months later, we’re still stuck at home. And somehow, people are still having trouble putting on pants for professional video calls.
Disturbing pantless trends aside… Our office life has been flipped upside-down. Suddenly, your dress code feels useless, and the temptation to work from your bed and swap your casual work outfit for pajamas is real.
I feel this especially now, when, here in Europe, days are getting shorter, and the temperatures outside are dropping along with my energy levels and mood.
To perk myself up, I’ve been making casual errands an opportunity to dress up and get ready. I do my make-up, dust off one of my outfits, and go outside into the world, and it makes me feel, well, alive. I then took it a step further—now, I put more effort into my daily outfit, even while working from home all day. Turns out, even doctors recommend this small daily act.
The importance of getting dressed (even if you have nowhere to go)
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” is a saying by the retired United States Navy admiral and author William McRaven. And he’s right—scientists have been saying for years that sticking to a morning routine is beneficial to your mental health, improves productivity, and reduces stress levels.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” McRaven explains. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
If making your bed is task one of the day, then make getting dressed task number two.
Getting dressed for the day gives your brain the signal that it’s not the weekend or a sick day, but indeed a regular workday. The nice thing about quarantine fashion is that you can still keep your outfit somewhat casual and comfortable (unless your work has a strict dress-code even when working from home).
Fashion trends born out of the pandemic
Quarantine has not only given us the quarantine 15 (those extra pounds many of us put during lockdown) but brand new style trends as well. Biz-leisure and slob-chic are the latest results of pandemic fashion, and probably not the last.
Biz-leisure—the unlikely combination of smart, tailored pieces and leisurewear—can be summed up as “Zoom meeting on top, couch potato on the bottom”. Think legging shorts paired with a smart blazer, sweatpants with a structured coat, or running shorts with a turtleneck.
This is an unexpected, yet appropriate styling choice for these unprecedented times, blurring the lines of business and casual.
While biz-leisure is a perfect choice for the busy workdays, slob-chic is taking your downtime garb, like nightwear and leisurewear, to the next level. Think feathered silk pyjamas, chic linen sets, and colorful kimonos.
Trends aside, there are a few things that will make you feel and look significantly more put together. You probably won’t even have to go shopping—most pieces will be hiding in your closet already, perfect for that casual work-from-home outfit. Let’s get started!
What to wear when working from home
Ditch your sweats for soft chinos and loose jeans
It’s hard to resist wearing your favorite pair of sweatpants when working from home. But a day packed with meetings calls for a more professional look. A pair of soft chinos or stretchy/baggy jeans won’t have you sacrificing comfort, but will make you feel less sluggish, and more put-together!
Look put together in solid colors
Something you probably already have in your wardrobe is a simple t-shirt. Worn on its own, this understated basic in a solid color will look way more polished than a graphic tee. Opt for a long-sleeved version if it’s getting chilly where you live.
Elevate a simple tee with a polo style
A polo shirt has been a preppy staple for decades now with universities, private schools, and colleges using it as part of their uniforms. Today, the polo is back on the runways, elevating the simple tee and giving a more polished, smart look.
Choose a cardigan over a blazer
If you normally wear a blazer to the office, swap it out for a cardigan. First, you’ll be on-trend, since a chunky-knit cardigan has been a must-have item since last fall. Second, it’s a great piece for layering and comfortable enough to wear all day. And third, it looks smarter than a zip hoodie, and pretty much goes with everything, from flowy dresses to jeans and tees.
Represent your company with branded merch
A teammate of mine shared that she loves to wear her branded Printful sweatshirts for her video calls with our partners. That way she can represent Printful, look smart (hers is a dark-grey version with a small Printful logo), and stay comfortable and warm.
If you recently started your business, and don’t have a logo yet, don’t fret—you can create one in minutes using Printful’s Logo Maker tool.
Let’s say I run an artisanal soap company. Here, I can create a professional-looking design, add it to one of Printful’s products, make an order, and voilà! Now I can rep my imaginary soap brand during those important video calls!
Up your athleisure wear game
Sportswear has been creeping into our day-to-day dressing for years, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. My favorite athleisure wear trend is matching sets in solid colors. There’s something about a matching sweat set that makes one look more put together and smart.
Switch your regular shirts for a linen option
One of my favorite materials to wear, especially when I’m at home, is linen. It’s breathable, durable, soft, and looks effortlessly chic. A simple linen button-down will elevate your WFH style while making you feel super comfortable all day long. Pair it with blue jeans, and you have a casual yet put together look. For a more businesslike vibe, wear dark slacks and loafers, and the room, ehm, the Zoom, is yours.
Now go and put some pants on!
After a month of planning my WFH outfits, I can confidently say that each morning, I feel more ready for the day, and my chances of being caught looking like a hot mess in an urgent Zoom meeting are pretty low.
Getting dressed also made me realise how much I missed having fun with my outfits, and how much creativity such a simple act can bring to your life. Plus, now I actually get some use out of my clothes.
And on days when I really don’t feel like wearing a presentable outfit? I reach for my trusty old sweats. Hey, we’re living through a pandemic, after all.
I’m curious: what’s your WFH uniform these days? Share it in the comments below!