“What to wear when you work from home.”
If you google this term, as you probably have been since most of us are working from home now, you’ll be presented with 5.6 billion results on this topic!
There are never-ending “WFH outfit ideas” articles, and there are even more articles talking about buying sweatpants, yoga pants and all this other stuff that you’d never actually want to be seen wearing in public.
I get it. You want to be comfortable and don’t want to get all dressed up in business clothes if you’re only going to be sitting on your couch or dining table with your laptop all day.
But here’s the thing, if you’re dressed in loungewear or pyjamas while you work, your brain will consider it downtime and make you feel lethargic, and you’ll find it hard to focus on the task at hand. Plus, you’ll end up looking sloppy.
Now we don’t want your brain to go into a fuzz-out mode while you’re talking to your boss on a video call. And you definitely don’t want to project a sloppy image. Because whether or not you’re working from home when it comes to a professional setting, your image is everything. I talk about how you are judged by your appearance in this post.
So, if you want to be productive, focussed and feel motivated while you work from home, then you need to dress like a productive, focussed and motivated woman. And that woman, my friend, doesn’t wear sweatpants to work.
And as someone who has worked from home for the better part of the last decade and successfully run multiple businesses and worked with clients from all over the world virtually, I can assure you that the way you dress has a big impact on how successful you’ll be.
A work from home outfit can still be comfortable, but the act of changing into your “work” clothes will help you remind yourself that it is time for work.
So, here are 3 rules on how to dress for work when you work from home, so you look professional and put-together for those video calls while still feeling comfortable:
1. FOLLOW A DRESS CODE
A dress code essentially means a set of rules specifying the type of clothing to be worn for a specific event. So, when you are working from home, you can create your own dress code for what you’ll wear to business meetings that include your senior management and other essential decision-makers or business clients and a dress code for your day-day-to team meetings. It’ll just make it that much easier to get dressed without spending hours trying to decide what you could wear that looks professional enough but also doesn’t look over the top. You are essentially creating a work from home capsule wardrobe.
For day-to-day work and team catch-ups over zoom, I recommend following the Elevated Casual Dress Code. Even on the days you don’t have any meetings scheduled, follow this dress code so you can still look presentable for any spontaneous meetings.
So, elevate your bottoms from sweatpants to fitted jeans or trousers with stretch and elevate your tops by opting for higher quality fabrics instead of plain cotton t-shirt or go for a fine knit slim fit jumper.
For the more serious meetings and those with internal or external stakeholders and senior management or your boss, I recommend Business Casual Dress Code. It’s smart enough to make you look polished on video calls but also dialled down from a full-on business attire.
Choose trousers over jeans and slim-fitted shirts or blouses for tops. Throw on a completer piece like a blazer or a fine-knit cotton or cashmere jumper, and you’re good to go.
For those of you who feel wearing trousers at home can be uncomfortable, I recommend trousers with drawstrings or elasticated waistband. These trousers are super comfortable as the waistband has enough give and stretch that it doesn’t dig into your stomach while you’re sitting down.
2. MAINTAIN A SIMPLE BEAUTY ROUTINE
Working from home can often become an excuse to let things slide when it comes to washing your hair regularly, taking a shower or even brushing your teeth. It’s just easier to slip out of bed and onto the couch with your laptop and start typing away. However, since we’re all working remotely, chances are there are going to be more than usual video conference calls. And because you never know when your next opportunity might present itself to you, you need to be always prepared.
A simple grooming routine like clean washed hair and fresh face can go a long way because oily hair and dull face is not a good look, especially on those last-minute video calls.
A light make-up will add brightness to your face, which will project a professional and polished image. You don’t have to apply a full-coverage foundation. A tinted moisturiser, little bit of concealer, mascara, and lip colour should do the trick.
3. WEAR HEELS AND TAKE YOUR MEETINGS STANDING UP
This is one that has personally worked wonders for my self-confidence every single time. Heels not only help you stand up straight and tall but it’s also hard to slouch when you’re slightly elevated off the ground. The result is that you always look sharp and confident.
And even when you don’t have meetings, just the act of wearing heels (or any work shoes) while you work puts your brain in a state of mind that helps you perform better and remain focussed. (I talk about the essentials shoes for working women in this blog post.)
Moreover, when it comes to working from home, you may be used to sitting down on your couch or dining table as you take meetings, but the simple act of standing up for your meetings brings different energy when you speak. It also helps you project your voice which is a technique used by leaders to command respect and attention.
These subtle things like your energy, posture, standing up straight and a clear voice makes you feel and appear professional, polished and confident and shows others that you are can be at your full productivity levels regardless of where you’re working from. This can be a huge benefit when it comes to maintaining your reputation when you work from home.
So, while working from home may become the new normal, don’t let PJ’s become your “work from home outfit”. Follow the rules above, get dressed for work and present your best self forward.
There is no excuse for an unprofessional image.
If you enjoyed this post, you’re going to love this.
I’ve rounded up 3 Work Wardrobe Essentials that are perfect for business casual events as well as when you work from home and want to look professional and put-together. The best thing, these are all timeless pieces that will go with everything else and help you build a versatile wardrobe.
Just tell me where to send it, and I’ll email you right away.