PJ’s or Suits? What to wear when you work from home.
Throughout my career I’ve worked in different settings. As a buyer and merchandiser I worked in an office setting in NYC where I had to maintain an executive, yet fashion forward, attire. In other words, black suits (it was NYC after all) and fabulous shoes.
Fast forward to my days as a fashion blogger. My “office” was any one of the fabulous coffee shops that Seattle had to offer (Top Pot Donuts and Café Fiore being two of my favorites). I was also out and about taking street style fashion pics while toting along my laptop, camera and then 20 month old daughter… Needing to be comfortable, weather friendly (yes, it rains in Seattle) and maintain my own personal style I turned to jeans, Hunter boots, plaid shirts and quilted vests as my work attire.
Here I am now, I own a business and work from home. I have nothing to schlep and my commute consists of a flight of stairs :) (yes, you heard angels singing). Yet another switch in my work wardrobe.
I Work From Home, does it matter what I wear?
When I meet with clients it’s easy to figure out what to wear, I’m in full wardrobe consultant mode. But, then there are those days where I’m pulling clothing items for a client or blogging and there’s not a whole lot of human interaction... For my first day on the job as founder and owner of 344pm I chose a rather casual outfit. Not PJ’s, but still a bit more casual than what I usually wear out. I chose jeans and a sweatshirt. I made myself a cup of coffee and went to work! What did I do all day? I was on Facebook. All. Day. The most unproductive day I’ve had at work ever. Chalking it up to a new work environment I wore a similar outfit the next day and the day after that and well, all week I was in some sort of sweat shirt / sweat pant ensemble, and I wasn't getting a lot done.
I instantly realized what I was doing- I got all wrapped up in the fact that I was working home that I felt like I could dress for home. That put me in the “relax you’re at home” frame of mind when I really should have been in the “you just launched a business, you need to hit the ground running” frame of mind. The following Monday I wore black trouser pants, a cardigan, a necklace, make-up and “commuted” to my home office. Guess what, my day was productive.
I’m living proof that what you wear does affect how you work. But, don’t just rely on me... In a study conducted at Northwestern University, researchers gave out lab coats to a group of people, those people were told they were wearing doctor’s lab coats. A second group was given the same looking coats, however they were told the coats were painter’s coats. The group that was told they had doctor’s coats had an “increased sustained attention” as compared to those wearing the painter’s coats. As stated in the study, “The influence of clothes thus depends on wearing them and their symbolic meaning.”
Looking at my outfit choices, sweatpants symbolized relaxation and comfort of home to me. Work clothes symbolized, well, working!
All of this reminds me of a client of mine, she asked me for recommendations for a “Power Suit”. Something she can wear to high level meetings that she had to lead. She was looking for something that would help her display her confidence and when she would wear it she knew it was “game time”. We found the perfect suit and she wears it every time she has to lead. Clothes really do help to put you in the right frame of mind.
What Should I Wear When I Work from Home?
First and foremost, always remember to stick with your personal style. Your clothes represent you, not the other way around.
Things to remember when you are choosing your work from home outfits:
Be Comfortable- Whether you work from home or in an office, comfort it key. When you’re sitting at a computer all day you don’t want to worry about not being able to breath in your super skinny jeans.
Layering- This really is the key to dressing. Period, end of story. Going from a Google Hangout with a client to spending the rest of your day writing a blog post? Start with an outfit and layer on a blazer and jewelry for the Hangout and take them off when you’re done. Presto, two outfits in one. Need more tips on layering? Check out this post.
Dress for the day- If you have back to back conference calls all day, wear something that will allow you to be in the “conference call” mindset. If you’re in your office clicking away at your laptop you can take a little more relaxed (yet work like) approach to your dressing.
Here are some outfit ideas I put together to help you see that just because you work from home you don’t have to dress super casual. However, you can be bit more relaxed than what you would wear in an office setting with a strict dress code.
Casual and Dress Mix- The leather moto jacket, tassel necklace and gold glitter belt dress up this denim on denim outfit. The athletic sneakers are trend right and comfy!
Game On- On conference calls, Hangouts, Skype sessions all day? This leather inset top with a statement necklace paired with dark wash, tonal stitch denim puts you in work mode. Fur lined boots add the comfort factor.
A bit of this and a bit of that- All shades of red and sangria are key colors for this season. Pair a cranberry swing sweater with a long necklace, cargo pants and riding boots for a day that's a bit of this and a bit of that.
A Casual Day- Sitting in front of the computer all day and not a meeting in sight- Wear a printed tunic with relaxed khakis (instead of sweatpants). A casual outfit, but one that still mentally puts you in work mode.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what to wear when you're working from home. Do you agree that clothes have an influence on your state of mind? What are your go to work from home outfits?
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