If you are like me, every aspect of working from home took some getting used to, especially getting dressed in the morning! If you’ve been following along for awhile, you know that my go-to uniform for work is either a dress or skirt and I’m basically always wearing a blazer. All of which are not work from home friendly. Being the nerd that I am, I did some research on dress from home attire and tips and wanted to my findings with you all.
Every article I read stressed the importance of routine. This could mean keeping your original routine or making slight tweaks so it works with your new work from home schedule. Not having to spend and hour plus in the car every morning has allowed me to tweak my routine and get more sleep, thank goodness, but once that alarm goes off it’s business as usual getting myself ready for work. I won’t go into all the details but it does include doing my hair and makeup. For some that last statement might be controversial because this is a time to “teach your hair to get dirty”, protect your hair from extra heat damage and saving precious product but I’ve learned I like to put myself together as if I was going into the office. Again, to each their own.
Once I’ve pulled myself together, it’s time to get dressed. This has been the constant struggle for me and the reason I went looking for answers in the first place.
Every article I read emphasized the importance of dressing for comfort but that there is a fine line between dressing for comfort and wearing your pajamas. Across the board, it was recommended to change out of your pajamas before starting your work day and not to wear anything that could double as pajamas or clothing that is ripped or dirty.
Beyond the recommendation not to work from home in your PJs, the most common theme I saw among people that have found success in working from home is athletic/athleisure wear. On days that I am not hosting meetings with clients I am all aboard the athleisure train. They are so comfortable and, if done right,can make you look pulled together. The best part of wearing athletic clothes during the workday is that it’s super easy to transition into workout mode during lunch or after work.
While I wish I could get away with wearing quarterzips, tank tops and dri-fit tops everyday that is not my reality. I’ve made the personal decision to put on a more professional outfit when I have Zoom meetings scheduled with team members and clients. This isn’t a tip that I picked up in my research, it came from observation and personal preference. I’ve been observing what the other advisors and managers wear during team video calls and have decided to follow suit not because I have to but because how I dress is very much apart of my brand and I want to be thoughtful in how I present myself everyday to my clients and teammates.
While most clients are understanding of the situation, I still think its important to put my best foot forward for clients and prospects. By no means am I putting on a dress or dress pants but I am being more conscious of what I’m wearing on top. Enter the mullet approach.
The Mullet Approach
I know I’m not the first person to make this joke but when I have a client meeting scheduled or team Zoom call, I’ve been going with the mullet approach. Nope, not the same mullet that my husband had when I met him 8 years ago. This is the outfit mullet, business on top and comfy on bottom.
When it comes to picking out a professional *looking* top, I am staying away from my typical work blouse made out of a stain or chiffon and instead opting for a tops made out cotton that are more comfortable. As of late, my go to work tops have been knit sweaters (Chicago when will you warm up!), cotton button downs and t-shirts under cardigans or the occasional blazer (I know I can’t give them up!). A look I’ve been loving right now is a basic black or white tank top under an open front cardigan. It gives the visual of wearing a blazer or jacket but much more comfortable!
Bottoms are little easier to pick out in the morning because you don’t see them and you likely have less options to choose from. It won’t come as a surprise to any of you but my go to WFH pant of choice has been black leggings. In my opinion you can never go wrong with a pair of black leggings but eventually they need to get washed and/or I get tired of wearing the same thing everyday. When I get to one of these breaking points my other WFH options have been as follows:
When it finally warms up, I’ll probably start rotating in some of my golf skirts for more variety. If you haven’t worn a golf skirt before I will tell you that it’s more of a skort and less of a skirt making it that much more comfortable.
One final thought on WFH bottom options, in all actuality I could get away with wearing almost anything on bottom. The most my co-workers and clients will see of me is from the waist an up. My personal thought process for this step in building a WFH outfit is A) I want my outfit to match and B) if I wouldn’t wear these bottoms out in public, I shouldn’t be wearing them while working from home.
As part of my research, I listened to a Facebook Live event at the end of last week on what to wear when working from home and the presenter recommended wearing shoes. I’ve read other articles that take the opposite stand and advocate for wearing slippers while working from home. I think this is more of a personal preference but I will share with you that after watching the Facebook Live I changed into shoes for the rest of the work day and noticed a difference in my work and productivity.
As for type of footwear I have been opting to wear slip-on sneakers, loafers, flats or gym shoes based on what works best with my outfit that day.
I hope you found this mix of research and personal thoughts on how to dress when working from home wear helpful if you’ve been struggling to get dressed in the morning. Before I let you go back to your make shift work from home work stations, here’s a quick summary of the rules I’ve been following for work from home wear.
- Don’t wear anything that could double as pajamas.
- Look to company management and leaders for cues on how to dress when calling into team meetings or client calls.
- Opt for comfortable fabrics when picking out a tops that present as professional.
- Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear in public.
- Don’t forget your shoes!