The sea change toward at-home work might have started because of the pandemic, but it has stuck around for several other reasons. For starters, many employees prefer the convenience of rolling back their morning commute to do work from home. Secondly, employers like the money they save on commercial real estate. And finally, the whole deal appears to have no negative impact on productivity (it might even boost productivity). For now, it’s a win-win.
The only problem is that etiquette-wise, we’re in uncharted territory. At-work dress codes, casual and formal office demands, and workplace fashion had centuries to evolve, mature and codify. Now, within the span of a couple of short years, the whole system is turned on its head.
How should you dress while working from home? Should you prioritize comfort or formality, uniformness or versatility? In this post, let’s explore a few basic tenets for dressing your best while working from home.
Business up Top
Whatever else you wear, your top should align with your company’s idea of suitable attire. Working from home often requires several video meetings, within which your torso and head are in frame. Therefore, it’s best to focus your fashion efforts on your top half.
Businesses vary in what they consider suitable attire. For some, a smart polo shirt or semi-casual button-down do the trick, while others require the entire suit-and-tie set-up.
It’s essential to stay comfortable as you work from home. Often, at-home workers don’t have access to the same comfortable chairs and office lounges, so your clothes have to pick up some of the slack. Besides, work should never be uncomfortable in the first place.
Merino wool is an excellent choice of material because its ultrafine (and therefore ultra-soft), and it stays fresh for long periods due to its antibacterial properties. (Yes, you can wear the same merino sweatpants for days without them feeling less-than-fresh). To learn more, check out this ultimate merino wool clothing guide, which has cleaning tips and further benefits.
Versatility is Key
Ideally, you want your wardrobe to be versatile. It shouldn’t feel constricting, but it should look good on Zoom meetings. Try to find a fit that’s somewhere between tight and baggy – a structured fit that allows you room to breathe but looks put-together.
Also, consider choosing neutral colours that aren’t distracting on video conference calls: heather grays, whites, dark and light blues are all solid choices for the workplace. These are versatile colours to which you can small pops of colour with accessories.
A Sample Wardrobe
A sample wardrobe might look like the following:
- Light blue button-down shirt
- A merino wool base layer t-shirt for comfort
- Bottoms of your choice, like jeans, chinos or – yes – even sweatpants
- Comfortable shoes or slippers (no one will ever see them).
- And whatever tasteful, colourful accessories you feel comfortable in
With these simple guidelines and the aid of some comfortable materials, you can make your at-home fashion relaxing yet sophisticated. The perfect balance between at-home leisure and at-work professionalism.
Also read: Five Big Upshots of Working from Home