What to wear working from home

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

It looks more and more likely that, due to the threat of Coronavirus, many of us will very soon be working from home. For those who have a nightmare commute every day, this might be met with whoops of joy! For those with no space at home to have some quiet time, there will be groans.

Others might be thinking “Well thank goodness for that, I don’t have to worry about what to wear every day now!” Only, I think you do! Sorry!!

Work is still work. It might look different over the coming weeks, but does that mean dressing differently? I know that for me, there is a link between what I wear, how I feel and therefore how productive I am.

The reality of working from home

I used to be rubbish at working from home. The distractions! I’ll just stick some washing on. I could just nip out to post office. Wouldn’t it be nice if I repainted the kitchen cupboards a duck egg blue? Does this sound familiar??

I’d roll from bed to the breakfast table to my workstation ie stay at the kitchen table! And it just didn’t work! But now it does! And do you know what drastically changed my mindset on working from home? Dressing like a Pro. Dressing for what I wanted to achieve that day.

The first rule of Working from Home Club – no Pyjamas!

The fabulous Natalie Trice invited me to contribute to her recent book “PR School: Your Time To Shine” on just this topic:

“There is a well-recognised link between what you wear and how you feel and vice versa. Dressing like you mean business can have a direct effect on how productive and successful you are…..I’ve been there, thinking how lucky I am to wear PJs and work from under the duvet. Only I can’t. It doesn’t work for me. I need to be well dressed, in keeping with my brand, stick some basic makeup on and style my hair a bit. And then, there I am, the productive, go-getting version of me...Unless you’re selling insomnia remedies, PJs just aren’t going to do it."

Keep your 2worlds separate

Wearing PJs or comfies or whatever you want to call them, is just a no-no. They signal chill time for me and that’s just never going to work for work. I need to keep these 2 worlds separate – there’s time to be switched on and use my brain and there’s time for lounging around. I don’t want them becoming mixed. Work time needs to be me at my alert best. And I have to dress for that. It signifies to my brain that I am ready to work and puts me in the right headspace.

It’s not just about how productive I am but about keeping me sane too. My loungerie is what I get into for a sartorial hug. For those days when I need downtime, for relaxing and letting whatever is happening in my head happen. I want and need to keep those boundaries.

When I wear them I slow down and chill. They almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy, therefore. If I wear them and try to work, it’s a bit of an uphill struggle to focus and be on the ball. Remember you still have a job to do, you still need to deliver no matter where you’re working from.

Don’t just take it from me!

There is research out there to back up this psychological effect of what we wear. The Guardian ran this article a couple of years ago and say that “Working in your pyjamas is a lot like working from bed (and the two often go together): it seems like such a great idea when you start, but you realise that if you’re dressed for bed, your brain will think it’s bedtime and totally fuzz out. So, no pyjamas is the first rule of homeworking.”

Prof Carolyn Mair, Professor of Psychology for Fashion argues in this Vogue article that being comfortable in our clothes however is really important so that we feel confident and get on with the task at hand.

The Psychology of Fashion has an amusing article which does actually gives some great advice – you need to be comfortable but not too comfortable.

It’s all about a mindset, isn’t it? About how you feel as well as how you look. I want to feel professional and competent in what I do for work and have a clear split between work and chill out mode if I’m having to do both from home. What I wear does both of these.

So what are you wearing today?

My advice is, like always, to dress appropriately for the situation you’re in. It’s unlikely that you will need to be as smartly suited and booted as you would if you had to go into the office, but you might find that you need to be to get your head in the right space. Or if you’re doing a lot of video calls. You could then, of course, start the game of “what might they be wearing on their bottom half?” to keep yourself entertained!!

If you can wear slippers and still get through everything you need to with your usual professional aplomb then great. Go for it. Find out what works for you – but no pyjamas!! Good luck - I wish you a stylishly comfortable yet productive week.

If you work from home and want to get your wardrobe working better for you then get in touch. We can sort it out once and for all! Ring me on 07843 006335, email on style@shelleykelly.co.uk or contact me through my website.

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