According to a study by FlexJobs, the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. grew by 115% between 2005 and 2015. Not only are more jobs becoming compatible with working from home, more and more companies are seeing the benefit in incorporating this type of flexible work arrangement into their business strategies. Whether you’re a telecommuter or an independent contractor like me, there’s a serious shift happening in business culture. So, what exactly does the shift from structured workplace to flexible home office look like? More importantly, what should you wear when it happens?
As a self-employed blogger with a home office of my own, one of the most helpful tips for working from home (and actually being productive) I’ve ever received is to get dressed every morning. Yes, every single morning. As comfy as they are, yoga pants and old sweatshirts don’t exactly put me in the right go-getter mindset. Since dressing down can be of the biggest upsides to working remotely, I decided to put together some tips for what to wear when you work from home that’ll keep both your dignity and the perks of your flexible position in tact. You’ll also find full outfit details at the bottom of this post!
What to Wear When You Work from Home
Tip #1: Business up top.
If you’re going to dress down, always keep it business casual up top. For example, my go-to outfit consists of a dressier top/jacket and comfy bottoms. The reasoning? If I need to jump on Skype or Facetime, I won’t be mortified. It also won’t send the wrong message to my team or coworkers. I mean, looking like I just rolled out of bed (and may or may not be watching TV and eating ice cream) isn’t the impression I want them to have.
This pink tailored blazer outfit is a classic example of what to wear when you work from home. It’s comfy and casual yet still dressy enough to work if you have to run to an emergency meeting or hop on a video call. It also has bow tie cuffs and costs less than $50. Click here to shop!
Tip #2: Invest in the basics.
One of the best things about working remotely is that you can repeat outfits as frequently as you like. Literally no one will notice. For this reason, invest in comfy basics, like blazers and chunky knit sweaters, that’ll last you a lifetime and that can be worn for other occasions, as well. If you’re not sure what to wear with a blazer, the answer is virtually anything– from a delicate cami (like this one) to a graphic t-shirt to a chunky sweater. Blazers can transform a borderline dumpy or ill-fitting look into a stylish business casual ensemble instantly. For example, I love this white chiffon cami. However, it’s a tad bit big, and it’s way too deep of a v-neck for work. I pinned the back straps with a safety pin to pull the top up a bit, and the blazer pulls it all together nicely (and hides the safety pin, too).
Also, if you live somewhere with a particularly cold winter, it’s important to have the right coat to throw on in case you have to run out without warning. A classic camel coat is the perfect solution! Especially if you’re having a super cozy pajama day, you want to make sure the coat hides all the pink hearts and puppy dog patterns. Trust me, it’s a lot more embarrassing than it sounds to be seen as a candidate for People of Walmart.
Tip #3: Party down below.
Although looking the part is still important as a visual reminder of your professionalism, a laid back dress code is one of the main reasons working from home is so ideal. While I recommend following the “business on top” guideline, I also recommend the “party down below” mentality. As long as your hair is done and you have your video calls covered, wear the comfiest pants you own. I literally live in these AG skinny ankle jeans. They’re amazingly comfy and have just the right amount of stretch. Whether you’re in jeans, leggings, culottes, or yoga pants, you’ll still look and feel put together.
Also, cozy slippers go a long way. One of my greatest every day pleasures is the ability to wear slippers ALL DAY LONG. If you do end up needing to run out, you can quickly (and painlessly) throw on a nicer pair of shoes, like these peep toe mules.
Tip #4: Change into casual clothes at 5PM.
When you work from home, your work-life balance can easily be thrown out of whack. To give yourself some boundaries, change into comfy clothes at 5PM (or whenever your business cut-off is). This will provide a distinct shift in your day and can reinforce the need to stop working. In a Fast Company article entitled What Happened When I Dressed Up to Work from Home for a Week, Stephanie Vozza described her post 5PM experience as follows: “Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the urge to respond to after-hours emails, and I even took an entire weekend off.” Cheers to that.
Tip #5: Dress for success.
Last but not least, the old adage is true. You’ve gotta dress for success. An awesome tidbit I took from Mason Donovan, author of The Golden Apple: Redefining Work-Life Balance for a Diverse Workforce, is that dressing professional puts us in a different mental state. When we’re dressed the part, we feel more present, have a higher level of commitment, and are more engaged with our work. We also give others a visual cue that we’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed, thereby safeguarding our time. As a woman who’s worked from home for over two years, I can honestly say that this is very true. Wearing work clothes keeps you in work mode. It’s as simple as that. Dress accordingly.
Shop the Look: Pink Bow Tied Cuff Blazer, $34 | White V-Neck Cami, $20 (available in 4 colors) | Skinny Ankle Jeans, $150 (currently 33% off!) | Nude Peep Toe Mules, $25 (these are old by Christian Siriano for Payless; similar styled linked) | Chloe Look-alike Crossbody Bag, $85 (click here for more Chloe look alike bags) | Pink Tassel Pendant Necklace, $17 | Small Circle Pendant Necklace, $40 | Health Watch, $95 (every purchase provides one underprivileged woman with prenatal care) | Pearl Stud Earrings, $16
Hope you’re having a great week, y’all! If you have any other tips or guidelines for what to wear when you work from home, please feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an email. I’d love for this list to be as helpful and up-to-date as possible!
Oh, and huge thanks to the fabulous Catherine Rhodes for capturing these images! If you’re in the Central Missouri area, you will NOT find a better (or sweeter) photographer!