By August 4, 2014 Read More →

What to wear when you work from home

What to wear when you work from homeThis is a subject we home workers love to talk about,

and last week I joined in a discussion on the Linkedin Home Working UK group about what to wear when you work from home.

I was struck by a point made by copywriter and PR consultant, Mary Whitehouse.

Mary said that the assumption appears to be that ‘dressing comfortably in non-business clothes equals not looking good.’ Quite so, Mary, you’d think the only alternative to a suit is slobbing about in shabby, stained tracksuit bottoms – or even those mythical pyjamas so beloved of the press. Clothes that reduce our self-esteem and impact on our ability to do our work.

But it’s perfectly possible to find plenty of clothes to wear when you work from home that make you feel well-groomed and stylish. We’re bright enough to be able to put together an outfit that’s comfortable for sitting at the computer and running a few errands, but easily dressed up with a few accessories to meet a client.

But, hang on, that’s another assumption – that ‘clients’ always demand more formality. Yes, there are still some situations it’s appropriate to dress up for, but far less than there used to be. Aren’t your clients often busy mobile workers, juggling work and family life just like you, who might actually be dismayed or amused if you turned up dressed up to the nines?

Anyway, with Mary’s comment fresh in my mind, it was interesting to see an article in The Daily Telegraph at the weekend with photos of the the Duchess of Cambridge pictured at the Commonwealth Games in jeans, blazer and wedges, and the headline ‘Forget ‘smart casual’ – as Kate knows, it’s the way most of us dress now.’

Forget the dress code ‘smart casual’, the article begins, ‘It’s simply the way most of us dress most of the time: in unpretentious, functional, comfortable items.’

(The article then goes on to tell us we do it very badly, but we’ll pass over that for now, since fashion journalists have to tell us we don’t know how to dress or they’d be out of a job).

Yes, the world has moved on – we can work at home and on the move, and not surprisingly we no longer have the same dress codes as when work was something you had to go out to do, and within which there were clearly defined hierarchies.

I think that the growth in home working and mobile working has been a significant part of this change in habits and contributed to the more casual look. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

What do you wear when you work from home? Could your clothes be described as ‘smart casual’? Are there ever any occasions when would you wear a suit?

4 Comments on "What to wear when you work from home"

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  1. In the current weather, shorts and a t-shirt, or if I’m going to be making Skype calls, a shirt with a collar (normally no tie). When it cools down, jeans will replace the shorts. When I’m travelling smart trousers and a shirt with a collar (a tie if the occasion warrants it) or suit jacket.

    • I rest my case! You remind me of the story of the lawyer with the ragged jeans who Skypes his clients – shirt and tie on top (a situation where you do want to impress your clients with your unimpeachable respectability!) and ripped jeans below 🙂

  2. I wear soft jersey drawstring trousers and a long-sleeved tee-shirt at the moment. Smart pyjamas?

    On deadline days, though, even I forget about styling until I’ve hit the send button!