Today I am wearing a red silk wrap dress. It’s a new working from home persona I’m trying on. Like a game of Stars In Their Eyes. With obvious exceptions: the venue is my bedroom and the audience is me, myself and I. To be clear, this is definitely not my usual home-office style. It’s not even my usual day-to-day style.
I’ve already experimented with a few alter egos. The Always On A Conference Call Working Girl (two-piece suit - actually this is my usual 9-5 garb, the intention being that it would elicit more productivity), the yogi (leggings, jumper, trainers - thought it would encourage me to exercise), Bridget Jones (cotton PJs - surely this is the much-needed respite we need whilst confined at home until further notice?) and, finally, Diana Vreeland (“Need More Glamour”. Or, as Vreeland says: “Exaggeration is my only reality.”).
Instagram account @wfhfits charts a plethora of working-from-home looks across the globe, which veers between OTT (cowgirl hat? why not) to gloriously cosy (note to self: need knitted trousers). Some people are taking full advantage of the new, private office digs. After asking my friend Daisy - a fashion writer at ELLE magazine - what she was wearing, she said: “Usually I’m in checked trousers with a draw string waist and a cotton T-shirt, but honestly I have been sitting topless most of the day because my window lets the sun in!” So, I couldn’t help but wonder (adopts Carrie Bradshaw’s curious enthusiasm. Social distancing = excessive amounts of Sex and the City) what on earth do you wear to work in 2020? I consulted some insiders to share their home-office outfit inspiration and offer up some tips for you dear readers. If there’s one thing you should take away, let it be this: Must Not Wear Slippers. Repeat 3 x, every morning. This is very important.
“My working from home wardrobe is an excuse to pretend like I’m a frequent first class flyer. (Rest assured I am not). If I stay in my pyjamas all day absolutely zero is getting done so I have to treat working from home like I would the office: shower, get dressed and put some make up on. It’s either Nike leggings and an oversized jumper or cashmere bottoms with matching tops which I’ve gathered over the years from M&S, The White Company, ASOS and Madeleine Thompson. However it’s not just the clothes that will help get me out of pyjama funk, it’s also makeup (nothing will stop you napping like the thought of getting foundation on fresh sheets) and it’s footwear - don’t just fall into slippers, stick a pair of trainers on and to make sure working from home doesn’t mean working from bed. A spritz of my favourite perfume (Creed Silver Mountain Water) and voila I’m ready for work and the first-class lounge.”
Billie Bhatia, Fashion News Editor at Stylist
“The fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli famously said: 'In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous,' and while my style can hardly be described as such, I'm certainly trying to bring a little Schiaparelli spirit into my WFH wardrobe. For me, this comes in the form of whimsical knits: colourful, personality-packed pieces that are, most importantly, comfortable, but also an instant mood-booster. My favourites include a rainbow-hued cashmere from Madeleine Thompson, Hayley Menzies' gloriously granny-inspired Gladys cardi, and plenty of chunky, fair isle knit vintage numbers. These'll be styled with luxe joggers on a Monday, and then with my beloved flares on a Friday—if I'm feeling really fancy.”
Joy Montgomery, Shopping Editor at WhoWhatWear
“I pride myself on being a fashion chameleon, always changing my style, references and mood. However, since I've started to work from home I've realised my daily uniform has manifested into just three items - trainers, leggings and cashmere. Basic? Maybe! But I'm not against it, in fact I am embracing this newfound simplicity. I like my gym kit to be minimalist and new label Wone, launched by former Nike creative director Kristin Hildebrand, has the perfect black leggings. I've found them to be comfortable so when I'm working at the kitchen table they don't give me that uncomfortable constricting feeling, plus wearing them reminds me to go for a long walk before lunch and jog in the afternoon. For me, Girlfriend Collective produce the highest quality sports bras, I particularly like their Paloma style, its shape gives ample support, the materials used are soft on the skin and it's also highly breathable when working out. But of course, I can't wear a sports bra on Google Hangout with multiple team members from the office, so I've been wearing cashmere short sleeved tops in beige and black from Les 100 Ciels or MaxMara and styling them with Arket’s new camel hued fleece running hoodie. For trainers I am now living in my new Adidas Boosts, the soles are so cushioned I might as well be walking on clouds.”
Flora Macdonald Johnston, Junior Fashion Editor at the Financial Times
“Despite being a freelancer and therefore having no colleagues, I’ve found having a distinctly separate work uniform to direct my mind when trying to be industrious really helpful. I start the day by walking my dog and then doing some yoga in leggings (Hey Jo, Lululemon, and Sweaty Betty make my favourites), and a T-shirt (often by Frame or Current/Elliott). Once I’ve done that, I change into jeans (usually by Rag & Bone) and a comfy cashmere jumper. If I’m feeling especially flat, I’ll always reach for one that’s bright with some embellishment. 123 Cashmere make my favourites. Additional things I love when ‘at the office’: perfume and jewellery. Nothing makes me feel more zingy in the mind than being adorned and smelling great, even though there’s nobody else to appreciate it.”
Madeleine Spencer, writer and podcaster
“For me getting dressed properly and continuing my routine is super important to my mental health. Colour also elevates my mood - as we speak I’m wearing a pink jumper from Paper London and Mom jeans from French Connection, I always find them very soft and comfy. I think it is important to continue to keep your routine focused on day to night - it is totally acceptable to change into a pair of sweats / pyjamas after 8pm but my mentality is that we still have shit to get done, clients to please, plans to make and need to make adjustments that will make us come out of this stronger than we went in. Another piece of advice is to plan your outfit for the next day before you go to bed - it gives a sense of structure about working from home as soon as you open your eyes.”
Amy Sturgis, Brand Consultant
In need of some chic-but-cosy WFH outfit ideas? Keep scrolling.