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How to Dress When Working from Home

lifestyle nichola english the dressing room the retreat Mar 22, 2021

By Nichola English

With more of us than ever now working from home, the simple act of getting dressed and going to work has completely changed. While many have found a new groove that really works and is now second nature, for others, like me, it’s been a much harder transition and we’re still trying to find our feet with it all.

As we all know, when you’re working from home it can be very tempting to wear your leisure/sweatpants or stay in PJs and fluffy slippers all day. I mean, there’s no office dress code to worry about, right, and staying comfortable and cosy can be good for your mental health, so why would you bother dressing any other way?!

Well, there are lots of pros to getting dressed ‘properly’ for working in a home environment. Dressing up creates and maintains a level of normality, which I’m sure you’ll agree is very desired right now. When you follow your normal getting ready for work routine, you’re sending a clear message to your brain that it’s a work day. Maintaining this consistency helps you to stay focused and productive.

Dr Karen Pine, a fashion psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, clarifies how fashion/clothes plays a big role in the ways that we adapt our attitudes and habits:

“A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on, we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”

With working from home looking set to continue, here are some ideas to help you hit the ground running this year with this new norm…


How to get dressed

There’s no point denying the fact that when we work from home we love to feel comfortable. So, selecting looks that provide fashion and functionality can offer you the best of both worlds.

Start to look at items in your wardrobe in relation to what you do, what company you work for, or who your clients are. It’s important that your image is aligned with these things. For example, you might choose a casual business attire that helps you feel productive while working from home. This could be your favourite pair of jeans with a top and blazer.

A point to remember is that the top half of your outfit is much more important than the bottom half. Why? Well, because that’s the part your colleagues and clients are going to see when you have video call meetings. Your accessories, necklaces, earrings, scarves and glasses are equally important too. Sometimes the simplest of ensembles can pack the biggest punch, especially in today’s digital world.


Dress for your mood

While working from home you’ll likely have days when you just don’t feel inspired to dress up, and that’s okay, because with most clothing items you can style them up or down depending on your mood.

Clothing has a way of providing a sense of comfort and escapism, whether it’s wearing your favourite colour, piece of jewellery or that amazing cashmere jumper your best friend bought you. As with most things in life, getting to grips with your preferred work from home style is always about the balance of creating a reliable routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Playing around with looks and styles can really give you a boost, so why not create themed days like silly jumper day or sassy Friday. Ultimately the most important thing is to have fun!


Choose colours to boost your mood

Colour is a very powerful tool for switching up your moods. When you’re choosing your outfit for the day, look at the work activities you’ll be focusing on and choose a colour pallet that mirrors the energy and mindset you want to have. 

For example, if you want to connect to activity and high energy, choose warm shades of orange, red, yellow and purple. For a more relaxed state of mind, go for cooler tones like blue or green.


Add some make-up

Women often have a conflicted relationship with makeup – to wear or not to wear is often the question! Some women just aren’t sure if they want it or need it, while for others they love it and can’t live without it!

Before I talk about makeup I have a quick PSA – always use some form of sunscreen when you’re using a computer! “Why?” Well, because there’s a small fraction of UV lighting that comes from your computer screen, so in order to protect your skin it’s important to wear either a BB cream or a moisturiser with SP15 in it.

When it comes to make-up, all you need in my opinion is some black or brown mascara, a blusher that gives your cheeks a healthy glow, a coloured lipstick or lip-gloss and then finish off with a little face powder. It’s easy peasy and takes around 10-minutes to apply. I personally find that wearing makeup makes me feel awake, alive, confident and ready for the day ahead. Again, it’s all about doing these small things that change our state of mind.


Using perfumes is important

Perfumes have so many benefits. Not only do they make us smell divine, but your favourite fragrances can help to enhance your mood, lift your spirits and trigger memories.

For example, you may have worn a particular perfume during an important meeting that resulted in a successful outcome. Your memory now connects that scent to success and becomes your go to fragrance that’s a game changer.

Choose scents that suit your personality and invoke the mood you want to embody.


Final thoughts...

Adjusting to working from home can be a little challenging and there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to dressing – your home, your rules!

Just keep in mind that the clothes you choose have a cognitive influence on your behaviours, So, if you want to retain some routine and productivity in your working environment, to some degree you still need to dress the part.


Nichola English is addicted to fashion. From an early age picking out clothes for friends and family, she always had an eye for style which only expanded as she got older, eventually creating her business, The Wardrobe Provocateur. 

Nichola adores working with women (and men) across the world discovering personal style, reinventing that old tired wardrobe and realising new confidence and vitality through coaching, shopping and good old clearing out of the old. You can read her full story of becoming The Wardrobe Provocateur here.





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