Why I Never Wear Sweats When I Work From Home — & The Outfits I Choose Instead

& Other Stories
My work-from-home outfits often include an oversized sweater like this one from & Other Stories

When I switched from working in an office to working from home full time year ago, I knew I had to establish some rules for myself to keep my motivation high and avoid ending up splayed on the sofa every day. I ended up breaking most of them (hey, it gets rough when you're working alone for nine hours a day), but there is one that I've steadfastly stuck to: I change out of my pajamas as soon as I wake up every morning and put on an *actual* outfit to work from home in.

And no, I don't just mean leggings and a sweatshirt. Though I am tempted to throw on athleisure every morning, feeling too laid back leads to me feeling more relaxed than I should while working a fast-paced job. That said, I am spending a lot of my days typing furiously on my couch, so anything rigid or dressy just doesn't make sense.

So, I came up with a few formulas that would allow me to feel put together and focused while still being comfortable enough that I can sit cross-legged on my sofa for hours. And when I decide I can't take another minute of being in my house, I also don't have to change when I pack up and head to the closest coffee shop.

The other perk of not living in sweats? I can hold on to a semblance of my personal style. Though I appreciate not having to impress anyone at an office or spend 30 minutes getting dressed in the morning, fashion is still important to me and I love feeling like I have a *look* I've created that people recognize — even if I'm the only person that sees me.

So, in addition to requiring comfort and polish in the pieces I own, I also make sure every outfit contains something that feels unequivocally "me" — whether that's my signature high-waisted pants, my go-to oversized sweaters, or my favorite snakeskin boots.

While it may seem pointless, I can say with firsthand experience that avoiding the sweatpants trap while working from home has helped me immensely. Not only does it make me feel more focused and professional, it also helps me separate my working day from just being at home — something any remote employee can tell you is one of the hardest parts of this type of job. And it doesn't have to be complicated — a few outfit formulas like mine can help you get dressed in minutes and set you up for a productive day.

Ahead, my (very) tried-and-true go-to's.

Stayed-Up-Too-Late Days

On days after working a late-night awards show or accidentally watching too many episodes of The Crown on Netflix, it takes everything in me not to stay in my pajamas all day. Instead, I compromise with an outfit that almost feels like sweats but looks stylish enough to make me feel like I tried. My favorite combination is an oversized sweater and knit joggers with my trusty New Balance sneakers.

Coffee Shop Days

I can't sit at Starbucks without seeing at least three people I know, so if I'm planning on spending a few hours there, I'll put in more of an effort. Dark jeans always make me feel put together, while a wide leg keeps me comfortable. I pair those with a cozy sweater and low-heeled boots that look stylish but are actually just a slight step up from sneakers (and will keep me protected from the elements when I'm walking to the coffee shop).

Basically Every Day

My everyday look is essentially a combination of the previous two. On most days, I opt for wide-leg pants that allow for a wide range of sitting positions. I pair those with a simple, fitted sweater and tee to balance out the silhouette of my trousers, and then throw on sleek white sneakers for walks around the block or grabbing coffee.