Working from home is both a privilege and routine for many. Still, with social distancing becoming common practice for health and safety as of late, it's mandatory for many more professionals than in the past. If videoconferences and an at-home work station is part of your reality, then the question of what to wear when working from home has surely crossed your mind as well.
The fashion industry is one that is generally flexible, with many positions where a remote set-up is standard at least a couple of days out of the week already. But when you think of the co-founder of a chic clothing company, the editor-in-chief of a website, or the vice president of a public relations firm, you probably don't picture her in sweatpants and a years-old tee. However, a closer chat with top-level editors and industry execs about their work-from-home uniforms proves that it's a nuanced topic (and not everyone always agrees). Many trendsetting women actually love comfy leisurewear when on the clock at home. And yes, that includes sweats, albeit stylish ones.
Ahead, learn more about what fashion editors, publicists, and business founders wear when working from home. Plus, the pieces they steadfastly avoid.
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What To Wear Working From Home: Jessica Schiffer
"I'm of the unpopular opinion that dressing up to work from home is silly," say Jessica Schiffer, contributing editor at Vogue Business. "One of the great things about working from home, in my opinion, is not having to waste time getting ready, which allows you to establish a nicer morning routine and launch into work sooner than you might normally."
She explains that as a morning person, she likes to take her time getting the day started instead of rushing out the door. "I also do my best work in the morning, so, whenever I don't have to risk wasting time or losing momentum getting dressed or putting on makeup, I take advantage of it. All of this is to say that I tend to work in an old T-shirt and Uniqlo sweats ... sometimes the same pieces I've slept in, usually with an old cashmere sweater of my boyfriend's or dad's on hand because I run cold. You end up doing less laundry, having more time for your preferred morning routine, and at least in my case, do better work."
What To Wear Working From Home: Shilpa Shah
"The best work-from-home outfit is a tapered lounge pant and structured tee," explains Shilpa Shah, co-founder of clothing and accessories label Cuyana. "Working from home allows the luxury of being extra comfortable all day long! While these pieces are cozy, they're still appropriate for running a last-minute errand, visiting a coffee shop, or taking a mid-day walk to get some fresh air."
As for a "never wear" item, Shilpa says that pajamas are not a good idea when working from home. "It's important to still go about your normal morning routine and change into a new outfit. This will help your mindset and mentality for the rest of the day."
What To Wear Working From Home: Tiffany Yannetta
Nice sweatpants are a must for Tiffany Yannetta, executive editor of HearstMade. "I never wear jeans.. or real clothes, for that matter ... in my apartment. But I do want to differentiate between what I wear to bed and what I wear while working at my desk (also known as my kitchen table)." She avoids sweatshirts, opting for a shirt or sweater instead. "And for video calls, I've been putting on a bra, but only a comfortable one like a bralette," she adds. "I'm also making it a point to brush my teeth, wash my face, comb my hair, and put on moisturizer before I sit down to do work."
Tiffany also suggests changing out of your pajamas when working from home. "I was a freelancer for a little while before starting at Hearst, and the number one thing I learned very quickly was you should not wear your pajamas when working from home. For me, at least, my brain just couldn't differentiate between time to be productive and time to lounge." Her tip: a luxe sweatsuit is the easiest alternative.
What To Wear Working From Home: Kat Collings
"With the rising trend of sweatpants and sweatshirt sets, I think that's an ideal work-from-home outfit that blends maximum comfort with style," suggests Who What Wear's editor-in-chief Kat Collings. "Of course, if you have a video call on your schedule, just throw a blazer and a pair of earrings or a necklace on." She adds that generally she avoids rigid denim, preferring something a bit more comfortable.
What To Wear Working From Home: Leah Melby Clinton
For Leah Melby Clinton, the director of communications at shoe brand Margaux, a chunky cardigan is a must for working from home. "It's got the same silhouette and ease of a zip-up hoodie or fleece but makes everything feel more like an actual outfit." She adds, doing a cardigan with a simple tee and jeans is still the comfort level I want when I am at home, but I wouldn't mind wearing it into the office either."
Melby Clinton suggests skipping shoes at home, "I'm into slippers instead since bare feet can get chilly, but there's no denying that a clunky version can really ruin the line of a nice pair of jeans. I've gotten into the wool-cashmere pair we make at Margaux instead. They're based on our classic ballet slipper, so they actually kind of look like shoes!"
What To Wear Working From Home: Jessica Andrews
"I love wearing slip dresses when I'm working from home," says Bustle's deputy fashion editor, Jessica Andrews. Her go-to styling trick is to layer them, often with a tee underneath or cardigan on top. "I usually layer them with a T-shirt underneath or a cardigan on top. They're as comfortable as pajamas, but they look presentable and fashionable for any Zoom meetings, or FaceTime calls. And I can throw on sneakers and a fuzzy coat to take my daily walk or run errands if needed."
For Andrews, it's all about achieving a balance of stylish, but not too structured. She avoids both fussy workwear and sweats, opting instead for her signature slips from Ganni and SVNR. "The trick is to look relaxed, but not like you literally just rolled out of bed. It's all about finding that perfect middle ground."
What To Wear Working From Home: Lauren Paris
"It's all about comfort right now!" explains Lauren Paris, the vice president of PR Events and department manager for famed fashion PR firm KCD. "My personal preference is a cute matching look ... a sweatsuit, cashmere set, or workout clothes, so I can easily jump into an online workout class. In any other scenario, I would say mix in jeans and a sweater to change it up, but during this time, I think it's really important to feel comfortable in your own home."
To help boost motivation, Lauren makes sure to avoid staying in pajamas too long. "It's important to establish a routine that signifies the start of the day," she explains. "The easiest way to do that is to change into your workday look, even if you're working from your bedroom, which is the case for a lot of New Yorkers."
What To Wear Working From Home: Savannah Engel
Savannah Engel, a publicist who founded her own namesake PR company, says she loves anything stretchy or with an expandable waist when working from home. "Honestly, I have been in my Morgan Lane pajamas for three days," she exclaims. "Yes, it's true. Give me silk or give me nothing! Also, if I get cold, I just put sweatpants over my pajamas. If, and I mean if, I must go outside to empty the trash, I have been putting on my Tabi Sneakers from ILYSM. They're like a sock, but a shoe sock with no laces."
And while outdoors denim is a favorite, it's topped the list of things to avoid for most industry insiders at home. "I'm sorry, but most of the jeans I wear are stiff and made from raw denim," explains Engel. "That's so uncomfortable after a while. When I'm working from home, I'm on the floor, crouching, maybe I'm stretching, perhaps I'm in a frog position. Who knows. I can't do that in jeans. No way."