The Five Levels of Work-at-Home Style

Maintaining social distance is extremely important if we are to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. To that end, most of us are working and staying at home, which can have a big impact on our style and dress code. A lot of this has to do with the extent to which we are visible to others via videoconferencing, but it is also driven by our own personal needs. 

The styles and dress codes of my friends, clients and family members who work from home runs the gamut. Some are dressy, and some are as casual as can be. For fun, I’m going to define five levels of work-at-home style.

Level 1. Maintaining the Dressy Status Quo

Your dress code at home is as dressy and pulled together as it would have been if you were at the office, or in your regular work setting. You don’t make the distinction between working at home or at the office. You style your hair, apply your make-up routine, and choose a dressier professional outfit to wear daily because that’s the way you roll. It makes you feel fabulous and productive. Plus you get to enjoy and wear your fun wardrobe of beautiful items.

Level 2. Relaxing into Polished Casual Wear

You style your hair, apply your make-up routine, and choose a professional outfit, but add a more casual integrity to the look. That means leaving off the blazer and jacket, and wearing a cardigan or wrap instead for warmth. You wear fewer accessories, add cosy socks, and leave on your house shoes or slippers instead of wearing outside shoes. You opt for smart casual looks instead of business casual looks. You might need to wear warmer tops because it gets cold working at your desk. You wear jeans instead of dressier trousers, tailored dresses, and skirts. You wear less fitted and structured clothing, but still look professional.

Level 3. Halfway House

This dress code makes me laugh. There is a strong disconnect between the top and bottom half of the outfit. You dress professionally and quite formally on top — where co-workers can see you — but there’s one heck of a casual party from the waist down. Styled hair, make-up, accessories, and professional separates up top, but leggings, lounge pants, pyjama bottoms, and slippers or no shoes at the bottom. 

Level 4. Loungewear and Athleisure

You like the Lululemon look and typically wear workout wear as casual wear when you work and stay home. Leggings, track tops, T-shirts, workout tops, fleece tops, sneakers, and items like that in any brand. Sometimes you style your hair and wear make-up and accessories, and sometimes you don’t.

Loungewear is not workout wear or Athleisure. Lounge items are soft and floppy knitted sweats in unstructured silhouettes, like a sweatshirt with joggers or roomy track pants with cosy socks and slippers. Some people wear robes, kaftans, shorts, tees, and flip-flops instead of sweats.

Level 5. Pyjamas

You’re working at home in what you wore to sleep in the night before. You haven’t changed or showered, and haven’t done your normal daily grooming regimen. You get cracking with work soon after you roll out of bed because it doesn’t matter how you present yourself. No one will see you, except for family members or roommates, so why bother with daily grooming right away. You can shower after your work is done.

I work from home when I’m writing YLF blog posts, participating on the YLF forum, and attending to my clients needs online. Although my outfits are not visible to anyone but hubs Greg and Yorkie Sam when I work at home, I dress up daily because that’s one of the fun and stress-free parts of my life. After all, I’m a fashion professional, so I want to look fashionable, dressy, and pulled together each day. What I wear makes me feel appropriately turned out for my profession, and more productive too.

My dress code is a combination of Levels 1 and 2. I shower every morning, choose a professional outfit, style my hair, apply make-up, wear some accessories, and absolutely wear and enjoy my pretty dressy clothes. I will wear dry-clean-only items, sport dressy dresses and skirts, go business casual, sport pearls, wear lippie, and curl my hair for working at home on my desktop or laptop. I will though leave off the blazers and jackets, and wear slippers because we don’t wear outside shoes at home. I sometimes cover my shoulders with a cashmere or woolly wrap, because it can get cold working at my desk.

Over to you. What’s your dress code level when you work from or stay at home? Remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Style is a personal choice and the best way to dress is the one that works for your life and headspace.


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