It’s amazing that after all these years from working at a home-based office I’ve never addressed the topic of dressing for a work-at-home lifestyle.  Perhaps it seemed silly considering one of the benefits to working from home is that you can pretty much remain in your pajamas all day and nobody would really care.  Working from home can be similar to being a stay-at-home mom where it would be nice to dress well for the day, yet it’s not necessarily going to get you fired if you don’t try.  However, I have found that the less I care about how I dress when working at home, and just roll myself over from bed to my laptop, does greatly impact my productivity and overall feeling about myself.  So let’s talk about it:  How can we feel good about how we look when nobody is watching and judging us?

Here are some of my dressing tips

#1- Motivation

Firstly, you need motivation.  Without an HR department breathing down your neck, or a threat of being fired, you need to motivate yourself and decide that this is worth doing for your own wellbeing.   While you think feeling like a garden slug is motivation enough to dress for the day, how many of you who have worked from your home office or couch found that to be enough motivation to change?  Gosh, it’s just so easy to laze about in comfy clothes.  While I feel better when I’m not in pajamas at 2pm or still in workout clothes that I never changed out of, when the day gets rolling, it is hard to stop and put a little effort towards some self-care.  So, the first thing I do is I create diligence about it and decide that getting dressed is something I will do, first thing.  I shower at night so that when I wake up in the morning and I want to dive right into work the second I wake.  The other thing I do is I don’t keep anything on that I just slept in.  So, for example, I don’t keep on the same tank top I wore to bed and then just throw jeans on, I change completely.  The other thing I do, and this may sound silly, is I make sure I put a bra on.  Crazy as it sounds to the person who doesn’t work from home a bra can be an easy thing to just skip.  If you need to wear a bra, put one on!  It will make you feel more productive.

#2- Gussy up…just enough 

Next, I put on clothes that may be at home casual but they’re never just a pair of bad sweat pants and a old worn out t-shirt, for example.  No, I don’t gussy up like I am going to see a client but I do try to put something on like a decent pair of jeans.  Something about a pair of jeans or at least pair of pants that don’t have an elastic waistband makes me feel more serious about my day.   Sure, a pair of leggings is great for working at home, but make sure they’re in decent shape and not a pair you’ve relegated to the junky clothes drawer.

I also run a brush through my hair and maybe even put a small amount of makeup on, even if it is just mascara.  Again, I don’t put the same effort into this like I do when I go out, but a greasy hair knot, no makeup on and teeth that haven’t been brushed can make me feel less in the work frame of mind.

 #3- Put shoes on

My other small bit of advice that I find to be highly effective is that I put shoes on the second I get dressed and keep them on all day.  There is something about the simple act of having shoes on that makes me feel like I am working, not lounging around at home.   If you are a shoes-off home, then have pair of functional shoes to wear that never leaves the house.  Slippers can make you feel like you’re home for a sick day, not to work.

Now, I’ve chatted with some friends who work at home who are perfectly happy to roll out of bed in the sweats they’ve slept in, continue working the whole day in their pajamas and then just to roll back into bed wearing the same thing.  If a strategy like that is working for you then brava!  Yet, if it doesn’t feel productive for those of you, yet you feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting too dressed for work, I hope these small tips can help you.  Trust me, try the shoe thing and see what you get done today.

I should also note, if you’re the person who works a day or two a week from home or who has that one savory work-at-home day every blue moon, you may just want to slum it in your PJ’s all day.  None of us at-home-workies would judge.

Lastly, I decided to put some simple looks together illustrating how you can work from home, be productive and look well at the same time.  As you will see, it doesn’t take that much effort!

This looks is simple, but compared to the slothy yoga pants and ratty t-shirt you’re wearing perhaps it is a breath of fresh air.  Yes, jeans are a work-at-home staple and so is an easy sweater.  However, the biggest difference is that cute ballerina by Lucky Brand that is easy to throw on yet makes you feel a bit more amped for your day.

As I write this I am wearing my favorite pair of Converse sneakers (and it is 6:53 in the morning), so I felt inspired to use  them in an outfit.  A skinny cargo is a great work at home pair of pants.  They don’t have to be “suck every inch of fat” in skinny, you are working from home after all, but a pair of cargos don’t have to be “paint the house and take out the trash” looking either.  An easy, yet polished pair will do just fine.  Next, I found this easy sweater from Free People that has a comfy, cozy look yet is still put together.  Lastly, for a pop of color, a belt in a bright color could be fun.  However, if you are sitting behind a desk all day like I often am, the belt may be a bit excessive and uncomfortable.

Lastly, a fun way to do leggings that looks pulled together.  Start with an easy, no fuss cardigan like this one by Old Navy get a bright tank to add some color and choose another fun, comfortable shoe like these Black Grommet Classics by TOMS.