It’s unbelievable how quickly we went from “wash your hands” to most of New York City shuttering. Y’all, we are in deeply, deeply, uncharted territory. I don’t know how it is where you live, but I can give you a preview of what to expect if your state hasn’t adopted some of the measures taken in places here like New York and Washington. All bars, movie theaters, and restaurants are closed, gatherings of 50 people or more have been halted, schools are closed and the majority of the workforce is telecommuting. In New York, the suggestion has been floated that the city basically goes under quarantine with only essentials, like grocery stores and pharmacies, remaining open.
Given the fact that a week ago, it was business as usual in New York, with extra handwashing thrown in, to the biggest city in the country practically being on lockdown, all I can say is, be prepared…but don’t hoard, and don’t be like this tool bag who is paying the price for hoarding hand sanitizer so he could sell it at a huge markup.
Social-Distancing is the name of the game. But it’s not a game, it is likely the thing that will save us. This means that a good majority of the population is working from home. Even my husband, who works in real estate for a management and development company and whose job involves interfacing with clients, is telecommuting. His company took steps two weeks ago to video record properties so agents could give prospective tenants virtual tours.
It sounds grand, doesn’t it? No commute, pj’s all day, even binging a show while you work. However, we have to remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. This won’t be a few days of working from home, we have no idea when people will be heading back to the workplace. So while a few days of social-distancing and lounging in pajamas may sound like a much-needed respite from the commuting grind, imagine keeping this up for a month…or more?
As someone who has worked from home for 17 years, this new way of working feels completely normal to me. So today, I am sharing some outfits and tips on how to not feel like a sloth while you are social-distancing and telecommuting.
Social-Distancing Style: Style for Working from Home During a Pandemic
Let’s take it from the top: hair and makeup
In my Facebook Group, a question was posted about makeup and hair for things like video conference meetings. One member got the directive to dress for working at home like they would for the office. Not only did this poster balk at the suggestion, we all did.
This is not to say a little effort shouldn’t be made, but to gussy up like you are going to work seems a bit extreme. Do I believe people can feel better and in more of a work mode when they put even a slight bit of effort in? Yes, I do. Speaking for myself, when I don’t dress I feel less productive. However, I don’t think lengths need to be taken to the extreme of getting dressed in “workwear,” unless that is your thing. For the most part, the group agreed, if you have a virtual meeting, a light coverage of makeup, like concealer, some mascara, a swipe of blush and brows, is just fine. However, the thing to keep in mind is everyone is working from home so the bar will lower across the board, not just with you. There is a big difference between the one outlier wearing casual clothes in a video conference while everyone else is dressed as compared to everyone taking it down a notch.
Another thing to keep in mind is this is highly personal. I have a friend who feels she is just as productive wearing pajamas all day, so if this is you, and you don’t have a reason to get out of your loungewear, you do you. Again, there is no playbook, we’re all just making this up as we go along.
It will get tiresome
What I have found is that those who telecommute infrequently vs. those whose job are exclusively work from home is that those who do it from-time to-time tend to be more casual about it, usually staying in pajamas or just dialing in their look. It’s more novel to them. As a veteran telecommuter, I can promise you, it gets old fast. And with no end in sight to how long this style of working will continue, I urge you to consider thinking ahead to a time you will invariably get tired of being this unkempt. The key is to find that middle ground of being dressed but comfortable. Keep to a routine, shower daily (I can’t believe I am making this suggestion), run a brush through your hair, put on some comfortable yet presentable clothing on, a dab of makeup on, if you makes you feel better, and you’ll be fine.
Looks for working from home during a pandemic
Below I put together five different social-distancing looks for working from home during a pandemic that varies in degrees of casualness. You’ll see they are still comfortable and easy.
I styled this first super easy look with french terry sweatpants from Sundry because if you haven’t had this fabric against your skin you are seriously missing out. If heaven had a feeling this would be it. I styled the pants simply with an encouraging graphic tee from Sub_Urban Riot and a navy cardigan. I chose the cardigan in lieu of a hoodie to elevate a look that could easily pass as pajamas. Plus, if you go on a video conference at least the top half of you will look slightly more polished. To add a little glee, I finished the outfit with these furry slippers.
You know me, even during a pandemic, I’ll figure out a way to add a pop of color. I added these fun red sequin slippers to a really easy look that doesn’t scrimp on comfort but can make someone feel more productive than being in pajamas. I styled this black and white boxy striped t-shirt from Madewell with a pair of wide-leg cropped knit joggers from Topshop.
Leggings are another great choice for working from home. Just yesterday I wore Everlane’s new leggings and they are amazing plus they are made using recycled nylon. I am styling them here with a tunic sweater from Cos and fun foxy slippers from Snoozies.
If you are someone who prefers a waistband and a fly, khakis are the ultimate casual pants style to consider. I styled this patchwork style from J. Crew with a college sweatshirt, (shout out to my alma mater which is closed, likely for the semester) and a pair of slippers that read more like driving loafers to create this preppy look. If you need more polish, try layering a button-down underneath that sweatshirt. You can also try a collared removable dickie to make it easier.
Lastly, relaxed paper bag pants, which can be a nice hybrid of more structured pants and relaxed joggers. I styled this pair with a plush fleece sweatshirt from Everlane and these gold wedge slippers from Daniel Green that remind me of the slippers my grandma used to wear.
One last note
While this post may prove helpful for you, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, the topic of what to wear is still a frivolous one in comparison to what the world is experiencing. Yet, in times like this, it can sometimes be helpful to get a healthy distraction from things like death counts and community spread. Truly, we are all in this together and while many of us will make it through these uncertain times unscathed, it is important that we consider those who aren’t in the condition to do so, like the elderly and immunocompromised. What is happening now may feel extreme or unnecessary to some, but whenever I feel frustrated that my life seems like it has been reduced to my home, I try to remember that this choice could potentially save another life. So wash your hands, practice social-distancing, don’t panic and remember compassion and kindness.