Coming up with post topics can be the hardest part of maintaining this blog.  I prepare everything I need for a post the week before it is published and spend Mondays writing and publishing it.  With such a razor-thin deadline, I go into panic mode if I don’t have my post idea figured out by mid-week.  Never have I not figured out something to write about but getting there isn’t always easy or fun.  

This is why I am grateful for my staff, Rachel and Beth, who I meet with every Wednesday.  The main purpose of these meetings is to discuss ongoing client work, but on the weeks I am struggling with a blog topic we tease out ideas together, often in a very stream-of-consciousness way.  Last week, as I was throwing out ideas, I mentioned that the majority of our clients have a hybrid work situation where they go in a few days a week or even a few days a month.  We also have clients who exclusively work from home and only have to dress for work when they are traveling to conferences, trade shows, or meetings.  Despite the fact that the COVID lockdown is a memory and there are companies today who are trying to reinstate five-day work weeks, very few people are in-office full-time.

This sparked an interesting discussion between the three of us because working from home is exactly how we all work.  We don’t have a physical office, Rachel is in Colorado, Beth is in New Jersey, and I am in Brooklyn.   As a result of this, we all have go-to work-from-home outfits that are like fail-safes.  In this past post, I called this a home-based outfit or a look that feels the most comfortable and that you naturally gravitate towards on most days. I mentioned how my go-to, or home base, look, is a pair of jeans, a J.Crew v-neck, and usually one of my many pairs of Felize loafers from M.Gemi.  For Rachel, it is some athleisure yoga look, and, like me, Beth usually gravitates towards jeans and a tee that she most often wears with an oversized cardigan and sneakers.

In the post I referenced above, about home base looks, I shared how I easily took my base look and styled it differently.  As the three of us teased out this work-from-home post idea, we talked about this home base concept.  Things have moved well past the lockdown style of the pandemic where all we needed to worry about was the top third of our outfits yet, there remains a desire to maintain that comfort while also being able to change things up and look pulled together.  

This conversation is what inspired today’s post topic that in many ways, is exactly the same as what I have done for my stay-at-home moms over the years who have needed to be able to change up their outfits without fuss so they could go from a morning at the playground to a meeting at school to a lunch date with friends.  Nobody wants to change an entire outfit, so instead, I taught my mom client how to change up how they wear their home base looks.  

OUTFIT ORBITS: BUILDING INTERCHANGEABLE WORK-FROM-HOME LOOKS

I used the term outfit orbits during my meeting with Rachel and Beth which essentially means you have your base look and then pieces that orbit these bases to change up the overall appearance.  These items that orbit your base can make an outfit go from more casual to more dressed up, or can do a lateral change to create more variety without the need to have a lot in your closet.  

To make this work, your base needs to be relatively basic because, in essence, this base is the foundation.  It’s the orbiting items you add that add flavor or interest.  To give you some examples that go beyond my very easy jeans and tee, I have styled five different base looks with two different orbiting components to show you how differently a base can be changed.  Of course, in real life, you can certainly create more variations than just two looks, and certainly the orbiting pieces can and should be used more than just once.  Yet, for example sake, and because you don’t have all day to read this post, I kept the examples to two different options.

OUTFITS #1

outfit orbits

In this first look, the base, or let’s say the planet if we’re talking orbits, is the grey Everlane bodysuit and rust-colored barrel-shaped pants, also from Everlane. I chose a bodysuit in honor of Rachel who told us during the meeting that her typical going-out look is a bodysuit and jeans as her base that she layers with topper pieces, like a cardigan or blazer.

To create work-from-home friendly looks, I styled the outfit on the left with a scarf from Anthropologie, a pair of grey sneakers from Frye, and a denim jacket from J.Crew. The scarf is not only perfect for a cooler day but works well for a Zoom meeting. Have to run an errand mid-day, you can just pop on the denim jacket.

The other look has the same base with an ivory oversized cardigan from Aritzia, an abalone and freshwater pearl necklace from Chan Luu, a belt from Ada, and blush ballerina flats from Margaux. It works for working from home, can hold up in a Zoom meeting, and is casual enough for personal things you may need to do throughout your day.

OUTFITS #2

outfit orbits

Not everyone is a pants person and certainly, as the weather gets warmer, you may be looking for good warm-weather base looks to create outfit orbits. In these looks, the planet is this short-sleeved Breton from Saint James and an easy linen midi skirt from Boden.

It’s also unrealistic to think that anyone would want to layer up at all times, especially when it gets warmer. Often something as simple as a shoe change can make a world of difference. In the first look on the left, I created a very easy, yet chic look, styling the outfit with a pair of espadrilles from Rothys and an oval pendant.

In the look on the right, I layered a bright green cardigan over the Breton and added these white Birkenstock Gizehs.

OUTFITS #3

outfit orbits

Knowing I’m not the only one who prefers jeans and a tee, I had to include one. I styled the crew version of my favorite J.Crew tee with a pair of kick-flare jeans, which was my blog topic from last week. This is one of those bases where the options are truly limitless.

In the look on the left, I styled the look with a grey cardigan from Doen, driving loafers from M.Gemi, a link necklace, and a classic Hermes belt. On the right, I traded the grey cardigan for a jardigan vest from MM. Lafleur, a pair of horn pendant earrings, and platform oxford sneakers from Cole Haan.

OUTFITS #4

outfit orbits

The wonderful part about working from home is that getting dressed, even casually, doesn’t have to be a reality. While I find I’m more productive and feel more connected to the world when I put in some effort, athleisure is definitely an option, especially when you know how to build different looks around it. In both these looks, the base of the outfit is this black jumpsuit from Zella.

In the outfit on the left, I styled it for a casual day using this hoodie in taupe from Beyond Yoga, and a pair of sneakers from Veronica Beard, What’s great about this base is the outfit can be quickly and easily changed up if you have to jump on a Zoom call or have a meeting. I swapped out the hoodie with a cotton cardigan from BA&SH, added a woven belt, these slip-on loafers from Birdies, and hoop earrings.

OUTFIT #5

outfit orbits

Athleta makes pants that hit that sweet spot where they wear like athleisure pants but can also easily be worn to work. For casual work-from-home, I styled Athleta’s Brooklyn Pants with a blue and white striped button-down from Alex Mill for the other pieces to orbit.

In the look on the left, I layered a cotton fisherman sweater from Quince over it and added these suede loafers from M.Gemi. On the right, I added a cobalt cotton cardigan from Alex Mill with these sneakers from Everlane.

MAXIMIZING YOUR WARDROBE

Thinking in terms of what you add to your wardrobe as either a base or what orbits the base will help you build out your wardrobe in a way that helps ensure you can get more with less in your closet.