WHAT TO WEAR TO WORK (WHEN YOU WORK FROM HOME)
Wednesdays, meetings, and interviews aside, I spent most of my days working from home. I'll occasionally venture out to my local library (support yours!) or spend the day in a particularly tranquil cafe, but generally I'm at my desk, or even - I'll admit it - on my sofa. Just me and the laptop, with no-one to see or disturb us - much less make judgements about the state of my hair.
Figuring out how to get dressed for my daily working life is a lot more challenging than you might think. Contrary to common stereotype, not all freelancers like to slob about in their pyjamas. I find that the (rare) days I allow myself to forgo the whole 'getting dressed' thing are my least productive: there's something about hauling yourself in to the shower - and maybe even putting on a bra! - that tells your brain that it's time to do business. However, I'm equally disinclined to spend ages pulling myself together when I could just spend that time on other stuff. Like work.
If you're torn by a similar impulse to make yourself 'work ready' without wasting too much time, the solution is to build up your 'Working From Home' Wardrobe. Here's how.
DEVELOP A UNIFORM
This advice is really the foundation for any highly functional wardrobe, but it's particularly useful for those of us who have the freedom to wear whatever we like. If you're self-employed, it's likely that you have to make dozens of decisions on a daily basis, and you don't want your outfit to be one of them. Giving yourself a go-to look will take the guesswork out of your morning routine, leaving you more decision-making energy for the important stuff. (More on this idea over here).
This doesn't mean wearing the exact same outfit day in, day out, but rather piecing together a silhouette that satisfies both your aesthetic and the needs of your daily life. For me, this consists of loose, highwaisted trousers, and a fitted cotton t-shirt or tank top - which I'll supplement with a cropped jacket and slides if I need to run out. This works for both my occupation (writing, which involves a lot of sitting around on my butt), and the climate of my location (LA, where we can get away with single layers for 90% of the year). Tailor yours accordingly.
KEEP IT COMFORTABLE
Let's be realistic: If I don't have any reason to leave my house, there's no way I'm sitting around in stiff denim or itchy wool. The clothes that I wear to work from home need to feel like loungewear, without actually functioning as such. I try to choose soft fabrics and looser cuts on a daily basis, but generally avoid the lure of an elasticated waistband or a sloppy t-shirt; these are elements that instantly put my brain into 'Netflix Marathon Mode'.
Even if your working day is entirely free of meetings or other professional commitments, it's worth getting ready to the point where you could meet a work contact at any given moment. Obviously you're not going to sit around with your jacket and shoes on, but I think it's better to get yourself 'outside world ready' in the morning, rather than waiting till later in the day. This means you don't have to interrupt the flow of your working day if you suddenly remember you need to run to an appointment. It also keeps you feeling pulled together and professional the rest of the time.
Again, there's no way I'm going to apply a full face of makeup if there's a chance I won't see another soul all day - but I do put up my hair, cleanse, tone, and moisturise my face, and apply mascara, concealer, and lipbalm. This is a five minute routine, but it makes me feel fresh and awake when I sit down at my desk.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
Even if you work from home, you'll occasionally need to pull together an outfit that says: 'I'm a professional'. For those of us unused to navigating the world of workwear, this can be surprisingly difficult - it's easy to forget the sartorial rules of the modern workplace when your office is your living room.
As a general rule of thumb, tailoring if your best bet for such occasions: a structured blazer can make even a simple fitted maxi dress look smart. And if in doubt, remember that you can never go wrong with a crisp, white shirt: the solution to all sartorial dilemmas since the dawn of time.