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How to stay reasonably stylish while working from home

(31 Posts)
mumtorobbie Mon 07-Jan-13 15:43:05

I've been working from home the last few weeks and don't want to fall into the wearing sweats and t-shirts all day.

I used to love dressing up for work (really into vintage dresses, jeans & blouses with ballet flats etc) and until I go back into full time work outside the home I'd like to look half decent, more for myself than anything else.

Any ideas what I can wear at home that's comfy but not slobby? Got a couple of breton type tops which I wear with jeans so that's a start.

Also started shred, glycolic peels at home and DIY manicures to help me feel good about myself but any tips are welcome!

scripsi Wed 09-Jan-13 16:21:52

am reading the now habit on Kindle now and am going to highlight bits and force workaholic DH to take note when he gets home!

mumtorobbie ASOS is good for cheaper jersey tunics/dresses (I am very short so a lot of my dresses are really tunics), for some reason I feel as if I cannot wear my best clothes at home, it is as if I am somehow going to mess them up, so buying some nice but not expensive jersey or sweater dresses with the intention of wearing them for work at home seems to be the way forwards. Am wearing a necklace today which I don't usually do and that has made me feel a bit more professional.

mumtorobbie Wed 09-Jan-13 13:36:51

I've just ordered a couple of pairs of thicker leggings from Topshop and will look out for some jersey tunics as they'd be perfect.

It's much easier in the summer because I have a few decent maxi dresses and t-shirt dresses but I really struggle in the winter.

I do like boyfriend jeans too as I find those comfortable so can pair them with some stripe tops.

Unfortunately, our outside office isn't finished yet (it's more a garden office than anything) so I'm working at the kitchen table but I realised yesterday I need an area that's a proper working environment as it feels a bit odd typing while the kettle's boiling! It's going to take some getting used to.

Curtsey Wed 09-Jan-13 13:15:54

Makes sooooooo much sense, Dona.

Hopefully Wed 09-Jan-13 13:04:27

Dona an going to try that book too - I tend to procrastinate more when I've got lots on, so that really resonates.

Re clothes, I wear a lot of 'nice' loungewear (eg from Hush), sweater dresses and opaques with a wide belt, leggings and long layered tshirts or oversized knits, so I don't feel awful if I have to dash out or answer the door.

DonaAna Wed 09-Jan-13 13:00:18

Yep Curtsey: the book is very good (overlook the American management speak and the sports metaphors - it's not a literary masterpiece).The traditional anti-procrastination approach means you try to be very strict, make long lists, punish yourself, push and prod yourself into doing things you really don't want etc etc - this can work in the beginning but it makes whatever you are procrastinating even more painful in the long run and can result in a complete paralysis.

I love the "Unschedule" approach because it made me realized how fully programmed my days were (home, children, job, everything else) and how few truly free moments there were in my day. It seemed that I was trying to get more of that unstructured leisure time by procrastinating, except that anyone who really procrastinates knows how unsatisfying that type of time is. I also made untenable assumptions about efficiency. At my regular workplace, nobody is 100% efficient - they have tea breaks twice a day, long lunches, chats with the office mates, late starts and early finishes. Somehow I was expecting to be 100% or 120% efficient. Wildly unrealistic.

I don't procrastinate because I'm lazy. I procrastinate because if I accomplish a lot, people will expect even more from me the next time. Procrastination is also tied up with my perfectionistic traits (which I hate) and fear of mistakes and criticism. And every success raises the bar and makes the risk of failure worse.

That's why the paradoxical approach works: if you schedule enough time for enjoyable activities and are gentler on yourself (in my case, limit working time and allow myself to spend time on things I enjoy, and why not add some nice clothes, makeup, jewellery and perfume into the mix too grin), there are incentives to work much more efficiently.

Sorry about the hijack - back to clothes please grin

Curtsey Wed 09-Jan-13 10:44:12

Dona, I just googled the Now Habit. Wow, very insightful and helpful! It's interesting to note the main reasons why we proscrastinate (all rang a bell with me) and also the fact that it's not that procrastinators don't care: it's that we care too much.


Now enough procrastinating from me - back to work!

ScienceRocks Wed 09-Jan-13 10:41:44

I get up and ready for the day with the kids - showered, dressed (usually skinny jeans and a smartish jumper or leggings and dress with boots for winter, maxi dresses or cropped jeans and pretty tops with sandals for summer), make up (eyeliner and mascara) and perfume (currently L'Eau D'Issey, but I was wearing Jo Malone orange blossom layered with white jasmine and mint).

Doing the school and nursery run gives me a smidgen of social contact, then I'm at my desk by 9am. I take a couple of minutes break each hour to make a drink or do a quick household chore (laundry on, for example), which gives me a screen break. I take 20 minutes for lunch, as I am back on the school run at 3pm. I only do this three days a week as my youngest is only 2yo, so often end up grabbing hours in the evenings and at weekends.

I agree that making an effort to dress properly makes a world of difference. And I agree that you have to be careful to not become socially isolated by arranging to see people regularly.

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 09:54:48

And only a simple moisturiser, no make up at all if i'm going to be in all day.

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 09:53:56

I'm studying rather than working, but I like leggings with tunics/short dresses, well fitting yoga pants with stretchy t shirt and boot slippers. Loose slippers feel too relaxed.

I'm doing my work during maps though, so need to be dressed to go and play on the floor at short notice.

lurkingfromhome Wed 09-Jan-13 09:45:13

Yep. same here. I don't think working in my PJs all day long would be good for my business head, but nor do I want to be wearing actual workwear, as one of the benefits of working at home is being able to be nice and comfy all day (without being a slob). I go for things that I can easily slip on and that are comfortable but vaguely stylish, so in the winter it's leggings and long layering tops; sweater dresses, coloured tights and Uggs; skinny cords or nice yoga pants and a cashmere hoodie. A nice scarf ands wristwarmers if it's chilly. Summer it's maxi dresses (even though I don't think I suit them and would never wear them out of the house, they are the perfect working at home garments!). I never wear jeans when working as I find them uncomfortable.

And yes, I don't go for the full face of make-up if I'm going to be at home all day but like to make a bit of an effort, so always BBC cream, mascara and cooloured lip balm, hair is done properly and nails always painted (which of course I can do at my desk, being my own boss and all that...) grin

deXavia Wed 09-Jan-13 07:55:13

I use to have a colleague who still got suited up to work at home - he simply couldn't function in casual!
Like others I've developed a sort of smartish casual wardrobe. Leggings and tunics whilst derided on here are perfect for this. Summer time its cotton or jersey dresses (I especially like maxi dresses for this as my legs and feet get cold if I sit around a lot!). Stretchy jeans work well too and tend to be my default on days where I might be popping out for something during the day. Tailored jackets also help - even if you're a bit scruffy stick one in for conf calls or to go out and you look much smarter.
Routine is very important - it's so easy to drift.... so up shower, dry hair etc at same time as kids get up. I tend to work like crazy in the morning and be more distracted in the afternoon. I also very early on worked to get the kids to know if I was at the computer or more importantly on the phone then I was working and could not be disturbed unless there was actually blood!

CambridgeBlue Wed 09-Jan-13 07:38:38

I dress much like jan, loungewear but a nice smartish version rather than slobby - yoga pants, fitted t-shirt, nice hoodie, sheepskin boots etc. Even if I was in an office my industry is very casual but I've tried working in pyjamas and it just doesn't feel right.

Like others I have a set routine - out for a run (not every day though!) when DH and DD have left, back home for a shower, breakfast in front of the Mac then ready to start work by 9.30. I have lunch at my desk and finish at 4 when DD gets home (although I often end up working in the evening as well).

Lol at shorts and an office shirt for video calls!

scripsi Wed 09-Jan-13 01:31:40

I wear leggings/tights and sweater dresses in the main, generally not jeans - though I do have a pair of uggs I frequently wear at home (they never go outside). I don't tend to wear jewellery at home but I should probably start doing that. When I am working in the office it is very image conscious so I up the ante then.
I went through a phase of wearing loungewear to work at home but felt really unfocused (TMI but also discovered that I couldn't write work emails without a bra on - felt too untidy despite being rather flat chested).

Have ordered the Now book DonaAna. It looks really interesting.

janmoomoo Tue 08-Jan-13 20:44:43

I walk the dog in my special muddy jeans, then come home and shower and then get dressed, at desk by 9. I have a collection of nice lounge wear - yoga pants, nice t-shirts, decent hoodies etc that I dont mind being seen in. Quite a lot from fat face or nice bits from TKMaxx. Bretton top and linen trousers would be nice.

I agree you dont want to look a total slob and staying in PJs until lunchtime just feels wrong, but also I find that jeans are actually really uncomfortable to sit in all day. As long as your loungewear is nice and not dirty, baggy stuff you have been wearing for weeks I think that is OK. I do always shower, do my hair, and put on moisturiser and mascara.

DonaAna Tue 08-Jan-13 20:16:54

Curtsey, I must have a PhD in procrastination. confused
It's much harder to stay focused and disciplined at home.
I really recommend the Pomodoro technique and the Now Habit.
Both are potentially life-changing. They certainly have changed my life.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 08-Jan-13 20:16:36

Oh yes and paint your nails - this may help motivate you to dress nicely.

FrancesFarmer Tue 08-Jan-13 20:07:29

Get dressed straight away when you get up. Plan an outfit the night before if necessary. Take a photo to keep track of what you're wearing.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 08-Jan-13 20:03:03

Another tip is to arrange regular coffees or lunches with workmates/friends so that you are motivated to look decent.

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 08-Jan-13 19:54:06

Casual skirts (denium/cord), sweater dresses and skinny jeans. Tops are long sleeved or short sleeved t-shirts in nice colours with woollen cardigans/sweaters with a down gilet on top when its cold.

DonaAna Tue 08-Jan-13 19:35:21

I dress up for myself: it cheers me up.
To paraphrase L'Oreal, you're worth it. grin
I had a period of yoga pants and being covered in vomit post-DC - it wasn't good for my psyche and self image. It was disastrous for my work morale.
Now I live in an environment where everyone (even the doorman) dresses up - much better.

But it could also be that I'm deeply shallow wink

Curtsey Tue 08-Jan-13 19:35:13

I guess I'm middle ground. Used to dress quite elaborately back in my fun office days, but now it's skinny jeans, riding boots and layers most days (layers because I don't want to turn on the central heating!). Sometimes a jumper dress or tweed skirt. I do feel much better if I put on at least a little bit of makeup.

Having a tidy workspace makes me much more efficient - no more excuses! And, like Dona, I try to fit in a basic lunch prep.

It's not easy though! It's great to be so flexible but I'm such a procrastinator and working from home can exacerbate this.

mumtorobbie Tue 08-Jan-13 18:17:18

Thanks for all the tips.

Seems a bit daft sitting at my kitchen table dressed up to the nines so looking for the middle ground really.

turkeyboots Mon 07-Jan-13 16:43:09

I wear "loungewear" when at home. Comfy, warm and smart enough for school run.

My Dfather wears his office shirts over shorts so looks worky for videocalls!

Really is up to you and what you have to do while at home. No point dressing up if you are cleaning the house in your lunch break. Or going to gym.

DonaAna Mon 07-Jan-13 16:38:13

I've been working from home for the past five years and here's my advice:

* Pyjamas and loungewear are bad for morale and your self-image. Comfy at first, but soon you'll feel like a giant toddler.
* I get dressed and at the same time in the morning as everyone else.
* I structure my day with a set hour for exercise (in the morning in winter) and a set lunch hour (at 1pm - DH eats at home)
* I exercise (1 hr run/walk), do hair & make up and lunch prep (love my Zojirushi rice cooker and programmable oven) before I start to work. I aim to start working at 9.30 the latest.
* I wear a softened take on office wear at home. In winter, sweater dresses, knit wrap dresses, jeans with a nice top or a cardigan, or a chambray shirt with a pencil skirt. My newest discovery is knit blazers. Structured but comfy. Jersey blazers would work too.
In the summer, mostly sleeveless dresses in bright colors (hot climate), pretty flats and espadrilles.
* I wear perfume and jewellery at home even though nobody else is around. A chunky cocktail ring boost my morale <shallow>
* the Pomodoro system and the Tomighty desktop app are great productivity tools. I have a set goal for each day and week. I reward myself with time off (if I manage to finish my goals early, I get a half day or a full day off). The "Unschedule" system in the book "The Now Habit" is brilliant for balancing the demands of work, family life and R&R.
* I organize regular Skype meetings, teleconferences and visits to my workplace to stay motivated and to stay in touch with people.
* I schedule nights out with my friends (I try to go somewhere once a week) plus have a few hours on my own on weekends - it's really important to make sure that you will get out of the house regularly.
* I really miss tea breaks with workmates. That's what MN is for ;)

Right now I'm wearing a navy sweater dress with a long and chunky Maxmara necklace, gray opaques and warm sheepskin boots (draughty house).

Oh and I've gotten promoted repeatedly - so I must be doing something right wink

Trills Mon 07-Jan-13 16:38:04

You could wear exactly the same stuff you did before you know - you don't have to change your style.

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