Dressing For Work While Working at Home

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you self-employed and working from home? Maybe you’re a SAHM or a WAHM? If so, you’re among a growing population; more and more companies are allowing and even encouraging telecommuting as work option.  But with this option comes an unexpected challenge—what is the appropriate work at home wardrobe?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of throwing on sweats or workout clothes in the morning and staying in them all day long.  After all, these clothes are really comfortable.  Some people even stay in their pajamas all day when they work from home. It’s tempting to be comfortable sitting by your aquarium in the living room with nice aquarium lighting, but unfortunately sweats or pajamas are not the ideal work at home wardrobe.

The way you look directly affects the way you feel and act. If you dress like you are taking the day off, you are subconsciously telling yourself that’s where you’d rather be rather than working. It probably won’t be blatant, but it may come across in your work and in your voice on the phone.

You don’t have to go to the other extreme of dressing in a suit or a skirt just to sit in your home office, but somewhere in the middle of these two is a good compromise. Business casual is a great way to give your body and mind the signal that you are ready to work—no matter what your location.

Business casual presents its own challenges as there is no clear definition of what it means.  In some offices it means literally anything goes. Others have guidelines for example they may have ruled out certain items like capris or flip flops noting them to be not enough “business” and all “casual”.

A good idea is to create a few guidelines for yourself that will keep you in “business mode”.  For example, you might still feel professional in a pair of jeans, but not the paint-stained or ripped ones you wear on the weekends.

Ultimately, the key to your work at home wardrobe is to actually pay attention to it and not let it be an afterthought.


Ellen is a blogger who works at home with her two dogs.