Wednesday, 16 September 2009

What To Wear When You Work From Home

Before I begin I wish to add a disclaimer:
I am in no way, shape or form a style guru so please feel free to disregard these ramblings as indulgent waffle.
However, I do work mostly from home and I am interested in clothes.
And amazingly, two bloggers - Leah and Jenn - who are both home based have asked for my thoughts on the subject.
So here they are.
I have worked from home on and off since 1992 when I became a district reporter for The Liverpool Echo.
I was based at home and had a large patch - North Merseyside and West Lancashire - to cover.
Although many of my fellow district reporters confessed to staying in the PJs until well after noon I always felt my day hadn't begun until I was fully dressed and ready to leave the house at a moment's notice.
In 2003 I became a freelance writer and my time is now divided between writing from home and going out to present workshops.
Nowadays I am usually aware of what will happen on any given day and during that time I would say my style has evolved into "relaxed chic".
Of course, your opinion may well differ and "shabby chic" may be more apt.
Anyway, back to the point.
I think there are three key ideas which govern what I wear:
Appropriateness (is that a word?)
And I find that the best way to cover all three for me it to start with shoes.
If I am presenting a workshop I like to look tall and smart.
If I am working from home I need to be in work mode but I will also need to break up the day to walk the dog.
Colourful flats or boots for days at home and heeled boots and shoes for outside appearances. Almost always Clarks as they do style and comfort better than any other retailer.
Once I have decided on my shoes I move up.
Although I love dresses I find separates are the easiest and while jeans are suitable for the prison and working from home I wouldn't wear them when I am presenting a PR workshop.
I love my Gap Curvy jeans and have them in three shades. I also love my beige, black and blue knee length skirts.
Next - the top.
I hate to be cold so at this time of year it is usually a long-sleeved t-shirt with or without a cardigan. In the summer it will be short sleeved t-shirt or blouse.
And finally, the magic of the adaptable work from home wardrobe is the outer layer.
Even jeans can be made appropriate with a smart jacket and I like to have a few colour options.
My current favourites are a red short one and a caramel leather biker jacket (which will be unveiled shortly).
If I don't venture outside the house then a cardigan or wrap will suffice.
As for accessories I seem to be sticking to a statement red heart necklace when it comes to jewellery although as the winter apparoaches I like to reach for a scarf or pashmina to add a splash of colour and warmth.
I don't know if that helps.
Today I am feeling poorly sick today and spent most of it on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.
If you have your own work from home style tips please leave them in the comments box.


  1. This outfit is perfect. The drape of the solid blue top offset the pleats of the skirt to keep this outfit from dividing you in half. It is great and would go anywhere from office setting to a run to catch a city bus! I love this look.

  2. I hope you feel better :)

    As for style tips- I have no authority for those yet. I am learning myself. For my own sake, I am only trying to not do the SAME outfits over and over (which I did ALL LAST YEAR, and still do in my casual style), and trying to expand my mix/match skills.

    Question for you Jane- I have some pics off your old blog from fall/winter that I want to use for inspiration. May I have your permission to reference you when I do an outfit, and maybe even post the picture I stole from your blog (since I have no idea which posts I stole them from!) What I do is- I see a picture of an inspiring outfit. I right click, and save into my inspiration folder, and name it whatblogIgotitfrom-number.

  3. btw the outfit is really cute today :) Love the unexpected combination!

  4. Hi there-a great post, very inspirational with good ideas. Love the idea of a leather jacket and jeans, its one of my favourite outfits. Love this outfit of yours, very casual chic!

  5. I found your blog through Wardrobe Remix and I was totally blown away from this post because I am also a reporter who works from home! I've been thinking about how that has impacted my sense of style, too. It's so easy to just wear t-shirts and shorts every day, but if I hate doing that. I have noticed that one of the benefits of working from home, however, is that my "nice" dresses and shoes don't get worn out as quickly. When I'm just writing an article or doing research, I usually wear a loose dress or a polo dress. They are comfortable, especially since I live in Taiwan, which is very humid.

  6. I don't quite work from home, but I am a mixed I work for my husbands business as needed and homeschool our children. Finding the right mix for the two is always a challenge for me.

    I have no great tips, but I'm slowly learning.

  7. Thanks for the post. Comfort, style, appropriateness... Of course I'm so comfortable in my pajamas but it is devoid of style and more so, appropriateness.

    I had one experience with my pajamas as my staple work wardrobe. One time, a client decided to pay a surprise visit to my place since he was in the area. And I was still wearing my pajamas at two in the afternoon. I grabbed a pink hoodie inside my closet to match my floral pink pajamas. Good thing he is a guy so he didn't noticed that I was still in my jammies.

  8. Great post and I suspect a little-covered topic.

    Even when not at home for the day, I often start with shoes and build up, maybe because I have relatively few of them so they have to be a big part of outfit decisions.

  9. Hope you're feeling better.

    Thank you so much my dear for visited my blog and invited me to join the capsule wardrobe challenge.
    It was very unexpected and I felt very pleased.
    Thank you so much!!!
    I haven't seen last year, but I believe it's such a great experience.
    If I wasn't having some problems I would say yes without thinking, but... I would let you know.

    Love your outfit, that stripped shirt is sooo great!!!!
    Well, as I work at an office I have no experience in working from home, but I think these are such great tips.
    If I worked from home I would try not to be in my pajamas...

    Thank you so much again


  10. Great post - I too often dress from the shoes up!

  11. I love that sweater and the color is beautiful!

  12. I luv this outfit, it's solely lovely in color and style!!!:)

  13. Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated. I work from home too and the temptation of aring "too comfortable" clothing at home is huge! But I try to get ready every day as if I were going out (or in a way that I can change one o max two items and be ready) as it can happen that I'm called out for an emergency interpreting job or I have to collect the kids from school. All the best. Ciao. A.

  14. The blue cardigan is great. Your tips will be helpful to those "from home" workers I'm sure.


  15. EXCELLENT and definitely covers what I do working from home!!! I cannot stay in my PJ's either!

  16. I work from home too, and learnt my lesson very early on when I answered the door to a client, in my dressing gown (it was very early and they had turned up unexpectedly).
    I now have a number one rule that I must get dressed before I can possibly start work.
    Since that day, i very often over-compensate and dress up more than I normally would in an office.