WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
We’ve seen the future of work, and it’s remote. While in 2019 convincing your boss to allow you to work from home seemed like an impossible dream, in 2020 it’s very much reality. And while the circumstances right now are so far from ideal, one positive is that we have millions of case studies from around the globe – working from home works.
That’s right, we’ve all realized our dreams of working in our pants, switching tabs between spreadsheets and ‘Love Is Blind’ without looking over our shoulders, and multi-tasking between Slack and spaghetti bolognese, and somehow we’re still managing to be productive. Looks like our work arrangements are permanently changed forever.
But with working from home becoming the new norm, there are big adjustments to be made to our daily lives. While the world of fashion has been embracing sportswear and loungewear for several seasons now, the workplace has understandably slowed on its uptake – that is until now. When your office is also your home, you get to dictate dress codes. Comfort is in. The last few months have been all about soft materials, roomy cuts and wrinkle-free fabrics, and long may this stay the same. But while comfiness is key, so is feeling productive.
The working wardrobe has been irreversibly changed, and with the flexibility to pick and choose anything from your wardrobe also comes a sense of being overwhelmed and plagued with decision fatigue, and one solution is to reduce. We predict that a sense of minimalism will come to define this new way of dressing, with a focus on a few clean basics in well-cut shapes and good quality materials. So what exactly will these new work from home wardrobe essentials be? Keep reading on to find out. Forget power suits and court shoes, embrace silky shirting and supple slip-ons.
For him: Jacquemus Chunky Knit Jumper
For her: Prada Chunky Knit Sweater
If you think that a baggy hoodie is the ultimate piece of outerwear when working from home, you’d be wrong. A chunky knitted jumper does everything your favorite food-stained sweatshirt does but has the added effect of giving your boss the impression that you have your act together when catching up on Zoom. Make sure to pick soft huggable wools like cashmere to minimize withdrawal symptoms from being severed from your cotton fleece collection during work hours. We find a nice bright color can help you get through even the most tedious of town halls too.
For him: Sunspel Short Sleeve Shirt
For her: Chloé Long Sleeve Striped Shirt
While you’re constantly trying to coax your legs out of their comas during the workday at home, the upper half of your body is permanently on call, ready to be on view at any moment. While knitwear and a smart tee are cool for barking orders at your intern in, when it comes to talking to your CEO or superiors it’s time to break out the shirting. A crisp piece of cotton shirting is one of those basic wardrobe staples that oozes professionalism, just make sure it's oversized so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a corset when off-cam. Pick a shirt with cool, quirky or edgy detailing – it’ll help you feel like you’re still at home rather than on an episode of The Apprentice. If you’ve forgotten how iron (I certainly have) or just simply can’t be bothered, a short-sleeved camp collar shirt in a wrinkle friendly fabric is going to be your best friend. Buttoned up for your boss, unbuttoned for watching ‘Undercover Boss’ reruns back to back.
For him: Prevu Waffle Knit T-Shirt
An Endless Supply of T-Shirts
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our time in isolation it’s that you can never have too many basics - it’s time to bulk up on your t-shirts. We love the versatility of a good t-shirt, it’s one of the few pieces that can be worn over and over (and over…) again, at any time of day and with everything in your wardrobe. From chill to a conference call and back to chill in one plain white tee, they’re definitely one of our closet essentials. Opt for something more oversized and structured – it’ll be comfier whilst still holding its shape after you inevitably wear the same tee for three days in a row, bye bye stretched out necklines – that looks just as good standalone as underneath a piece of knitwear or shirting.
For him: Gucci Side Stripe Sweatpants
For her: Styland Loose Fit Track Pants
Premium Track Pants
Resist the temptation to work, play, eat and sleep in your grey marl sweatpants as much of a wardrobe staple as they are. Getting dressed in the morning is one way to psychologically prepare yourself at the start of the working day, and wearing any old pair of sweatpants is sending out all the wrong messages to your brain. Instead, choose track pant styles that are more tailored so your legs aren’t left permanently thinking they’re in chill mode. A good pair of designer track pants can look closer to formal wear than sportswear meaning you can wear them inside the house as well as outside of it too.
For him: Casablanca Pleated Wide Leg Trousers
For her: Peserico High-Waisted Trousers
For those times when even the most upmarket of track pants will not do, a slouchy pair of tailored trousers are just as comfortable as they are professional. Again, when shopping for these closet essentials wide legs are key for comfort, but even more essential is a comfy waist – after weeks of becoming accustomed to the soft drawstring waistbands of your favorite sweats, your waistline will need days of breaking in before it can handle a *shudder* non-elasticated waistband or even worse, a belt. Soft, breathable fabrics like linen or lightweight wool can make the transition from sportswear to formalwear even easier, and sharp detailing like pleats can have you feeling extra proffesh.
For him: Martine Rose Loose Fit Jeans
For her: Eytys Benz High-Waisted Jeans
Wide Leg Denim
We can practically feel your eyes shooting daggers at us through the screen, but hear us out. We too vowed to never wear jeans again, forever pledging allegiance to the temples of loungewear and sportswear, but there are just some jobs that are too tough for sweatpants to handle. Wearing an actual piece of workwear feels like the right choice for those DIY jobs around the house like gardening (does tending to your Monstera count?) or painting and decorating (aka kickstarting your nascent art career), and best of all you don’t have to wash them after every wear either. Go baggy or wide legged so you’re not too restricted when reclining on the sofa or getting your hourly stretch in.
For him: Suicoke Open Toe Strap Sandals
For her: The Row Cut-out Slippers
Unless you’re that one colleague at work who stinks out the office by kicking off their shoes when at their desk, it’s likely that you’re fully shod when at work. It’s important to recreate this headspace by avoiding working from home in barefoot. A technical slide or slip-on mule looks and feels more elegant than your standard beach slide, and can make all the difference in making you feel like you’re fully dressed for work while still having the comfort of your house slippers. Add in some plush tube socks to keep cold feet at bay and you’re all set for footwear in the new world. You’ll be left wondering what you used o wear on-foot before you discovered these essential wardrobe staples.
For her: Fleur of England Piped Pajamas Set
Sticking to a routine can make or break the productivity of your working day. Just as important as getting dressed is for kickstarting your day, switching into your comfies signals to your brain that it’s time to relax, and this is key when working from the comfort of your home. With no commute or change in space to help you disassociate from the office, your brain can be stuck in work mode till the early hours, and no one wants that. A chic pair of pajamas is one of those essential wardrobe pieces you’ll look forward to slipping into at the end of the day, or can be a good middle ground between a tracksuit and pair of jeans if you do end up working in your PJ’s. If you’re that way inclined, a matching set feels more put together than a pair of mismatched top and bottoms. Cut in a fabric like silk, a nightshirt can also double up as a piece of Zoom-friendly shirting and is totally acceptable for a pop to the shops. A slinky robe also adds a touch of luxury to your nighttime regime, with the added bonus of making you feel extra tough during your boxercise class.
For him: Off-White Logo Print Running Shorts
For her: Saint Laurent Stirrup Leggings
If you’re kickstarting your day with a big breakfast rather than Barrys boot camp, that’s a one-way ticket to a big midday slump. While swapping bagels for burpees is no easy feat, some designer sportswear can be just what you need to unlock your new exercise habit. Leggings and running shorts are two of those closet essentials that you’ll practically live in. Made for unrestricted movement, they’re one of those work from home wardrobe essentials that becomes a daily go-to due to their stretchy moisture-wicking fabrics that are great for both exercising and relaxing in. And when your home is your office, gym and chillout place all rolled into one, wearing sportswear throughout the day can help you stay active and motivated as there are no excuses for forgetting your P.E. kit. Pick premium sportswear pieces from your favorite brands – they’ll blend more seamlessly with statement pieces in your wardrobe and make for activewear you’ll actually want to be seen in.