If you’re wearing pajamas while sitting at your office, you might not be dreaming – you’re likely awake and remote working in 2020. After all, if your coworkers and boss can’t see you, do you need to dress up? Wouldn’t you rather be comfortable and practical in your fashion choices for remote work? This shift in priorities during pandemic life has created some memorable fashion trends to look back on years from now.
What used to be one of the bigger tasks of the day is no longer a big task. I no longer waste time or energy on planning what I need to wear to the office: no need to bring an extra sweater for that team meeting in a freezing room… no need to plan out which days to wear which blazers or sweaters so I don’t wear the same thing two days in a row … no need to bring an extra pair of shoes to wear after I take off my clunky snow boots. Fashion has become much simpler.
I roll out of bed, put on my comfy sweater or hoodie and loose-fitting pants, comb my hair, and I’m good to go. Are other workers as casual when they work from home? How are others dressing for remote work? Let’s take a look at some fashion trends for work and fun during the pandemic.
Related: Fashion trends for pandemic life in 2021.
Should there be a dress code for remote work?
As an entrepreneur, I’m used to wearing what I like, but companies are talking about having a dress code for remote work. As working from home (WFH) continues into 2021, companies are talking about implementing official, gender neutral policies for what you wear during work hours.
Wearing professional clothes while WFH helps with a mindset shift as you mentally switch from being at home to being at work. If you live with family or roommates, your clothes also signal to them that you’re in work mode.
Just how much is the mindset shift determined by what you wear? A survey found that people who dressed business professional, business casual, or smart casual felt 80% productive throughout the day. Those who wore gym clothes felt 70% productive throughout the workday. And those who rolled out of bed to work in their pajamas only felt 50% productive throughout the day.
Dressing up, even to work from home, seems to be the best option to maximize productivity. However, a case could be made for dressing more casually as well. Some workers may have to look after a child or two while working. And friends have told me how much more productive they have become by doing housework during their breaks instead of crossword puzzles in the staffroom.
The answer to what to wear seems to depend on your pandemic lifestyle. Also, it might not matter as much if your coworkers can’t see you!
How to dress for virtual meetings
Whether your meetings are scheduled or you’re on call, it’s a good idea to dress up a little for virtual meetings when working remotely. How much you dress up depends on who you’re meeting with.
When networking or meeting new clients, I may wear a blazer or a fancy sweater. When meeting with team members, I sometimes wear my good hoodie (not the faded one with some holes). In the summer, team members showed up in a t-shirt or even a tank top! The formality depends on your workplace.
During the pandemic, there is the expectation that your coworkers are seeing a more personal side of you. I’ve seen family members walk across the room in the background. Family pets have made an appearance. A friend said her coworkers are now familiar with her husband’s superhero t-shirts as he crosses the screen in their tiny, shared home office.
Many are also familiar with dressing from the waist up for meetings. If you’ve done this, then you know the drill. Business formal or business casual from the waist up. It looks impressive but remember not to get up if you’re just wearing jogging pants or PJ bottoms. If I need to get up, I slide to the side and off screen before I stand up. (Yes, I am guilty of blazer and blouse plus pajama pants.)
Something I never considered as part of my wardrobe before the pandemic is my background. Your coworkers get a peek into one part of your home during a virtual meeting. I’ve learned to accessorize my look with an assortment of virtual backgrounds that I project on my green screen. I have daytime rooms for day meetings and nighttime rooms for meetings after dark. I even have seasonal rooms. At the moment, I have a Christmas-themed living room. People have complimented me on my backgrounds.
The handy thing about having eye-popping or realistic rooms is people tend to look at your background more than you. I can dress down and my ultra modern kitchen background gets attention and makes me look more professional.
Fashion trends during the pandemic
During the pandemic, people are not really going anywhere. No more vacations, big weekend birthday parties, sports events, concerts, or dancing at night clubs. If you’re really in the mood, you could spend a half hour dressing up to go get your groceries for the week. The effort seems a bit of a waste, however.
Practical, casual clothing choices have become the fashion trend, not just at the home office when remote working, but also when you go out. If you bought a fancy outfit to wear to the next party this year, it likely spent 2020 in your closet.
Depending on your tolerance for germs, you may have a simple or complex routine for outings. When you get home, you may want to wash your clothes to ensure you’re COVID free. The regular use of hot water and detergent probably deters you from wearing expensive, handwash items. And don’t forget part of your face could be covered by a mask.
When I go out, I see people who are dressed for comfort. Baggy and loose instead of body hugging and tight. Practical and comfortable instead of expensive and fancy. I haven’t seen people in suits lately. Post pandemic, casual clothes could remain the fashion trend for work, home, and going out.
Work and home life easily merge into each other during the pandemic. Dressing for remote work could mean dressing up or being comfortable and casual. With lockdowns and restrictions affecting our social lives, fashion trends have become more relaxed and practical and this trend may continue into the new year.
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