Thursday 26 March 2020 12:10 am

Working from home? You still need to dress to impress

Chaps, if you’ve very recently begun working from home for some reason, you may be finding it difficult to adjust. The lack of shape to your day, the upsetting of your usual routine, can be disorientating.

Sure, your initial idea that you’d be able to lie on the sofa in nothing but your briefs, dipping in and out of Netflix as you lazily rat-tat-tatted away at your laptop, might have seemed fun to those of you attuned to the environs of a windowless city office.

But take it from someone who works from home all the time — sooner or later, that hazy nirvana gives way to anxiety, and a listlessness that gnaws at your core. It’s better not to get to that state at all, if you can help it, and it may surprise you to hear that getting dressed, properly, is one such way of avoiding it.

Read more: Interiors: Working from home? Here’s four tips to make it a bit more bearable

Rediscover the art of the uniform

At school, you loathed that you were made to wear a uniform. Even now, at work, you may despise the fact that you have to wear a suit. But all those years of regimented routine have done something to your brain: they have conditioned the process of getting ready for work as an essential step in, well, getting ready to work.

Now, no one is saying you need to don the same blue two-piece you’ve resorted to for the last god-knows-how-many-years, but there is something cathartic about putting on a proper pair of trousers, a shirt, and maybe even a tie.

Yes, it may seem unnecessary, yes, it can feel a little stuffy, and yes, it might not be as comfortable as your gym kit, but it’s not meant to be — it exists to keep you at your mental best.

Look in the mirror

What’s more, after a long day of working remotely, proper clothes make you feel better than casualwear — it’s more difficult to get that sagging, energy-sapping moment of feeling like a slob when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror at the end of the day, and see a figure looking back in a shirt rather than a hoodie and trackies.

If ever there were a time to experiment

But there’s something else to bear in mind: this awful pandemic provides you with a wonderful opportunity to try — and get away with — clothing you’d never dream of were you still in the office. No longer are you subject to peer pressure. It’s time to chance something a little bolder.

Perhaps you’ve got a penchant for blazers that are a bit “Don Draper at the weekend”, or maybe you own a number of vibrant pairs of trousers you just never seem to find the right environment for.

Or maybe smart isn’t your thing? What if you’re one of those people who drops hundreds of pounds on street labels and sneakers, but only ever takes the time to style them together once or twice a month?

Either way, you feel much better when you know you look good. So what’s stopping you?

Your country needs you… to buy more clothes

A lot of small British businesses are going to struggle through this period — the clothing industry, with shops shut to footfall, is chief among them. The likes of Loake, Pink, and Turnbull and Asser aren’t just for the office, and now your office is your home, maybe it’s time to make the likes of Folk, Oliver Spencer and Drakes start working for you.

Read more: Debate: Does the home-working trend caused by coronavirus herald the death of the office?

And finally, show that conference call who’s boss.

Just dressing for yourself still feels good — and you’ll be the snappiest looking person on the Zoom conference call, even if you’ve only bothered to dress from the waist up.


Benedict Spence is a freelance writer. He is on Twitter @BenedictSpence.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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