Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue America, one of the most feared, but revered women in the high fashion industry once told reporters she would never be caught dead in sweatpants.
But earlier this week, she, like the rest of us mere mortals in our hoodies and activewear, gave us a rare glimpse into her working from home setup.
And who would have ever thought – The Devil Does Wear Trackies.
Well, she did pair her red trackpants with a $450 La Ligne knit top. But still, it’s a far cry from the Louis Vuitton mules and the colourful Prada shift dresses Ms Wintour normally dons during fashion week.
Even the former Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, known for her chic style (yes, she did wear a $1,500 Rachel Gilbert blue sequin midi dress on her last day in parliament), showed us the two parallels of audio and video meetings.
It may be tempting to fall into the uniform of athleisure wear and pyjamas when you’re working from home, but psychologists have said that it is important to get dressed up (to a certain extent) to keep some sort of routine. Especially if you’re constantly on Zoom, Google Hangout or FaceTime meetings.
Dr Carolyn Mair, behavioural psychologist and author of The Psychology of Fashion, told The Sydney Morning Herald that clothing can demarcate between work and non-work time.
“Our clothes should be comfortable and, if we want to maintain some degree of normalcy, they should be the sort of clothes we wore to work when we worked face-to-face.”
Some executive women, like Natasha Kamalesan, an MC Manager at Accenture has been working from home for the last five weeks.
Pre-COVID economy, her days would be filled with meetings and managing a team of analysts.
But now working from home, she has packed away the pencil skirts and blazers.
“I think it’s important to be comfortable but still professional. If you wore make up before (I didn’t), keep doing it. And if you are on video calls like me, think about perhaps wearing a work blouse with your favourite leggings like I did yesterday,” she said.
“I always make sure that I’m dressed, and out of my pyjamas. It’s essential to keep that sense of routine. Like I’m getting ready to work.”
Amy Ankles, a New York City resident told TODAY that she’s found creative ways to work from home while balancing professional looks, with comfort.
“My work from home style is lovingly referred to as a ‘work from home mullet’: It’s business on top and party on the bottom. And party to me equals ultimate comfort,” she told TODAY Style.
Ms Ankles will put on a top she would normally wear to the office, some jewellery and minimal makeup. But below the desk, she’ll be donning sweatpants and slippers.
“This way, when I video conference with colleagues, I fully look like I’m dressed for the day. Little do they know I’m in half pyjamas — except I tell everyone anyway,” she said.
“I’m loving that I get to wear leggings or sweats and my slippers. And that I don’t have to spend time trying on different outfits every morning,” she said. “I’m nervous for when we go back to work, though, and I can no longer wear elastic waistbands.”
Here are some tips for making sure you look your best, without that full face of makeup:
- Know your audience. If you’re video conferencing with important clients or management, make sure you look professional. It doesn’t mean putting on a skirt, but even if you put on a shirt, paired with jeans, you’ll feel the part. Always look like you care.
- Your look should be about polished comfort. Now is not the time to be showy. Even something like a scarf can change an outfit.
- If you are in a lot of video calls, learn from the newsreaders – stripes are havoc on screen, and steer away from the plunging necklines or crop tops.
- There is a difference between activewear and loungewear. Remember, you’re not going to the gym. Loungewear is considered as ‘elevated casual’. It’s the sort of clothing that’s relaxed and unstructured. Think cotton tapered pants or drawstring pants instead of chinos for men.
- There are some high end Australian brands like Camilla and Marc and Bassike which have created a range of loungewear. Japanese brand UNIQLO also has affordable options, ranging from knit skirts to tapered joggers. The Soft Knitted Jersey Long Sleeve Set costs just $49.90 for top and bottoms and comes in three autumnal colours. Click here to buy the set.