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What to wear when working from home

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read

Watch: Stylist, Antonia O'Brien, shares some top fashion tips when it comes to enhancing your working from home wardrobe

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If you’re still working from home, you’re not alone. A recent survey showed that, thanks to the current COVID-19 pandemic, 60% of people are still doing the majority of their work from home, with 26% of those saying they intended to carry on doing so once our ‘new normal’ passes.

Home working, while great for not having to deal with commuter hour, is not so great when it comes to what to wear. That power suit you wore to meetings suddenly seems slightly incongruous when you’re sat on a Zoom call at your kitchen table. In fact, luxury store Browns recently reported a 70% increase in sales of loungewear.

Someone who has embraced this ‘new normal’ way of dressing is stylist and presenter Antonia O’Brien, who has plenty of tips on how to dress for comfort and style while working from home.

Working from home needs a whole new approach to your working wardrobe (Image: Getty Images)
Working from home needs a whole new approach to your working wardrobe (Image: Getty Images)

“I really want to stress how very important it is for your general mental wellbeing and sense of self to get up, get showered and get dressed with intention for the day - even if no, one's going to see you and you're not really going any further than your sofa,” she advises.

Pyjamas and sloppy sportswear may be off the menu then, but what can you do to make sure you look pulled together but still feel comfortable?

Dress from the waist up

When you have to look the business over a Zoom call it’s important to make the most of what can be seen on screen. O’Brien recommends having a mixture of simple and statement shirts ready for all those on-screen moments.

“You cannot go wrong with a classic white shirt,” she advises. “Or if you do want to go for something a bit more fashion and statement, look for a style that has detail on the collar or the cuff - frills, bows buttons.

Printed shirts are a little bit louder, and long line shirts are a great choice if you want to style over leggings. Well, actually you could wear all of them with leggings - no one will know!”

Buy it: hush Oversized Shirt | £59 from John Lewis & Partners

hush Oversized Shirt
hush Oversized Shirt

Have a blazer to hand

Got an unexpected call or need to look a bit more together for the school run? You need a blazer.

“Nothing makes me feel more business and ready to work then a well cut blazer,” says O’Brien, citing her two favourite Joseph blazers as her go-to jackets over the last ten years.

She continues: “A blazer will also pull together an outfit, making it look sharper and more polished - even the laziest white tee shirt and jeans. If you just put on a blazer, you will always feel just more dressed.”

Buy it: Dorothy Perkins Women's Navy Edge Jacket | £26.85 from Amazon

Dorothy Perkins Women's Navy Edge Jacket
Dorothy Perkins Women's Navy Edge Jacket

Add colour with makeup

It’s a fact – Zoom calls are just not flattering, however, O’Brien has a clever tip on how to boost your complexion for your next video call.

“Never underestimate the power of a fantastic red lip, to both your complexion and mood,” she states.

“The right colour will really switch the lights on and brighten up your face.”

Buy it: Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick | £25 from John Lewis & Partners

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick

Invest in good quality loungewear

Since the pandemic hit, sales of loungewear have soared. Even luxury retailer, Net-A-Porter, has increased its comfort offering as people embrace a more laidback style for their current WFH situation.

As you’ll probably be wearing said comfy items non-stop, O’Brien recommends investing in these pieces as they’ll then last a lifetime.

“For me, casual wear is actually about spending a little bit more money on great pieces that I will love and wear for ages and that will really last,” she says.

Buy it: Pure Cashmere Cropped Hoodie | £119 from Marks and Spencer

Pure Cashmere Cropped Hoodie
Pure Cashmere Cropped Hoodie

Don’t forget your shoes

For O’Brien the one thing that shifts her mindset into work mode is a good pair of shoes!

“Personally, I have to wear a pair of proper shoes when I'm supposed to be working,” she says.

“If I wear slippers, I can't get in gear. There’s the thing about putting your shoes on, after you've dressed, that gives your day some kind of focus.”

Heels are off the radar for most of us for the time being – who wants to trip trap around the house in a pair of stilettos? – so instead, invest in a dressed-up pair of flats. That way you’ll have comfort and style in one simple pair of shoes.

Buy it: Emma Flexi Sole Shoes | £110 from Boden

Emma Flexi Sole Shoes
Emma Flexi Sole Shoes

Watch: Antonia O’Brien shows you how to maximise your wardrobe by organising it better