Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to dress when you work from home




This past little while since I started my dream career of being a writer who works from my home office, I have been curating my at-home wardrobe.  When we moved here to Hawke’s Bay, it was the middle of winter and a lot colder than I was used to in Auckland.

To keep warm I wore thick leggings, a merino wool cowl neck jersey and at least one layer underneath.  Cozy merino socks and sheepskin books completed my look.  I wouldn’t often put makeup on, especially if I wasn’t going out, and I wouldn’t do much with my hair either.  There didn’t seem much point if no-one could see me, right?

Over the past six months I have been changing my thoughts on that, and now most days I put on a tiny amount of makeup such as foundation – because my skin is very pink and shiny by itself :) – blush and/or bronzer, lip colour and mascara.  I either brush bronzer on my eyelids or use a non-sparkly neutral eyeshadow.

Plus, perfume. Always!  Even when I don’t wear makeup the odd day, I always wear perfume.

I also keep my hair clean and do something with it each day.  It’s summer here at the moment and I’ve been letting my naturally wavy/curly hair air-dry.  We have low-humidity here so my hair looks pretty rather than frizzy, as it did when we lived in a high-humidity area.

I actually do see quite a few people I’ve realized, even if my car doesn’t leave the garage that day.  There’s the courier or rural post van, neighbours when I’m out walking, our friend who lives in the flat attached to our house and Teddy the poodle’s mum too when I take him for a walk.  Plus… my husband when he gets home from work!

I’ve started putting together my favourite easy looks for each season, and also making sure I have enough outfits to see me through until laundry day.  In the hot weather I have simple just-above-the-knee dresses in soft denim, which I wear with Birkenstocks or jandals (thongs/flip-flops) at home or wedge-heeled sandals going out.

For spring and autumn I like inexpensive cropped soft stretch jeans that feel more like leggings, paired with a pretty tee-shirt or shirt.  On my feet I’ll wear Converse or ballet flats going out, or Go Walks staying in.

In the winter I plan to wear my full-length comfy stretch skinny jeans with cozy jumpers and my sheepskin boots, changing to merino socks and ankle boots (flat or with a small heel) if I go out.  One thing that keeps me warm is having my neck covered, so I’ll either make sure my jersey has a cozy cowl neck (I don’t like to be strangled by polo necks) or I will loop a soft cotton or wool scarf around my neck.

It feels good to dress at home as if I was going out, as long as I choose comfort as well as style, and it’s a fun ongoing project.  I also love to find pretty and feminine colours to feel good in.  It’s easy to choose a black top and jeans, but yesterday when I wore a new tee-shirt - Kmart $10 :) – in a blush/coconut ice pink fine-slub cotton, I felt really good.  Plus I received two compliments!  When I saw myself in the mirror, the muted pink really lit up my face.  I wore it with grey-black skinny jeans and melon-orange wedge sandals to go out to do a few errands.

When I used to work full-time, I always felt better when I dressed for the day.  On days at home when I wore loungewear and no makeup or hairstyle, I may have gotten a lot achieved, but I felt like I hadn’t really participated fully in the day.  By making myself presentable, it was like I was stepping forward and claiming my spot in the world.

I know a lot of you are interested in what to wear at home, because it’s one of my all-time most popular posts on the blog.  I am always nosy to see what others wear at home too!  The ideal outfit would be pretty, comfortable, easy-care, inexpensive, elegant and chic.

What is your favourite at-home outfit?  Summer and winter please :)

Chloe and Daphne Update:


The new girls are doing SO well.  (Daphne is in our closet at the top of this post, and Chloe is taking a selfie above.)  They’ve been with us almost three weeks and are like my little shadows now.  Everywhere I go around the house I hear eight paw-steps following me, and if I even go to the letterbox it’s like I’ve been away a month when I come back in the front door.  Waking up early in the morning to let them outside I receive a royal welcome from both of them.  It’s lovely :)

They are S L O W L Y getting used to my husband… that will take more time.  He bribes them with dog treats sometimes.  I take my new girls for a walk down the road and they are so good at walking on a leash.  Jessica and Nina have put them in their place a few times but generally just ignore them.  Life is calm and I think we’ll all be just fine!

You can see a cute little one-minute video of Chloe and Daphne playing here.

~Fiona~

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36 comments:

  1. You are right to dress up for yourself! It helps the work mentality.
    I am naughty in that I try to work for a while and then take a break by running. If I'm showered and dressed, I don't want to change to run and get sweaty. So I tend to be in PJs until rather late in the morning, to not have an excuse not to exercise.
    I like to wear leggings and a sweater dress/tunic in winter. I also have Go Walks and love them. I'll change into boots if I go out.
    We don't have air conditioning, so a simple dress is most comfortable in summer, with flipflops, and I upgrade to nicer sandals if I go out.
    I don't always think to put on a scarf, but when I go out in winter and wear a scarf, I often leave it on when I come home and I love how cozy it feels.
    I'm finally watching the great series "How to Get Away With Murder," and it's interesting how clothes act as armor. Same with the Claire Underwood character in "House of Cards." Working from home, we don't have to spar with adversaries, but, as you point out, putting effort into what we wear helps keep us in a work mindset.

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    1. If I'm exercising or doing something sweaty/messy such as weeding the garden, I will have a shower later on too. It just makes sense!

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  2. I am a "retired early" librarian (I retired at 46) to be a stay-at-home wife. I spend a great deal of time taking care of our 108 year old home, as well as gardening. I cannot stand having long sweater sleeves when I have my hands immersed in water or when I'm cooking or cleaning. Today is a very typical day - I have on soft dark gray cotton pants (Lands End, they're called "sport knit") and a black v-neck cotton tee shirt - I can push up the sleeves. I have dark gray "at home" soleless Minnetonka moccasins. The sport knit pants come in a variety of colors and weights - right now I have them in black and gray.

    I always have on simple makeup, pearl earrings, and scented body lotion and perfume. I make sure I have a fresh manicure, pedicure and have my hair regularly colored (it's long, so I generally tie it back in a ponytail while I'm working - I get my hair blown out at the hairdresser every Friday before our Friday date night).

    During the spring and summer months I wear lighter colors, the Lands' End sport knit capris in khaki and short sleeve tee shirts in pretty pastel colors.

    I always wear a cute apron when I'm working at home - Amazon has some really adorable ones. I've had workmen who come to work on our house comment on them and my husband smiles when he sees me in one.

    Going out is a different story of course - I wear sweaters, shirts, jeans, khakis or skirts depending on the weather.

    Your outfits sound great, Fiona!

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    1. Amy, I always push my sleeves up too - don't like having them down around my wrists. It's a real problem in the winter - I pull them down to keep warm, get annoyed, push them up, get cold, pull them down... makes me sound like a madwoman. I love bracelet length sleeves and have even hemmed sleeves to have them that length (on the elbow side of half way between elbow and wrist).

      Your aprons do sound cute!

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  3. Thank you for sharing what works for you. It is always so helpful to hear what others do when they work from home. Having a plan for each season is such a good idea. I still struggle with a chic summer wardrobe in our hot humid weather, but will find a solution!

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    1. Hot humid weather is a struggle to feel chic in!

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  4. This was a wonderful post. I always get up and get dressed and wear what I would wear if I were going out some place. I would love to find a soft denim dress. Do you have the particulars on the one you wear? I love color and also wear fun aprons when in the kitchen. I always have my hair styled, my makeup done and earrings on, it makes my day much happier and fun.

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    1. Kathryn, I have a couple from Esprit last summer, and a couple from K-mart this summer. They are almost like a heavy chambray. I look out for dresses wherever I go, and buy ones that suit my figure that aren't too expensive. I like to have quite a few inexpensive ones so I can throw them in the wash after one day :)

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  5. Oh my - those sweet girls!! I love them. "the keeper of the closet" picture is so sweet. They are both just precious.

    Wish I could develop a good at-home style!! It seems to prove elusive for me. Your ideas and the suggestions in the comments are all so good! This is something I'm going to work on.

    Hawkes Bay is beautiful! We have a show here in the u.s. called House Hunters International - do you get it ? There was an episode recently on Hawkes Bay and I got all excited - that's where Fiona lives! What a pretty area; the view from your backyard is gorgeous. such pretty wide open spaces!

    Know you are loving your new home. By the way, that new closet looks great!!

    Kay

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    1. I have heard about that House Hunters episode Kay (or maybe there is more than one). I found a couple of Auckland, New Zealand episodes on YouTube but not Hawke's Bay.

      If anyone finds any, please comment with a link!

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  6. Hi Fiona, Chloe and Daphne are adorable! They seem very happy, I watched them romping around in the video :)

    I've been wanting to be in an ultra comfortable state of mind lately where I end up wearing my soft pajamas and robe when at home all day...but this has been too often. In pajamas I don't want to do anything, I'm just too comfortable! It's amazing how what you're wearing changes your mood. The thing is I have mostly denim jeans in my wardrobe and I'm finding they are probably the most uncomfortable type of fabric I can own! Whenever I put on my (very few) soft cotton, ankle-cropped pants, my immediate thought is how comfy they are. So I think I will be shopping for those types of pants more often rather than jeans. Also, you are so right in regards to color. I have a new subtle, pale pink sweater that I've been wearing and every time I do I feel like it flatters me so much more than all the neutral colored tops I wear around my face (the beiges, blacks, greys).

    D.

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    1. Comfort is key when you work from home, I agree D. But loungewear is just too comfortable! Maybe on an extra-cold day when I just want to feel snuggly, but mostly I'll wear 'clothes', then get changed into my loungewear before dinner. I wear stretch skinny jeans at home and they are almost as comfortable as leggings. Inexpensive ones from K-Mart :)

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  7. I wear some makeup and style my hair on a daily basis -- even if I am not going out. It seemed that whenever I didn't, some emergency would crop up, and I'd have to rush out unkempt. So I groom myself out of superstition. ;)

    I have a uniform. Summer or winter, I'll wear black jeans or cargo pants or leggings around the house. In summer, I'll pair them with a linen t-shirt in any neutral tone. In winter, I wear them with layers of cashmere or merino wool (turtleneck plus cardigan... and a down vest on top of that, if I am still chilly!) Though when I go out, I prefer a skirt to trousers. I wear a casual clog-type shoe by Clark's in the winter. Ballet flats by J Crew in the summer.

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    1. Hahahaha, grooming out of superstition is excellent!! (and so true!) I love it, Mimi.

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  8. I have a small job at home but I always dress nice - elegant casual if you like. As I Love makeup - that goes on too. Sure I am not in the public but you only have one life so live it the way that makes you happy. I do like to be dressed well for my casual life and I adore jeans so I have nice tops etc.
    The "girls" are looking good !

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    1. 'you only have one life so live it the way that makes you happy' - wonderful, LadyJicky!

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  9. I also work from home and it is so tempting to stay in my comfortable nightie with no bra or undies to dig in. I try to get more discipline in having a shower and getting dressed earlier but I often find that it is 11:00 and I am still in my nightie! Once I move to my new house in a couple of weeks I know that I will have more unannounced friends dropping by for a stickie! I will also have a large veranda which is perfect for breakfast but overlooks a walking track along the creek so I will be on display and need to be dressed! To inspire me to that end I have a beautiful photo of Grace Kelly which will go in my dressingroom. Hopefully her serenity will prompt me to get dressed!
    In Summer I like to wear jersey mid calf dresses. Blue Illusion do some lovely ones. I wear them with short like underpants as my thighs rub in summer.
    In winter I often wear knit dresses with tights and a scarf or I put on stretchy black trousers, a divine black top by Tani made of the softest plant based fabric and a warm and brightly coloured merino cardigan by Kettlewell. Kettlewell is a UK company that classifies people by seasons and have the most wonderful spectrum of brilliant colours to suit each 'season' in lots of lovely basic pieces. I am a winter so I have their cardigans and their softer jersey wrap cardigans in purples, deep green, sapphire blue, periwinkle blue, fuchsia pink, softer pink, crimson and violet so you can imagine how uplifting and fun it makes my wardrobe! I always put on perfumes, my makeup and jewels. Pearls are my favourite earrings as their lustre is so flattering for the face.

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    1. In our last house, I could hide away all day, but where we live now, it's much more social so I have an incentive to look nice from early in the day, just like you say about your upcoming move, Melissa.

      Love the Grace Kelly inspiration for your dressing room :)

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  10. It's snowing lightly as I type this yet your post has me thinking about summer. Which can get brutally hot during the day where I live (we're in a valley that acts like a pot, collecting & holding in the heat), then chilly at night because we're close to the sea. I'm retired & happily live in jeans 365 with tees in summer, sweatshirts in winter. Most Canadians never wear shoes in the house, so I'm almost always barefoot inside except on really cold days, when I'll wear thick socks (not very glam but warm!).

    I've only lived in my present place for 3 years & have yet to figure out a solution for the hot summers that gets me out of denim jeans (which I love but, man, they're too hot!). I've never worked at a job where I could wear dresses so went 40 years with maybe 1 in my closet for weekends & I don't really enjoy wearing them. But I'm thinking that this year I might experiment with 1 or 2 similar to the ones you wear -- they sound so cool!

    For the record, I always wear a bit of make-up, earrings & perfume even when I have no plans to leave the house or see anyone other than my partner. He seems to appreciate the effort, although between you & me I do it more for myself! Making transitions in life can be a challenge. I'm almost 4 years into retirement & still tweaking my routines & wardrobe. I love hearing from other women who are doing the same thing & finding solutions. Thanks, Fiona. And your pups are so sweet. How lucky you all are to have found each other!

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    1. If you like jeans Susanne, how about finding a couple of lightweight denim skirts for summer? Then you can wear them with the same tops you'd wear with your jeans in the warm weather.

      And I love having cozy socks to wear at home when it's cold. They feel so coddling and comforting :)

      I can see myself refining my routines and my wardrobe for many years to come, it certainly does take time!

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  11. I always like to put on a bit of makeup at home, and a little dab of perfume. It energizes me for the day. We have had a very cold winter and for some reason I get colder than I used to. I've been wearing leggings, a bit loose fitting, not the skin tight ones, with long sleeve turtle neck tee, or v neck tee with a pretty scarf at the neck, often with another long sleeve tee under that for warmth. I recently received a too-short hair trim, and the back of my neck is cold all of the time without a scarf or turtleneck tee. I usually wear either walking shoes, or slipper socks depending on the time of day. I have different tops for home and out of the house. Less expensive ones for home because I am bad for getting stains and or snags on at home tops.

    That is an excellent fenced play area for your pups. They were so cute running and playing together. It made me chuckle to see them copying each others behaviors, and taking turns play wrestling each other to the ground. Such a funny little move where one and then the other would put their nose to the ground in what seemed like a signal for the next round of the play fight to start. I'm happy that you found your sweet pups.

    Your yard and the area surrounding it is absolutely gorgeous! So lush and green. We are starting to near the end of winter here. I'm missing my flower garden, leaves on trees, and warm breezes. We are in the middle of a week of rain, more rain, freezing rain, sleet, and more rain. Everything is brown and wet outside, with only the tips of daffodil leaves starting to break through the ground.

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    1. Chloe and Daphne certainly are sweet together. I love it when Chloe does a rollover during the play. They are such honeys!

      I feel SO lucky to live where we do.

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  12. I've been ill the last few months and usually spend my days at home in old sweats or sleepwear. I need to start getting dressed in real clothing instead of a nightgown or workout clothing. I do my hair each day, but have been slacking on makeup and earrings. I need to get back to that as well.

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    1. I hope you are feeling better Aurora!

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  13. Dear Fiona,

    First, hearty congrats on your second writing course about to begin! I'm signed up for the special emails, just to keep up with what you do, even though I've no plans for writing at this point in life. You are so entrepreneurial, which is something to be very proud of.

    Your closet photo is so good, I thought you borrowed it off the net! Yet it's yours!! Looks just like a magazine, so neat and coordinated.

    Stay at home wear is fun, because it is all for you. No work rules or worrying about fitting in or reflecting well on a business. I love being at home and being retired is amazing. Where I live in South FL it is very warm, if not sweltering, all year round, which makes it easy to dress. My problem has always been cold weather, never warm. Luckily I almost never have to deal with that! My daily wear is sundresses bought used off Ebay. Some vintage, some not, but all tropical bright prints with a retro Island feel. Barefoot, or flip flops. Always lipstick but nothing else. Always earrings.

    Almost everyone looks beautiful in pink; you just have to find the right shade for you. It's wonderful your new girls are adjusting so well; they look healthy and happy. You are a great Mum!

    Erina

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    1. Thank you Erina, what a lovely comment. Your Florida summer outfits sound glorious!

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  14. Hi Fiona, i too work from home as you know and have starting to dress better while at home. I try and have my outfit organized by the night before, putting aside jewelery also. I love statement necklaces and scarves, so that's my thing and i figure there it's great to wear them at home too, not just keep them for going out.

    Jane

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    1. Hi Jane, isn't it silly that we don't put those finishing touches on just because we're at home! But I'm guilty of it too :) Not today though, I'm wearing my gold coin necklace, yay for me.

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  15. If I will be at home all day I normally wear old jeans and T shirts unless it is hot, then old shirtwaist dresses. I make ceramics and also garden so I don't want to wear something that inhibits me getting dirty. I always put some makeup on, brush may hair,and wear a necklace so even if I am covered in mud or clay I look as though I am working rather than scruffy.

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    1. It makes sense to wear old clothes if you are doing dirty work. I love that you own the look with hair, makeup and jewellery!

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  16. I love your books and am so happy to see that you have a blog!

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  17. When I started working 30 hours per week from home, I fell into the "pajamas most of the day routine." I quickly learned that Skype is the usual way of communication in my field....and they can see you lol. Now I shower, put on light makeup, dress and wear jewelry during my working hours so I can answer the door or videoconference without mortification. I like casual, comfortable pants, V-neck sweaters or cotton blouses, and my pearl earrings. Have to confess I keep my slippers on all day as that skype camera doesn't reach to the toes :)

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    1. That's so funny Kathy, you can't hide with Skype!!

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  18. Even though I work at home, I find I must dress for the day including makeup, to truly feel businesslike. I have a winter uniform. Straight leg dark jeans with high-heeled ankle boots and on top layers for our Minnesota winter: uniqlo heattech undershirt, long sleeve tee shirt and cashmere sweater on top of that! During the summer I either wear black sundresses with flip flops or black capris with a tee-shirt. I LOVE uniform dressing. It has changed my life in small but meaningful ways!

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    1. I agree about feeling businesslike Kristi. Your minimalist wardrobe has long been an inspiration to me :)

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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