How Should You Dress When Working From Home?

If you’re new to working from home, you may revel in the idea that you can simply roll out of bed, pour a cup of coffee or tea, and sit down in front of your computer to begin your day.

Does this mean that you should work in pajamas, though?

If you’ve been working from home for a while you may find that staying in pajamas or lounge clothes makes you feel unfocused, unproductive, or even sleepy.

There’s a good reason for this fact: Though it’s human nature to want to be comfortable, it’s also normal to feel that if we’re not at an office and we’re not wearing work clothes, then we’re not really at work!

Read through the following suggestions to see if there are any wardrobe options that may work to maximize both your professionalism and your comfort.

1. Full Business Dress

Those who work in a professional, high-powered career may find the transition to working out of a home office extremely difficult due to the lack of work and life boundaries. If you’re one of the many people who has suffered a slump in your productivity since you started working from home due to the lack of external reinforcement, having other people around, or sitting in an office environment, try getting up in the morning and behaving as though you were going into the office.

Complete your morning routine and dress for success — if you’re used to wearing nice dresses, pressed slacks, or ties and blazers to the office, there’s no rule that states you can’t do this at home. Also, think of your profession: A lawyer in sweatpants or a doctor in yoga gear may garner a few suspicious looks from clients or patients. You will promote trust and competence if you work in fields like law or finance if you look the part when speaking to your clients virtually.

2. Business Casual

Dressing for a business job doesn’t have to mean discomfort. If you’re a woman who is used to setting the tone for her day by donning nicer clothes than what she wears at home, putting on a soft blouse and comfortable work pants with a stretchy waistband or pairing nice leggings with a flowy dress are two options you can keep in mind. Men can opt for khaki or corduroy pants over jeans and button-down shirts and sweaters over t-shirts. Depending on your workplace, a t-shirt and blazer combo can look nice and professional.

If you work with the public and are frequently asked to join video calls and meetings, wearing professional clothing can be a way to delineate the boundaries between your work life and your home life. For those who have trouble separating the two, it could be worthwhile to dress a certain way in your home office and then “dress down” when you leave it.

3. Jeans and a Casual Shirt

Taking a shower, eating breakfast, and putting on casual clothes like jeans and a t-shirt (or sweater, depending on the season) may wake you up enough to lend to your productivity. If you don’t get distracted by wearing your weekend clothes to your home office, this is a realistic look for those who work in a casual atmosphere, want to be dressed in “real” clothes while they work, and also need to leave the house periodically to run errands or pick up the kids from school during the day. Depending on your gender, your preferences, and your employer’s dress code (if there is one), a casual outfit can be dressed up with jewelry, a structured jacket or blazer, or makeup.

4. Scrubs or Uniforms

Many speech therapists, psychologists, and others who work in a medical or medical-adjacent occupation work from home at least part-time. These professionals often have the choice of wearing a business-casual outfit or a uniform more specific to their line of work.

For example, if you are a speech therapist or occupational therapist who works with children, especially if the majority of your video conferences take place within a public school system, your work may benefit when you wear scrubs or a professional uniform during the calls. The children you work with may feel more at ease with you when they see that you resemble those in your profession that they have met before. If you work with adults, this same principle may apply. You may have to try out a few options to discover what works best for your career and lifestyle.

5. Business Casual Tops and Lounge Pants

Wearing a smart business casual top with a pair of lounge pants would be an awkward combination in person; however, with the rise of Zoom meetings today and the blurring of the boundaries between work and home life for many, we may need to take a more relaxed and creative approach to dressing for work — especially when we don’t see most people’s bottom half.

It’s also important to remember that many people who are able to work from home are not able to commute to an office for various reasons. Parents of babies and small children, older adults, and those with disabilities often need to find a comfortable solution to sitting at a computer for hours while still looking put-together and professional. For these workers, transitioning to a more comfortable top at the end of a Zoom call or when switching out of “professional” mode at the end of the workday becomes much easier.

6. Yoga Pants and a Comfortable Top

Yoga pants and leggings seem to be the go-to these days for professionals, stay-at-home parents, and athletes alike. They’re incredibly soft, stretchy, and versatile, and they can be paired with almost any top to create either a casual or an almost-professional look.

If you work from home and you don’t have to show your face (or comfortably clad body) to another human for the rest of the day, it’s perfectly fine to wear your favorite athleisure gear when working from home. If it doesn’t feel right to wear sweatpants with a work blouse, simply switch your regular work shoes for slippers. Or don’t wear shoes at all, if that’s what makes you feel comfortable — nobody can see your feet!

7. Pajamas

If you’re really set on working from home in your pajamas and you find that this is how you’re the most productive, then nobody can stop you! If you don’t have to leave home during the day or hop onto video calls during which you may need to dress more professionally, then we wish more power to you as you plow through your daily work in the softest clothes you own. As the work-from-home force grows thanks to modern technology, rules involving what you wear during conference calls and meetings may evolve too. For now, most of us who work from home benefit from the freedom of choice. You may have your own style down and feel completely comfortable and productive working from your home office. If so, that’s great! If you’re still trying to nail down the line between working and living, we hope the above tips can help you find a great work-life balance beginning with your wardrobe.