When going into the office each day, there is a lot of focus on how we present ourselves within our respective professional environments. Whether your employer champions business casual or expects formal business attire, chances are that things have changed since shifting to remote work. From corporate policies requiring suits, to start-ups and informal environments with no dress policy at all, it’s hard to know how to dress for your day anymore. However, the way we dress day-in and day-out sets the tone for the work we do. In fact, many successful people adopt a fashion strategy to assure they are performing at their best. It’s about getting into a mindset of “I’m here to work.”
#AtriumAsks Talent Manager, Micaela Burke, “What to Wear & When to Wear It When Working Remotely?”
If you are anything like me, you held out hope for most of last year that we would be back in office as normal. We’d be sipping coffee in our workspaces while socializing with coworkers and shaking hands instead of tapping elbows to say hello. By now, I suppose we’ve both realized the work from home (WFH) theme isn’t going away anytime soon. If you haven’t quite found a routine that works for you, or you’re looking to make improvements in 2021, there are plenty of ways to enhance your WFH lifestyle. As a Talent Manager who staffs the fashion & retail industry, it feels like the common workplace advice to dress for your day requires much more thought than it used to. If you find yourself asking what to wear to work these days, I have 3 tips for assuring your fashion matches your passion while working remotely.
1. Professional Doesn’t Have to Be Uncomfortable.
No one is saying you have to switch back to jeans or slacks while sitting at home everyday. However, it’s extremely important coworkers, business partners and clients are able to see that you take their business seriously! Something as easy as putting on a top that is a bit more polished, adding earrings, a watch or placing a jacket over your t-shirt can instantly enhance your WFH look. Believe it or not, wearing a sweatshirt or other loungewear on screen can take away from your professional credibility. More often than not, comfort can be found when we reach outside of our comfort zones. So, don’t be afraid to try something new!
2. Just Like Work, The Details Matter.
It’s easy to find yourself in a pattern of sleeping-in later when your commute no longer exists. You may not even need the same amount of time to prepare for your day as you previously did. Chances are that you are ironing less clothes and spending less time on morning routines. It can be easy to forget the value of starting your day with a fresh appearance. But for some people, suiting-up gives them the Super Hero persona they need to feel ready to take on the day! So, when you’re dressing for your day, don’t neglect the details.
3. It’s About Respect.
Adding a few extra steps to your new dress for your day mindset demonstrates your appreciation for those you engage. Whether leader or participating in internal or external meetings, it’s important to show that you value the time of others. You can show your coworkers, clients and/or employees that you respect their time without a great deal of additional effort. Wearing a button-up shirt over your otherwise casual clothing can help you layer on professionalism without compromising comfort.
Trust me, I’m the first to admit it’s hard to toss aside those comfy leggings. And challenging times such as these beg for more flexibility and indulgence at work. But, self care requires a healthy balance. We must consider what we feel good wearing as well as what our brain finds motivating to make decisions that more fully benefit us. Of course, there will be days when admin work is the only thing on the schedule. In fact, you should plan on it! Block time in your calendar for meeting-free days. And for added motivation, reserve your best casual attire for these pre-planned productivity days. Working from home perks are meant to offer flexibility. You can maintain a healthy balance of comfort and professionalism by adhering to a schedule or pattern. Treat yourself to both!
Whatever your goals for 2021, we can all benefit from a WFH wardrobe that inspires. Despite not physically being in the professional setting you’re used to, you can still channel that energy by simply dressing as if you are. Let’s face it, it’s rewarding to look in the mirror and see a confident professional smiling back at you. So while you may not need a collar or blazer for your next virtual meeting, you can still dress for your day in a way that motivates.