Work from home that initially brought a sense of relief among office goers has slowly lost its charm. What seemed like a dream concept that allowed people to save time by cutting down on travel time and long office hours has given rise to monotony, cabin fever and isolation from social life and lockdown blues. Not to mention, the end of office parties, events and the office dress code. The concept of lounging in pajamas and T-shirt has lost its appeal as office goers share how this routine has a potent psychological effect to staying positive, productive and confident.
Sharing one such memory from work, is Mumbai-based media professional, Barry Rodgers, who says, "We had our own little section in office, where we used to enjoy breaking down influencer looks. Now, instead of discussing them in person, we share posts over Instagram. But it doesn't have the same effect because not everyone in the team checks their phones regularly.”
Another factor that many initially didn't pay attention to is seeing their favourite clothes lay unused in the wardrobe for months. No matter how we hated the routine of planning your work wardrobe every week depending on season, events and meetings, one would agree that it helps take away the sense of laziness, and makes us feel good about ourselves, and gives the confidence to be presentable in front of our co-workers. Not to mention, the fun of flaunting new buys in office wear, and being en vogue with style trends.
Speaking about the importance of getting dressed for work, celebrity stylist and designer, Sukriti Grover, who styles Bollywood actor, Kriti Sanon, says, that though the idea of spending our days working from the couch in our pyjamas can seem tempting, but if stretched for long, the approach could have a negative impact on our productivity and mental health.
“Whether you work for yourself or remotely for some company, your energy, motivation and performance are intrinsically linked to how you feel mentally and physically. The best way to positively influence that is with a healthy routine that involves getting up, getting active and getting ready. What you wear can change your attitude towards how you work. Getting dressed helps you feel more productive because it signals to you that you’re in work mode. Specially, if you’re working remotely and you’re not leaving the house, I think you need to have that difference between being in work mode and having leisure time," she adds.
Agreeing to her are some of the fashion enthusiast office goers, working remotely at present, who say that now that their lives have come down to only shorts and tees, and a formal shirt at most for Zoom meetings; it makes them nostalgic for the good old days.
Planning outfits daily
"I miss dressing up for work. Pairing the right office wear separates and not to forget the everyday hairstyling, which used to be one of my excuses for turning up late at work," quips Gurugram based publicist Tanu Sharma. Sharma also remembers being referred to as her favourite Game of Thrones character, Jon Snow, a compliment she would often receive for her favourite fur sweater during the winters. However, one thing she does not miss out is the hairstyling hassle that she still takes very seriously in order to look presentable during her virtual meetings.
Jagyaseni Dey Biswas, a Mumbai-based journalist speaks about how she would enjoy the perks of not having to adhere to a corporate wardrobe and would literally dress up like different personalities each day. Her eye-catching sense of style was always a hit among her colleagues. "Every day I would meticulously plan my entire outfit and keep things ready with a backup at night. From shoes to belts to lip colour, everything would be perfectly matched. This used to be my little escape from reality, and the only thing that would keep me excited for the rest of the day.” However, like most of us, she has also resorted to T-shirts and track pants, and an occasional lipstick at home, just to get the feel of dressing up.
Daily fashion analysis
Sharma would spend 15 to 30 minutes, only to analyse outfits of the day, and discuss who is on point in their trend game and who isn’t. “How can you ignore someone coming to work in a head to toe animal print outfit," she recalls. Not just that, she would at times twin with her fashion critique friends, and order a bunch of stuff online only to flaunt in the workspace.
Speaking of ordering online, Biswas shares how her colleagues would always wait for her to unwrap the parcel as they were aware of her impulsive shopping sprees, and knew she couldn't resist trying on her buys immediately. "Even if I am wearing a pink velvet T-shirt and have ordered an Afghani choker, I would just put it on to get my pictures clicked."
She goes on about how much she used to enjoy getting dressed herself but would also help her friends as well. "I remember one day a friend of mine had to go somewhere and I felt she wasn't dressed enough for the occasion, so I literally put up a cat and mouse chase show to get her to wear makeup. People still laugh about it. I used to always carry my little makeup kit to work that comprised of all the must-have beauty essentials, a kajal, liner, mirror, lip-gloss, and lipsticks in two to three shades,” she says, adding that she has pushed many to come out of their comfort zone and dress up to work, and has even received a positive feedback later, where people have told her how it has helped boost their confidence.
Further speaking of a senior who always caught her eye with her unique fashion sense, she recalls, “What I loved the most about her was that she was a thrift shopper like me, and loved to travel across the country to hunt for bespoke pieces.”
Let's dress up at home for work
Well, these anecdotes are making us nostalgic about our office days for sure. So, just to break the monotony, why not try dress up this time before you login for work. “The key to a good work-from-home wardrobe is wearing something that makes you feel equal parts comfortable, productive and good about yourself," says Grover, further sharing some styling tips to set up a work from home wardrobe.
- In summers, my go-to numbers are typically cotton pieces that are fun, stylish, and easy to mix and match, like a jump suit over a tube top or t-shirt, or wide-leg stripe pants that can be paired with a singlet or a smart top for important video calls.
- For winters, I would say a jeans and an oversized but flattering cardigan, ideally with a long-sleeve top or high neck. If you really want to get in the work zone, reach for a soft and comfortable blazer or a long, sleeveless vest.
- In order to look presentable in zoom meetings, a good coloured top with a nice wide neckline simple and fuss free without any ruffles, a good blow or pulled back neat hair in a ponytail or bun; and some lipstick is enough.