A certain article in the Los Angeles Times caught a lot of criticism last week about appropriate working-from-home attire. While it was a bit judgmental and condescending, it did make me consider my own WFH attire—whether I was on camera or not. I realized one thing: “getting dressed” each morning helps change my entire mood.
For those of us who do like to get dressed in the morning, it has a lot more to do with personal preference and less to do with what is simply expected of us. So wear all the yoga pants and “circa-2000 Coldplay concert T-shirts” you want, friends, if that’s what you want. I can’t think of a better band to show off on a video call anyway!
From my experience, getting dressed in the morning often puts me in a “get shit done” mood for the rest of the day. And I think that’s one of the most positive points the author missed the first time around.
It’s mostly about a daily ritual.
I worked from home for two years when I was running my own digital fashion magazine. I was more productive on days when I got dressed. Getting dressed was a part of my daily routine when I was working in an office, so I wanted to keep a sense of normalcy in my life.
Even now, when I get up each morning, I make a point to change out of the pajamas I fell asleep in, even if it’s just to put on another, nicer set of loungewear. Why? Wearing my pajamas tells my brain, “It’s time to sleep.” It doesn’t tell my brain, “It’s time to work.” In a way, simply getting dressed puts me in a different mindset.
If you’re having trouble getting in the right mindset for work, try putting on some “work clothes” or something that makes you feel better! When you feel good, you’re more likely to produce better work, or at least enjoy whatever you’re doing more.
It’s also about confidence.
Whenever I am in a rut or feel sad, I like to put on an outfit that makes me feel beautiful. It helps perk me up a bit. Whether it’s my favorite sweater or a flattering dress, putting on a favorite outfit puts me in a feel-good mindset. It’s a simple way to start your day off on the right foot, whether you’re going to the office or working from home.
However, I definitely have days where I don’t want to worry about what I’m wearing or how I look; I just want to put my head down and get my work done. Sometimes putting on something too fussy or uncomfortable is distracting. That’s completely understandable, too. The trick is to know what works best for you and to do whatever helps you feel good.
But honestly, it’s all about self-expression.
I’ll be honest with you: when I took the photo for this post, I was having a rough day. Being stuck at home has started to weigh on my creativity and my motivation. I was in the mood to write, but nothing could hold my attention for too long. It was so much easier to just watch Netflix or play Animal Crossing: New Horizons for hours.
However, on that day, I thought to myself, “You know what? I miss my favorite blazer.” I hadn’t worn it since I went to the office weeks ago. It makes me feel like a boss whenever I wear it, and since I was stuck at home, I had no real need to.
As an experiment, I did my makeup for the first time in weeks. I put on my most comfortable strapless bra and my favorite blazer. Instantly, I felt better, like myself again. It lifted my mood, even though I just sat and worked on my blog for a few hours. Wearing a blazer puts me in that #girlboss mindset, and wearing it with just a bra made it feel much more relaxed, much less stuffy, much more me.
Much to the LA Times writer’s disapproval, I kept my sweatpants on, though. There’s no way in hell I’m changing into jeans.
In the wake of this new quarantine life, what does “getting dressed” mean to you? Has being in isolation helped or hurt your productivity? I’d love to hear from you!
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.