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In Defense of Getting Dressed (Whatever That Means To You)

In Defense of Getting Dressed (Whatever That Means To You)

Madewell blazer, Lively bra, Banana Republic sweatpants

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.

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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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  • I have to admit, I was joyfully screaming at the air as I read this post! It’s so true and resonates so much with how I’ve been feeling as of late.

    I agree that getting dressed definitely puts you in the work mode but I also have to admit that I have been failing at that (really badly). Yes yes yes to the point you made of it actually being more about daily ritual and what I found is that working at home was this huge sign telling me I needed to create a new one.

    To be honest, I was on the brink of a total meltdown right before the world went on lockdown. My mental state was the worst that it had been in years, my long term relationship suddenly felt so rocky, I lost motivation to do my best at work and I was burning out. I was constantly agitated, deeply depressed, had such difficulty sleeping and then even more difficulty motivating myself to get out of bed in the morning. I have to say I’m one of the few people who actually benefited from this (and boy do I hate admitting that because I know the vast majority are suffering).

    But the minute things changed, it felt instant and there was a frustrating adjusting period that came with that. But what it gave me that I honestly needed more of than anything was time. Time to just slow down. Time for myself. Time to spend with my partner to connect more deeply. Time to practice more yoga, to meditate, to write, to really dive inwards and give myself the space that I’ve been craving for the past 6 months. I think I’m the happiest and most peaceful version of myself right now and it’s because of this new ritual. It’s because of the routine I’ve created for myself for how I start my day and it suddenly feels like it’s mine again rather than me running off of someone else’s clock.

    I admit that I don’t always get dressed to work at home, but I do firmly believe that a daily ritual is so important, whatever that may look like for you. Whether it’s getting dressed in the morning or making a cup of coffee or journaling . And on days that I feel “bleh”, I agree, making myself look more put together is the way to go! Sometimes I’ll throw on a dress. Other times what makes me feel confident is dancing around my apartment to 80’s music.

    I love that you offered a deeper dive in to that article, because there is so much more to getting dressed than the act of getting dressed. It’s all about confidence, routine, and self expression.

    I am deeply obsessed with your blog! I always feel like I resonate so much with your posts. Keep writing because people like me need you as a reminder of why we do this. x

  • Hi Misha, thanks for the kind words! They truly made me smile.

    When you say “I have to say I’m one of the few people who actually benefited from this (and boy do I hate admitting that because I know the vast majority are suffering),” I totally understand what you mean. I, too, feel the same way. I have tried my best to turn this negative into a positive, and I’m grateful in a way for now having this time to recharge and slow down. So much of our lives are rushed and go by in the blink of an eye, and this quarantine has helped me slow down and truly be alone with myself in a way I haven’t been before.

    I’m glad you feel like you are the happiest and most peaceful version on yourself right now because that means you too turned a catastrophic world event into a positive situation, and not many people are as lucky as we are. At least we’re aware of that and continue to learn from and grow in this strange time.

    Now that we’re all working from home or just spending more time at home (since I’m furloughed, I’m not being much “working” aside from personal projects), it’s a good time to experience with our personal style without, say, worrying about what other think. Worrying about dress codes or restrictions–at least when we aren’t on camera! Haha So keep throwing on those dresses and whatever it is that makes you feel more you, because now’s the time you can just be you.

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