There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Things appear to be improving, but if recent years have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
That said, there’s one thing we can be sure of: once we emerge from the other side of this, the working world will have changed forever.
Compulsory remote working has opened the world’s eyes to new possibilities. Not only can businesses save money on expensive office overheads, but the workforce is more productive and able to enjoy a greater work/life balance. For many, a return to the office will never come, and to those people we say this: now is the time to reassess what you need from your work wardrobe.
You might not be in the office, but that’s no excuse to spend five days a week unwashed in a dressing gown and bear-claw slippers. If you’re attending Zoom meetings, you’ll still need to be at least vaguely presentable, and even if you’re not, putting on a weekday ‘uniform’ of sorts is an important part of a healthy routine.
If you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, there are a few key garments it’s worthwhile investing in. Read on to find out what they are and why you need them at your disposal.
There are sweaters, then there are cashmere sweaters. This super-soft, super-comfortable woollen fabric is the holy grail of knitwear, offering exceptional warmth and a silky-smooth hand feel. A proper cashmere sweater is every bit as comfortable as your favourite slouchy crew-neck sweatshirt, but will look a lot more professional over Zoom calls. For these reasons, we feel it’s an integral part of any good WFH wardrobe.
There are lots of excellent brands making beautiful cashmere knitwear, but in our experience some do it better than others. We’d suggest browsing the likes of Luca Faloni, John Smedley, N.Peal and, if you’re feeling particularly flush, Brunello Cucinelli. Try Uniqlo if you’re on a tight budget.
We’ve been singing the praises of drawstring pants for many years now and widespread WFH has cemented our position further still. These comfortable trousers sit somewhere between chinos and sweatpants, taking the best from both worlds to make a legwear option that’s both comfortable and presentable.
Because of this, drawstring pants are perfect for working from home. They offer the comfort and ease of a jogging bottom while being smart enough to wear with a shirt without looking like you got dressed in the dark. Plus, if you pick a neutral colour, they’ll go with absolutely everything. We’d suggest opting for a linen-cotton blend in the summer and twill in the winter.
If you’re going to be attending regular online meetings with your webcam enabled then it’s important you look put together… particularly the top half. Opting for a shirt made a softer fabric such as merino wool or jersey over traditional poplin or oxford cloth is a great way to retain that WFH comfort while still looking like you’ve made an effort.
These materials have a bit of stretch to them which aids comfort but everything else is the same as your standard Oxford shirt – classic collar, button front and smart looks. They are the perfect alternative to your old work shirts and makes an excellent base upon which to cultivate your WFH wardrobe.
Office dress codes have relaxed a lot over the last couple of decades. This means wearing a hoodie is highly unlikely to raise any eyebrows, particularly now that said office is in your own house. A big, comfy hoodie really is one of the best garments to work in, particularly in the colder months when you want to save a bit of money on the heating bill.
Layer it up with an overshirt and throw the hood up to keep yourself warm and cosy during long winter days at the desk.
Some people frown upon wearing sweatpants on weekdays, but what’s below the webcam’s line of sight can’t hurt anyone, right? In all seriousness, sweatpants aren’t the universal symbol of sloppiness they once were – the merging of streetwear and high fashion, along with the widespread acceptance of athleisure as a legitimate subgenre of menswear, has opened people up to lounge-ready legwear outside the context of lazy afternoons in front of Netflix.
Style your sweatpants with a little thought and they can look every bit as stylish as a regular pair of chinos or jeans.
With the world spending more time indoors than ever before, there’s been increased interest in footwear suited to the task. People don’t necessarily want to wear their day-to-day shoes indoors, but they need something sturdier than a slipper to cope with increased wear and the odd wander into the back yard or out to the car.
‘House shoes’ is the term given to footwear that bridges this gap – sturdier than a slipper but more living-room friendly than a sneaker. We’re talking Birkenstock, SUBU, The North Face Nuptse Mules, Reebok Beatniks and just about anything else that features a easy slip-on design and a certain level of comfort. They’re perfect for working from home and an absolute must-have if the house is your new office.
Stylish and slouchy, a mohair cardigan provides a quick and easy way to elevate WFH looks and offers plenty in the way of cosiness. It’s also a handy tool for getting some colour and pattern into your WFH wardrobe and looks great with anything from jeans to joggers.
Thanks to the current surge in popularity, mohair cardigans aren’t at all difficult to find but some of the best brands include Needles, Our Legacy, AMI, Aimé Leon Dore and Marni. Just remember, a mohair cardigan is something of a statement piece, so with that in mind keep the rest of your outfit muted and pared back… even if the only other sentient being that’ll see it is your cat.