Hey, Richard. This is a wild time. Plenty of folks have been adjusting to working from home in the last few weeks, and with so many kids home from school... it's a double-whammy. For some guys that means you can probably relax it a little, but that doesn't mean you should slouch it, either.
First off, we put a lot of stock in how we present ourselves to others, but also to ourselves. It's essentially good manners. Taking care of yourself and putting some effort into how you look offers a sense of security & normalcy to those around you... your family, kids, parents, partner, neighbors, or passers-by. But this stuff applies even if you're alone!
Second, I love working so if I'm cranking from home, I'm still gonna want to treat it like any other workday and get off on the right foot. That means waking up on time, making the bed, and getting in a shower and maybe even a shave. I'm thinking about it right now... strange times... maybe I'll lose the beard... But, okay, when it comes to getting dressed, we're all looking for something easy, yet put-together, that will at least look professional from the shoulders up if you need to jump on a Skype or Zoom or Facetime. Let's break it down by category.
PANTS: I know I'm at the house, but I'm not ready to go full-on shorts mode... it's a mental thing for me. That means sweatpants are out of the question, too. I'm still WORKING, after all. So I'm going for jeans or some kind of 5-pocket pant. Cords are usually my go-to. They're softer and lighter-weight than jeans, but just as versatile, and feel a touch more considered without losing any comfort. I'm wearing the white ones as I type.
TOPS: For above the waist, the first thing I'm thinking about is my schedule... am I going to be on a call with video at any point? If so, sorry, I'm going with a sport shirt... this isn't the time for a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, or even a polo. So if I'm going to be on camera, I'm in chambray, a Bengal stripe, or a crisp white. This awning stripe is cool too. I like to wear dress shirts with an open collar – like a sport shirt – and I wear both this one and this one lot. But I'm not hopping on Skype every day. There's this knit sport shirt we make that's so cool, and kind of a sleeper pick. It feels like a polo, because it's made of a pique knit, but it's constructed just like our regular woven shirt, with a full placket and a spread collar and everything. You can just lounge in it a little more, and it's not going to wrinkle like a poplin will. You don't want to be worrying about ironing your shirt every day when you're not going into the office. (Ironing relaxes some guys. Not me. I iron one wrinkle, I produce another.) Anyway, knit sport shirts: practically made for working from home. I'm also leaning into our polos, which have a cut-and-sewn collar that's every bit as engineered as the ones on our woven shirts. The pique ones are classic, but I've been super excited about these new yarn-dyed oxford ones for months. They just came in the week before last, and I'm looking to snag the pink and the aqua. If your house is a little on the cool side, this is a great time for a cotton sweater, or even lightweight cashmere. It's an elevated version of a long-sleeved tee or a sweatshirt.
SHOES: If I'm walking around the house all day, I'm either barefoot or in slip-ons... and definitely not wearing heavy dress shoes. It's nice to be able to take the trash out, or get the mail, or just take a step outside the front door. Depending on your vibe, you could go with loafers (tassel or penny), moccasins (camp or Venetian), or slip-on sneakers (low-top or even high-top Chelseas). And, you know, if you're properly dressed otherwise, house slippers can look pretty cool.
Also, Richard, I hear what you're saying. I had to find my way too. In my early 30s, I had a gig where I was working from home for a few months. We were living in a super-drafty house in Connecticut and had three young kids at the time, and there was this heathered, charcoal-grey half-zip Polarfleece that got a lot of mileage. Years later, Ann confessed that this kind of bummed her out. I had been working at Polo before that, so it wasn't even that I had been wearing a suit every day (dress code: "creative") but there was a pretty serious transition from "employed" to "freelance" and the fleece represented uncertainty. Take that for what it's worth. This is another reason why I sing the praises of a suit... it's so easy to look great without having to think about it. But none of us are gonna wear a suit at home (well, maybe one or two.) Again, getting dressed and cleaned up is as much for you as it is for the people around you. And for the record, a collared shirt can make all the difference. (A good soundtrack helps too... maybe even lighting a candle or some incense.)
If you (or anyone reading) feel like sharing how you're dressing right now, post an Instagram and tag it #heysidimworkingfromhome — we'd love to see! Hang in there, Richard, and stay safe. Sounds like your new office at least has some snacks. We're all in this together.