What’s Considered an ‘Office-Appropriate’ Outfit When You’re Working From Home?
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More and more employers have instituted “work from home” policies, as officials try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, but just because we’ve swapped our conference room for couches doesn’t mean the work has stopped. Many services are operating on a normal schedule, and companies continue to set deadlines and hold daily meetings, though it’s now over FaceTime or video chat, rather than in person.
But what does that mean for your office attire? With no formal workplace to go into each morning, it seems as though every day is “casual Friday.” And with government officials ordering people to shelter in place for the time being, things like jackets, shoes and bags don’t seem as important or necessary anymore.
Fashion brands say their sales have reflected America’s newfound flexibility in corporate dressing. While high-fashion houses have taken a hit, canceling their fall/winter fashion shows and closing down physical stores, online retailers have reported a digital silver lining, as people stock up on new (relaxed) essentials.
Mack Weldon may be best known for their men’s socks and underwear, but the company says their “comfort/lounge” category grew “on average 60%,” when compared to the days before working from home was initiated.
Minnetonka Moccasins, meantime, says their slipper category has been up 23% so far in March, compared to the same time last year. And the Cali-based activewear brand, Vuori, reports that sales of their women’s joggers just doubled over this last weekend. As of Wednesday, the joggers were up 330% over the same period a year ago.
“We are seeing more essentials being purchased,” offers Paul C. Witt, an LA-based retail consultant and the founder and co-owner of menswear shop, WITTMORE. “Things such as T-shirts, skincare and sweats — which are all classic items — have been selling extremely well.”
For Witt, who is also currently working from home and shifting items from his physical stores to WITTMORE’s online shop, it’s important to still get dressed every morning, even if there’s no one to see. “Keeping your normal routine now is more important that ever,” he says. “Structure is good and helps your mind. Plus,” he adds, “in the world of Zoom and FaceTime, you still want to look put together.”
Witt’s suggestion: “I like to plan my week or my days with a uniform,” he says. “Lately, an all-black attire vibe is what I am sporting, with a touch of navy.”
And then there’s Roy Bernheim, the co-founder of men’s underwear brand, T-Bô, who says he’s “seen a more than 180% increase” in pieces sold of his Black Boxer Brief since news of the quarantine first started coming out on March 14th. “I like to think of it as the new ‘suit pants,'” he says, “as our customers stock up on sleek, comfy underwear as their new attire for their home office. They can wear a classic shirt on top and underwear on the bottom for their all-important video calls,” he continues, “That is, as long as the camera is only filming them from the waist up.”
Whether you call it loungewear, sweats, athleisure or just “casual basics,” here are some of the most popular pieces people are stocking up on right now to (comfortably) work from home.
Brooklinen may be best known for their towels and bedding, but they’ve also applied their same principles of clean, simple design to a line of loungewear (think well-made, cotton-blend tees and sweats)
You can’t go wrong with this classic sweatshirt, which adds warmth without feeling stuffy, and is more presentable than a hoodie or that vintage sweatshirt you also wore to bed last night. It’s easy to care for too — just toss it in the wash when it starts to stink. The more you wash it, the softer it’ll get.
Brooklinen Classon Sweatshirt, $80, available at Brooklinen
Get Zoom ready in seconds with this belted blazer from Cotidié. It’s made with stretchy, athletic fabrics for comfort and can be thrown on quickly like a robe. With its wrap-around belt keeping things nicely snug and hidden, you can be wearing a T-shirt (or anything really) and still look professional in a cinch.
Cotidié Blythe Belted Blazer, $160, available at Cotidié
This week, Everlane, the direct-to-consumer brand known for their tailored takes on classic, everyday pieces, launched its “100% Human” collection, which includes T-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts and hoodies for men and women. The company says 100% of profits from the collection will go towards Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
Everlane 100% Human Collection, $25+, available at Everlane
Right now, Everlane is also offering up some “Bundles of Comfort,” to highlight some of their most popular pieces for working from home. Our pick: get two of their “ReCashmere” crewneck sweaters for $150 (regularly up to $240 each). The sweater is made from 60% recycled cashmere and 40% merino wool. It’s cozy enough to lounge around in all day, but smart enough to throw on over a T-shirt for a conference call with the boss, too. See more of Everlane’s bundle deals for men and women at Everlane.com.
Everlane ReCashmere Crew, $98 or two for $150, available at Everlane
If you’re a “keep the shoes on” kind of person, health providers recommend having a pair of shoes reserved solely for indoor use. You don’t want to be tracking in germs or bacteria from your grocery store run or morning jog.
We like these Hupana Wool Sneakers from Hoka, which are super lightweight and give you a sock-like feel thanks to the wool fleece upper. Wool is a natural material, so it’s super breathable and has a ton of moisture-wicking properties. It won’t absorb odors either. Bonus: these sneakers are on sale right for just $79 (down from $115+).
Hupana Wool Sneakers, $79.99, available at Hoka
Prefer a knit sneaker or classic leather kicks? See Hoka’s full selection for men and women here.
With some laundromats shut down because of coronavirus fears, customers are stocking up on clean underwear from Mack Weldon. The company also says sales of its socks have “increased by 40%” over the last few weeks.
The site’s most popular item right now though is the Ace Pant, a more grown-up take on your classic pair of sweatpants. Unlike the baggy (and saggy) sweats you’ve been lounging in, these ones have a more tailored fit, with ribbed ankle cuffs and a drawstring waist. They’re super comfortable too, micro-sanded for a smoother, softer finish. Trust us: you’ll want to toss those smelly sweats you’ve been wearing for weeks to make these your new go-to. Multiple colors are available online.
Mack Weldon Ace Sweatpant, $78, available at Mack Weldon
Unless you need a pair of sneakers for your at-home workouts, buying a new pair of shoes isn’t exactly a priority right now when people aren’t even leaving their houses. But brands offering “indoor shoes” (think slippers, loafers, etc.) have seen an uptick in sales since the quarantine order, as people look to keep their feet covered and cozy.
We like these Tilden moccasins from Minnetonka, which feature a comfy fleece lining, breathable suede construction and a contoured footbed for comfort. These ones are sized for men but Minnetonka makes a number of stylish slippers and mocs for women too.
Minnetonka Moccasin Tilden Slippers, $54.95, available at Minnetonka
New York e-tailer NICESTUFF Clothing says it has seen an increase in both sales and online site traffic over the past two weeks, as more people have been working from home. The hotspots include the East Coast and West Coast, a rep reports, with New York and San Francisco drawing in the most traffic respectively.
As for what people are buying? NICESTUFF may be best-known for their tailored suiting and button-downs, but the company says it’s their Long Sleeve Knit Stretch Shirt that has seen a 20% sales increase, calling it “the perfect work from home attire.” The lightweight shirt looks like a dress shirt but feels like a T-shirt, making it comfortable for all-day wear, and more than appropriate for video calls.
NICESTUFF Long Sleeve Knit Stretch Shirt, $125, available at NICESTUFF Clothing
Cali-based Vuori Clothing says its Performance Joggers have seen a 40% uptick in sales over the last week or so, and is their “most popular item by far” right now.
The slightly cropped pants are slim, but not tight, making them a decent step-up from basic leggings. They’re stretchy enough for yoga or pilates, but not completely un-presentable if you get caught wearing them on camera. If you’re going after that athleisure look while working from home, these are a great pair of pants to pick up.
Vuori Performance Joggers, $84, available at Vuori
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