If you’ve been wearing the same pair of sweatpants for the past two weeks, same. Making the switch from dressing for the office every day to working from home during the coronavirus outbreak has been a sartorial shock for many of us. However, for freelance and remote workers who haven’t been in an office for years, the challenge of looking put-together enough for a Zoom call but comfortable enough for working from the couch is nothing new. We asked five stylish women who’ve been working remotely since way before anyone had heard the term COVID-19 for their advice on getting dressed with nowhere to go.
Mercedes Kraus, executive editor and interim editor-in-chief of Curbed (Curbed and the Strategist are both part of Vox Media) has been working remotely on-and-off since 2012. Since she’s on a lot of video calls, she says she focuses on her “above-the-desk look,” pairing work-friendly tops with comfier bottoms. “If my baby’s drool is on my pants, that doesn’t concern me,” she says. She has a Uniqlo top similar to this one that she’ll wear with relaxed pants.
Another Uniqlo pick, Kraus says she would “wear the hell out of this in olive.”
“Aside from sending a few morning emails in my pajamas, I always like to be showered and changed by the time I sit down to work,” says Carrie Carrollo, a freelance writer and content strategist. She still likes to keep it casual, though, and typically wears one of the vintage crew neck sweatshirts she collects. She’s especially drawn to “graphic, collegiate, or logo versions” that double as street-style pieces. Here’s an old-school Champion sweatshirt to get you started.
Note: Stock of this vintage sweatshirt is limited. Check out a similar new style here.
Carrollo says she’d “also settle for a cozy half zip, like this one from Outdoor Voices.”
A self-described “athleisure queen,” freelance writer and editor (and Strategist contributor) Alexandra Ilyashov says she has “a real affinity for fancy sweatshirts” from high-end performance wear brands like Alala. They’re comfortable, she says, but also, since they’re designed for working out, they repel liquids, which is very handy for spills.
Wearing a dress may seem counterintuitive when you can easily get away with leggings and a sweatshirt, but some say it’s an easy way to look polished while still being comfy enough for curling up on the couch. “Tent and babydoll styles, especially tiered versions [like this one from ASOS] are my favorite because they’re the furthest thing from form-fitting, but feel a little more put-together,” says Carrollo. Stick with dresses made from soft jersey or cotton and avoid stiffer materials.
Like many of us, Ilyashov has put aside her jeans in favor of stretchier pants. She says some leggings designed for working out are too compressive for everyday wear, so she likes that these ponte legging-style pants from American Giant offer more flexibility. With a thick, covered-elastic waistband, she says, they’re “the closest thing to pants that are not real pants.”
“I’m just as serious about lounge leggings as I am about workout gear,” says Carrollo. “The fabric, cut, and rise all matter. I like ones that have a good amount of stretch while still being structured, a seamless waistband — a thick seam can be uncomfortable when you’re sitting down — and fabric that has at least a little bit of that spandex/elastane feel.” She says that Everlane’s new Perform leggings checks all those boxes and is “basically my ideal legging.”
“My general WFH outfit philosophy is that comfort is key,” says freelance writer and Strategist contributor Taylor Trudon. “I wish I could be one of those people who puts on red lipstick or even a bra, but I don’t.” She says that recently she’s been “living in” these “supersoft” Brooklinen sweatpants that her boyfriend gifted her “so that I would stop stealing from his supply.”
Although technically pajamas, these pants are moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating, making them something “between athleisure and performance sleepwear,” Ilyashov says. “I wear their stuff as pajamas all the time, but I’m finding that I’m living in these wide-leg pants. They’re basically like sweatpants.”
If leggings or sweatpants feel too relaxed for you, Kraus loves these pants from Everlane that have just enough stretch to not feel constricting.
Ilyashov often turns to a pair of viscose Eileen Fisher cropped pants that she calls “lovely, thick, drapey sweatpants.”
One of Ilyashov’s favorite options is a pair of brick-red linen pants from a hot-springs spa in Japan, but these spa pants on Etsy are similar. “They feel more elevated,” she says. “They’re not quite soft enough to sleep in, for my taste, but I’ve been going on walks in them.”
Social media consultant Evelynn Escobar-Thomas’s work-from-home philosophy involves mixing “cozy items with more polished pieces like a blazer,” she says. “I love a sweatsuit/blazer combo because it’s a perfect balance between the two worlds. Business, but make it comfy.” This Free People set is her “go-to,” because “it’s the softest, warmest set of my life.”
“Frank and Oak makes my favorite blazers,” says Escobar-Thomas. “The fit is great and I frequently pair them with an oversized vintage tee or sweatsuit for a laid-back, polished look.” She pointed us to this plaid blazer with a roomy fit that’s perfect for throwing on over a sweatshirt for an impromptu Zoom call.
A lot of us can probably identify with Ilyashov when she says, “I haven’t put on a single underwire bra on” since hunkering down at home. Instead, she’ll go for something that’s comfortable yet supportive, like the Athena crop top from Outdoor Voices. She also likes that it’s “cute enough, when it is warmer, to wear as a top.”
Both Ilyashov and Kraus mentioned the power of accessorizing, either for adding visual interest on a video call or just because it makes them happy. Ilyashov has a collection of vintage rings that she likes to look at as she types, and Kraus says she’s “very much about” the gold chain necklace trend, which she feels gives her “a little bit of presence,” over video.
Most of the women we spoke with weren’t concerned with their work-from-home footwear, but Kraus singled out these red Glerups slippers as her everyday home shoes. “I wear my Glerups nonstop,” she says. We’ve twice named Glerups the most comfortable wool slippers out there, so we’re inclined to agree.
In the warmer months, Kraus says she’ll switch from her Glerups to these lightweight Birkenstock EVA sandals for padding around the house.
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