Like much of the in-office workforce, millions of high-school and college students are now also working from home — though in this case, by work, we mean homework, and by home, we mean their parents’ homes.
And while many WFH professionals told us they reach for sophisticated smock dresses and double-breasted blazers to take conference calls from the comfort of their couches, we couldn’t help but wonder what students are wearing now that their days consist of Zoom classes and remote exams from their poster-covered bedrooms. So we reached out to 15 stylish young people and asked them just that.
“My daily routine goes like this: Wake up, do online school, watch around 700 TikToks, and maybe, if I feel like it, get dressed,” says Georgia Freyer, 15. When she does get dressed, she reaches for BDG mom shorts and one of her many oversized T-shirts that have been “stolen from siblings or gifted by well-meaning relatives.” And because she lives in the South, where it’s already hitting 80 degrees, she often throws on a bathing suit top underneath. She calls her look “summer at the beach — but we can’t go to the beach because there’s a global pandemic, so now it’s just summer at the house with anxiety.”
Wen Hsiao, 20, was struggling to find motivation wearing the same pair of black leggings, so she started wearing black jeans instead. The elastic waistband makes these comfortable enough to wear all day, she says, while the “structured design makes me feel like I have a sense of purpose and somewhere to be.” She notes that they’re lightweight, making them an ideal transitional piece for spring — “or your once-per-week grocery run.”
“My go-to school-from-home outfit is comfortable yet put-together,” says Alaina Chou, 19. “I never really wear sweatpants to school, so I follow a similar rule for my online classes.” She’s been wearing her See By Chloe flare jeans, which are just stretchy enough to be comfortable, and usually pairs them with tank tops — Free People’s black spaghetti-strap tank is a favorite, she says. And if she gets chilly — or needs to look professional on Zoom — she just adds a cropped blazer.
Sylvie Nelson, 20, says she’s “pretty much figured out a comfortable stay-at-home uniform that still makes me feel cute.” She likes square-neck tanks from Brandy Melville — which she can wear without needing a bra, “the last thing I want to put on in quarantine” — with oversize, relaxed-fit Levi’s that are “perfect for lounging around in.”
When she’s not in Levi’s, Sylvie likes Girlfriend Collective leggings and bike shorts. She loves that they’re “supersoft,” come in cool colors, and are made out of recycled water bottles.
Alli Hoffer, 22, says that while she has been dressing for comfort, she’ll “go crazy if I’m not at least a little put-together, so I’m trying to look cute as well.” To satisfy those conditions, she’s been reaching for big T-shirts and biker shorts. Her favorite is this pair from Aerie; they’re high-rise, hit mid-thigh, and have a stylish V-shaped waistband. When she has to venture out to the grocery store, she adds platform Tevas.
“I always pull inspiration for my outfits from whatever I’m watching at the moment,” says Elise Esquibel, 17. “Earlier this year, I was heavily influenced by Rory Gilmore and Miriam Maisel, but during this self-isolation period, I’ve really embraced a more casual androgynous style inspired by Zoë Kravitz in High Fidelity and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.” With that in mind, she’s been wearing vintage-y band tees, like this Blondie one, with Levi 501s or her vintage army pants. And when she’s forced to wear shoes, “I’ve been living in my platform Vans,” she says.
Jill says she’s been making a point to exercise every day, even if it’s just a (socially distanced) walk around the block, and for that she wears “exercise clothes that make me feel cute and confident.” She likes Bobbe’s tennis skirts, especially the Perfect Swing High-Waisted Skirt in Polka Dot and the Layer Cake Skirt in Rosso.
“I’ve always liked dressing up for school because it gets me ready for the day and helps me transition from sleeping to actually starting my life,” says Julia Tarnow, 20. And SFH is no different. When she feels like dressing up these days, she turns to Reformation, “because of their sustainability values and the quality of their clothing.” But when she wants to be comfortable, “I’m grateful that sweatsuits are in,” she says. “I’m obsessed with this tie-dye one I just got from Missguided.” She also loves the graphic sweats from Petals and Peacocks. “I just got an obnoxiously bright yellow sweatshirt that says ‘No Tears’, which is a great reminder right now.”
Two other students we spoke to are also relying on matching tie-dye sets to get them through SFH. Coco Zangi, 18, says her Cotton Citizen sweatsuit “is the most comfortable and flattering thing for a chill day of online work,” and Drew Ellis, 19, says you can find her in her faded Aviator Nation set, whether she’s “studying online, cuddled up on the couch watching a movie, or making my favorite avocado smoothie.”
You don’t have to spend a pretty penny on a matching set. “On days when I need to get dressed in glorified PJs, I put on this red Hanes sweatsuit I bought on Amazon,” says Sarah Isenberg, 21. “It’s comfortable enough to be loungey, but still color coordinated, which makes it feel like an outfit.” When she needs to change out of sweats, she sticks with jumpsuits. “I have a great corduroy one from Urban Outfitters and this one from AYR, which I got secondhand from a friend, so it’s very worn in and comfy,” she says.
Gwen Attridge, 19, started wearing track pants religiously when she moved to New York last year — “as a fashion statement, obviously” — but says she wears them now more than ever because comfort trumps fashion “in this time of Zoom University.” She likes that they feel like pajama pants, but look a little stylish, especially when paired with one of her many Goodwill crew-neck sweatshirts. “And of course fuzzy socks have taken the place of shoes,” she adds, “but honestly, I’m not complaining.”
Autumn Greco, 21, has been wearing her vintage, oversize 49ers sweatshirt with Outdoor Voices flex leggings, which “transition well from online yoga to Zoom class.” This outfit, she says, “enables me to sit the most ergonomically incorrect way in home office chairs — a.k.a. sitting cross-legged for hours on end.”
“My go-to work-from-home fit is about staying minimal, yet very goofy and playful,” explains Kate Glavan, 21. She’s been wearing her Lett pants with a thrifted Gildan heather-gray crew neck that says “The Pickle Factory” on the front because, she explains, “I love bringing out funky pieces like my pickle sweatshirt and Crocs to keep my spirits up during this time — they remind me of being home in Minnesota with family.”
Keara Sullivan, 20, found that she was struggling to feel productive in sweats. Then she discovered that “for some reason, dressing like Nancy Drew makes me feel more motivated to do work and Zoom into classes.” Now her go-to outfit is a green turtleneck from & Other Stories with a brown plaid miniskirt from Urban Outfitters. “I’ve also realized that if I wear my brown Doc Martens I’m less likely to flop onto my bed and procrastinate,” she adds, “since no one like shoes on their bed and Docs take time to take on and off.”
Rather than dealing with separates, “I’ve been wearing a vintage pair of Dickies shortalls and changing the shirt underneath every day,” says Alyson Zetta Williams, 21. She says her look is reminiscent of Owen Wilson’s character in Bottle Rocket with his yellow jumpsuit.
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