Last week, like many people who work in an office, I and my fellow Strategist writers and editors were sent home for the foreseeable future out of an abundance of caution amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The next day, a How To Work From Home guide got circulated on Slack. One line in particular stuck out: “Some people find it helpful to get fully dressed and ready in the morning as though they are going to the office.” It was only hours later that, while calling to check in with my aunt — who has worked from home for two decades — I got the same advice: “Get up, shower, get dressed like it’s a normal day,” she said. While listening to her through the phone, I checked my reflection in the mirror: boxers, sleep shirt, no bra. I neglected to inform her that this had been my uniform for the past 24 hours.
In an attempt to follow the advice I’d been given, I put on my favorite corduroy shirtdress. Then I sat on my couch, felt weird about what I was wearing and promptly took it off. Who am I dressing up for?, I thought as I looked around my empty apartment. The dust bunnies? I then considered the Everlane jeans I rely on to feel put together at work, but tossed them aside, too — their high waist never bothered me while sitting upright in an office chair, but it dug into my stomach when I lounged on my couch with a laptop. I needed something that wasn’t as formal as the dress but even more comfortable than denim — ideally, fancy sweatpants, except I don’t own a single pair. That’s because sweatpants (like a microwave oven, a silk robe, or fancy bubble bath) fell into the category of things that felt too indulgent to buy as a person who, until recently, was rarely at home.
I started to browse for fancy sweatpants from brands like Entireworld and Naadam, but then it dawned on me: I already own some (two pairs, in fact) — I just never saw them as that because I actually wear them to work. I bought my first pair of Uniqlo U Wide-Fit Curved pants last year after I saw my roommate trying them on in our living room. She looked ready to waltz into a boardroom, but on closer inspection, her pants felt soft enough to sleep in. After buying my first pair, in black, I wore them to the office, where more than one of my co-workers complimented them. “They’re sweatpants masquerading as work pants,” I would reply, inviting them to touch the twill-jersey fabric and feel for themselves. Beyond their cozy fabric, the Uniqlo Curved pants (which I also own in a rust color) have a hidden elastic waistband in the back for added comfort, an interior drawstring to cinch in your waist, and a purely ornamental button and zipper to throw people off the scent. With their structured silhouette that features a wide, gently tapered leg and an Über-high waist, I always say the pants give me a bit of Shiv Roy energy. And after putting them on to work from home twice in the five days we’ve worked remotely, I am happy to report that sentiment is just as true whether I wear them working from a couch or a desk.
While no longer available in the rust color I own, the pants are available in black as well as orange, olive, and an off-white color called “natural.”
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