What I wear working from home
A reader asked last week what I wear when I’m working at home, given how many more people are now being forced to do so.
It’s something I’ve done on-and-off for years, but particularly in the past two, since Permanent Style became my full-time job. I work most days in a workspace in central London, but I’m still at home at least one day a week.
I’ve learnt from painful experience how important motivation is to working effectively from home.
It’s so easy to be distracted or interrupted (particularly when the kids get home at 3:30). And if you don’t separate yourself - physically and mentally - from other aspects of life, the motivation seeps away. I quickly find I can do admin tasks, but anything requiring creative thought (such as writing, which I have to do at least three times a week) is impossible.
The most important thing for me is physical separation: to be in a different room, with the door closed. But clothing is also important to mental separation.
I’ve found the core item of clothing, is the shirt.
If I’m wearing a shirt I feel I’m at work, no matter what else is going on. I think it’s because I pretty much always wear a shirt during the working week, and usually don’t at the weekend. It’s pure association.
So I’ll usually wear one of the PS Oxford shirts (above), which are so softened and worn-in now that they’re as comfortable as pyjamas.
The next most important is shoes.
The reader commented that he wears lightweight loafers like Baudoin & Lange ‘Sagans’ around the house, and I’m the same. I don’t have to wear them for warmth or anything else, but just padding around in socks or slippers doesn’t feel right.
It might feel strange to be walking around in proper leather soles and heels, but there’s nothing between that and basically wearing no shoes at all.
Next is knitwear - which is more a practical consideration than making me feel I’m at work.
We don’t keep the heating on all day, so something is required over that shirt. This usually ends up being one of two things: a shawl-collared cardigan or a sleeveless one.
Both are comfortable, yet feel a little dressed up. The shawl cardigan is very comfy and lounge-y, but in navy still looks smart.
Sleeveless cardigans are for when it’s a little warmer, and the shawl would be too hot.
They’re still very comfortable because there’s so much freedom to move, yet they’re very practical in keeping the core warm.
I have two I wear regularly: a charcoal and an oatmeal, both in wool from Drake’s. Sadly neither are available anymore, but there are other colours, among which I’ve tried and would recommend dark brown or mid-grey.
The other advantage of wearing knitwear like this at home, is that you look a little more dressed-up on a video call. No one expects you to be wearing a jacket at home, but wearing something over the shirt makes a visual difference.
In fact, my other recommendation would be an overshirt, for the same reason. I have a grey herringbone one from The Anthology (above) that works well, as well as a green flannel one from PML. (I also recently bought a beautiful vintage buffalo-check flannel shirt, which functions in the same way - though not as smart.)
Overshirts also mean that you can wear a T-shirt underneath, if you want, and still look fairly well put-together.
Like shawl cardigans, they also have the advantage that they can be worn open or buttoned, depending on how cold you are (which in our house, varies considerably depending on which floor you’re on).
As for trousers, I always end up in jeans or chinos. Mostly jeans. Tailored trousers seem a little out of place, and tracksuit bottoms (sweatpants) are only for actual sport.
Though having said that, this morning I put on a shirt a shirt and navy serge trousers.
I think it was through a sense of anxiety more than anything else. I wanted to tell myself that I was still at work, and that one of the things that connected me to that life of work, to that place of work, had not been lost.
I'm sure I'll be back in jeans, the oxford and Sagans, tomorrow.
Some of this might seem a little prescriptive, and over-thinking things that don’t matter - particularly if you have no video calls.
But given a lot of people, in Europe and elsewhere, are isolating at home for weeks, I think they’ll find it makes a surprising difference after the first few days of lounging around in pyjamas.
Clothes don’t just signal to others - they also signal something to yourself about what you’re doing, and why.
Tell us all what you wear at home, please. Now more than ever, it's nice to share our experiences and views.
To hear what I and other contributors to the Drake's editorial think more broadly about clothes at home, see posts here and here (parts 1 and 2).
(Oh, and the RRL shawl sweater, shown above, also gets some good wear at home.)
Timely article Simon. It is interesting, as I subliminally dress up a little when working from home, but when I know I have video calls to make. My home also functions as an office/archive area in which professionals often visit, and my ‘uniform’ in these situations would probably be along the lines of: sport coat, sleeveless cardigan, oxford, flannels and a pair of derbies. In summer, I might remove the cardigan and add a bandana around the neck. I usually save the tie for when I am working away, but sometimes a knitted tie finds the narrow gap between ‘too much’ and ‘too little’ – at least in terms of self-satisfaction with what one is wearing.
I am also really interested to hear what readers, and yourself Simon, wear at dinner when at home.
Cheers Tom. Impressed on the tie and jacket in particular.
I wear the same thing as the day time at dinner, but then I do have three kids I’ll be sharing the dinner table with, so any dressing up would be a little dangerous.
What size did you take in the Anthology Lazyman jacket? Did you size up or stay true to size?
Sized up, so taking a 52. I like the looseness of it, and it helps with the one sizing issue I have with a jacket like this, which is length. A larger size makes it a little closer to the length I’d want if one were made for me.
Simon, would you also take a 52 in The Anthology’s RTW sport coats? They seem to be a bit broader and shorter than usual. Thanks
I haven’t tried them, sorry
Oxford, khakis, loafers or chukkas.
I’ll second Simon’s comments on the value of a dedicated home office.
If the pandemic stress starts feeling particularly bad, I may revert to blazers and suits.
Indeed. We had to convert our son’s room into a temporary office to get anything done. He’s only one, so he won’t mind much.
Hello. May I know what belt are you wearing on the sixth pic?
Thanks a lot
It is from Brunello Cucinelli, but I have since sold it. While a nice design, I am seeking something slightly better quality – silver or at least brass hardware for instance
I would direct you to Equus for decent quality belts.
Thanks, yes good point. I’ve actually been talking to Charlie about trying to source some nice silver hardware for making a belt. Preferably vintage if we can find something nice.
Hi Simon, would you mind sharing information on the overshirt in picture 6? Thank you
Sure – it’s linen, from Drake’s. I’m not sure they still do it anymore though
I agree with you about wearing a proper shirt to feel in ‘work mode’. It’s still relatively warm here in Sydney, so linens are my go to (and my PS summer weight polos on Friday)
Chinos or linen trousers, and suede loafers with rubber soles – more comfortable than any slippers I’ve ever worn.
I often find myself wearing a sports coat during video calls too, but only because my colleagues expect it and think something’s wrong if I don’t!
One of the greatest joys has been wearing my dressing gown, which I have very rarely worn in the past. I have never worked from home before (very difficult in my job) and have always had breakfast at the office canteen. Now that I am forced to work (very unproductively) from home I still wake up at the same time but without the commute I have time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in pyjamas and dressing gown at home!
Otherwise it’s chinos, shirt and some sort of knitwear, essentially clothes I would wear on a weekend, so not differentiating between work and play clothes that much.
On shoes though, I find it hard to wear outdoor shoes if you are not planning to go outside. Thinking of getting velvet monogram slippers…
If you would like my opinion Nick, I’d avoid the monogram on the slippers. I know a few friends who have got rather excited about that as a piece of decoration, then found they felt rather flash when they actually wore them.
But then that might be your style – I wouldn’t put a monogram on my dressing gown either, but I know others that would.
Thanks for the suggestion, it’s definitely something worth considering!
Shawl Collars have been my go-to. My wife is now working from home too but in different rooms. The normal heating arguments are reversed as she is in the warmest room of the house, and me the coldest. Thankfully video calls are not something i have to worry about.
I have been very much in T-Shirts – (mainly for ease of laundry whilst at home), jeans and my common projects but so far only been WFH since mid last week. i feel that should this go on much longer i will be switching it up to wearing shirts instead – to make it all feel a bit more like a normal working pattern and not just a short term change, and importantly when we eventually return to normal the adjustment back will not be as tough.
I’ve never felt comfortable sitting around in pyjamas, even at weekends, so I routinely shower and dress pretty much as soon as I wake every day. Working at home “uniform”:
Oxford, chambray, denim or brushed cotton shirt;
Jeans, chino-style cords, Stoffa basketweave cotton trousers;
Drakes navy shawl collared cardigan or Luca Faloni knitwear;
Rubber soles moccasins (a nice compromise between slippers x which I’ve never liked – and “proper” shoes).
Well this is awkward Simon! I’m genuinely wearing a a blue oxford button down (Uniqlo), oatmeal cardigan (Drakes) and blue jeans (blackhorse lane) today! My thought process was much the same as yours too! Nice to have my decisions validated! Keep up the excellent work. Lovely to have such enjoyable distractions in these difficult times.
I agree about a shirt for feeling in ‘business’ mode, it will also help us appreciate leisure time by differentiating.
First day of home schooling but we have the luxury of each of our kids having separate rooms and a desk in each. It feels more like a small business than a home today! My middle daughter on Zoom with her teacher and classmates, and my youngest who has just had a laptop handed down to him from my eldest (who is back from Uni) working through tasks set by his teachers. Let’s hope this continues to work…
I am missing wearing a suit / jacket / tie, but will appreciate it all the more when we get to do that regularly again.
Will readers go with tailored shorts and a shirt when the weather warms up I wonder?
All the best and stay safe,
My eldest is working downstairs on daily work given her on Google Classroom, while her sister is at primary school so doesn’t have set work, but my wife has cobbled together a schedule. It does almost feel like a mini-office here too!
I agree with Darroch. I don’t intend to sit around in my pyjamas. Clothes elevate, not just you, but people around you. These days, and every day, I say carve out any simple pleasure wherever you can.
Where is the sleeveless cardigan in photo 4 from? The buttons just look delicious!
It’s from Drake’s, though I have to admit I swapped the buttons on that one. They come with very nice horn buttons, but a rather bright yellow in colour. I swapped them for the same unpolished horn, but in dark brown. Sourced from Bernstein & Banleys.
Rather specific question – do you know the button size.? Thinking of buying replacement buttons and I like the look here. Thanks
They’re 17mm, so 27L. See here.
Hi Simon, great article. May I ask where the blue over shirt /jacket is from in the 6th picture ?
It’s from Drake’s.
would you recommend linen or cotton for a overshirt? Or are the differences negligible?
Linen only feels right in warmer weather really. Cotton is more versatile, as heavier cottons can be good in colder weather too, and layered under outerwear when you leave the house.
cheers! I am always afraid of some layering being to „hot“ – but I might give the recent drakes-version a go then…
When people mention “working from home” I’m always reminded of the Mitchell and Webb sketch of the same name…
As I work in construction, it is essential that I’m on the job site so I’ll either be working or not working. I’m currently still going to work but I don’t know for how much longer…
When I do work from home, I I have an home-office in a separate annex to work in. Having that physical separation is nice (and also comes in useful for tax purposes…) and was essential when the children lived at home. I normally wear off-duty stuff- cords, comfy oxford shirts, shawl collar cardigans etc. dependent on time of year. I would always wear a shirt as I rarely wear t-shirts other than for “yard work”. I am puzzled by the shoe thing- I would never wear a heeled shoe in the house even if they were exclusively for wear in the house. I guess the time I spent in Japan had an effect on me. Tods loafers?
Thanks Paul, I was considering putting in that sketch, but wasn’t sure if it would lower the tone too much!
It’s here, for anyone that hasn’t seen it.
I worked from home for a year before retiring.
When in my study, I was “at work”, but I never really thought it necessary to have a work “uniform”. I would regularly travel overseas, or to our London HQ, and that gave me more than enough opportunity to wear formal clothing.
My working hours were dictated by the timing of the many conference calls I was routinely involved with (I had a pretty global remit) and it was quite nice knowing, in shorts and a polo, that I could go back into the garden when a call ended.
I usually throw on some jeans and an OCBD or a collared shirt with a pattern however I never wear shoes inside. It does not work for me to be in pyjamas or other extremely casual clothing when working from home. Getting dressed puts me in the right mindset for a work day.
Still working at the office, which is largely deserted. The fast moving nature of some of my work makes it had to work from home as communication and impromptu meetings are harder via phone, video call ,etc.
If I do end up working from home I will wear jeans, oxford shirts and some form of knitwear as the spare room I would use an an office is quite cold. And brown, rubber soled slippers like RT mentions.
The hardest thing I find in all this is the lack of social interaction.
With gyms and so many other facilities closed how are you staying fit Simon? I’m really missing my brazilian jiu jitsu classes.
Fortunately most of my sports are solo ones – running and cycling, which still seem pretty low risk. I have started doing pilates at home as well though
Unfortunately I have a knee injury so running is out right now. I can cycle but there is still snow on the ground so that’s out for now.
I am riding a stationary bike for now and working out with dumb bells.
If you haven’t, I highly recommend pilates. It’s done wonders for my injuries
Thanks. I have done Pilates in the past. I fund jiu jitsu has the same core strengthening and flexibility benefits as Pilates.
My daughter and I were able to do some online jiu jitsu training last night. That certainly helped but I should work some pilates back into my routine again.
Have a look at Canadian 5BX. Designed to be done wherever you are, and with no need for any kit.
I was fortunate to have knee surgery in November 2020. After several months of recovery and physiotherapy I started running again in the summer. God it feels good to do that again.
I bought some training bands that can be hooked up to a door frame or your feet depending on what you’re doing. It’s not as good as the gym, but you can do quite a few strength exercises with them as well as with just your body weight.
Minus 17 C (with Wind Chill) in Northern Nova Scotia at 6 am this morning. My work at home uniform is T-shirt , oxford shirt ,sleeveless cardigan, another cardigan, cords, and LL Bean moccasins. Springtime here is a state of mind. I could not agree more with you Simon on the need for structure and self-discipline when you work at home. The work of writing is a daily battle against distractions, real or imagined.
So much menswear. I love it
Bored working at home, I picked up The Style Guide book to browse, as mentally it helps transport me someplace else, and lets me daydream a little.
One question – you mention how well a burgundy tie works with a soft pink shirt and grey suiting. I agree and it is one of my favourite combinations.
May I ask what other tie colour you think works here ? I’m looking to experiment.
Hey Lewis. So nice to know it has that effect.
I think loads of tie colours are good with a grey suit and pink shirt.
– Navy is smart and formal, slightly high contrast if the pink is strong not soft
– Black is also smart, and a bit less corporate, though some refuse to wear a black tie (very short-sighted if you ask me). As here
– Green is probably the ultimate ‘coloured’ tie for me, really nice, in olive or in stronger greens. As here, but also with darker greys
– Grey itself is a subtle by striking look, as here.
Excellent suggestions Simon. The pink shirt is a fantastic look that is under appreciated in my opinion. It’s a very flattering color on most men.
My work-at-home dress code is very similar to yours, Simon, except for the knitwear. I am not used to working from home, and adapting to this enforced mode of working has been a struggle at times. But, like you, I find a shirt to make a big difference. I do a lot of video calls, and that shirt serves a very useful purpose to me and the the others on the call that this is work. I usually wear corduroy trousers. Unlike you, though, I do wear slippers on my feet. We do not wear outdoor shoes in the house.
Stay well and keep safe.
The shirt is also the basis of my ‘work uniform’. I work in software, where some dress quite casual, yet a shirt (particularly the PS Oxford) works well without being overdressed (at times a casual blazer also works).
I have kept wearing the shirt at home and some commented positively on this when videoconferencing.
Regarding trousers I wear chinos at home (but flannels as well when in the office) as I find jeans uncomfortable for long period of time sitting down (this I know has been discussed and ideas of what comfort is vary).
I’m shoeless inside, but perhaps I could try wearing loafers. Interesting idea.
For those readers, primarily American, who have seen The Godfather movies recall that the characters basically worked from home. Does anyone remember how they dressed? They all wore suits, even with young children around. Interesting idea
A very timely article. I found working at home in my normal relaxation clothes very unproductive last week so I deliberately ironed a shirt and put on tailored cavalry twill trousers. Over that I wore a polo shirt for that Friday at the office feel and a shawl collar. I did wear a tie today…I dont expect that to last but on the whole I had a much more productive day.
Also now that I have finished my working day I have changed out of my work clothes as I normally did when I arrived home from the office. I think this normalisation of my routine is going to be important as I sit in isolation for the next 3 months.
Long retired, I still spend a total of about two days per week working from home on my various projects (mentoring, discussing business plans etc) and one or so days per week on trustee and non-exec stuff.
When at home, always a shirt, OCBD or similar, if on video calls; today pink oxford with black 501’s (to which I’ve become slightly addicted).
I never wear outdoor shoes in the house, but normally something around my indoor Tods driving shoes, which I would never wear outdoors. Odd, I know.
My tailor has just sent me a linen jacket made for the summer, which I will, under current circumstances, have to enjoy wearing indoors!
Keep well and safe.
I have been working at home for several years now. My position is in sales, and my company is a 5 1/2 drive from my home. The exceptions are when I visit my company (once every 2 months, or so), and when I travel to see clients. Most days at home I will wear the same on the bottom – jeans or chinos. I will also usually wear an oxford shirt and some form of knitwear whether or not I have a video call that day. I don’t feel overly dressed up. It’s just enough to – like you – differentiate between work & weekend. Today I am in chinos, a t-shirt, and a chunky cardigan. I’ve been feeling a little off all day thinking that I should have put on a collared shirt. Oh well. Thank you.
I’m totally on board with your thoughts here Simon, and thoroughly enjoyed reading your latest. I especially agree with shawl cardigans and work shirts. I don’t wear jeans unless I’m out splitting wood or cleaning out the gutters; my equivalent is a pair of canvas tobacco-coloured trousers that will probably outlive me. They’re extremely hard-wearing and pair beautifully with denim shirt or chambray or any other blue top.
Regarding conference calls, I’ve pivoted (the mot-du-jour) to having video on by default. Heretofore, it had always been off. In times of isolation I want people to see me….but I especially want to see them and this move encourages more human behaviour. Funny how our long-held “rules” can change in a trice.
I can relate to all of this, especially the necessity of wearing a shirt.
I commute quite unnecessarily (as far as other people, such as my partner are concerned) to a second address just to separate work from home.
Simon, forgive me if I’ve asked before, as I’ve certainly thought of this before, but I’d be interested in seeing where and how you store your clothing at home. I’m sure that would be worth a feature.
Thanks Matt, and yes good point. I’ll try and get it looking vaguely presentable and take some pictures this week!
That would be great. I’m intrigued to discover what kind of wardrobe setup you have and how large your collection is and how much space you have devoted to it!
I’m picturing a large room dedicated to clothes and bespoke storage.
It’s a fairly normal wardrobe in the bedroom, but then two good racks in the attic…
I really love those RRK Ranch Shawl Cardigan, that blue one that you have is stunning though I’ve been told they are made in Chine, not in Peru or something similar as you could expect by the price and the “hand knitted” label. Do you know if is that true?
By the way, do you size up to an XL in that cardigan to be even more loose?
On the quality, here’s what someone who works for RL commented anonymously on the post I first wrote about it:
“I work for RL . The cardigan apparently takes over 200 hours as is hand stitched by Peruvian tribeswoman who were sourced for their specialty in such knitting . 90% of the product is made in Italy with Italian fabrics sourced from the same mills as the competitors . Yes it is likely overpriced but the quality is in line with competitors. Polo however is another matter :-/”
In general, making absolute assumptions about quality based on location of production is a bad idea. Even if it were made in China (and some of the others are) it wouldn’t necessarily make a difference to the quality. Perhaps 20 years ago, but not now.
And it’s fairly easy to see if something is hand knitted. It feels completely different to machine knitting.
A timely article. I retired a couple of years ago and used to work from home , before it became more fashionable to do so, especially on projects that needed intense focus. I still work occasionally from home as part of a trustee role and some occasional consultancy.
I generally go for: OCBD / Polo shirt in summer, crew neck sweater; jeans in winter, chinos in summer, shorts in high summer; recently mahabis slippers (which I highly recommend). Occasionally a scarf, which for some reason it provides some comfort!
One final point, I learnt that it helps to keep to a similar ‘going to the office ‘ routine. Always shave , walk to a nearby shop to buy a newspaper or simply take a short walk at least once a day, in addition to any other regular exercise, don’t snack!
Take care to all PS readers.
And it’s not just an anecdotal belief that changing clothes changes behaviour. There’s some solid research on this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328249939_Clothes_Do_Make_the_Man_Effects_of_Clothing_on_Abstract_Cognitive_Processes
Nice article here.
Where is that blue overshirt from (picture 6)? Is it linen or cotton/linen mix?
Thanks! And keep up the good work here!
That’s Drake’s, and it’s pure linen.
Original post featuring it here.
Simon, I share your sense that working from home requires a step up from weekend wear. I live in rural New Hampshire, so I could wear L.L. Bean head to toe and not stand out when I venture out. But when I work from home, I wear a good shirt, a much worn OCBD or a tailored country plaid. Good jeans or chinos, and, yes, shoes, even if well worn boat shoes. Keeping some level of specialness is important, even if no video is involved.
While I usually primarily work from home (interrupted by frequent travel), this new era of mandated staying in has changed my usual outfits into something more consistent and I now wear daily: an OCBD (usually Drake’s), jeans (usually Studio d’Artisan), White Patagonia socks, and a color-blocked Aime Leon Dore fleece vest. I throw on loafers for the three trips outdoors to walk the dog. The tailoring has remained in the closet, except for once this past weekend when I put on a recently acquired suit for a few hours just for the hell of it.
I’ve followed a very similar approach. Marking the weekday from weekend, and even work time from weekday evening, feels right to maintain some kind of normality. Your indulgent shawl cardigan has had some outings, as have my old but comfortable La Portegna gomminos. I’m also using the time saved from commuting to think more than usual about the day’s selection and pull out some clothes that haven’t had the wear they deserve, or to try new combinations, as it is easy to slip into familiar patterns when rushing to get out. Little pleasures are going to matter.
I’ve enjoyed wearing my grey lambswool cable-knit shawl collar cardigan over a collared shirt while working at home except when a few colleagues have emailed me during videoconferences asking if I’m wearing a bathrobe! Any tips on how to make it more obvious that I’m wearing proper clothes (other than take it off which I’m now doing) without having to direct them to P.S. for general style education?
Ha! Yes that is a risk with the grey colour. Do you have one in navy? If not, you might have to switch to some other kind of cardigan unfortunately…
I have a navy merino cardigan without the shawl collar, but it’s not nearly as cozy. Something to add to the list…
Thanks, Simon, for another insightful and well written article. I am a first time commenter, but loyal reader of your website. I guess I do feel the need now to connect beyond the small world of the family home.
Followed your lead on wearing a shirt (lightblue denim, bespoke) and jeans (high-rise plain blue Levi’s 511). Green, cotton overshirt (Dutch high street brand) and suede boating shoes without socks (Sebago Docksiders; why did you sell them?!) since we have nice weather in spite of it all in the Netherlands. Cheap Casio watch to spare the vintage dress watch potential home-schooling-inflicted scratches or other damage.
Thanks also to the people who commented above. I enjoyed reading their input on best dress while working from home.
Nice. I sold those Docksiders just because I found I always wore these suede RL ones instead
Good to hear that you are keeping up! I completely agree with you that clothes make the man as long as one feels comfortable in them. For my part, I feel comfortable wearing the same type of outfit every day, whether it is during the week or on the weekend: a jacket, shirt and trousers. All tailored but “casual” in fabric and colour. Also, I really like a pocket square. People tend to think that I am elegant and dressing up, for me it’s simply comfort.
I feel like WFH is a combination of either denim, cotton trousers, or corduroy trousers on the lower half; quality t-shirts in fun colors and textured fabrics (think hemp) underneath OCBDs and/or knitwear and overshirts on the upper half; and for the feet it’s everything from sneakers to Allbirds to Sagans depending on your mood. This actually fits in well with the overall trends Simon has been exploring in regards to mixing tailoring with more casual pieces. A capsule collection may be needed to get through this.
I like the Wegner chairs and they certainly fit the description, “Permanent Style”.
Thanks. Unfortunately those aren’t mine – it’s a shot from the now-closed Blackhorse Lane shop in Shoreditch. But I wish they were!
Very timely article. I worked occasionally from home in the past, and now full time for two weeks. To my surprise workload has not gone down, but up as I can attend many more meetings with clients and co-workers via VC
I usually wear a dress shirt or rollneck, with denim, cords or chinos, and Tod’s loafers. For client meetings I put on a sport coat. These days we have to cheer ourselves and others up, so I add a pocket square or a scarf for a pop of color (in the office I don’t). I even pulled out my old Gucci loafers just for the fun of it. Curious to see how much of that sticks when we are all back to normal.
Love your blog and subscribed for a while. This was a helpful article because I work for a software startup and your WFH wear is basically the most formal we could be at work.
What I find tough is that I’m a middle manager so I need to appear “smart” enough to appeal to the VPs and SVPs, but simultaneously casual enough to the tshirt-wearing developers who I manage (I don’t want to seem I’m out of touch with my team).
So my question for you is – do you have tips to expand on the wardrobe from this post for someone in my situation?
Oh good, pleased it was useful.
Yes, there are plenty of things you could do. First of all, I would focus on shirts and trousers – better shirts, better fitted, and smarter trousers, like flannels for example. And good shoes, well looked after. Just upgrading and improving things the things you already wear, rather than adding a jacket or tie, for instance.
Does that make sense?
You might also find these two articles helpful if you haven’t read them already:
– Which office are you?
– Which jacket office are you?
Thanks for the very timely article Simon. Working from home for the past two weeks, days one and two were an anything goes holiday from formality. I have noticed though, I tend to get back into my work groove as soon as I put a shirt on so that has come back into the daily ensemble. Sometimes a bow tie,, sometimes a bandana around the neck, jeans and a pair of well broken in and highly polished Chelsea boots [they are like old friends!] complete my work from home attire. Depending on temperature, an Aran sweater or a blazer are added.
Lovely. Particularly admirable the urge to dress the neck, and get as far as a blazer
Thanks for this, I hope you are keeping ok down in the big smoke?. I have been self isolating now for just under two weeks. After a trip to see clients in Switzerland I returned with the start of a sore throat. Normally not something that would stress me out but obviously now, I did not want to take a chance and pass COVID 19 onto the whole mill.
I found your article really interesting, as you are obviously a polar opposite to me while working at home. I have been mainly sitting in Pima cotton shorts made by Men Story, a German brand I love for their simplicity and wear often for kicking around. Check them out online, I think you will like their story. Then definitely opposite to you, a Tonn of Ireland organic cotton tee shirt, a tiny brand from Dublin that does some really cool stuff under the radar, unless you are a Rolling Stone or maybe the Boss in the USA. Then finally but obviously if it is a little chilly in the house, a nice JoE Cashmere sweater over the top 🙂 Keep safe, Graham.
Nice recommendations, thanks Graham
What happened to your Finagon – both in wardrobe as well as in the range of smedly. I sadly missed out on this one and was now reminded reading your working-from-home-piece.
Many Thanks, Michael
Good timing Michael. We’re actually launching our own, much improved version soon. That is, as soon as Italy gets out of lockdown!
Simon are you having something done by Il Negozio? I saw a photo that looks like you on their IG
Nope, not me….
With the rage for corporate casualization I have long been keeping sharp at the office out of individuality, personal preference and self respect. It should not be different working from home. Certainly lurking in a suit at home would feel creepy, but then there is the “casual office” style to offer much leeway. Button down shirts, sleeveless cardigans, flannels, cav twills, whipcords. Add a pleat for much more comfort than jeans. Throw on a sports jacket while on camera, not because of obligation but to flaunt it. Always puzzled by people not wearing lace ups in house for comfort reasons. If anything select rubber soled ones.
Stay healthy and dapper,
Hi Simon. Not strictly related to this post, but I am using the lockdown as an opportunity to have a clear out of my wardrobe and remind myself of some long forgotten pieces. I’ve just come across some towelling items (polos, sweatshirts). Is Rowling beat for warm weather or is is better in slightly cooler weather? I never know if it has a warming or cooking effect! Thanks
Well, it’s really designed for something quite specific, which is to soak up moisture – mostly from the pool or sea, but perhaps also sweat.
The texture is warming, not cooling, so in that respect it’s not great as a summer piece to wear all day
I think shoes would be the biggest challenge, as us swedes never wear shoes indoors. (And yes, that usually includes parties even where people are in suits, which is silly).
As to what I’m wearing, I find myself reaching for the friday polos very frequently. Soft and comfy but with a collar to boot. Worn usually with old flannels, way more comfy and good looking than sweatpants.
Very nice. And on the feet, slippers?
Just socks to be honest, heating is not an issue here. I do have a beaten up pair of sagans by the balcony door and a pair of superga sneakers for dog walks.
Well thought out and well-written as usual. I do enjoy your articles.
I’ve worked from home for quite a while now and really only have phone calls to deal with instead of video conferencing. I discovered early on that grooming and dressing in the morning kept me focused.
My usual kit is made up of cords, khakis, flannels, moleskin or linen trousers, a collared shirt (OCBD, cotton, linen or chambray), with polos mixed in during the summer. In winter I add a sweater. And I wear loafers (Belgian Shoes, Tod’s, Alden) or a pair of suede espadrilles. Socks in winter.
It’s already in the high 70’s to low 80’s (21-26 C) in Central Virginia, the ceiling fans are on and the a/c kicks in in the afternoons when the sun comes through the windows. I may switch my masks to seersucker soon as I venture outside.
Stay safe, sanitized and sane across the pond. (PS helps me with that last one.)
Really pleased to hear it Chris…
The shoes in the second last picture is the Edward green Dover? It looks beautiful
Yep, the unlined model. Most comfortable shoe I own. Only rival being the unlined handsewn Alden loafer
How do you find the sagans fit. Are they true to size?
I’m between a 43 and a 42 usually, but now wear a 42 in the Sagans. The thing that did it for me was that you don’t have to worry about the width of your foot, because the upper is so soft and stretchy.
Hi Simon, I’m looking at having an overshirt made along the lines of the Anthology grey herringbone you show here, however in a camel/brown herringbone and lined. Do you think this kind of coat/jacket will stand the test of time as styles evolve? Or is it too much of a trend piece? I like it a lot however am concerned it may be too costly for a one-to-two season piece. Thank you
It won’t age as well as a classic sports jacket, but it’s not that trend-driven either. I would just suggest staying quite classic and simple with the design and shape.
It shouldn’t be that expensive either, given it doesn’t have the structure or fit of a regular jacket.
If you’re unsure though, perhaps try a cheaper RTW one first.
A late response to this piece but just to add my own thanks at how useful it’s been. A week into the new world (for me) of working from home and having not really changed out of some version of ‘loungewear’, I found deciding to wear roughly what I might wear to my fairly casual office – jeans/chinos and, crucially, a shirt – made a huge difference and I’ve stuck with it, and many other things you outline below, ever since.
This is a mundane question, sorry, but you link to a “green” PML overshirt above: is it green or grey, as the PML site seems to have it in grey? I’ve had my eye on it for a while but wonder about its practical uses; is a flannel overshirt neither one thing nor the other, compared to cotton or even linen? Have you had much use for your PML one? Does it work with a regular oxford or denim shirt underneath?
I’m so pleased it’s been that helpful Joe.
Yes, that shirt is in green, not grey, though it is a rather muted green.
It’s certainly not for the summer, as a cotton or linen one would be. But you might find it useful in colder months working from home. And yes it certainly works over a regular oxford or denim shirt.
Work from home is t-shirt and shorts with no shoes in the house. It might sound different but it is. In Asia most don’t wear shoes in the house.
Regarding the green flannel overshirt from PML what size did you take?
Thank you !
Medium. It’s a little short on me, but the Large was way too big in the body. That compromise is an issue I have with pretty much all overshirts/jackets
Over the past 18 months I’ve caught on to shawl collar sweaters. I wore mine with a tie to the office on Fridays before the pandemic, but now they are a regular with an oxford and jeans or chinos as my work from attire. It helps me be in a work frame of mind and aides in keeping my morning routine normal. I also have gotten considerable more mileage out of my shaggy crew neck shetland sweaters while working from home.
During the pandemic it was been hard to meet tailors and shirtmakers. I would like to order some shirts remotely from a maker that has my pattern. What is a good way to browse fabrics remote/online? Would be nice to calmly at your own being able to watch through the fabrics and pic out a couple before the video call with the shirtmaker.
You could ask a local maker that you don’t use, if they would mind you looking through them. A bit of a favour.
Otherwise, it’s a question of asking your shirtmaker or tailor to send you images of things they like.
Hi Simon, I am currently looking to upgrade my in-house slippers and thought about the Sagans as an option. I went back to the original piece you wrote on them to learn a bit more and noticed the quite substantial price increase from back then (however, I understand that is has been 5 years till the article). My question would be – if you still consider them good value at the current price or would you suggest some alternatives?
I don’t know any alternatives, or rather haven’t tried any. But in terms of value, I still think they’re decent but not as good value as they used to be, certainly. Also, keep in mind they are trying to be the most luxurious end of the market, in terms of materials and so on. That’s the biggest difference if you compare to something like the original Belgian loafers. And for many people, their budget is the kind of one that is suited to the finest materials out there
You said you avoid wearing shirts during the weekend.
I usually do wear shirts if I am going to somewhere nice. What is your replacement for a shirt?
Also does your definition of tailored trousers which you avoid wearing at home also include linen? I always thought cream linen looked as casual as chinos. Eager to know your opinion.
Just curious to know so that I could also expand my wardrobe because it’s usually the weekend dressing where I struggle the the most.
I wear a T-shirt instead Ayush.
Yes, my definition includes linen. Most of the time, linen is smarter than a chino. But it does depend on the weight and style of both.
Interesting article – this is how I and most of my friends (who work in London but not in the City) now dress in the office – from big corporates, to big tech, to advertising and other sectors. Lovely article. I think there is also a place for the tailored trousers here, but maybe in more relaxed fabrics – cords and drapey non-worsteds…
True, it’s a rich mine for trousers, particularly once jackets have gone