With a recent survey discovering that 47% of Americans aren’t wearing pants during their working day, and only around half will brush their hair or wash their face before a video call, you may be forgiven for thinking that all previous advice about professional appearances and dress codes is a thing of the past. However, that’s not the case. While remote working can certainly mean a more relaxed approach in some respects, your appearance is still connected to your productivity. Maintaining that routine of showering, changing clothes and presenting yourself professionally is an important part of self-care, as well as showing respect for your colleagues and clients.
Pyjama Day? No way
As tempting at it may be to work from home in PJs or lounge wear, you may find it much harder to motivate yourself to finish that presentation, be persuasive or feel confident about your contribution. The main reason for wearing such clothing is usually comfort; this is where breathable materials such as cotton really come into their own. They are soft, they allow freedom of movement, and natural fabrics are often kinder to skin. In fact, this combination of comfort and safety for sensitive skin resulted in 70% of respondents in a recent survey choosing cotton as their day wear of choice. That’s good news for your working wardrobe: by adding or re-discovering some cotton clothing, you can be comfortable and still present a smart, polished appearance.
Brighten the day
One upside of working remotely is that it gives you the opportunity to try a few new looks from the comfort of your own home and see what you enjoy. Now is a great time to break out of a color rut; studies have shown that colors can affect our emotions, so why not break out a yellow jersey on a gray, gloomy day, or a calming blue sweater for a potentially stressful call? In the UK, the Duchess of Cambridge has been delivering a masterclass in using color to uplift and encourage the people she video calls; why not see what effect different colors can have on you and your co-workers?
Making your uniform work for you
Of course, not everyone is working remotely and able to choose what they wear. Perhaps you’re returning to work and have mixed feelings about getting back into your uniform. Take heart: not only are they great for saving time in the mornings, freeing you up to be productive in other ways, but they’re also a neat shorthand for belonging to a team. With studies earlier this year suggesting that around 60% of Americans were already feeling lonely, creating a sense of unity and belonging has never been more important, and sharing a uniform can be a powerful way to do this. Hygiene is especially critical at the moment: ideally you will have a spare uniform, but if not, ensure that it is washed before each working day to reduce the possibility of potentially spreading the virus.
As all professions adjust to the new normal, it may seem that work wear has become less important. However, how you present yourself to the outside world will always matter: it shows that you value yourself and your clients or colleagues enough to make an effort. Whether you’re switching to breathable fabrics, adding a splash of color, or re-embracing your uniform, make today the day you put your work wear back on your list of priorities. You’ll thank yourself for it.