On Dressing Up While Working From Home (Because Yes, You Should Still Bother)
With @wfhfits on Instagram pleading this same case
It used to be that on a given day, whatever spring I had in my step had a little to do with what happened the night before. I would cap off my evenings with a warm shower and my skincare routine, where I’d use time in between steps of skin slathering to pick out my outfit for the next day. Before lights out. Every night. Sunday through Thursday. Like clockwork.
It was almost meditative. And I considered this ritual both a way to unwind and a tactic for meeting the new day sharp and head-on. Fashion as a form of self-expression aside, this routine worked for me primarily because it eliminated one of many minute choices made on the daily that would otherwise stack up and cause decision fatigue (where the mere act of making decisions chips away at one’s ability to make them well).
Pre-social distancing days: after the office and straight to an event with a cocktail dress code (feat. my scuffed-up sneakers)
It is now April; day ??? into the quarantine and it’s safe to admit that this tried and tested dynamic has been bulldozed into obscurity. In the early days of the work-from-home setup, I happily abandoned my regular routine not in search of a new one (just yet) but because being able to let loose and let go a little was the one faint silver lining of the cruel, life-altering and anxiety-inducing pandemic we are still attempting to contain. So I leaned into the fact that staying put became the new survival mode. Along with it, I spent full days in a faded and slightly ripped daster I’ve had since I was (and this is no joke) 13 or lounging about like a mildly fulfilled couch potato in an oversized tee with bacon neck and boxers. I once even opted out of the video option during a conference call with my team because I had Mario Badescu drying lotion on my face. Succumbing to perpetual pambahay mode, as it turns out, also came with perpetual in-the-middle-of-skincare face. I wouldn’t say that this was me spiraling. But boy did it resemble it. (Below, a depiction of how I wish my version of spiraling looked like.)
In the grand scheme of grasping a sense of normalcy, this shed light on something important: dressing up while working from home is still pretty damn valid. In hindsight, it’s almost like wish fulfillment…but with fashion. Dressing like a slob only egged on my inner slob. Pushing the envelope of every day as casual Friday only put me in the headspace of leisure, kicking back or craving the weekend.
“Dress for success” had always been the cheesy bumper sticker quote of fashion mantras until this moment. Because suddenly, it made sense as an extended take on looking good to feel good. If you dress the part, you ready yourself to fulfill the part.
Science likewise filled in the gaps for me as to why I had all this time to myself yet felt so far away from myself. I was detached from a routine I already knew to be effective. Instead, I dove headfirst into an unknown version of the nine-to-six, clueless about what dress code to abide by so in pambahay, I trusted. Here’s the clincher though: outbreaks like the COVID-19 pandemic trigger stress, as they stand, which is why psychologists recommend reining in a little control for yourself by sticking to regular routines. Something this simple serves as an effective way of coping with unfamiliar or unpredictable external events. Letting said events dictate a new routine for you, however, is not ideal. Consider my case proof.
For inspo, for WFH style ideas, for outfit formulas to try when quarantine is through, we present to you: @wfhfits on Instagram
Even behind closed doors, how we present ourselves to the world can speak volumes (regardless of “world” here being the occasional Zoom call, an Instagram story or the four corners of our most frequented room during the quarantine). It speaks to keeping a healthy mindset. Since we get to still project ourselves as active, functioning members of society this way, fashion becomes functional and not just some performative parade. And hey, all things considered, if we know of means, big or small, of remaining in the right headspace during this generally trying time, we best get to ‘em.
In my case, this meant back to old ways that kept me centered and brought me joy. The ritualistic assembly of a top and a pair of trousers on a hanger, an outerwear option to one side, (dare I say it) shoe options by the door, and undergarment selections already laid out on the table. Miniscule stuff but meaningful, I later realized.
Featured Image Working From Home Fits
Art Alexandra Lara