Dressing Up While You Work From Home: Why and How


Ushah Kazi

Married to books, in a relationship with food, playing dress up since 1993. An unabashed pop-culture junkie. Come talk movies and lifestyle with me!



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So, I know that many of you have had to dive into the ‘work from home’ whirlpool. I also understand that it’s a bit destabilising. Separating the workplace and the home isn’t just practical; it’s also comforting. That you can shut everything off, leave it at your desk, and not think about it until tomorrow is bliss. When you work from home, it can be impossible to mimic that structure. And yet, as anyone who has worked from home will tell you; you have to compartmentalise. 

During my recent Instagram Live with the lovely Anam Khan, we attempted to crack the code. How, we attempted to dissect, do you stay productive while you work from home? The overarching answer seemed to be, boundaries. Your workday needs to have a start and a finish. And among the tools that can help you establish boundaries, a ‘work from home wardrobe’ is pretty crucial. 

Dolled-Up Dilemmas 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone, in their right mind, want to wear anything other than pyjamas when they’re not leaving the house? And ideally, I would agree with you. Except, relaxation and productivity don’t mix. So, in a bid to be productive, you’ll have to embrace dressing-up. Even if your only travel destination is the living room. 

Work From Home Wardrobe 101 

To be fair, work from home attire can be as basic as you like. The point is to give your day an official start. It’s about getting into a frame of mind that compels you to focus and get things done. But within those parameters, it can be as moderate as you want. 

To get you started, here are some guidelines that I use to pick my wardrobe.  

Pick Your Colour Palette 

Okay, so the whole point of this is to not feel like  you’re not just lounging around. So, wearing clothes that you wouldn’t leave the house in, will not help. Something that helps me narrow down my wardrobe is always having a colour palette. The items have to fit in with each other cohesively. 

Your wardrobe doesn’t have to be complicated; just curated. So, just follow this simple method to narrow your colour palette down. 

First, decide on your main colours. These will make up the bulk of your wardrobe. They should be pretty versatile, so that you can pair them with ease. Monochrome and neutrals make particularly great main colours. 

My main colours are: black, white, off-whites and greys. 

Next, pick your accent colours. These are literally used for emphasis, to accentuate an outfit, and to add a pop of colour. These can be bolder, and more vivid colours. There is also something to be said about the emotions that colours evoke. For example; red is very assertive, and energetic. So, you can see why I like to have it in my wardrobe. 

My accent colours are: reds, blues and pinks. Also, if you still need help, download my handy wardrobe checklist to help you out. Click here, sign up, and the checklist will be sent to your inbox. 

Narrow Down Your Capsule

If there was ever a time to opt for a capsule collection, this would be it. The idea isn’t just to be a minimalist; rather you’re thinking practically. Reduce the clutter, so that it doesn’t become another thing on your mind. Have a wardrobe of apparel and accessories that work well with each other, to minimise effort.  

If you’ve never done a capsule before, follow the Project 333 rules. Limit your wardrobe to 33 items, for the next three months. This does not include underwear, sleep-wear or workout clothes. (Although, something only qualifies as work-out apparel, if you actually work-out in it). And you can adjust if you have to; but challenge yourself to make do with the basics. 

Don’t Get Too Comfortable 

Now, I would never advocate, wearing something too tight, that digs into your skin, and makes you uncomfortable. But, when you’re working from home, too much of a good thing can be anything but good. 

Consider the logic of the standing desk. The idea isn’t to make you uncomfortable; but to keep you on your toes. In order to stay productive, you have to adopt a ‘get stuff done’ mindset. 

So, while the fabrics should be comfortable, they shouldn’t replicate your PJs. Think soft fabrics like cotton, chiffon and the like.

Also, set some parameters for what you can and cannot wear. Would you feel productive in shorts, for example? Or, would a t-shirt hinder your progress? Personally, I mostly follow a business-casual framework. That is, I wear well-tailored, comfortable clothes that would be work appropriate. The one rule I do break, is that sometimes, I’ll put on a pair of jeans. 

Work From Home Outfit Ideas 

Okay, now let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are my favourite ‘work from home’ outfits. 

  1. Sleek And Structured

Usually, this is what I wear at the start of the week. High-waisted pants, and a great blouse in a bold colour. Red for me, because like I said, I like to get into the assertive mindset. A fitted belt also stops you from slacking.


  1. Business, Super Casual  

Still opting for a chiffon blouse, but with a much more relaxed fit. And, allowing denim. This is for days when you still want to be productive, but you need a little TLC. The idea is to hold yourself accountable, not beat yourself down. 


  1. Workday Weekend. 

I believe in taking a break. But, there have been times when my tasks spill over into the weekend. And for such occasions, I find it helpful to adhere to the aforementioned guidelines. But, it is the weekend. So, some rules can be broken. I wouldn’t wear anything uncomfortable. I wouldn’t even say no to a great pair of joggers (I personally don’t like yoga pants). But, the silhouette is fitted, to avoid falling asleep over my laptop. 

I hope you find this helpful. If you want a handy checklist to get started, click here and sign up for my newsletter. Times are incredibly unprecedented, and it can be very easy to fall into a slump. But remember, celebrating small wins, even as tiny as a well-curated wardrobe, can be a great mood-booster. 

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