What to Wear When You Work From Home

With an ever-increasing number of people choosing to work from home, whether by running their own businesses/freelancing or by telecommuting for their existing employer, today we answer the all-important question: what to wear when when you work from home?

what to wear when you work from home

What to wear when you work from home?

Before we try to help you work out what to wear when you work from home, however, there’s another question we should really address first, namely:

Why does it matter?

Why should you care what you look like when you’re at home?

These are both reasonable questions. For many people, one of the biggest benefits of working from home is having the freedom to do what you like, and that includes the freedom to WEAR what you like, too. No more stuffy shirts and suits! No more spending money on endlessly dry-cleaning office attire which you already spent way more than you really wanted to in order to buy in the first place. Instead, if you want to spend the entire day in your PJs, you can: there’s no dress code, after all, so it’s totally up to you. Who wouldn’t love that?

This is all well and good, of course: some people are more than happy to spend the entire day working away in their dressing gown/sweat pants/whatever, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. (If you’re one of those people, you can feel free to skip this one: you already KNOW what to wear when you work from home…) Other home workers, however, say they feel less productive when they’re dressed “sloppily”, and want to be comfortable, but still look somewhat pulled-together. This is especially important for home workers who occasionally have to meet clients, or otherwise interact with people other than the cat and the postman.

The challenge for people in this position, then, is to find that balance between getting “dressed” for work, but not feeling too dressed up for home. Most of us probably don’t want to put on a suit and stilettos if we’re going to be at home all day (Although if that’s what works for you, go for it), so what DO you wear when you work from home?

Having worked from home for many years now, The Fashion Police have these suggestions:

what to wear when you work from home

What to wear when you work from home: our suggestions

Ponte pants

All the comfort of sweatpants, all the style of dress pants. We’re not sure how we ever lived without these: they’re smart enough to meet clients or head out to a meeting, but they’re comfortable and stretchy enough to let you lounge on the sofa in them at the end of the day, too: a work-from-home essential, we’d say.

Jersey blazers or cute cardis

We described jersey blazers as closet heroes a while back, and they’re particularly useful for those wondering what to wear when you work from home. As with the ponte pants, these are smart, but also super-comfortable: the soft, unstructured fabric makes them as easy to wear as a sweater, but they look a whole lot smarter. If a blazer of any kind feels too much for a day at home, a cute, fitted cardigan makes a great alternative: it’s less “formal”, but still looks polished.

Knit dresses

If you prefer dresses over pants, a knit dress or tunic can be worn with leggings or tights for a casual but chic look, which is also very comfortable. Add a pretty scarf or necklace to dress it up a little if you’re going out.

Dark wash jeans

These are the answer to many a sartorial dilemma, and are one of those classic “dress up or down as required” items. Wear them casually with a t-shirt or sweater, then throw on some heels and a smarter top if you need/want to be a little dressier.

Of course, what to wear when you work from home will vary depending on the type of work you do, the climate and your own personal taste, so while these items are the ones we swear by, they may not work for everyone. Which is why we want to know: do you work from home? If so, what do you wear: do you dress up, dress down, or fall somewhere in between?

[Image © Ron Chapple | Dreamstime.com]


  • October 7, 2013


    It really depends on the type of work. If for whatever reason you need to do skype video calls you should look presentable.

    And even if you don’t do video calls, my advice is to dress in a way that won’t embarass you If you get a surprise visit or have to open the door to the mailman.

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  • October 7, 2013

    Liz in Paris

    I’ve been working from home for about 10 years now and usually wear good-quality jeans and tops (or decent jumpers in the winter). I always wear makeup too, just to feel a bit more professional. Certainly not for the postman/woman though – I doubt if they care what we look like!

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  • October 7, 2013


    Oh. Oh. Oh. I do not work from home, but my husband does. He is perfectly content to sit in gym shorts or Cookie Monster pajama bottoms all day and a tee shirt. I, however, would at least have to wear a dress and leggings. I can’t wear my pajamas and be serious.

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  • October 8, 2013


    I have been working from home for 13 years now. I wear the same things I would for running errands, meeting friends or other casual occasions: Jeans, sweater, structured jacket if I’m cold. My husband (also working from home) has on some “non-good” jeans (meaning old, stained, loose and slouchy) and a checkered flannel shirt. Since he stopped working in an office he has become a sartorial basket case and depends on me to throw out his more impossible, worn-out clothes. It is a bit difficult not to let things slip, especially if your customers, when you meet them, wear blue onesies, such as farmers, technicians at sewage works and the like. You need to adapt, but still look *somehow* professional.

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  • October 8, 2013


    I work from home 4 days out of 5. Generally jeans and uggs during winter (perennially cold feet) with whatever jumper/top/cardigan combination feels right. A degree of practicality is required as the bull terrier will inevitably need some lap time. And if I’m feeling particularly well and energetic (I’ve CFS), I’ll do a few minutes in the garden as a break from the keyboard. Summer, it’s whatever will deal with the Australian heat. So quite possibly a sarong that has to be pulled up if there are visitors. Let us just say that the heat and I are not friends.

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  • October 8, 2013


    I work from home, and I have always dreamed of working in my pajamas, so I wear the functional equivalent, t and shorts in summer, sweatpants and fleece in winter. To get myself in work mode, I only have to shower every day, which is no hardship. I never meet my customers, who are online college students, and I never have to see my students’ fashion disasters, either. I love it!

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