Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Working-at-Home Fashion Dilemma

{source}
Readers, today is my last day in corporate America. Huzzah! While it's exhilarating, many challenges lie ahead. First and foremost: what the heck to wear?

I've spent the last 10 or so years cultivating a workplace style: one that's vintage but professional, appropriate yet colorful and artsy. Lots of pencil skirts, sheath dresses, pumps, etc. Now that I'm going freelance, it's time to cultivate a new style, preferably one that doesn't involve either uncomfortable footwear or—on the other end of the spectrum—elastic waistbands. You see, when at home I tend to stay in my pjs. I'll be working from my apartment a lot now (though also out of a studio) and I don't want to spend all my time looking like a slob. I want to take the opportunity to be a bit more casual, but not sloppy.

So, readers, any tips for freelance/stay-at-home fashion? I'm thinking comfy dresses are the way to go, and if I had all the time in the world, I'd whip up a few vintage housedress patterns. Like these:


{source}
Or perhaps I could just swan about dramatically in this:

{source
I'm also interested in making some of my regular basics, like high-waisted pencil skirts and such, in comfy stretch fabrics. I'm especially psyched to make this DKNY sheath dress pattern in leopard print jersey (the first view on the left, ignore the blocky sandals):

Vogue 2091 (OOP)
But beyond that, I'm having trouble imagining what I'll wear on a day-to-day basis. Any ideas or advice, readers? How do I: 1) avoid looking like a slob all the time and 2) what new basics do I need in my wardrobe to stay chic and comfy?

100 comments:

  1. I know just where you are coming from with this dilemma. Right now, I have a job, but I have worked from home, and felt myself annoyed because I was always in my jeans.

    I love those comfy-looking patterns. Maybe you could make a few out of a really comfortable cotton or even a nice jersey. Still a dress, but more casual in the fabric choice!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tough one: I like to wear a lot of strechy, loose and flowy clothes like tunics, maxi dresses, palazzo pants. My new favourite things are the jumsuits. I prefer a one piece clothing item, because I really don't want the bother of coordinating my outfits on a daily basis, so dresses are definitely a way to go.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I work from home and I find that a comfortable skirt or pants and a jersey top are the easiest, along with simple, comfortable dresses, like Burdastyle's Anda which I can wear over my yoga gear and be ready to go to class! I rarely wear jersey dresses at home for some reason, maybe because mine are mostly body hugging and I want something more relaxed for home.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my, I know this problem! I moved country with my husband a year ago, and went from an office job to not working, and most of my wardrobe was entirely unsuitable to hang around at home in. It's scarily easy to spend your life in pyjamas or tracksuits or your really old unflattering jeans. Oh yes. The thing I found most annoying was that I would put off going to the shops or just popping out to see people as I would need to change out of my appalling clothes in order to leave the house!

    So, over the last few months I've been working on a nicer but more casual wardrobe. The best and most useful things I've made are some "housedresses" in pretty jersey prints. These are super comfy to hang around the house in, but pretty enough to go out in, and can be jazzed up with a nice belt and some jewellery.

    I've also made a high waisted skirt in doubleknit, and it's insanely comfortable. Highly recommended! I plan to make some more pretty t-shirt type jersey tops too.

    Oh, and I never slack in putting my makeup on or doing my hair either - just makes me feel so much better and more revved up to do stuff, even if no one sees me!

    Good luck with your new ventures!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I work from home and I am a SAHM. My fear when I first started staying home was becoming frumpy. I still keep my sense of style in a leisurely way and I wear sensible shoes. I wear a lot of stretchy material clothing and jersey knits for that comfort feel. I figure if I get up and put my shoes on even if they are flats then I am ready for business and a quick run to the store or post office. I also put my make-up on, just more subtle.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Comfy skirts and knit or loose-fit blouses are my favorite way to go for work-at-home chic. That and wrap dresses. Ever since I made the Crepe dress I have been living in that! One thing I've really been working on to beef up in my wardrobe is knit tops. (I keep talking about this... It must be my Sewing Conscious telling me I need to actually practice what I preach! lol.) I don't have too many of them, but the ones I do have I wear constantly. So comfortable and easy to launder. I also have a little 70s sundress made from knit that is a favorite of mine. It's the sort all you have to do is throw it over your undies, add a pair of cute sandals, a belt, tie up your hair and you're set! Good for days I don't feel like putting a lot of effort (or time ;) into the whole "getting dressed" thing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You'll be teaching some of your sewing classes - so you'll have days out of the house to wear some of your old "work wardrobe" still :) How about some palazzo pants a la Katherine Hepburn - but made up in a double-knit? Or from your recent post about the peasant-style dress - make a top/blouse from the top half of the dress (use knit for the gathered section near the neck, and a woven for the lower bodice)?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Gertie,
    I find itmimportant to still get dressed every morning just to get the mind set for work. Plus just running out for errands or just a walk for creative thought starters. Truly I find dresses to be so comfy even on the weekends.

    It definitely could be a cool idea to explore what did the lady of the house wear in the fifties.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If it was something i changed straight out of when I got home from work then it's unlikely i'll wear it now I’m working at home. I’ve found that I’m more likely to put up with slightly more restrictive clothes when going out to work. Working at home requires more practical clothes –especially when I’m cutting out fabric. I'm not really one for dresses anyway but i do find separates perfect. Wide leg linen trousers and cute tops or tunics and skinnies work well for me. As comfortable as PJs but I look put together if I have to leave the house! My jewellery doesn’t get worn as much any more though. For some reason I notice it more when I’m working at home and it starts to annoy me!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love to know the answer to this one! I would love to see the look on my husband's face if I dolled up in a floor length satin dress every day for housework!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Got to agree on the house dress, and jersey dress ideas - they're my usual go-to items when working from home.
    There's also the old trusty 1930s lounging pajamas, far more glam than regular pjs.
    And how about giving us a weekly (at least) outfit post? It'll keep you motivated to look nice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, congratulations on going freelance! I wondered if that might not be in the works for you when you hinted at big changes.

    I don't freelance but I do telework regularly and aside from fearing encroaching frump, I find it's helpful to have "work at home" clothes to help get me in the right frame of mind to work as opposed to potter around the house drinking coffee.

    I second the recommendations of knit tops and comfortable skirts, but since summer's coming on I'm also making up a couple dresses from current Vogue 8645, which is a sort of modern goddess dress (with pockets! and the shoulder ties are optional) -- versatile, comfortable, flattering, and dead easy to make. I'm sort of obsessed with that pattern right now.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been working from home for about nine years, and now have two children, so my wardrobe needs to be ready-for-business and comfy at the same time. I've settled on skirts with some fullness to them (easier for sitting on the floor and having little kids climb on me than slim skirts) and twinsets or very plain tops.

    Oh, and I've taken to donning an apron -- so many cute patterns -- when I'm in the kitchen so I don't completely wreck my clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Vogue 2091 is one of my all-time favorite patterns. I've made it twice, the long-sleeved version with the V neck. Very comfy and relatively easy to make . . . the sleeveless version would be even easier!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We have pretty different personal styles but I've been at home for 9 years now. In that time I've gone through some yoga pant phases but I find that I feel better if I look nice. I have a lot of comfy dresses. I really like knit dresses. I also do jeans, shorts, and skirts with shirts that have a bit of detail. I also went through a phase where I owned almost every color vneck tee from old navy and that got old too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm with Sara - I work a lot from home and basically spend my time either in nice flowy skirts and tops or nice pants and tops. I've got a couple of shirtwaist dresses that I think I'll throw into the mix for the summer but the whole housecoat/housedress thing doesn't appeal to me. Also - I find that I absolutely have to get up, do my makeup and hair and really get dressed in order to get anything done; if I'm in my pjs, then it turns into vacation day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I work from home a lot - or, I work part time and on non-in-the-shop days I'm at home working on sewing projects and such. I've been beefing up my summer wardrobe with separates. I have a few different top patterns that work in knits (a self drafted raglan sleeve with a midriff band, the pendrell from sewaholic and a one other pattern with a wide, scooped neckline and some easy released darts for shaping) and a few skirt patterns (circle, bias cut a-line, crescent from sewaholic and a straight, short skirt.) I've been stocking up on coordinating wovens and knits and buy 3 yards of woven and 1.5 yards of knits at the same time (no orphans!) They fabric has to at least make up one outfit, but I am also sticking to a general palette so they all work together. The step-above-a-t-shirt and skirt combo is comfy for just-stay-at-home days! Dresses are nice too (vote YES for crepe!) but I'm liking the versatility of the separates.

    Also, you'd mentioned doing more style-type posts/daily outfits. DO IT!! I've been keeping a little style blog on the side and it's super motivational to not just throw on my 'uniform' (jeans,tank,cardi) every single day!

    I can't say enough about how beneficial it is to get up and suit up even if you're not heading to the office!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As a stay-at-home mom, I face the same dilemma! There's nothing worse than a stay-at-home mom who wears jean shorts and running shoes every day. So I see it as my person mission to shatter those myths! Ha!

    I like cotton skirts and knit tops, but I live in Florida (read:it's HOT) and I chase young kids all day. So it has to be comfortable and somewhat stylish, too. I like Dansko shoes for comfort, but I've been known to bust out the Chuck Taylors on occasion.

    The one piece of advice I have: always at least do your hair and makeup. That will go a long way for your appearance and self-esteem. That always does wonders for me, even if my kids are the only people who see me!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I do have a full-time job, but on days when I'm working from home I still try not to look too slobby. It's nice to be prepared to run an errand or go out for a spontaneous lunch. Now that summer's here, nothing too tailored or confining. What about some of your clothes from your mini-break collection?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I work from home but have to drive children to and from school everyday. As a result, I get dressed properly (like I would if I were going out) and continue wearing whatever it is all day. I've never done trousers or stretchy pants, but I am currently tapping at my computer sprawled across my bed with the zip to my very non-stretchy 60s skirt undone for comfort... I also do this with my fitted vintage dresses, so I probably wouldn't win any prizes for style even though I have bothered to get dressed!

    My advice would be to make sure you start your day with an errand (even if it's just a coffee or a newspaper) simply to take you out of the house. Otherwise it's just too tempting to still be wearing jimjams at lunchtime!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I study illustration so a lot of my time is spent behind my desk... my usual go-to uniform is a simple gethered skirt (maybe with a fun print) and a comfy shirt or a jersey top tucked in. i also love the seventies style flared jeans that are popping up everywhere: the higher waist makes them pretty comfortable and if you get them in a dark wash they still look quite classy with some heels and a pretty top when you hop out of the door. the rest of my wardrobe is mainly cotton dresses, never too restricting... i'm usually very comfortable during my workdays.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I don't have an answer to this, but will be following the topic and everyone elses comments with interest. I work at home chasing three small children, so my clothes definitely need a level of practicality. Plus, I'm still losing baby weight and nursing an infant, which really complicates wardrobe issues. I agree with comments regarding hair, makeup and cute shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've been working from home for six years now and I've settled into a steady rotation of casual dresses/ skirts made from completely inappropriate prints and leggings/jersey top/long sweater with boots or other fun footwear.

    I'm about to go back out into the world, though and I'm finding that my wardrobe won't be appropriate. Can't say I'm thrilled with the prospect of going back to the old public school teacher standard of chinos + tee + cardi + flats.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am a homemaker and strive to maintain a fairly professional-looking wardrobe. I love to look and feel pretty, and I love to look pretty for my husband when he walks through the door at the end of the day. One thing that really helps is making sure that I get up and dressed right away. Of course, there are days when I am doing messier things, like house cleaning, weeding the garden, etc, and then I put on my raggety clothing for that, but for the most part, I always try to wear "real" clothes-- and I always do my hair and wear makeup and jewelry. I wear a LOT of skirts and dresses in the summer because they're so comfortable and they look dressier (bonus-- I can wear sundresses without having to worry about the maximum airconditioning I used to shiver through when I worked) and I just make sure I have several pairs of comfortable trousers in the winter (it snows here ALL WINTER, so skirts are less appealing when it's cold!)

    I'm excited to see what your at-home work wardrobe will look like!

    ReplyDelete
  25. My "job" (and I don't know why I put that in quotes, except perhaps that I don't get paid)is caring for my 15-month granddaughter four days a week, sometimes at her house, sometimes at my own. I knew I was going to need something comfortable and easy-care, but I didn't want to be a slob either. I ran myself up several simple A-line skirts which I wear with knit tops or sweaters and nice leather flats. In the winter I wear nice pants with the same tops. I also made some vintage-style cotton dresses that are a lot of fun and surprisingly practical for chasing a toddler around. And as has been mentioned, I always do my hair and makeup nicely and wear interesting jewelry. Dress to make yourself feel good, is what I say. And congratulations on getting out of the rat race!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think house dresses are a great option. I also think you might like knit dresses. They are so comfortable to wear, not binding and restricting, yet look very nice. I'm home all day as a homemaker. I wear skirts and knit dresses most often. I used to wear pj's and sweats and t-shirts, but I was feeling pretty yuck and wanted to put a little more effort into my looks for my family and be an example to my children on caring for one's appearance. Also, if I have company that pops in, I don't have to be embarrassed. When I look cute and put together, I'm more productive, have more confidence and feel better about myself. My husband really appreciates it as well. And I'm always ready to run out of the house at a moment's notice. It's just as easy to throw on a dress or skirt as it is to put on jeans, sweats and t's. I put on just a tad of makeup, not as much as I would when going out. I like the idea of sundresses and pallazzo pants, too. I love the feel of flowy material. It feels like I'm barely wearing anything, yet so feminine. The comments from other readers on having somewhere to go each the morning, Star Bucks, for example, and doing daily outfit posts are good one to motivate you to look nice each day.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've worked from home for, oh, over 18 years now. I can't say I've ever quite gotten this down, the wardrobe and grooming. If I were on a deadline, there was no wardrobe or grooming. You have a book deadline. At this point, I would say as long as you are not wearing those awful Nike running shorts and a baseball cap with your ponytail threaded through the back of it all day (like the pampered housewives in my hood do), you're golden.

    ReplyDelete
  28. YourYoungestReaderMay 25, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    Don't do long dresses. They'll get in the way - you'll trip, disturb carefully laid out fabric, etc. Kneelength should work. Don't do loose sleeves - they'll get caught in the stitching or on the iron. I personally don't see anything wrong with Tshirts and jeans, but that's just me speaking.

    Personally I also get very hot while sewing, so wear things you can layer with. Also, reflecting on what coffeeaddict said, jumpsuits would be nice because you don't have to figure out the color coordination. (But one-pieces are a pain to use the bathroom in, and I like to do that fast so I can get back to my sewing machine.) So you could pick a few colors to wear a lot of, that go together well, and just buy or make stuff in those colors.

    And lastly - I so envy you your time.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've made a couple pairs of silk trousers recently; one capri and tapered and one wide leg pair. I'm really liking them because they are SO comfy and yet I can wear them to the office because they still look great. I'm not sure if you're into pants much so maybe a couple of silky pencil skirts?

    Good luck! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I often work at home...but in something comfy....Getting dressed up and putting on make up takes a little more effort. but I wouldn't sew anything expressly for at home wear unless they were pajamas.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm a housewife... I wear a tshirt and circle skirt most days that I'll just be at home (no errands etc).

    It's very very comfy and looks nice.

    Remember to accessorize at least slightly or you'll lose the knack. (A ponytail and a scarf will do).

    ReplyDelete
  32. ... MY chance for a wish:
    A-frame, garden-gnome size; easy to travel/pack; menopause-suitable. Means: natural material; loose fit; easy care;
    non restricting during work with plenty of stretching of arms aaaaand closer to elegant, PLEASE.


    Hmmm, yea, I can see the contradiction - I'm living it daily; shall I send a headache pill your way straight away?!

    Wish you luck - whatever you decide on,

    LG
    'Echidna'

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm an artist who's worked from home over 15 years - and currently also a SAHM to a toddler! I tend to do a lot of gardening too. I am a complete mess when at home. Jeans during the winter, shorts in the summer and shirts I'm ok getting paint on. Danskos are wonderful, no matter how they look. The few times I've tried to look nice for home my nice outfit was ruined. I don't care what apron I have on, paint always flies just beside it!

    However, I always change to go out, even for groceries. It takes 3 minutes to pull on a dress and at least wear a sleek ponytail. It's ridiculous not to make that minor effort to look nice. Walmart's a scarey place for fashion choices ...

    My going out days - I dress up beautifully so I remember I can look nice! It's when you forget how to get dressed up that's the problem. It's not about always being dressed up, it's always being appropriately dressed for what you're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I say, go with whatever you find comfy. I'm "working from home" this summer (aka unemployed and maybe thinking about opening and etsy shop). I prefer pants when I'm sewing just because I find it easier than fiddling with a skirt. But I do do cute tops so I don't feel all frumpy! I got a mild case of seasonal depression this winter because of my frumpy winter wardrobe! That whole look good, feel good thing is really important for a woman's self esteem!

    Whatever you do, don't give up on style! Pick out those cute accessories and do your makeup in the morning! It's putting for the effort for these types of details that I think can help a lot when you don't have to look cute for anybody. If you have time, you could also do regular outfit post and all of us can keep you accountable and out of the sweats!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I work from home and my wardrobe for work from home varies. I do love my jeans, they are perfectly comfortable at home wear without being pajamas! I know that for retro style, jeans are not on the top of the list, but I like some pedal pushers and high waisted pants as an option. I wear these with a cute blouse, either tucked in with my high waisted pants or i wear a blouse with a peplum over my regular waisted pedal pushers which gives me a cute retro flair. House dresses are also nice and comfy and gives you some more options. As far as shoes go, i like wedges, ballet flates, little low ankle keds type tennis or oxfords.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I work part time in the evenings and I have a class or two during the day so I really have to struggle against falling back on the sweatpants/t-shirt combo or just staying in my pajamas. I have been trying the stretchy dress thing around the house, maxi or knee length, and that's been working pretty well. It's just as lazy and easy, has more shape than a mumu, with the added benefit of making it look like I'm really trying.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I know this will sound totally Kmart, but one of my favorite comfort cheats is to pivot the back darts on a fitted skirt or pants into the waist and then put elastic in the back only. I realize this doesn't work for everyone, but it adds a little fullness for me, and comfort in the front. Combined with a stretch bottomweight I usually can eliminate any zippers, and with the higher waisted styles I favor, it's super comfy for me. Because working from home just begs for some rocking cigarette pants or pedal pushers in my book, because all it takes is a change of shoe to get glam if the doorbell rings.
    I totally believe that nothing is more comfortable than a day dress.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I have quite the collection of vintage Swirl dresses. They are so comfortable and go on really quick. I'm sure you could make your own but the adorable Swirls are hard to resist with their silly patterns and appliques. http://fashionsfinest.fuzzylizzie.com/Swirl.html

    ReplyDelete
  39. You MUST stay cognisant about your appearance.

    I too worked in corporate america for years, dressed up everyday, etc...

    I never thought I would get up in the morning and not put on makeup and sit around in sweats all day, but it happens and you don't even realize it.

    Good luck. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  40. For me, sadly, it's a losing battle. As we speak, I am wearing sweat pants, fuzzy socks and monkey puppet slippers and a ripped old hoodie (it's coming into winter in Australia, and I am freezing cold, plus I am sick, so maybe I get a pass today). I am wearing a bra though, which is a step in the right direction...

    I do try and get dressed out of my PJ's every morning, mainly because the UPS guy is here every other day, but I tell you, I struggle with dressing nice at home. I prefer to stay in my PJ's all day... I don't meet with clients usually, so I have no pressure whatsoever to put clothes on. Too bad, really.

    Summer is better, as I sometimes wear a skirt, or cute shorts, and just a simple tank top with a cardigan. I guess it depends on the weather/season, since we don't have central heating where I am. It's always 5°C warmer inside...so it's cold in winter, or very hot in summer! There isn't much in between to feel comfortable.

    Overall, I probably wear more crap than cute though :(

    ReplyDelete
  41. I too recently quit my corporate job in December to start my own business. I make sure every day I get up and dress myself and event put on the lipgloss. Makes me feel good! I wear a lot of skirts with t's! But knowing what to wear and not feel like you're a grub is exactly what I went through. I only owned one pair of flats! I still only now own 3! It's a hard thing to break and also hard to find a good medium! Good luck and I'll be interested in knowing how you do!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I want pretty 50's housedresses, but IRL I wear jeans and t-shirts. BUT today is my last day of work too! At least until the fall semester starts. :) I've got sewing planned...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Gertie, I work from home as a freelance writer and a SAHM and I have to say that clothes are like money. Here are my 5 uncomfortable truths about working from home (this applies to the work of motherhood as well):

    1. Bad clothes drive out good.

    When you wake up in the morning you (or maybe just me) will always be pulled, as though in a riptide, to the ugliest, slouchiest pjs or sweats or jeans you own "just for today. Always.

    Solution: Your nice stay at home clothes have to be just as comfortable as your slouchy clothes -- that means no tight waistbands, few buttons.

    I've gathered a bunch of skirts I can wear with T-shirts and some nice wrap dresses. I have just two pairs of jeans (one in flat length, one in heel length) to wear when I need to. I wear longer skirts when I'm going to the playground.

    2. If you are at home during the day, you WILL nap.

    Just plan on it right now. It's natural to nap after lunch, like it's in the human physiology.

    Solution: Wear something you feel comfortable napping in on the couch, whatever that is for you.

    3. You will NEVER dress to look nice "just for yourself" no matter what your good intentions are.

    Solution: plan to go out for lunch or coffee once a day -- to provide structure, and to make sure you see other people to get that motivation to look good.

    4. You will be tempted to turn your home into a personal "nest" and alienate the people who live with you.

    If you wear pjs and sweats all day (and sometimes even if you do dress up nice), the house will become more like your "den" and the people who live with you will start to feel like they are intruding on your lair when they come home. And that's not good.

    Solution: Schedule two "transition times," once in the morning before you "go" to work, and once in the afternoon as you "leave" work. Spend this time cleaning up after yourself. You are there more, you'll be making more mess, you will have to clean more. Just get over it and do it (this is gender neutral advice, btw).

    Most importantly, if you wound up wearing pjs all day, change into real clothes so they are greeted by a real person when they come home and not a den monster.

    And finally, slightly OT, but a must mention,

    5. You will probably gain weight unless you guard against it.

    Solution: Pack yourself a lunch and snacks or go out to lunch and a coffee break, whatever you did when you were going into the office. Keep your old office habits at much as you can, until you can figure out what works right for you for working at home.

    Whatever you do, don't torture yourself by planning to "throw together" a salad every day for lunch. A salad is the most labor intensive thing to make in the kitchen and leaves the biggest mess to clean up. In fact don't plan to cook anything for yourself for lunch, it will just make another mess that you will have to clean up (maybe you find cooking and cleaning a relaxing break, more power to you. I used to too, until I had to do it every single day while also finding time to work.)

    Now, granted, it seems stupid to pack a lunch when you are at home all day anyway; but it really works. Make the kitchen off limits when you are "at work." This is even BETTER advice you if you are taking care of kids. I started packing my kids and myself a lunch and snacks everyday even if we aren't going anywhere, and it is so much easier on everyone and there is much less tendency on everyone's part to mindless snacking.

    Good luck Gertie, I can't wait to see what you wear to work from home. =)

    elizabethe

    ReplyDelete
  44. Even when I DID work, my clothing was comfortable - lots of sleeveless blouses and wide legged pants. Now that I'm blissfully unemployed and a full time housewife, I tend towards jeans and fitted t-shirts with no shame. In the summer, I live in cargo skirts and cargo pants and wife beaters. But then, I've always been a pretty casual dresser...I save the nice clothes for appropriate occasions.

    One thing I will suggest, is get your butt out of the house in the morning. This forces you to make yourself presentable and not lounge around in boxer shorts all day.

    I've made it a habit to get out of bed when my partner does, have breakfast with him, and leave the house when he does, whether it's to run errands, do laundry, go to the gym or what have you. Otherwise, it's FAR to easy to get lost in the black hole of the internet...

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would think that a lot of working from home successfully depends on mindset. If I were you, I'd stick with a fairly professional wardrobe. Maybe not so much as when you're working in an outside office, but enough to remind yourself that you're at work.

    Ditto--and you didn't ask about this but I'm going to say it anyway--having a designated workspace. I wouldn't want my "office" to be stretched across my bed in my nightshirt. Work and home don't need to overlap that much even if they're in the same physical space.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow I feel slightly ashamed reading all of these comments. I've been working from home (sometimes mixed with part time work) for a long time now and frankly its pretty much jeans, T and hoody most days. Scotland in winter (and a lot of the rest of the year) is pretty cold so the idea of pulling on a dress has to be combined with tights (hose) which I hate so the easiest option is the jean/pant. If I'm going out (or lecturing) I will make an effort and agree it makes me feel better, but I've been stuck in this for so long.

    the thing is, i love shirts (and will sometimes wear them at home) and admire the vintage style dresses but get so lazy I dont bother making the effort! Oh I sound lame ;-)

    Maybe I can try to get out of this rut if the spring gets into a higher gear and we ever get the summer!

    thanks as always for the great post.

    ReplyDelete
  47. We work from home and we find the best way for us to motivate ourselves is to get up and dressed and ready for work at a work sort of time. So all ready to begin work at 9am. Fully dressed, hair and make up too (not for my husband obviously....that would be odd!)

    I try to dress so that I could at any minute pop out if I needed to so that if I do need to pop out, I don't have to go through the hassle of finding clothes that are appropriate for leaving the house. (Depending on your standards of course, I have quite high ones!).

    I find comfy skirts, trousers and tops are great and because you're at home, you won't need so many layers. I like 3/4 length sleeves on my tops so that I'm warm enough but not too hot. It's surprising how active you can be whilst working at home!

    Sometimes, I dress really nicely so that I'm super motivated to get something done but then at the end of the day think, oh that was a waste of an outfit, so go back to my cord skirt and jersey top the next day!

    You'll find what works best for you pretty quickly, but good luck!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  48. My mother, in the 1940's and 50's wore house dresses. I remember most of them being soft cottons, below the knee, self-belt at times, often shirtwaist style but she had other styles as well. As children, my sister and I would walk up to Broughton's Department Store and look at the racks of women's house dresses. Kathleen of Fashion Incubator has a good article and some links

    http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/homage-to-the-humble-house-dress/

    http://vintageclothing.about.com/od/1950s/tp/50s_womens.htm

    http://pintuckstyle.blogspot.com/2009/08/house-dresses-fashion-at-home-cottony.html

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/29939650/vintage-1950s-house-dress-blue-n-white

    Interesting, but not 1950's
    http://www.1920-30.com/publications/fashion/?hop=ryryry

    ReplyDelete
  49. Well I'm no help. When sewing, I don't get dressed. I hate changing 59 times so I sew in my underwear. If it's cold then I wear leggings knit dresses and sweaters to layer up. But In the summer, anything goes. I hang out in my bikini for about 4 months, and just throw a box tee and shorts or dress over it when I leave. I don't like clothing to touch me when it's hot. That's why the winter is so much more fashionable for me!

    ReplyDelete
  50. the hardest thing for me about dressing for working at home is my cats. i have plenty of cute comfy jersey dresses, gathered shirts and fitted v-neck tees that would make a great at home wardrobe, but i always seem to get cat claws through some part of my clothing (my little siamese likes to hang out on my shoulders...), so i hate wearing my good clothes around the house. it's too easy and better on my clothes to wear old t-shits/tanks that are already holey/stained, and yoga shorts.... *sigh*

    please do post (at least weekly!) examples of how you dress for stay at home work days!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Ooh, I have that same Butterick dress with the zip front. For purely selfish reasons, please make it to inspire me with my own version!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I feel like the days I actually get dressed are more productive for me. When I'm not wearing pants it's so much easier to relax and let work slip, not to mention it's a great excuse to not take out the trash.

    Luckily living in CA near the beach means that when I do go out I can get away with dressing as casual as I want.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I work for an online media company but our dress code is casual so I feel my work-at-home fashion would be similar to what I wear at the office. I would go with comfy knit and jersey dresses in a shape/style that is flattering for you. If you are thinking of separates, I like knit tops with skirts, then flats or sandals. Since my wardrobe is made of a lot of basics I tend to glam it up with bolder accessories. Have fun with it! Now you can wear whatever you want. Oh, and I think stitchywitch of the Green Apples blog made the Jenny skirt in a jersey and it looked really cute!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm not working from home, but as a student, there sure are times when I spend more time studying at home or lounging around the library than going to uni. I love wearing jersey skirts (my favorites are half-circle skirts) with slightly stretchy blouses or cute knit dresses. Right now I'm making a wrap dress with an asymmetrical skirt in light green jersey... My second most favorite lounging-around-while-looking-stylish garment are flowy linen pants.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I've worked from home for over seven years now, sometimes telecommuting and sometimes working on my own projects. I've been very strict with myself about getting up and putting a bra on, brushing my teeth, and putting my contacts in every single morning, very first thing. Some days I do wear yoga pants around the house, but yoga pants plus contacts and real bra are better than yoga pants plus glasses and pajama shirt.

    Lately my husband and I have also been going for a walk first thing in the morning, before he leaves for the office, so that helps get me into "real" clothes right away, too. Having a morning routine with a walk, getting/making coffee, etc, really helps, rather than diving right into your inbox.

    Since working at home, I've also found myself getting more dressed up to do the grocery shopping (at 1pm on a weekday, hello no crowds!) or for day-time activities on the weekend. Little things like doing my hair or nails, or putting on (usually retro) makeup a couple of times a week, keep me feeling more like a real person and less like a brain in a vat in front of the computer/sewing machine.

    And lastly: socks. Office work doesn't really lend itself to the wonderful world of colorful, funky socks, but working at home really allows for it. Most of my collection comes from SockDreams.com, a small business with great customer service.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I actually wanted to ask you a question that is sorta antithetical to the point of this post. Basically, with your tattoos and vintage style, how do you dress professionally yet still like you? I'm sorta facing that dilemma right now.
    but to answer your question, I'd say you should wear full shirt dresses like the pattern you featured here but wear bolder colors and patterns than you normally would in the corporate world?

    ReplyDelete
  57. I've got a tent dress, made from a 50's pattern that I love. It's really cute, and super comfy for slopping about at home - and if I want to go out and look a bit more put together I nip it in at the waist with a belt, maybe something for you? :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi Gertie, this is totally off your topic, but I wanted to ask you, if there is some kind of gallery of the outfits you made? It would be nice if something like that existed :). Greeting from Jana

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm a mom at home all day, and for the sake of sanity I ALWAYS get dressed in the morning. You wont look like a slob if you're putting together an outfit, even if its an extremely functional outfit. I consider what I'll be doing that day (gardening, errands, going to the park, sewing) and dress appropriately. I put my PJs on after supper. :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. What ever you wear at home the mantra should be ... "Get out of the PJs by 10 am".

    ReplyDelete
  61. have you ever seen "Mr.Blandings builds his Dreamhouse". It's like an orginal "Moneypit" It stars Myrna Loy (love her!!) and Cary Grant. Anyway, she lounges around in house dresses all the time in it. There is one similar to the last pattern you showed, you must rent it!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Could it be time for Simplicity 2158, which you mentioned last spring, to have it's moment in the sun?

    I also love the suggestion of 1930's pajama sets. If I worked from home, my wardrobe would mostly consist of luxurious pajama sets which I would wear with either marabou trim boudoir slippers a la Miss Piggy or monkey puppet slippers a la commenter Kat. Although, in this work-at-home fantasy, I'd also be sipping a dirty martini, which would preclude getting any work done. But as a 9-to-5er I reserve the right to dream.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I'm a stay-at-home-mom, so my experience is a little different. I got to where I was feeling schlumpy (is that a word?) always wearing jeans, so I started making dresses and skirts. My favorite is the Sporty Forties from Folkwear. I've made 2 and plan on another. I also have a Decades of Style day-dress pattern that I haven't made yet. I love vintage day-dresses for the fuller skirt (necessary for getting on the floor with the kids). Most of all, wear what makes you feel good. :)

    ReplyDelete
  64. This is the time to tell an old anecdote of my mothers. Once she visited a friend and his mother opened the door. It was the fifties and my mother must have been expecting something along the line of the wonderful patterns you showed. But she got a cocktail dress. And an explanation: "I have so many more cocktail dresses than day dresses, so I wear the older ones during the day."
    I don't work from home, so I love pyjama-days. And this is my advice: Don't forget to pencil in weekends for pj-days. Or at least silk lounge suit days? I'd love photos of those!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I work from home most of the time and I just can't be productive in my PJs (those are for too tired to do anything days) so I have to get dressed but I just wear comfy casual most of the time - ie. jeans!

    Now the summer has truly arrived in the UK I find myself wishing I had more loose, cotton dresses to wear (like your housedress idea or muu-muus). Something easy to slip on, comfortable to wear and work in and smart enough to answer the door to the parcel man. I went through the same phase the last two years but only found time to make two such dresses.

    Now here's something to make you giggle. When I was costuming a 17th century show a little while I ago, I made a mock-up of the basic dress pattern and needing to check it for actor's comfort and movement as well a shape, I donned petticoats and dress. It was winter, the house was cold and I was instantly warmer. "This is what I need!" thought I, "A 17th century sewing dress!" I was seriously tempted to make myself one for the purpose of sewing and keeping warm (as well as getting to swoosh around every time I went into another room)! Just a little crazy?!

    ReplyDelete
  66. I totally vote for the swan about look. There's something amazing about floating around in a floor length house gown. Even better, you should make one in velvet for winter. Then you should have your hair in a scarf in glorious pin curls and give yourself regular spa treatments at home.

    Okay, some of that might be a bit much, but at least have a house coat. It's comfortable and makes you feel absolutely fabulous. Knit wear is always good, and my grandma sent me these long 'patio dresses' that I love being around the house in. I'm sure you'll figure something out and look glamorous just the same. Maybe there's some kind of casual wear you've always wanted in your closet, but never had much opportunity to wear?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I agree with commenters who have said that how you dress also sets the mood for the day ie. dress smart to get on with the job, but still comfy. Pjs does give you a sense of leisure.

    I really need to take note of this and clean up my act. I combine freelance writing with being a SAHM so I am constantly switching from caring for baby, doing school stuff and working. I am keen, once baby is a bit bigger, to actually get dressed in smart casual and head to a coffee shop with wifi so I can work outside the house a bit more. I'm watching this thread with interest!

    ReplyDelete
  68. I've been a studio artist for the last 30 years and for me the key and hair and makeup. If I knocked out a great hair-do and did a presentable job with make-up, I always felt that I could take on the occassional client without scrambling. Clothes were what ever was comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I say start swanning!

    ReplyDelete
  70. How about some comfy cigarette pants (capri lenght and ankle length)comfy ponte knits or soft cottons. Top with Artist smocks, blouses,sun tops, or cardigan. Really smart comfy look for working at home. Switch the bottom with pencil skirt or circle skirt for alternate look. Cute little flats or pumps. Hope this give you other ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi Gertie
    I've made the one on the left (like you, I'm not drawn to the blocky sandals) and it's a cute dress but my word of warning is beware of the fabric you choose. I made it in a knit that seemed ok but due to the placement and volume of the side tucks, it became quite bulky, almost awkwardly so in terms of both finishing and wearing. The neckline is also quite a bit higher than it looks in the picture. BTW, I'm crazy about your blog - even bought the Vogue book which has provided loads of amusement, some of it unintentional I'm sure. Hope working from home suits you and doesn't eat into valuable sewing time.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I have the opposite problem! After three years of legal practice in corporate America I find that I wind up rocking a Mad Men style pencil skirt (albeit denim) even for Saturday errands and housework!

    Although I've found that a vast collection of dresses in the vintage housedress/Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress style is perfect for both comfort and appropriateness. It is a causal time we live in, the housedress of yesteryear reads as "dressed up" for Cleveland in 2011 when paired with pearls and heels...

    To be fair, I also find that even if I work from home I get much more done if I dress professionally and put on makeup. My personal adornment is an integral part of my "I'm braving the world to accomplish greatness" routine.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Loving the idea of vintage house dresses and a knit dress thrown in there to mix things up. Like most of the ladies, doing ones' makeup and hair is a must - I prefer some sort of accessory too.

    Where I live, I must consider the additional 20 degrees leaving my house will mean. Everything outside of my postoffice is off the mountain so I have alot of loose sleeves or no sleeve looks and 90% revolves around a dress or skirt. I carry a hat and light jacket with me to keep the sun off and usually wear heels.

    There is freedom to not having a dress code to deal with - so dress the part you wish to live and have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I agree with those who posted about the cigarette pants. Knit pants can look pretty spiffy as long as they aren't sweat pants. Just as comfy, not nearly as sloppy.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I'm currently doing a creative doctorate, so I work from home most of the time. I tend to write in the morning, and for this I wear my pyjamas - as my private, unadorned, self. Then I get dressed to do my critical, analytic work - emails, readings, and so on. I work at the uni one day a week, and I often use this to 'dress up'. I find that my clothes help me play a role, and put me in a particular frame of mind. If I'm too dressed up to write, I get the feeling that someone is watching me, and I can't relax. Similarly, if I'm still in my PJs when I'm trying to analyse someone's else theoretical work, I have a tendency to daydream and lose concentration. I dress to create the mental mood I want to be in, and this applies whether working at home, going dancing, or seeing my Mum at her beach house.

    Good luck!

    T.xxx

    ReplyDelete
  76. I would recommend Butterick 4790, (Retro Butterick '52) as a comfortable and styling dress. But then I'm biased, it is a favourite pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Well, I vote for cute narrow jeans with rolled up cuffs and a selection of cute tops that won't show stains. I also have an almost-too-tight DARK stretch denim pencil skirt from Uniqlo that is pretty perfect for around the house (unless the day includes gardening). If I'm going out I throw on a cool oversize top/jacket/whatever. It works with sandals, converse, or whatever heel I feel like. Very versatile. The housedresses look cool, but I think I'd be tempted to overeat in them unless the waist was pretty trim.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I'm so happy you asked this question. I'be been at home for 10 years after working for 40, and had such a hard time giving up the corporate uniform. My solution (finally) is 60s/70s loungewear and lots of knits.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I have a housedress that I often wear as a housedress. And the hilarious thing is, I bought it from a mid-level clothing chain store that has never stocked anything like it again. It's a simple black wrap dress that ties at the waist and has plenty of fabric in the skirt. It's made from an all-over eyelet embroidered cotton, and has short sleeves that button at the side, and a little collar that comes down into the V made by the wrap-ness.

    It's definitely comfy in most temperatures, although I get cold pretty easily and either wear something long sleeved over or under it. I'd say that a housedress isn't the worst thing to wear at home... although I find I get the desire to clean things rather than actually do some work... Hahaha.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I work from home and I am so sick of jeans and what we call here "trackies" (sweatpants) - and my husband is starting to comment as well - "why don't you wear a nice dress?" and I know I would feel better about myself if I was wearing a nice dress too. But it's winter here now and I have to keep warm! I don't know what the answer is.

    I really like the ideas the other commenters have given. I think comfort with a hint of glamor is the way to go!

    Gosh that "Advance" pattern above is to DIE for.

    ReplyDelete
  81. i get by with shift dresses worn over trousies but that doesn't look anywhere near as stylish as the options you laid out in your post....

    ReplyDelete
  82. Have you checked out The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style? It has a whole bombshell section, and I'm pretty sure it has suggestions for casual pieces/outfits.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I've been working from home since October. I'd say it's important to be out of pjs by 9 or you'll never get them off. I treat every day like it's casual Friday. I wear a lot of cotton dresses that are easy to just throw on, maybe with tights or leggings. Jeans and a nice top are great because you can slap on some comfy shoes to run groceries, but if you have evening plans you can trade Converse for heels and only wear one outfit for the day. The great thing about working from home is that your ironing time diminishes rapidly!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Stephanie in Kickapoo, KansasMay 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    I'm thinking those sack like dresses with an apron from the late 20's would be comfy. Any excuse to wear an apron! Butterick's 1928 The Art of Dressmaking is my new find at the thrift store-gotta love Kansas farm women. I do so enjoy your blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Not meaning to repeat others, but maybe this is your opportunity to add those "jumpsuits" or "playsuits" to your closet? Make them out of something stretchy, possibly?

    And don't forget to schedule exercise on a regular basis!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Having had time to read the thread properly today I must say Elizabethe has it spot on, I agree on every point. Great resply.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I love this post and I think this might be the clothing dilemma of the decade for many women. I can't add much to all the wonderful comments, since my experience has been much the same as others'.

    It is now my 6th year of WAH, and I've settled into loose and soft things like tent dresses, tunics, palazzo pants, and lots of knits. This is because I write, and so I sit for 12 or more hours a day, which you just can't do in jeans or tight skirts. (And yes, it is very easy to get out of shape! Keep up your exercise!)

    But oh how I miss my beautiful tailored suits and designer pumps of the old office days! Now I try to give myself reasons to wear beautiful things, whether it's a casual girl's night out or dressing up for the symphony.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Oh and by all means, swan about dramatically. It's essential to the creative process! If you can do it in a glamourous 40's robe, all the better.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I have to second what someone else mentioned about the cats. Our house currently has a kitten and 2 pairs of my jeans are already trashed from his claws. It's better for my nice clothes to just keep them as out of the house wear.

    Also the cats are a huge distraction. My older cat is an awesome sewing cat as she just wants to lounge about near you. My kitten is always wanting to climb into my lap and cuddle or grab the measuring tape like its a toy or pounce on pattern tissue. He will have to learn to be a better sewing assistant!

    ReplyDelete
  90. A good pair of 1940s swing trousers, wiv ur hair in a comfy mess wrapped in a head scarf!! I like to sew in the closest things to PJs i can find.. :) heehee

    ReplyDelete
  91. You can certainly have an elastic waistband, say in mid-length linen skirt with a wide hem, and still look fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I think Nathalie's idea is a truly EXCELLENT one!

    Start your day with errands. That way you will be up and dressed and stay that way for the rest of the day - rather than resenting the fact that you have to change out of your comfy jim jams 'sometime' in the afternoon :)

    I suggest some fairly plain knit dresses (that you can get away with not washing too often) that you can dress up differently with various belts, scraves etc.

    I've found pairing peasant style bloses with slimline peddle pushers (with a bit of stretch), and (nautical) striped tops with rolled up jeans or 40s style swing pants a real winner. They work well with ballet flats, wedge espadrills or even a pair of chucks.

    Oh, and keep some healthy snacks on had - beacuse you will want to graze - fruit, nuts, chopped carrots etc.

    Good luck Gertie. I'm so very excited for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  93. So yes pj's all day is a huge temptation now that I work from home. I do shower and get dressed before my husband gets home from work so that I look more like a "real" person and am not rubbing it in his face that he left home at 5am and I got to be in pj's all day! My newest solution to being a lazy worker at home is to get a dog! We are getting a puppy in two months, as soon as its old enough to leave mom. I figure I'll be up and dressed early, plus getting more exercise so it's all good. Plus, if I talk to myself at least I can delude myself that I'm talking to the dog now!

    ReplyDelete
  94. I love the ease of Eileen Fisher. I can go from corporate office, to school PTO, to relaxing at home in a single outfit. It's not a vintage look but all of her pieces are just as comfortable as old t-shirts and sweatpants.

    Her website now has fantastic videos on how to wear a set of pieces in different ways.

    Now I only need to learn how to sew my own.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Wow, this is so interesting to read. I've worked from home for several years now, both for myself and for large companies. Having always been a girly-girl, getting 'dressed' has never been a problem for me, especially since I've never even owned a pair of sweats and don't own pants (too difficult to get them to fit).

    My closet and dressers contain various separates and dresses, including two Swirl dresses I'd fight to the death to defend. In winter, I have cute, guest-worthy slippers to wear, as well as warm tights (my health means cold really, really affects me), but in the summer, I only put on shoes if I'm leaving the house to go somewhere or to garden! Alas. (Wood floors to protect.) I don't find most things restrictive or uncomfortable, but I did go to a parochial school where I had to wear a uniform. Maybe that has something to do with it!

    My mother always said that if a woman is "dressed to face the day", even if she's sick, she'll get more accomplished, feel better, and be more open to other people and experiences that may come her way. I've found this to be true, and even when I feel like death warmed over (more often than I'd like!). There's something about getting up, doing my hair and makeup, and getting properly dressed, even if I am not going anywhere! I know you really liked her post, but I really don't believe the 'you won't do it for yourself no matter how much you say you will' bit. But we're all different.

    I suppose you can always get a dog, Gertie. Knowing you absolutely must go out a few times a day to give your pooch exercise and a chance for relief does wonders when it comes to helping nudge some folks along in the sartorial department! LOL My collie always seems happy to be seen strolling about the neighborhood with me. ;D

    Congrats to you!

    ReplyDelete
  96. I am an at home Mom who homeschools. Most of the time I like to wear wide leg trousers with wedge shoes, and a cute styled t. Or if I wear jeans I wear them with converse Chuck Taylors, often with a t-shirt, and I love (vintage) cardigan sweaters, they seem to go with everything. I'm not much of a skirt gal except during a few weeks we have summery weather, It rains so much here and I get cold easy so as much as I love skirts I'd be wrapped in a blanket if I tried to wear them much.

    ReplyDelete
  97. OH and I wanted to add that the pattern you linkned to for swaning around the house in, is in my ETSY shop. Thanks! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  98. it seams you are NOT the only one with house dresses on your mind.

    http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/homage-to-the-humble-house-dress/

    i think these could make a fun comeback, but they need to be a little more tailored for my tastes. is it going to be buh-bye boyfriend shirts/jeans and hello comfy house dresses?

    ReplyDelete
  99. I find that in winter I tend to lounge around in my pyjamas till about 10.30am. Any later, and I am usually surprised by a knock on the door, whether its a delivery guy or salesman, I find it embarrassing not to be dressed reasonably. Most of the week I am up early as I have to walk my daughter to school, so I dress casually, but ok, to visit the shops. If I decide to go into the city, then I usually dress more formally, with perhaps a nice dress and shoes.

    I always wear some makeup, and I notice a lot of mothers, wear less eye make-up than when they were in the work force. If I am doing a messy cleaning job at home, I usually change into something old, so I don't have bleach stains on my clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  100. I am a fashion designer and I mostly work from home. It is soo important to get dressed for work even if its from home. Actually helps you work better and focus. I wear jeans/pants most times with classic tunics and tops.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake