Why write about work from home wardrobe essentials? Because plenty of people are already working from home. When it comes to work from home statistics, one article suggested that four in 10 Americans have telecommuted for their job at one point or another. Another said those that work from home, on purpose and full time, adds up to about eight million Americans.
That was pre coronavirus. Now with so many companies telling their employees to work from home on purpose–this list includes biggies like Google, Apple and Facebook–millions of workers will be joining the ranks of those that work from home.
I’ve been telecommuting forever
As a self-employed writer for years, working at home has always been my jam. And even before these stay-at-home orders forced so many people into the notion of telecommuting, I’d been thinking about writing a blog post on putting together work from home outfits.
I know that sounds like a lame topic, given the seriousness of this health crisis. But with so many of my clients using Zoom, Skype and WebEx for video conferencing these days, looking professional when you work at home is a real thing.
It seems that both men and women want more information work from home wardrobes. They are looking put together at home, even if their commute is just to the other side of their apartment or to another room in their house.
Benefits of working from home
I’ve seen tons of memes already on social media about work from home outfits. They would involve staying in your pajamas, wearing slippers around the house and only getting dressed from the waist up if you have to jump on a video call. Sure, one of the benefits of working from home is not having to put on a formal suit. But going to the other extreme is not a good idea either.
As someone who has done remote work for years, your productivity is going to suck if you don’t get dressed for real. It might be fun for the first few days to slum it on your wardrobe.
But I can tell you from years of real life experience that getting dressed like you have to meet with people–even if the only “people” you talk to that day are your pets–makes working seriously work so much better.
Work from home capsule wardrobe
Not familiar with the term capsule wardrobe? It’s basically a closet of neutral, mix and match pieces that can have you getting dressed, and looking polished and put together in no time.
Most work from home capsule wardrobes will include a white t-shirt, a striped shirt or blouse, dark wash jeans, a blazer, flats or sneakers, and a trench coat.
You can add in pops of color or an on-trend piece. This kind of capsule wardrobe dressing works for both women and men. Here are tips for how to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget.
Here are some of the best capsule wardrobe brands.
I’d say that if you were looking for work from home wardrobe essentials, the pieces mentioned above are a good start. And on most days that’s what you’ll find me wearing. However, you’ll rarely find me on a weekday not fully dressed, from head to toe.
OK, I’ll admit to walking around barefoot in my house sometimes. But my hair is done, my makeup is on, I’m wearing jewelry, and I’ve got a real outfit on.
That outfit might be a dressed up version of athleisure or even a legit dress so that if I had to run to a last-minute meeting, I wouldn’t have to panic and find something to wear. Because I’m already wearing it.
M.M.LaFleur wardrobe essentials
Previously, I’d reviewed M.M.LaFleur online styling company as an option for corporate attire. But now M.M.LaFleur has expanded its offerings to include the work from home crowd.
That is, it’s offering many more capsule wardrobe essentials that can work whether you’re working from home or in a business casual environment. Here are a few examples.
Work from home wardrobe essentials
So now that I’ve made the case for getting dressed when you’re working from home, you may be wondering: ok, what should I wear? Well, like I said, you don’t have to get as fancy as you might for a formal meeting at company headquarters–if you work for a financial institution, for example.
But if you’ve been living in the world of business casual for some time now, you’re probably in good shape for work from home outfits and likely have the basics of a work from home wardrobe.
However, let’s say you’re new to remote work or telecommuting yet you still want to look professional. That’s the approach I took when first thinking about this article. So what did I do? Turned to my favorite online styling companies for help.
Online stylists and work from home wardrobe essentials
I’ve written extensively about personal styling services online for women. I’ve also covered online stylist services for men. Both can help the fashionably challenge acquire put-together looks at home.
My husband has used online stylists from Stitch Fix. I’ve done the same with those companies, plus Wantable to great success. In fact, for this article on work from home wardrobe essentials, I focused my work at home outfit research on three companies: Stitch Fix vs Trunk Club vs Wantable.
Unfortunately, Trunk Club closed in May 2022. So I have taken out that portion of the review farther below. However, keep in mind that Nordstrom was Trunk Club’s parent company. So I feel confident you can still find great work-from-home clothing when shopping at Nordstrom.
In each instance I sent my stylist a note that pretty much said the following:
“I’m interested in improving my options for work from home outfits. I’d like to start building a capsule wardrobe that are versatile so I can me to mix and match pieces that look professional yet are comfortable for working at home.”
Each stylist was super enthusiastic about helping me put together my work from home wardrobe essentials. And while I was super enthusiastic about seeing what they would send me, the results varied greatly. Let me tell you how things worked out with each of the four companies. I’ve listed them here in alphabetical order.
Amazon personal stylist for men and women
Amazon now has a quasi personal styling option for men and women.
It’s called Amazon Prime Try Before You Buy.
Prime Try Before You Buy
Prime Try Before You Buy is a Prime-exclusive program where you can try on eligible items for sale on Amazon.
Eligible items to put in a box include women’s, men’s, kids’, baby clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Prime Try Before You Buy is part of Amazon Wardrobe.
However, it doesn’t just apply to Amazon brands.
For example, the Peloton clothing on Amazon all are a part of Prime Try Before You Buy.
How do you know if fashion items for sale on item are eligible for Prime Try Before You Buy?
You’ll see this toggle on/toggle off button on the shopping page.
Try at home for free
Here are the best parts.
One, you can try on up to six items at home for free.
Two, take seven days to try everything on.
And, three, you’ll only pay for what you keep.
Returns are free.
Amazon Prime personal styling service
Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is a personal stylist service for Amazon Prime members that recently ended.
I’m sorry to tell you that.
Stitch Fix and my work from home wardrobe essentials
Of all of the online styling companies out there, I’ve used Stitch Fix the longest. So it’s not surprising that I had the highest hopes from Stitch Fix for my work from home wardrobe request and giving me the essentials I needed.
As you know Stitch Fix charges a $20 styling fee. Also, it sends you just five items in your Fix. You can preview what’s coming in the Stitch Fix app once your Fix ships.
Preview what Stitch Fix was sending me
I could see that the five pieces Stitch Fix was sending me looked all great together. But I wasn’t sure they would look great on me.
I was right.
There was a lot of brown. The one pair of pants they sent were cargo pants that just did not look good on my body. That was disappointing because they were cute.
The only item I ended up keeping was a cheery multi-color, lightweight scarf that can go with nearly everything I own. This scarf alone was worth the styling fee.
Luckily, I’ve been using Stitch Fix for year. I’ve built up a pretty good, solid base for my work from home wardrobe. This includes a pair of dark wash Liverpool jeans. When the weather warms up, I’ll surely be reaching for the Leota faux wrap dresses Stitch Fix sent me last year as I was searching for the perfect dress to wear to my daughter’s college graduation.
Wantable and my work from home wardrobe essentials
When I wrote my first Wantable review, I mentioned that the only reason I tried the company was because it showed up in my Facebook feed as an alternative to Stitch Fix. Smart advertising there, Wantable. It worked.
Since first writing that review, I’ve ordered a few Style Edits (as Wantable calls its online styling) and one Fitness Edit. Like other services I pay a $20 styling fee. Wantable deducts that from what I buy.
What’s up with the Wantable Stream?
I’m still finding the Wantable interface and the Wantable Stream a bit confusing and hard to navigate. But the end results–i.e. the clothes I’m getting from Wantable–have been amazing.
When I reached out to my Wantable stylist about putting together a Style Edit focused on a work from home wardrobe essentials and must haves, I was super pleased with what she sent me. Now, even though, of the seven pieces I received, I only kept two, those two are such a great addition to my closet.
They were a pair of Liverpool plaid jeggings (they look like regular trousers but oh so comfy) and a dolman sleeve sweater top from the Wantable brand in black. It had a flattering keyhole at the neckline. I’ve already mixed and matched those two pieces over three days of work outfits. Here’s a picture of that outfit from Wantable.
Work from home wardrobe options for men
Of the personal styling services online I’ve mentioned above, all three offer options for men. Because I realize that women aren’t the only ones that might want a work form home wardrobe, I wanted to point that out.
However, with Wantable, at this time you can only request a Men’s Fitness Edit. Well, if women can get away with athleisure outfits as part of their working at home clothing essentials, why can’t men?
Anyway, if you’re interested in how Stitch Fix can help you or a man in your life, here are links to my review of the Stitch Fix Men.
Overall thoughts on my work from home wardrobe essentials
I hope you’ve found it help that I’ve shared my experience with using an online styling company to build the essentials in my work from home wardrobe. I feel like I’m in a good place for putting together professional-looking outfits on a daily basis, which is great for when a client emails at 2:30 that we’ve got a Zoom video call at 3 p.m.
In addition, with towns, cites and some states enacting lockdown or quarantines for residents, shopping via an online stylist is a great way to ensure you build your work form home wardrobe without risking your health by shopping in the stores. Heck, just shopping online is a great option.
Make sure you get dressed every day
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, if you’re new to working remote, telecommuting or working from home, I’ll reiterate the importance of getting dressed to go to work every day. This is true even if going to work means sitting at your dining room table. Trust me–you’ll be able to sustain your working from home productivity when you look and feel professional, head to toe.
If I can answer any questions about working from home–since I’ve been doing that for decades–or building a work from home capsule wardrobe, please let me know.
Finally, here is a link to my Pinterest board work at home outfit essentials so you can stay up to date on what I continue to add there from what I’m wearing and other people, too. Below is one of the many pins you’ll find on that Pinboard.