Why write about a work from home wardrobe? 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.
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. In fact, Pinterest Trends for 2020 found that work from home outfits was a legit thing. It seems that both men and women wanted 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
Sidebar: 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.
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.
Work from home wardrobe
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
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, Trunk Club and Bombfell. I’ve done the same with those companies–save for Bombfell, which is men’s only–plus Wantable and Allume to great success. In fact, for this article, I focused my work at home outfit research on four companies: Stitch Fix vs Trunk Club vs Wantable vs Allume.
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 stylists 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
Allume and my work from home wardrobe request
As I wrote in my Allume review from 2019, working with Allume is very different from other personal styling online services or subscription boxes. Allume is more of a fashion facilitator. Your stylist puts together a robust Look Book of outfits. Then, she texts you wardrobe suggestions after you’ve reviewed it. Like other styling services you pay a $20 fee, which is deducted from whatever you buy.
Here is a snapshot of the text conversation I had with my Allume stylist about my work from home wardrobe requests.
And here is one screenshot of the outfits she put together for me. I clicked through on any item I was interested in adding to my wardrobe.
One of the things I love about working with Allume is just how many options you have for selecting clothing. One of things I don’t love so much is that Allume points you to so many different retailers to make your purchase. Again, as I mentioned in my Allume Style review from 2019, not all of these retailers offer free shipping for your purchase. Many also don’t offer free shipping to send any returns back to them.
So what did I buy from Allume for my work from home wardrobe? I ended up getting seven pieces from Ann Taylor. You’ll notice that there were a bunch of Ann Taylor options in my Look Book. I’m excited to begin blending in these pieces to my work at home outfits.
Stitch Fix and my work from home wardrobe
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.
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.
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. The 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.
Trunk Club and my work from home wardrobe
Trunk Club is in second place as the one I’ve used the longest and most consistently. With 10-12 items sent in each Trunk, it has helped me ramp up my work from home wardrobe faster than any other styling service.
My stylist Jessica was super excited to think in terms of a capsule wardrobe for working from home. I was super excited for what she was going to send!
I ended up keeping three pieces (above) for my work from home wardrobe essentials. They were a new pair of NYDJ jeans–a lighter wash than I would normally get so unlike anything I own, a linen cardigan in navy blue and a neutral fringe-trimmed boucle jacket. You might have recalled seeing that kind of jacket in my Allume wardrobe above. While that jacket from Allume ended up not working for me, the Nic + Zoe one from Trunk Club did. It’s like nothing else in my closet.
As always my $25 styling fee was waived because I’m a Nordstrom VISA Card cardholder. Speaking of Nordstrom I recently got an email from the company saying that they’re moving all of the Trunk Club “clubhouse” locations to Nordstrom stores this year.
Finally, Trunk Club finally is participating in Rakuten. The last time I logged into my Trunk Club account, I could have gotten 6% back from Rakuten. So if you love shopping on Trunk Club and you love getting cash back for things you were going to buy anyway, make sure you sign up for Rakuten. Also, be sure to install the Rakuten browswer extension on Chrome so you never miss out.
Wantable and my work from home wardrobe
When I wrote my Wantable review in 2019, 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.
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, 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.
Work from home wardrobe options for men
Of the personal styling services online I’ve mentioned above, three of the four 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, why can’t men?
Anyway, if you’re interested in how Stitch Fix or Trunk Club can help you or a man in your life, here are links to my review of the Stitch Fix Men as well as my review of Trunk Club for Men and two other men’s online styling services.
Overall thoughts on my work from home wardrobe
I hope you’ve found it help that I’ve shared my experience with using an online styling company to build 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.
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 outfits so you can stay up to date on what I continue to add there from what I’m wearing and other people, too.