Does Your Home Office Wardrobe Affect Your Productivity?

source: Rubbermaid Products

Not long ago I asked home office professionals around the country to describe what they wear when they work from home. The response was mixed.

Half of the group responded that they don’t dress up to work from home, while the other half said that they can’t work without the corporate look. A few people shared their creative twists to their work-from-home wardrobes, while one person put a slight spin on “casual Friday.”

I couldn’t believe the number of e-mails I received about this topic. While I can’t fit all of the responses in this blog post, I’ll share more in future posts.

“I do find that while I can wear whatever I want while working from home, it can impact my work that day. Some days when I feel that there are especially significant tasks to accomplish, I put on the sport coat and/or tie and I do think it helps me focus with greater intensity. A couple of years ago I had two part-time people who embraced this idea, and we instituted “Formal Fridays” where we wore suits, ties, etc. one day each week to see what impact we felt it would have!”
Ryan L. Hamilton, Geared For Imagination

“I’ve been working from home for a dozen years now and I still have ‘work’ clothes and ‘play’ clothes. When I worked full-time in an office, it was in the creative department of ad agencies, so I wore ‘business casual’ every day; except for what I liked to call, ‘T-shirt Fridays.’ After talking to another freelancer who did the same, I decided to keep my business casual look for working at home during the day. This helps keep me in the mood to work rather than goof off, and helps differentiate my ‘work time’ from ‘free time’ every day.”
Mike Pascale, All Ages Media

“When I first began working from home, I got up each day, put on my make-up and dressed nicely (no, not in suits). As time went on, I found myself working my way into the pajama routine. When that happened, I took a step back and decided to change that. Now, I dress very casually until I have to go out into a corporate environment or museum or wherever to conduct my training. All of the prep work is done from my home office, but once I must make that appearance, it’s back to the professional look.”
Sherry Thomas, Palm Beach Etiquette

“My attire for work depends entirely on my day. For the most part, I dress comfortably, although I try to avoid the sweats and slippers avenue because I find that it makes me less productive and more apt to curl up in bed with a good book. I do a decent amount of client meetings via Skype, so I make sure I dress to impress on days I have Skype meetings (at least from the waist up!). I have been known to wear a nice blazer with dress shirt with jeans (since the client can’t see my jeans)!”
Bridget Dean, Dean Communications

“I spent 25 years in corporate marketing and wore a suit and tie for most of that period. Since 2003, I’ve been an independent consultant primarily working out of a home office and I wear sweats or shorts when I am here. I do wear slacks, blazers and/or jeans when I meet with clients or attend networking events – dress varies on the group.”
Michael Sick, Marketing and Business Development Consultant and Writer

“I ALWAYS get dressed for the day before going to my home office, but it’s mom-wear for me…comfortable and casual. Between working and playing the semi-effective role of Super Mom, I have to be ready for anything.”
Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

“I work in casual clothes and it’s not unheard of that my husband will come home and find me still sitting in my pajamas at 6:00 pm! That’s what happens when you roll out of bed and into your work chair! Luckily for me, as my business is recreational events, I burned my power suits and had T-shirts and polo shirts printed with my company logo on them to wear to business networking events. We give our T-shirts – which have our mascot Wild Harry and the tagline ‘Got a Wild Hare?’ on them – to our clients who LOVE wearing them.”
Lisa Jennings, Wildly Different

“Being in California and of course owning the company and working at home has made shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes the company uniform of sorts. And when it gets really warm, you are looking at shorts with no shirt and sometimes it is literally just boxers when the day just begins jumping into e-mails and a few quick calls before taking a shower.”
Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks

Now it’s your turn. Does working in sweatpants affect your productivity or inactivity? Do you have to wear a power suit to accomplish anything?



  1. I believe in total comfort.. and that dressing up in business attire has its place, just not at mine. If I wake up and have the creative juices going, I oftentimes don’t change into street clothes until noon. I do honor those who believe clothes make the mindset, however, I’m creative regardless of the suit.

  2. How interesting, Lisa, exactly the response I’ve had recently here in the UK! I call them the Comfys and the Smarts.

    I’m afraid I’m definitely in the former category, and had to laugh when a commenter, obviously having had enough of being told relaxed clothing affects her performance, declared ‘I refuse to subscribe to the theory that the wrong trousers impair my ability to write a professional email.’

    Put like that it does sound ridiculous, but if I’ve learnt anything from the time I’ve spent talking to home workers, it’s that we all have to find our own way. Actually I am a bit in awe of those who dress smartly even when they’ll be working at home alone all day :-/
    Judy Heminsley recently posted..No Posts Were Found!My Profile

    • It’s good to know that home workers around the world work the same way. 🙂 I agree that we need to find our own way. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. A few years ago I tried to dress up for work every day and after the fifth day, I gave up. I put my jeans and a comfy shirt on and was just as productive as when I dressed up. Actually, I think I was MORE productive.
      Lisa recently posted..Does Your Home Office Wardrobe Affect Your Productivity?My Profile

  3. Honestly, I’m the type of girl who doesn’t care much about clothes, not even when I was working in an “outside” office. So now that I’m working at home, I’m all for comfort over style. The less amount of clothing I wear while working, the better. Just enough to be able to answer the door when the mailman comes knocking. I just freshen up and dress a bit better when my husband’s about to come home from work. 🙂

  4. I try to be smart casual but with loosely fitted trousers as that is more comfortable for sitting at a desk. I did try working in PJ’s a couple of weeks ago and by the end of the day I just felt depressed and as if I hadn’t accomplished anything.

    So, for me it smart casual and always put some make up on for optimum efficiency.

    • I agree about pajamas. There’s something about getting dressed, even if it’s in casual clothes, that seems better than working in pajamas. It’s too easy to lounge all day when you know you’re not going to leave the house, especially not in pajamas.

      Getting dressed (workout clothes count) and putting on makeup works for me. If I need to run out for something or I need to pick up my son, I can leave right away.
      Lisa recently posted..Does Your Home Office Wardrobe Affect Your Productivity?My Profile

  5. Hello Lisa, I think I have to echo Mike Pascales point about having different outfits for ‘work’, ‘rest’ and ‘play’. For myself I know that I’m ready to work when I feel dressed for work, my mind is tuned into working. I’m not saying you have to be all dolled up in a suit or a stiff corporate number, but just something that to you represents a change in your mindset. The clothes you wear have a big impact on how you feel and effect you subconsciously. I’m a style architect for female entrepreneurs/business owners helping them get ‘visible’ in their busness by creating a wardrobe that they can rock with pride. I’m a strong advocate for dressing the part and feeling ‘ready’ for business even if you are just calling clients from home. Having the right wardrobe or ‘uniform’ for different areas of your life, helps you wear many hats with ease and so you can really enjoy the casual times when you are not working and simply ‘playing’.
    I have lots of queries from ladies who are what I call the ‘behind the scenes’ entrepreneur – do I really need to be stylish if I’m working from home? I always say yes, add a little zing to your working day. Just like Shelley Hunter said, it gives you the ‘ready’ to go mentality and saves you being flustered if you have to do a formal Skype call you weren’t prepared for.
    I’m working with lots of female entrepreneurs carrying out some research sessions to discover more about wardrobe woes, if any ladies would like to get in touch let me know. I’d be really happy to give you some tips and tricks 🙂
    Samantha Clarke recently posted..Where everybody knows your name..My Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge