This one goes out to all the newer remote workers and those who are curious about what to keep in their remote work wardrobe behind the screen. You will undoubtedly get the question about working in your jammies; perhaps you’ve already fielded that one a time or two.
Contrary to popular belief, the switch to a remote role doesn’t mean you toss your work-appropriate clothing into a giant donation pile or ritualistic bonfire. No, you’ll still need to dress like a respectable pro from time to time. I’ve gathered the following recommendations on what you’ll need for various events so you’ll know when you can get away with old sweats, and when it’s a better idea to dress up in order to make the best impression.
Here’s how to optimize your remote work wardrobe:
What to Wear at Meetings
Just about anything goes here, so long as a) your neighbors can’t get a visual on too much of you and b) you’re not offending anyone within your immediate surroundings. Pajamas, your comfy house duds, old workout gear, etc., are all par for the phone meeting course.
You could even technically take calls in various states of undress/your birthday suit, but be forewarned: an impromptu request for a video call will likely turn up at just such a moment. (Also, this is something you should never, ever admit to the person on the other end of the line, for obvious reasons.)
That said, some folks will feel more comfortable wearing typical professional clothes no matter the setting, so business casual applies here, too!
Ah, the last bastion of mullet outfits: video meetings. The one work-related instance where one can indeed appear quite professional from the waist up, and really funky from the waist down. As someone who has worn such a mismatched ensemble, I have a few tips for you.
First, know that you may need to get up at some point during the call, and those Hello Kitty pants just might be visible. (You might recall one work-from-home expert staying put during the Viral Remote Interview Video of 2017; much debate over his potential pant choice ensued.)
Second, your outfit may influence your confidence level as well as your behavior, so a full suit isn’t a ridiculous idea for important video calls. Last, but not least, what you display to others ultimately reflects upon your personal brand, so be sure to choose wisely.
This one depends on the audience and their general expectations, so first you’ll want to focus on who will be present, and then why you’ve all decided to meet. Are you part of a hoodie-worshipping startup and only catching up with your teammates? Will this gathering include a presentation to important clients or business partners? Do the senior execs in your company tend to appreciate formalities, or (as a company leader yourself) are you keen to build a culture that’s more casual?
Do keep in mind what people in your industry tend to wear—be it hip, fashion-forward styles, something laid back, or more traditional corporate attire—and try to follow suit. (Pun intended.)
What to Wear at Events
Here, similar rules apply. Just as you would for a face-to-face meeting, you’ll want to pack clothing that somewhat mirrors what others in your industry tend to wear. That said, this is also a situation where you may wish to stand out, either as a speaker or as just a regular participant. (Networking is easier, after all, when you don’t fully blend in.)
Be creative in your choices and don’t shy away from some bold pops of color in your sweaters, ties, belts, skirts, or socks. This is a chance for you to express your own personal style and actually have it seen by large groups of people! Incorporating versatile accessories that enable you to dress an outfit up or down will be important, as will plenty of layering options; you know how those conference hall temps can vary, and unlike home, you’ll have no control over the thermostat.
In case of team retreats, location, company culture, and activities all apply in equal measure. You’ll want to look at the climate of the spot your organization has selected. Is it a balmy, beachy locale or a cloudy, chilly northern hemisphere metropolis? Or maybe something in between?
The weather will dictate your wardrobe choices, as will the location’s perceived level of formality. (Sure, go ahead and pack a linen or gingham suit to your team’s island getaway; just don’t be surprised when others turn up in flip flops and shorts.) Naturally, you’ll need to consider your company’s culture here, which typically is influenced by the top down—so take a visual cue from leadership team’s attire on recent video calls. Next, you’ll want to eyeball that itinerary, because surf lessons call for very different gear from, say, urban pub-hopping.
So there you have it: a variety of remote work scenarios and your very own no-nonsense guide to what’s most appropriate, influential, and comfortable from someone who’s been there and worn that.
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