This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
It's tough to come to terms with the upending of routine caused by coronavirus. As well as separation from loved ones and challenges to mental health, many of us are now working from home. This is unchartered territory for any girlboss, accustomed as we are to flitting between women-only co-working spaces and feminist book launches. Ah, happier times!
Bringing the office to your home – as cabin fever and news anxiety set in – is not without its challenges. Maybe your ergonomic standing desk has been replaced by a pile of magazines on a coffee table, or your boyfriend refuses to regulate his talking volume on video calls. All annoying, of course, but the priority for any self-respecting work-from-home woman is to find empowerment through clothes. You need to be properly kitted out to #riseandgrind the hell out of those team Zoom chats!
To make things a little easier, we’ve put together our best picks for a WFH wardrobe that’s perfect for an earth-shaking pandemic.
One White Blouse
A crucial element of any office wear look, the white blouse is also a staple of the work-from-home wardrobe. It’s good to keep a little consistency between your old life, when you were allowed outdoors at will, and your new one as a nervous wreck trapped in your own home, after all! Dressing properly for work at home will help you to keep your figurative girlboss cup (or should I say, "reusable metal canteen with ‘NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED’ transfer motif"?) overflowing!
Fit-wise, I tend to think oversized works best, firstly because it’s always effortlessly chic (“This old thing?”), and secondly because a bit more room makes it easier to slip on over your pyjamas – which are now just your regular clothes – before you hop onto the 10AM Google Hangout you forgot about until approx. three minutes ago because you were watching the Guardian coronavirus live blog with an expression of blank horror and a bowl of cereal. Such a fresh, classic look!
Old Pair of Birkenstocks or Similar Dad Sandals
Differentiating between the working day and leisure time can be tough under these strange new conditions, but I’ve learned to do it by simply putting on and then taking off a pair of sandals, which are not real shoes but are crucially close enough. Amazing for your mental health.
Massive T-Shirt You Got for Free Once
Working from home is a golden opportunity to shop from your own wardrobe! Digging out and repurposing old clothes is a fun and thrifty activity. For example, now that I am constantly indoors, I have started almost exclusively wearing promotional t-shirts for a beer I do not drink, which are so large on me that they look like dresses. We love a multi-purpose item!
Tracksuit Bottoms x2
Whether your preferred style is "PE bottoms from school that leave a compression ring around your stomach because you have owned them for a decade," or "stolen from ex-boyfriend," my top tracksuit bottom tip is that it is important to have a pair to switch to when you get too many condiment stains on the pair you’ve been wearing for upwards of a week. The darker in colour the better, so as to not show up further stains. This way, you only need to change when they start to feel crunchy to the touch. Life hack!
Sweatshirt with Bleach Stains Where Every Time You Wear It You’re Like “How The Fuck Did This Get Bleach On It?”
I wrecked a perfectly good Calvin Klein jumper with bleach, and then entered a years-long fugue state whereby I can’t remember how I did it. Needless to say, I've been wearing it! A lot! Lately!
Pair of Dungarees That You Have Started Referring to as “My Good Clothes”
As what is essentially a socially acceptable adult baby-gro, dungarees occupy the logical midpoint between "clothes that are too baggy to actually feel like clothes" and "something you could wear in the street without onlookers thinking you are a first-year student who performatively goes to the supermarket in their pyjamas." As such, they are a helpful item to own in a situation such as this one, wherein there is no actual need to get dressed, and Real Clothes feel like a physical burden.
Enter the humble dungaree: why not wear a pair to mark a special occasion, such as "going on an extra long walk to the shop" or "not working from bed today"?
Workout Clothes But NOT for Working Out
You are lying on the sofa wearing leggings that you ill-advisedly bought when you were into yoga for one week six months ago, for no reason other than because you got hot sauce on all of your other bottoms. Your boyfriend comes in from his morning walk, surveying your outfit. “Oh cool, are you going for a run today?” he asks innocently.
Your head snaps around 90 degrees to look at him. Your eyes have turned red. “No, James.” You are spitting now, your mouth has expanded to reveal a sharp new layer of teeth. There is blood gushing out of your nose and mouth. He is visibly terrified. You open your jaws as if to bite, but you speak instead, in a quiet voice, and a cold, malevolent tone.
“I am here on the sofa watching my third consecutive episode of Homes Under the Hammer.”
“OK,” he says. He does not ask if you are going to do exercise again.
Comfort is key during these tough times, so do your feet a favour and sheathe them in a warm pair of slippers! I enjoy a pair that I stole from one of the two nice hotels I have ever stayed in, but everyone has their own preferences. So what if you get so used to wearing them that your feet quickly become soft and floppy like boneless chicken breasts and putting on real shoes makes you cry?
Nearing 20 fags a day just for the regular excuse to stick your head out the window and feel something, amirite ladies?!
Tote Bag Whose Handles You Live in Fear of, for Occasional Trips to the Shop
Will today be the day the already-threadbare handles snap? Will this tin of chickpeas finish it off? Will your shopping spill all over the pavement, causing you to spend longer than permitted on a public walkway? Will you be arrested by an overzealous policeman for not observing social distancing while trying to gather your heinous little packets of penne and Cup-a-Soup? Will a camera crew happen to be passing, see the altercation, and stop to film it, resulting in you being made an example of on the news? These are all things that cross your mind as you get this bag out of the drawer, examine it for one second, and then put it in your pocket on the way to Tesco.
Voila – pandem-chic!