In October I went through my wardrobe and undertook the usual summer-to-winter swap of clothes. I pulled out all my big coats from the cellar and I re-discovered fur-lined boots and fluffy jumpers. And as I was moving the rest – skirts and dresses and sandals – out to make room for the new, I realised for the first time how much of an impact Covid had had on my wardrobe. I managed to go to the office about five times between lockdowns one and two, which meant that there was an outstanding amount of clothing that hadn’t seen the light of day this year. The spotty black dress that I love to wear? Hadn’t touched it. The myriad of work specific tops that I pull out when I wanted to dress smart? All but forgotten.
I don’t bother to dress up when I’m working from home… I do always dress… but I’m not going to soil my good clothes – for the first lockdown I was simply wearing the same trakkies and t-shirt for a week and then swapping it out for another the next.
Though in some part of my brain I realised that this was perhaps not a great idea long term… because days were blurring into evenings, and weekdays into weekends. It’s important to have a clear line between home time and work time, and surprise video Zoom calls do happen.
Clothing is another little way you can strengthen that line. So I got to online shopping.
I’m not a lover of wearing jeans around the house – I’m tracksuit pants all the way – for maximum comfort. But my selection of tracksuit pants sit in two categories: tight and stretchy for workouts or daggy and baggy for leisure time. Neither was quite right for ‘work tracksuit pants’. I bought myself three new pairs that were comfortable, but still a vast improvement on the daggy ones I had been wearing. To complete my outfit I discovered the poncho – which is a glorified blanket – with a hole for your head. The good thing about a poncho is, as well as keeping you warm, you can literally throw it over whatever you’re wearing and in seconds you go from sport-wear to looking like you’re… well… not wearing sport wear.
Because let’s be honest, a lot of the time when I’m working my base level is sport clothes. I’ve either just been for a walk or done a workout, or I’m planning to do one – and who can be bothered changing multiple times in one day if it’s not necessary?
Look, it might not seem like much, but I now have ‘official’ home office outfits – specific pairs of pants and clothes I only wear when I’m working, and in the evening, I can change back into my daggy tracksuit pants, and a different top (or just straight into PJs), and I arrive home from work feeling relaxed and ready for the evening.