Pretty much the whole world has been sent home to work. For the first time ever, people are actually discussing, fussing and getting their tips online, on what to wear while being confined at home and trying to bring on their utmost professionalism to the desk and Zoom lenses.
Personally, as an Image and Personal Branding Consultant, I cannot help but wonder; no, make that, curious – what do people actually wear, while trying to find that perfect balance of comfort and still want to look chic; not to mention finding that psychological footing of still being in the working mode even though Scandals on Netflix is calling out?
So, I rallied eight marketers to find out.
Charu Mehrotra – Founder, Womenlines
I love colours! As an entrepreneur I have to wear many caps for different meetings, to keep the vibrancy alive. Sometimes I am interviewing, other times I am negotiating, some other time I am collaborating. I always look forward to adding a touch of colour to my dressing. Be it a colourful top, a shrug or perhaps colourful jewellery on dull coloured dressing. I have a dedicated table corner in my home, as I mostly work from home.
The challenge now is to keep myself presentable during my virtual meets and managing home simultaneously (as the whole family is at home). Especially the next 2 weeks when I am moderating one virtual summit, which my company is organising, in collaboration. I think your whole attitude towards work changes once you get ready in the morning with a touch of little makeup and add-on jewellery. Fun part is you don’t have to stress yourself in arranging for a combination of the dress as nobody cares if you are wearing the same jeans with every top which might also be a mismatch!!
Chin Jun Jie – Agency Manager, Pinnacle Creative Agency
It is no surprise that the social norm keeps you in check. Smart casual attire for town, no ankle socks in a business meeting, hair done neatly to greet an important client. Let’s not forget, it is the social norm that ties you down. To me, it is not how neat you look, but rather your state of mind. I may dress sloppily, yes, but I can’t say that’s the same for my work. This is my 3rd day working from home fully, since the circuit breaker was inducted. A simple T-shirt with pajamas for comfort. For zoom calls, a collared shirt over my t-shirt and we are good to go!
Haikel Fahim – Region Head, Southeast Asia, Telum Media
Working in Singapore’s Central Business District means you’re dressing up in preppy shirts, trousers and dress shoes. There are days where the blazer gets to top it off; looks good, but not so comfortable. Now that I’ve been working from home for two weeks, it’s time for a break! I’m prioritising comfort more than anything else.
My go-to WFH outfits are sweat or jogger pants and a trusted plain cotton t-shirt. It’s easy to move around with these. With jogger pants I can stretch out or fold my legs on the sofa and not worry about creases. The plain t-shirt is casual enough for me to pop down to the food court close by to buy lunch, and easy to match should I need to put a blazer over it, for more formal video calls. This WFH arrangement is new to me but to help me focus on my work, I first need to be comfortable. I read a quote somewhere before – “May your clothes be comfy, your coffee be strong, and your Monday be short.” There isn’t a better time to make these happen than now.
Joanna Soh-Pereira – Founder, Macchiato Advertising Agency Pte Ltd
Day-3 of Singapore’s most serious circuit breaker measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We have all been “highly encouraged” to stay home and it’s not a big adjustment in lifestyle because my team and I have been advocating the idea of working remotely and working from our laptops on our travels.
One difference between my work from home outfit and now, is that I have to look presentable (at least top half) because client meetings, board meetings and team meetings have shifted to video conferences. Maintaining the same level of respect when you put effort into your dressing in showing up at events and meetings is now translated to what you’re going to wear in front of the webcam. My go-to is a sleeved turtle-neck or buttoned up long sleeved cotton shirt. Buttoned up because it frames a face well in front. Sleeved because it removes focus off any other part of the body.
Most of the time I’m sitting in front of the laptop having video meetings so no one sees anything waist down. So usually I’d wear yoga pants or shorts and get a stretch in between meetings to keep the mental agility. I’m glad I don’t need to wear makeup because that means I have an additional 30 minutes spent putting on and removing that I can add to productivity. So, bare-faced for me because I invest in great skincare!
Manisha Seewal – CEO of Jualo.com (Indonesia) and Group CMO of CARRO
I love dressing up. It makes me feel alive. Usually, I would dress up based on my handbag, sometimes with my shoes in mind and often for the accessories. It’s satisfying to express myself through my attire. But these days I am skipping the heels + mascara and wearing a CARRO t-shirt every day during WFH. Here are 3 reasons why:
- To train my mind to be committed and productive – with the orange CARRO t-shirt, comes great responsibilities.
- To connect with my teams across SE Asia, so they feel part of CARRO during video calls.
- To feel brand love – important for Marketers to think out of the box.
After all, every super hero/heroine needs a power suit, which makes them feel they can save the world. This is exactly what wearing a CARRO (and sometimes Jualo) t-shirt does for me. And I wear it every day during WFH. Luckily I have enough t-shirts to last an entire week.. perks of working at a startup. Haha! Oh, did I mention that no matter what, my hair must always be done. No excuses!
Steeve Cupaiolo – CEO, Silk Road Sports Consulting
Usually I am not really wearing suits or jackets at the office except when I have important meetings. I am working in the sports industry, so I am not really into “formal dress code” and the 9am – 6pm working hours. For me, the most important is getting the job done.
Now, with WFH, I can really enjoy working in simple sports t-shirts and shorts. Actually, I just want to optimise my time and be able to go for a run or play with my kids, even when I have 1 hour free or if I need to “refresh” my brain. Of course, besides this, I can work anytime – 8am, 11pm, 2am… time is not really important anymore. At this moment, I am working a lot with Europe, so it is definitely not an issue for me to take a call really late. I just need to choose a nice t-shirt, if it is a video call. And honestly, in these unfortunate moments, who really cares. We feel already happy when we can at least work a bit. So, let’s try to feel comfortable in our own clothes!
Tavy Cussinel – Deputy Managing Director Luxury and Lifestyle, REDHILL Communications Agency
When REDHILL started the working from home initiative to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I was initially in shock. I have three small children and enjoy the split of my time; dressed up, made up career woman on one hand, dressed down mum on the other. I even have an Instagram blog @thesartorialswan where I discuss what I wear and how I wear it to inspire other working mums of a certain age to have fun with how they dress. I was all at sea. I started rolling out of bed, racing through the shower and throwing on shorts and t-shirts with my hair scraped back to hit my laptop. But we are all missing the human connection and as video calls grew in popularity, so did my unease. I feel naked without makeup, less professional, somehow and the shorts and tees made me feel slovenly.
So I shifted to soft floaty dresses that make me feel feminine and ‘dressed’, I do my hair and I wear makeup now. I feel more like me and I’m able to bring my professional persona to the table in all I do. The kids are now full time at home and need free run of the house so I move around to create pockets of tranquillity to get my head in the work zone. This is my favourite nook, a window seat in my bedroom that looks out over scented frangipani trees adorned with orchids. It calms my mind and enables me to focus. Wearing a super light cotton dress by Singapore based Swiss designer, SG Frangipanee and bare feet!
Wahyu Ramadhan Yusuf – Content Writer, kreativv ID
You know what they say, ‘you are what you wear’ and that’s pretty much what I always stick to these past couple of weeks while slaying, I mean working from home. Of course, gearing up for my daily routine is always something that I enjoy the most; sailing through the ocean of creativity and curating the best content for our audience, that hopefully can be educational, entertaining and engaging, so they can enjoy their #StayAtHome time.
I always aim for the finest and most sophisticated quality of work, and so does how I look when doing that. That’s why on this day 19 of working from home, I have my favourite item of clothing – a blue oversized checkered shirt that’s super comfortable, but still giving me that dashing effortless look, paired with rocking ripped jeans. And pardon me waiting for my next online meeting barefooted and feeling the summer breeze from my rooftop gazebo.