Instagram’s latest craze #pillowchallenge shows people draped in pillows, which are fastened to their bodies with fanny packs and chunky designer belts. Some even jazz up the ensemble with matching bags and stilettos. For many, this seems like a logical transition from bed to laptop.
However, despite the pillow warriors, comfortable and effortless athleisure is what gets top billing as #ootd (outfit of the day) now. Working from home now involves hoodies with shorts or leggings, depending on the weather, despite iconic designer Karl Lagerfield’s infamous quote “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” But who cares what anyone says when the world is slowly, and unsteadily, trying to get used to a new normal indoors.
Pyjamas and boxers are fast emerging as crowd favourites too. And yes, then there are those who love lounging and working in their birthday suit best. It is perhaps this category that has given rise to the most hilarious WFH disaster memes currently doing the rounds on social media. That nightmare of finding yourself in a board meeting with no pants? It could happen now, as WFH wear is combined with endless virtual meetings, and a dozen new apps on your phone that you are still learning how to use.
“Accidentally seeing a co-worker in his underpants is not something I had ever imagined. Clearly, the novel Coronavirus has been a revelation in many ways,” laughs New York-based Janine (name changed), whose day now begins with a video conference call with her team at 10 am. She confesses to adopting the time-tested formula of dressing from the top down. A formal shirt, for video conferences, and under the table, shorts and funny socks that no one will see. She enviously adds that her friends who do not have to be on video calls have it easier, as they can spend their day in hydrating face masks, snug in bath robes. “Everybody hates laundry day,” she laughs.
Started in mid March, Wfhfits, an Instagram page with more than 22.4 k followers, showcases what the world is wearing as it works from home. The page encourages people to submit their outfits of the day. The collection thus far comprises pleated palazzos, frilly maxis, kaftans and head wraps. There are animal-printed trousers, shimmery dresses, metallic leggings, and OTT entries such as the swan outfit (that was made famous by Icelandic artist Bjork during the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001.), pantsuits with feather detailing, bodysuits with leotards… you get the drift.
If you prefer to work in something more practical, designer Saaksha Bhatt of the label Saaksha & Kinni offers a few easy options: “Pair a printed collared shirt that emotes confidence and efficiency with a relaxed trouser, joggers or leggings which keeps you comfortable and is not visible whilst on conference calls. Hair should generally be tied back if you are a professional, and makeup done subtly,” she says.
Her go-to outfit while operating out of home is a printed shirt and black satin pyjama pants. “It’s important to wear slightly official clothes — not to ease back into it for when you have to go back to work because that’s something you don’t have a choice about — but more so to keep you in a healthy frame of mind to be proactive and not lazy,” she adds.
With every situation, one must be prepared to change and adapt accordingly, believes Nisha Jamvwal, Mumbai-based socialist, interior architect, columnist, brand and art consultant. She is all about adding excitement to every day things so that even the mundane tasks don’t seem that way.
To work from home is no different to when you get out and work, says Nisha. “It is important to bathe, dress up, plan comfortable, presentable, but professional pieces like skirt and jacket shirt, a shirt dress or even a long dress which does not resemble beach wear. It must create a work atmosphere in your mindspace,” she explains. And that, she insists, instantly changes the entire outlook and mood from that of a loungy, free day, to a performance-oriented day. “I’m a dress person, and I like wearing a collar dress or a skirt and shirt with a scarf. This is also because I’m on Zoom calls a lot and visible on various live chats and webinars,” says Nisha.