When I left my job in newspapers last year to explore the fashion industry further, I took a list of contacts, a lifetime’s supply of ballpoint pens and the unwavering belief that the term ‘dress for success’ doesn’t apply when you’re working out of home. My new ‘home office’ aka bedroom overlooks my kitchen, has a massive TV and dangerously comfortable comforters. Admittedly, there have been days where I’ve found myself in pyjamas at 4 pm.
It was a horrible sartorial cycle; a period of extreme underdressing, during which, (if i ever left home at all) I’d be in tatty leggings, pajamas, stained t-shirts and flip flops. It was a little disconcerting initially, and I was a dubious of my freelance self.
Would I sleep until noon? Ever get my threading done? Start writing at 3 am? Sit in the dark, subside on feta cheese and whiskey? Would I stand in the shower, desperately trying to dry-shave before an event; and think “There must be more to life than this?” (This happened an embarrassingly high number of times.)
Working from home is also a little tricky because you could very easily NOT work. How do you deal with this, you ask? I wish someone had told me this earlier, but working from home is all about finding the middle ground between being comfortable and that (very necessary) friendly reminder that NO, you may not go back to bed.
The pendulum swung and reached a period of overcompensation, which clearly couldn’t contain itself. I became a little paranoid about the wheels coming off as the heels slid off; and started dressing better than I ever had to office. The real stars of this period were zipper-laden dresses, faux fur mules and pashmina scarves.
Yet I worked, I was productive. I did not watch Netflix endlessly or go brunch-hopping unlike what my outfits may have suggested. The problem was, I never quite felt like me… which was the reason I left my job to begin with — to explore a path closer to who I was. I couldn’t do it in flip flops, but as it turned out, I couldn’t do it in heels either.
I started simple; pants with actual zips instead of drawstrings and sweats, cozy sweaters and cotton palazzos. Much to my delight, once I paired my threadbare t-shirt with a silk scarf, they didn’t look so scruffy anymore. They looked like…me.
Now that I’m more secure about these things, I allow myself to slip on occasion. I see how these work-from-home cliches can be deceiving. Sometimes I’m in a robe till noon because I’ve accomplished more than what my suited colleagues might do in a day. Sometimes I break for tea, slip into a pair of skinny jeans and a cute top; careful not to spill it all over myself — gotta look presentable for the boss!
The writer loves to over-share, drink wine & watch period dramas