It’s been a turbulent period of adjusting to new normals: introducing the now-ubiquitous acronym ‘WFH’ into our vocabulary, finding the space to bring work home (literally and figuratively), trying to redefine the boundaries between work and life, and dealing with the long snaking lines at your neighbourhood NTUC.
In the midst of changing routines, a familiar worry that’s now been pushed to the back of our heads is the universal question: “What should I wear to work?” We’re no longer expected to dress to impress, or least to present the best versions of ourselves day after day. At first, this newfound freedom is exhilarating: don’t most people dream of working in their pyjamas? And yet, as anyone who’s spent two weeks in a well-worn t-shirt and shorts will tell you, there seems to be something strangely missing when we are removed from the routine of putting ourselves together. Our clothes hang limply in our closets; cosmetics languish in our drawers; shoes, apart from the everyday slippers, tucked away with the dehumidifier in the cupboard.
It is times like these that we remember what is truly important, and as we grapple with the reality of a global pandemic, fashion is less about the glitz and glamour, but a medium to tide through the chaos of the time. For those who are missing what a great outfit used to be able to do for your confidence, drive, and work ethic, here’s our cheatsheet to lift your spirits, just for a bit.
From The Top Up
We’ve all been there: scrambling out of bed just as the clock ticks past 9AM, logging on to your workspace to type out an incoherent greeting, before finding the closest thing to a presentable top to tug on just before you hit ‘join’ on the video call. Or, another scenario: an unexpected conference call from your client when you’re still in a crummy tank top. The solution? Have a jacket, kimono, or button-up shirt readily on hand that you can throw over whatever you’re wearing. Opt for light, breathable materials; some colour or patterns can brighten your face; and even a simple linen shirt over your university school t-shirt can work wonders.
Work(out) From Home
For those who prefer to keep active, it’s not easy to see your usual routine go for a toss, especially since all gyms and fitness studios have shut. If you’re still hoping to slot in a lunchtime workout, or end off your day with a well-deserved stretch after sitting on your sofa/workstation all day, this is the best time to explore the world of athleisure. Take a page from our Shentonistas’ fitspo lookbooks—some of them have perfected the art of assembling an outfit that functions as workwear, while letting them easily get onto the mat after. In other words: if you ever needed an excuse to wear your yoga tights all day, this is it.
Despite our social lives coming to a sudden standstill, the grind still continues for most—we’re swapping out dinner dates for shared screens, and all the important business decisions are now being made online. For those days when you still have to put your best foot forward, a statement blazer might just do the trick. Skip the constricting tailored pants, and opt for semi-formal attire from the waist up for a conference call look that shows you’re still in control.