How To Dress Up For The Home Office

Published 4 years ago

As the virus continues to keep people indoors and upend the world of fashion, our Johannesburg-based stylist shares her top tips on dressing up for WFH and online meetings. But don’t wear pyjamas, she warns.

The late German fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”

It would seem now that he wasn’t completely off-the-mark, was he? Who would have thought on the first of January of a year that had been initially hailed as ‘twenty plenty’, that one miniscule virus would bring the whole world to a standstill and confine people to their homes? Who would have thought that gloves and face-masks would suddenly be the new rage in the upended world of fashion?


Due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases globally, employees in lockdown have no other option but to be productive in their home offices. Whilst Zoom calls and online meetings are the new norm, here are a few fashion do’s and don’ts for this period and beyond for those working remotely. 

Do… Plan what you wear, be it a clean pair of sweatpants or a clean top. In the same way you would curate your look for a day at the office, plan for a comfortable work day at home. This prepares and sets your mind up for productivity.

Don’t… Wear pyjamas. While it’s understood that you’re not in your normal working environment, it’s important to always put your best foot forward. Wearing pyjamas on a work video con-call may translate as a lack of respect and regard for your colleagues and most importantly, yourself. Do not fall into the temptation!

Do… Wear a neutral colored top! A plain black, white, tan or grey T-shirt or sweater, a washed face and neat hair will go a long way for those zoom conference calls. You can’t control your environment, be it the bawling baby in the next room or the neighbor mowing his lawn, but you can at the very least, attempt to look presentable and somewhat professional while in your comfort zone. 


Don’t… Wear a printed item or distracting accessories for video conference calls. Avoid any minor distractions. Your colleagues want to get off the work call as much – and as soon as – you do. Don’t create a point of discussion that will drag on the conversation or deviate from the point of the call. 

“Like poetry, fashion doesn’t state anything, it merely suggests,” said Lagerfeld famously.

What people see before them has the first say even before a person opens his or her mouth to speak. Make sure you’re in control of the narrative when it comes to how you want to be perceived professionally, be it in the office or in the middle of your living room. 

Keabetswe Mafora