6 work-from-home wardrobe staples for life these days

6 work-from-home wardrobe staples for life these days

I’ve worked from home for many years, but it’s different these days. Once upon a time, my work-from-home life style regularly took me out of the home. But now I’m home literally all the time: no coffee meetings, no library runs, no trips.

This change of circumstance has changed the way I work, of course, but I’ve been surprised at just how much it’s affected which clothes I choose to wear every day. I thought you may enjoy a peek at the items I’m turning to on the regular this fall.

1. Comfortable denim. Jeans + a top is my #1 go-to outfit combo these days. I know some people don’t love to wear pants with zippers and buttons but I do love my go-to jeans. This isn’t that different from last year for me, but these days the overall vibe is definitely more casual. My hardest-working pairs are these dark skinnies and these lighter crops, both from Madewell.

(Though honestly, these days I’m more likely than ever to postpone changing out of my morning workout clothes till after lunch, which means I often spend a huge chunk of the day in leggings and a sweatshirt.)

2. Easy-going t-shirts. I’ve never spent more weekday time in comfy tshirts, because in my previous meeting- and travel-life I’d change out of tees and into “nicer” apparel by 10:00 a.m.

I love a basic v-neck, and my staples are the organic cotton v-neck from Everlane and the premium slub v-neck from American Giant. (I first discovered American Giant when they sponsored WSIRN: use the code READ to get 15% off your first order. I don’t get anything except thanks when you use that link, but I always want to pass on the savings when I can.)

I also have a few cute seasonal tees I LOVE and wear in heavy rotation from J.Crew, like tiny lemons, skiers, and these darling flowers.

3. Zoom shirts. You know what I mean: collared shirts and blouses that look a wee bit nicer than a tee, even if they still pair beautifully with jeans. My faves tend to be gently embellished, well-draped tops in neutral colors like white, navy, and chambray.

4. Cute and comfortable sweaters OR easy-to-layer cardigans. Layers are essential for chilly days, whether I’m sitting at my desk or out in the neighborhood (or maybe even as far afield as Trader Joe’s!).

Last year my friend introduced me to the Barefoot Dreams circle cardigan and I looove it (I have two), and I also rely on these Zoom-ready sweater blazers when I want to cuddle up and still look camera-ready.

5. Comfortable shoes. Notice a theme here? If I’m knocking about the house getting work done, comfort is everything. Depending on the weather and how much I’ll be walking (because I do actually leave the house to walk Daisy), it’s a rare day when I’m not in Allbirds wool runners, classic Blundstones, or my long-loved Tieks.

6. Mascara, lipstick, earrings, and perfume. Nowadays it rarely matters what I look like, but it matters how I feel. These tiny things take a total of 90 seconds and make me feel like I actually got dressed for the day:

  • earrings: I got my go-to hoops (pictured above) at a local shop, these are similar.
  • lipsticks: I love a bright lip for the morale boost and for the camera, when needed: my favorite shades are right here.
  • perfume: I’m surprised at how much I appreciate a little scent even when I never leave home. Right now for daily wear I love the understated scents from Juliet Has a Gun.
  • mascara: I don’t have a favorite (though if you do, I’d love to hear in comments); I’m working my way through a backlog of samples. They’re all fine but none are AMAZING.

Do you find yourself dressing differently this year? What are your current wardrobe staples? We’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments section.

P.S. 10 work from home tips to help you stay present and productive, and the rule of three for getting dressed. Plus 9 (mostly) little things I’m loving for early fall.

66 comments | Comment

66 comments

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  1. Tonya says:

    I bought the American Giant slub t-shirts on your recommendation and I LOVE them!! Thank you so much! Now I’m waiting for them to restock their long-sleeve shirts 🙂

    • Nichole says:

      I discovered JJill from Plato’s Closet – I rarely get into an actual mall, so I’d never heard of them. The jeans I have from them are SO SOFT they could almost count as pajamas, if it weren’t for that pesky zipper! I loooove them!

  2. I highly recommend the Merle Norman Wicked Lash mascara. I’ve tried a LOT of them and it’s the best I’ve found. (Check your local listings to see if there’s a store near you or you can order online.)

  3. Ashley says:

    I’m working at home for the first time ever. My business wardrobe has been completely untouched since March, with the exception of a cardigan or two. Now that it’s fall, I’m relying heavily on v-neck tees, jeans/jeggings, Athleta joggers, cardigans, and pullover sweaters, all in casual fabrics. It’s been fun to wear my casual clothes more often! That’s really my preferred way of dressing, but I have always worked in environments that require business wear.

    For my own sanity, I get dressed and put on makeup in the morning. If I’m in my cozy clothes or leggings, it’s harder to get motivated to work.

  4. Sarah K says:

    Honest Beauty’s mascara (order online from Target or amazon) is the best—and most affordable—I’ve found in the green/clean beauty realm. It has a primer on one end of the tube and the actual mascara on the other. I get good length and volume with it, and unlike a lot of the more natural mascaras, it never ends up under my eyes—unless I forget and rub them. 😉

  5. Barb says:

    I love It’s So Big and It’s So Long mascara from ElizabethMott.com. It’s all I’ve been using for the last 4+ years. I stock up the day after Thanksgiving for the year.
    I am always looking for the perfect v-neck t’s so thank you for the recommendations! (I also love my Tieks and have been eyeing Allbirds for months!)

  6. Jennifer Geisler says:

    I love the comfort of ponte pants, but darn, they are hard to find! Enter new online brand Betabrand, offering ponte pants in all sizes, styles with and without pockets and your choice of legs..straight, boot, skinny. Currently at 30% off and they have saved me the question “what should I wear today” until a vaccine is found!

    With cold weather here, I’ve pulled out the heavier 7 pocket colored jeans and added a couple of new long sleeve t’s. Just bought my first pair of those Australian boots that Anne loves so much.

  7. Laurel says:

    I’m living in Athleta soft, lightweight sweatshirts and joggers ( they all come in Tall sizes and lengths!) If I add a scarf, they look dressy enough for my pandemic life.

  8. Kelly says:

    Working from home for me includes chairing a Zoom committee of medical center faculty. I wear comfortable jeans and casual jacket, like a neutral corduroy jacket now that the weather is cooler and a tee in a seasonal color or a twin set.

  9. Belle says:

    I’m living in the boot cut Beta Brand yoga pants. I’m actually AFRAID to try on my jeans. So I won’t. I love the Everlane cotton tees. I bought 5 of the same lightweight cardigan from the loft. I pretty much call that my uniform with a necklace or earrings and makeup only when I meet someone in person. I’ve gone makeup free for Zoom. I’m gonna do something about those jeans very soon.

  10. Lisa says:

    Anne, your basic at home wardrobe sounds just like mine! I insist on wearing ‘button pants’ too, but for have you tried the American Giant Power Legging?! Amazing!! Denim, a v-neck T or pattern top, a cardigan (because air conditioning everywhere!) and my Allbirds, or Rothys. I feel put together and ready to go anywhere!

  11. Carrie says:

    I spent all last weekend on zoom meetings and voting calls. From the waist up I wore a professional, yet comfy, blouse with my Dissent earrings. Bottom down- I stayed in my p.j. pants! Last calls were to Kentucky!

  12. Sam says:

    Years of Catholic school turned me into a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my wardrobe. I’ve never felt more vindicated than I have these last few months! 😀

    I totally need to add a good lip stick or lip stain to my line up. Good call!

  13. Janna Steele says:

    I am with you- I ALWAYS wear mascara. Even if I know I am not going anywhere or seeing anyone.
    My daughter turned me on to CliniqueFIT Workout 24-Hour Mascara. I recommend.

  14. Shana B Beisiegel says:

    I have diligently been making sure to get dressed, but I going for the fleece instead of the sweater. I work at a University, when I do have a meeting, I tend to put on something that reflects the school name. I have found that I am not as rigorous with hair and make-up. I miss lipstick! That was always my finishing touch before walking into my department.

    It is interesting that I have striped down my wardrobe a lot. I think it has been about six months since I put on a skirt or dress. Jumping on the organizing train, I realized how basic I like my wardrobe to be, I said goodbye to half of my closet.

  15. Suzanne says:

    After 40 years of wearing mascara my tube of choice is Maybelline’s FALSIES. For Zoom, I wear Mascara, lipstick, bigger earrings than usual (because they don’t show otherwise), possibly a necklace, and a nice top. Friends of mine commented that they have not put on their dress shoes since March, and that at least they are saving on shoes! Just like the Israelites in the wilderness, our shoes are not wearing out…Otherwise I am wearing stretchy things. Another friend and I, realizing that we never get to dress up, started wearing long, ruffly, pretty dresses on summer evenings, some with cold shoulders, or off the shoulder. Stopped my husband in his tracks!

  16. Shelly says:

    I was paying $25 for mascara until I discovered essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara. In Black bottle with green writing. On sale for $3.74 on Amazon prime days.

  17. Suzanne says:

    Oh, and there’s nowhere to comment on Great E-Book Sales, but Anne, I beg you to read A Fine Balance, advertised today! It WAS hard, but not, and it was so enlightening, and actually, so joyful. Despite tragedy and appalling circumstances, the men in the story remained cheerful and that’s my takeaway for India…I was so impressed.

  18. Suzanne says:

    Every year around this time, Sephora has at least one gift set where you can try several mini sized mascaras and then you get a voucher for one full sized version out of the brands you tried. It’s how I discovered Fenty mascara; I love the unique wand it has.

  19. I have worn the same items for months. 1. Black Costco leggings.
    2. White Gap long sleeved shirt with rounded collar.
    3. Black TEVA sandals.

    On rare occasions, I’ll put on a tunic top over the leggings. However, I never leave home without earrings, head scarf, and red lipstick. 💄

  20. Amy Jackson says:

    I’m interested in the All Birds Wool Runner. What color do you have? I’m having trouble deciding what would be the most versatile.

      • Lauren says:

        I’ve been wanting to try these. I have really bad neuropathy and finding cushy shoes that are still supportive is SO hard. Would you describe your experience of these as fitting that bill? Do you wear them as indoor shoes too? Do they make your feet hot? Sorry for all the questions but good shoes are really hard for me to find!

        • Anne says:

          Lauren, I’m not the best person to answer this question as I don’t need strong support. I do wear them indoors, and they don’t make my feet hot. (And though our needs may be different, I completely understand good shoes being hard to find, so ask away!)

  21. Kristin Ward says:

    Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is AMAZING. I teach college music classes, and for both in-person and Zoom classes, you have completely described my wardrobe!!

  22. Ren says:

    Thrive mascara layered over IT mascara primer does wonders for skimpy lashes, especially on screen.
    However, it was disappointing to see that Everlane and American Giant stop at size XL or 16.

    • Anne says:

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that about sizing! As someone who wears a size 11 ww shoe I’ve experienced the frustration of looking at a cute item and then seeing it’s just not possible for me to ever wear.

  23. Julia says:

    For mascara, I love Pacifica Stellar Gaze. Their mineral based, natural formula is one of the only mascaras that my sensitive eyes tolerate with no irritation ever. I also love that my lashes still look like me, just amplified.

  24. Diane Armijo says:

    My favorite mascara is L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes. I have used it for at least 15 years. I used L’Oreal Voluminous Original for many years before that.

  25. Diane Armijo says:

    I have actually used an iron and ironing board during the last few months because I haven’t taken any clothes to the dry cleaner since February! Two or three times, my husband has worn a cotton button-down shirt which I washed and then ironed. LOL

  26. Carol says:

    Can anyone recommend a favorite white plain white long sleeve blouse? I’m looking for something really comfortable as I’ll be living in it all winter.
    Also looking for a plain short sleeve comfy top to wear as PJs. Any tips?

    • Anne says:

      I DON’T iron them but that may not be the same as not needing to.😂 I typically lay them flat to dry, then toss them in the dryer with a damp towel for two minutes to fluff and smooth out the wrinkles.

  27. MISSY says:

    I started getting Stitch Fix in March as I needed some new work clothes. While I loved most of what they sent, I only did it for 2 months. Even though I still go to my office, now customers are not allowed in so we can now wear whatever we want. With that change, comfort is my top priority! Today is jeans and a flannel shirt, which I love.

  28. Julie says:

    A funny thing that has happened for me is that since I’m always wearing a mask at work and church, I NEVER wear lipstick anymore! 😀 A good lip balm is a definite must, but I won’t have to buy lipstick for a really long time. 🙂

  29. SHU says:

    Lancome definicils mascara 🙂 One of the few that does not make my eyes itch, is relatively subtle but still noticeable, and each tube lasts a LONG time!

  30. Mariah Hanley says:

    Costco has a GREAT Barefoot Dreams circle cardigan dupe!!! It’s only available in limited sizes now, but if it’s your size, I love it (and have it in all 3 colors). $17 on sale! Max and Mia Ladies’ Travel Cardigan.

  31. Allison Perkins says:

    I’ve worn DiorShow basic black mascara for years. My lashes are long but not thick and really pale. This seems to be best for me because it never looks clumpy on.
    Also I just invested in a few pair of Vuori joggers and they are worth every penny! So soft and comfy for the days I know I am not leaving the house, or just lounging in the evenings. Thanks for sharing all your secrets and tips!

  32. Julie Farver says:

    Anne, try Rothy shoes!! They are wonderful and comfy. Made from recycled materials, they are even machine washable!! I think you would like everything about them!

  33. Jo7nes says:

    Anne, I tried Tieks per your recommendation. I too have hard to fit feet. I wear a triple wide and you assured your readers that the Tieks would work. Well, they do. I too love them and find them oh, so comfortable.
    So, based on that it makes me wonder if Blunderstone boots would work for me. I’ve admired them for years and love the utilitarian nature of them. Do you find the width works for you? Did you get the women’s size or the men’s?
    I love and appreciate you, your blog, and how you share yourself with your readers.

    • Anne says:

      I’m so glad you found shoes that work for you! Triple wide isn’t easy. I just pulled out my Blundstones to be sure I got it right: mine are men’s size 8.5 (in Australian sizing; I’m not sure what the exact U.S. equivalent would be). I bought mine at a local shop and tried on a half-dozen different styles before arriving on the original brown boots (the ones that are linked) because they fit better than the rest. I tried on some adorable black ones but they were made from a different material that didn’t have as much give, so they didn’t work.

      I hope this is helpful!

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