Has WFH Changed The Way We Get Ready For Work?

Oct 16, 2020

Beauty & Fashion | Rhiannon Wardle

Remember when you had to actually leave the house each morning? The multiple alarms blaring at 7am, the hasty breakfast and the scramble to look like a well put-together human being for work? For many of us, those fast-paced mornings are gone and instead, we’ve embraced working from home as the ‘new normal’. But what does this mean for our fashion and beauty choices when we’ve become so used to dressing up only to go out somewhere?

To get some answers, I spoke to three professional women in their 20’s to see how their fashion and beauty choices have changed since WFH. Hannah works for an art gallery, Georgie works at a record label and Sophie works in beauty PR.

Does your beauty regime change when you’re working from home?

Hannah: I don’t often wear makeup anymore now I work from home. I occasionally wear some concealer if I’m really tired, or occasionally some lipstick if I’m wanting to spice things up a bit. It feels like a waste to wear it to sit at home, and I also feel that it’s healthy (for both my skin and body image) to have some time off.

Georgie: My skincare regime doesn’t change but I do find that I wear less makeup when I’m WFH. Ideally I’d like to not bother putting makeup on when WFH but I have company-wide video calls three times a day so feel obliged to make some sort of effort.

Sophie: Yes, I’d say so for sure. I tend to wear less makeup WFH compared to if I was going into the office. I’m also less likely to carry out a full skincare routine or wear fake tan.

What kinds of clothes do you normally wear when working from home, and how different are your outfit choices compared to if you actually go in to work?

Hannah: The clothes I wear whilst working from home are fairly similar to those I used to wear into the office. I think this is for two reasons. Firstly, working in the arts means I have never had to dress in a super smart way. Secondly, I’m not big into loungewear so when I’m at home I always get dressed properly anyway. So my style remains nice trousers and a top. Despite saying that, there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve worn pyjama bottoms to an early morning meeting…

Georgie: Everything’s a bit mismatched when I’m working from home but my ultimate goal is always comfort. My upper half has to look presentable for video calls but the company I work for has a casual dress code so it’s nothing too extreme. I normally flit between comfy bottoms with t-shirt or jumper, or a comfy day dress. When heading into work I'll happily put on a pair of jeans or something a bit smarter/more adventurous.

Sophie: I usually wear something comfortable like joggers and a top (definitely no jeans). If I have an important video meeting I’ll pop on a jumpsuit. Whereas if I was going into the office I’d usually plan my outfit the night before and wear something a little dressier/more put together.

Have you bought many new clothes or beauty products since working from home? Why have you bought more/less?

Hannah: I’d say I’ve bought more clothes since working from home as I have more time and money for online shopping.

Georgie: I had a real desire to buy more clothes at the start of lockdown but that only really transpired in some new jeans and a couple of tops. At first online shopping felt like one of the only activities to do, but over the course of lockdown and after spending more days chained to my laptop for work & zoom calls with friends the last thing I wanted to do was sit for longer on my laptop to shop… so that’s probably why it’s worked out that I’ve bought less. Also fewer social activities means fewer occasions to buy for.

Sophie: I’ve probably bought more clothing items, especially at the start of lockdown. This is because I had more money and also more time indoors. This equates to me spending more time on my phone or laptop and therefore spending more. I tend to get a lot of beauty bits free from work so haven’t bought anything new.

If you’re not leaving the house, do your fashion and beauty choices still matter to you? Why or why not?

Hannah: My fashion and beauty choices definitely still matter to me, but in a different way to previously. Whereas before I probably dressed to impress other people, now it is much more about making myself feel good. Whilst currently everything feels uncertain, it can be easy to become anxious and negative. I find making myself dress nicely can really change how I approach the day, making me feel more positive and confident.

Georgie: I’d say my beauty and fashion choices still matter but to a much lesser extent. When at home I like to think I don’t necessarily slob in my pyjamas that much, but I do find that I prioritise comfort over style. I found that I’d put jeans on for a trip to the shop and then take them off as soon as I got home again.

Sophie: If I’m not leaving the house I won’t dress up and I won’t tend to wear much makeup, if any. This is probably because I know I won’t see anyone. I notice that I feel I must wear makeup if leaving the house and meeting colleagues, clients or some friends – although I’ve become much more comfortable without makeup as I’ve got older. I’d say I’m definitely more self-conscious about being without makeup than being without nice/dressy clothes.

So there we have it. Everyone is different and these women don’t speak for everyone working from home, but between them there seems to be some correlation. WFH attire is generally more chilled and makeup is dramatically reduced or not worn at all. All of the interviewees spent more money on clothes over lockdown despite not having to dress up as much for work or social events, showing that the allure of online shopping is real – Depop, I’m looking at you.

When it comes to caring about what we look like at home, it seems to vary. With the rise of self-care, we mainly want to look good for ourselves and make ourselves comfortable. We may not put in as much effort compared to if we were leaving the house, but we still want to look and feel like ourselves. Queer Eye’s Tan France stated, “It can make a difference, not only to your appearance, but also your mental health, because you're telling yourself in the morning when you decide what you're going to put on your body, how seriously you take yourself and how seriously you take the life you want”.

Ultimately, we should do whatever makes us happiest. Whether that’s trying out daring makeup looks or secretly wearing sweatpants whilst on conference calls, we each get to create WFH routines that work for us.