Thursday, November 23, 2006

What to wear when you're homeworking

Homeworkers are starting to be targeted by the fashion industry although it cannot agree on a single term to describe our dress code, using variously ‘loungewear’, 'afterwear', ‘housewear’, and ‘chilloutwear’ (what they’re grasping for, of course, is ‘shedwear’ although I also like the term 'open collar worker'). So what does that mean first thing in the morning? Earlier this year The Shed magazine - next issue will be hitting inboxes tomorrow - conducted a highly scientific readers’ survey and came up with some surprising results…

While almost nobody admitted to pyjamas, a hefty proportion said they wore pyjama-type clothing, an interesting distinction. According to a Mori poll, 15% of homeworkers wear a suit. While none of the readers polled went quite that far a significant percentage said they wore ‘proper’ shirts, trousers and shoes and often even over-dressed. Several made the point that ‘dressing the part’ can improve levels of concentration and that the act of putting on ‘work clothes’ gave an initial lift in the morning.

The most popular combination was T-shirt or polo shirt and comfortable trousers, the kind of thing you could happily wear while talking to the milkman. The question of shoes split the vote, again some saying they focused better wearing something more substantial than slippers, others preferring warm socks (there were two votes for cashmere).

Comments from readers included:

“Anything that's comfortable, usually tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt. But I feel the cold awfully bad so can often be seen wearing a padded waistcoat, even in summer.”

“I find that attire has a determining impact on my attitude towards work. In the mornings I often go for the lazy option of pulling tracksuit bottoms on but when I want to properly get down to it I find it helps to get dressed properly - although I obviously don’t bother with smart clothes. Favourite clothes are currently cords and jumper. Pyjamas at computer is not a good option - makes me feel like a slob without a real job. On the rare occasions I go to meetings I find it rather exciting to wear real work clothes!”

“I’ve always preferred clothes that are nicely made and fit properly to shapeless rubbish which makes me feel naked. Even when I’m not working I don’t usually ‘dress down’.”

“Generally I don't worry about shaving unless I know a client is dropping by. Suits and ties tend to to be saved for pitches, weddings, christenings and funerals.”

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