I Wore "Office Clothes" to WFH for a Week—Here's How It Affected My Productivity


(Image credit: @allypayer)

Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we'll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from trying new beauty treatments to copying the most risqué runway looks of the season.

Before we dive in here, let me start things off with a little context. I've worked remotely for Who What Wear since 2015, which means I've been working from home for that long. Prior to this, I worked long hours in offices in L.A. for years, so I've experienced both forms of work and their various pros and cons. While working in offices, I had to dress up quite a bit, and I honestly didn't think much of it. It just was what it was. Throughout my many years of working from home full-time since then, I've stayed pretty consistent with how I dress. I didn't do a 180 from my "office clothes" days, but I never work in pajamas, and I always put on makeup. Most days, my outfit consists of sweatpants, sweatshorts, or loose jeans; some type of sweater, sweatshirt, button-down, or T-shirt; and slippers. And I always wear earrings. It's very comfortable but not too casual.

The reason I wanted to try something different is simply that I'll try just about anything to boost my productivity, and I've heard that dressing as though you actually work in an office when you're working from home is helpful to some people. So I gave myself one week of working from home in "office clothes" to see if it did, in fact, improve my productivity. Scroll to find out how my thoughts and productivity progressed throughout the week and what I wore for the experiment.


(Image credit: @allypayer)

Truth be told, I pushed the day that I'd start this experiment a couple of times because I was dreading wearing uncomfortable clothes to work from home. This is an example of what I usually wear. It isn't something I'd ever wear to an office, but I would feel okay wearing it out for a coffee run.


(Image credit: @allypayer)

This experiment made me realize that I don't have a traditional wardrobe of workwear anymore, but luckily, the fashion industry's office dress code isn't all that strict, so I made do. I went into my first day with a lot of energy and optimism, but I was kind of distracted by the fact that I was wearing a skirt, which took away from my productivity. That said, I did get through my work a little quicker than usual because I wanted to go upstairs and put on my sweatsuit.

Wearing: & Other Stories Boxy Turtleneck Knit Sweater; Bottega Veneta Denim Midi Skirt; Toteme boots


(Image credit: @allypayer)

This is the type of outfit (a blazer, jeans, and heels) I wore to the office often when I went to one, so I felt pretty comfortable in it. I still work from home in jeans pretty often, so this outfit didn't feel that abnormal and didn't have much of an effect on my productivity.

Wearing: Reformation x Veda Bowery Leather Blazer; The Frankie Shop Gelso Tailored Waistcoat; Slvrlake London Jeans; Saint Laurent shoes


(Image credit: @allypayer)

I was getting a bit tired of dressing up at this point (yes, already), so I wore some comfortable yet kind of fancy knit pants from Reformation. I don't sleep enough during the week, so I'm usually pretty tired by Wednesday, especially by the time the afternoon rolls around. But on this particular Wednesday, I noticed that I didn't get that afternoon sleepiness that forces me to go make myself another coffee. (Disclaimer: I didn't wear the coat all day, but isn't it fun?!)

Wearing: Toteme Draped Fringed Wool-Blend Jacket; Reformation pants; Prada boots


(Image credit: @allypayer)

You're probably asking yourself why someone would want to wear this to work from home, but I swear it's more comfortable than it looks. That said, I did find myself wishing the day away when I wore this at home, which is never good. 

Wearing: Nanushka dress; Gucci GG Slingback Pumps


(Image credit: @allypayer)

This was my "casual Friday" look, and it was the most comfortable, hands down. It was closest to what I usually wear, so it felt like a typical day, but cuter. Friday is typically my most productive day of the week since I have quite a bit of content to get through before the weekend, so I didn't notice much change in my usual level of productivity. 

Wearing: Loulou Studio sweater; Khaite Abigail Jeans; Saint Laurent shoes

The Verdict: You probably went into this expecting me to say that this experiment worked beautifully and that I'm only wearing work clothes to work from home from now on, but that wasn't really the case. It didn't feel right to be dressed up with nowhere to go, and I found the outfits to be more of a distraction than not. That said, in some cases, I did work more quickly than I usually would because the sooner my workday was done, the sooner I could change into sweatpants.

In my lengthy working-from-home experience, I find that balance when it comes to wardrobe works the best for me. I don't want to be so comfortable that I could go to sleep in what I'm wearing, but I don't want to be so uncomfortable that something feels off all day. I didn't find that my productivity improved enough to warrant wearing office outfits on a regular basis, but I did feel a bit more awake than usual, so perhaps wearing something a little more professional on days when I have less energy would be helpful. 

And Now, Shop Items That Strike the Perfect Work-From-Home Balance

Next up, 29 Leggings That Are Comfortable Enough to Wear Literally All Day

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.