The way we dress impacts our performance. There is so much in this world we cannot control and one daily routine we can practice at home is getting dressed with intention. My best advice: don't just dress from the hip up for your next video conference call.
When I style clients we talk about strategies that make you feel empowered and confident, like you own the room. As our new normal starts to shift and you find yourself working from home more often, define the look of your most productive self as you move from your home office set up to your exercise and beauty routines.
During a time when you can feel easily overwhelmed, it is more important than ever to practice self-care. It can be uplifting to be fully awake and engaged in a home setting. Self-care requires practice and many of us now have plenty of newly unplanned time to perfect this art form.
Here are my top self-care style tips to help you stay productive and professional:
Make sure your hair is tempered.
This sounds so simple yet many people undervalue the importance of hairstyles at home. If you are spending any time teleconferencing, keep in mind that a polished appearance remains valuable.
Frizzy hair is a common distraction on video but can be very easy to tame with hairspray or product. Spray your comb or your hands with product and run it through your locks. If you are so inclined, explore the many available online tutorials. You can also sleep with your hair in a bun or a braid for a low key yet fun look -- you don't need a professional blowout to look successful.
Define your work-from-home routine.
Don't underestimate the power of looking well-rested. This is the time to go through any free samples of skincare products you have collected over time. Focus on maintaining healthy looking, glowing skin instead of perfecting a Saturday night smokey eye (unless that's your thing).
Also, moisturize. It is still cold in parts of the country and we're all pumping the hand sanitizer -- many of my clients report dry skin as one of their biggest beauty challenges. Try a face mask or pack of nail stickers.
Continue to wear your contacts or find some blue light eyeglasses that could help you feel more comfortable and refreshed. Daily makeup routines are also evolving, but some people, myself included, find that makeup helps us wake-up. If stress and anxiety are keeping you up at night, fake it on your next video work call and wear concealer and lipstick. It is easy to look washed out on video calls and a little makeup goes a long way. Try focusing on creating an even skin tone, highlighting your eyes to help keep your audience engaged and wearing a lip color that complements your coloring.
Practicing self-care can be like caffeine and is a terrific way to supercharge your day.
Shop your closet.
Working from home could give you an opportunity to wear pieces in your closet that still have tags. Break in the new shoes you pre-ordered for spring. Stretch out your white jeans from last summer while you sit at your desk. Purge, edit and store winter pieces you will no longer wear this season.
Organize your closet, the hallway coat closet, your toiletries, and your office. If you usually go barefoot at home (as many of us do) identify your work-from-home shoes. Find your perfect heel height that helps you feel on duty and ready to face what comes your way. Getting dressed helps us feel more accountable and wearing shoes can help us remember we are meant to be doing something productive. Don't dress uncomfortably, but also possibly don't plan on wearing your sports bra every day for a month either.
Build a capsule wardrobe.
Designate a section in your closet for grab and go wardrobe essentials that will appear professional over video conference. While you may be able to work from home in your pajamas, you definitely don't want to wear them on Zoom calls with your boss. It may seem obvious, but wear undergarments and shop your closet for solid colored tops and appropriate pants. I've had too many clients unintentionally stand up during a video call when a child, spouse or roommate walks into a designated work space without warning.
Channel your personal brand as you curate your video conference capsule wardrobe and work from home outfits. You may be able to pop onto social media broadcasting from your bed wearing workout gear, but avoid doing this on a business video chat. Avoid busy patterns or shirts with writing that will be distracting. You can show off a hint of personal style with interesting collars, colors, earrings, and shorter necklaces.
If you're now working-from-home for the first time, it's good idea to use this newfound time at home to discover and update routines. Some are hunkering down to cocoon, others are balancing working from home while parenting and many of our past patterns are shifting. Wearing your pajamas endlessly is not the answer. This is not a staycation or a singular sick day -- this is our foreseeable new normal. It's a luxury to work from home while so many essential workers continue to commute and risk their health. Find your new favorite outfit that is both comfortable and professional and get yourself dressed.