I Refuse to Get Dressed for Work, And It Has Been the Best Possible Decision

Days may go by that I never even put on a bra, let alone a dress and respectable shoes.
Publish date:
September 8, 2016
freelancing, working from home, office dressing, office wear

I've always liked the fashion aspect of being a girl.

I'm a total girl's girl who will always be found in a dress and cute sandals at a party, but this inspiration comes (entirely!) from absolutely never dressing up for work.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say not dressing for work is part of the pleasure of my job. I work from home most of the time, and days may go by that I never even put on a bra, let alone a dress and respectable shoes.

I'd never go so far as to say that the ability to grunge it up was a motivator for my deciding to explore the self-employed realm. However, it was a later-discovered fringe benefit.

Ever since the days of Steve Jobs (RIP), the capsule wardrobe concept has gotten a great deal of love among the busy and successful. Now, while I do not have enough of an ego to define myself within the parameters of successful — I may or may not be, depending on the week or month you ask — I do see a lot of merit in the idea that if you streamline your wardrobe, it's just one less thing taking away from your day. And that's more time you can spend doing the things you need to be doing.

Decision fatigue. It's something a lot of people suffer from — what to wear, where to have breakfast, what fancy coffee to order. I realize not everyone has the option or luxury of eliminating these options, but anyone can find ways to eliminate the stress and ENERGY for unnecessary extra decisions.

I'm a writer. I work from home, cafes, airports, hotels: basically anywhere with a couch, coffee, and working internet. I know I'm lucky in the sense that this work lifestyle gives me a great deal of control over how to live my life and arrange my day.

Still, a lot of "how to freelance" guides will tell you that it's important to have this routine, to get up and get dressed and be at your desk at a specific time each and every morning. Supposedly, this routine is how you stay on top of your deadlines and get work done. To some level, I do agree — I'm shackled to my computer during work hours each day. I see a lot of slackers in my line of work, and more power to them if they can afford to do what they do and still pay their bills. However, for myself, I'm way more of a scheduled hardass: no midday pedicures or errands for me, ever. But I don't consider a fully decked-out outfit to be a necessary parameter for my strict routine. On an average workday, you may find me in what I'd wear to yoga class. Or perhaps even PJs.

And as for productivity? You can't imagine how much easier it is to concentrate when you are not dealing with painful shoes, tights that won't stay up, or a skirt that won't stay down. No one is going to get work done if their jeans are too tight or their jacket is so fitted they can't stretch their arms. Imagine how often you wrestle out of your bra as soon as you get in from a long day. Now, imagine if that long day never involved wearing a bra. Mine often doesn't. Not only do I save on laundry, but I'm simply way more comfortable and relaxed for it.

There are studies that say dressing for work is a key to productivity, but I beg to differ on that one: I think COMFORT is a bigger key. Whether you work in a grandma-style housecoat (and sometimes I do) or your favorite yoga clothes, you'll find it a lot easier to work when you're comfortable.

When I work outside my apartment — if I have an event I need to attend or an editor I need to meet with — I wear maxi dresses all the time because, lets face it, the maxi dress is the socially acceptable nightgown. It's one piece, it's comfortable, it's an excellent cake hider, and it adapts into PJs when you come back home. Old Navy has them all the time for, like, $15 and I LIVE in them. I think that "business" outfits should be whatever you do business BEST in, and who is to say that's something with too many buttons and a cinched waist that needs to be dry cleaned?

And makeup? My skin thanks me for not painting on a face every day. I break out less, I have less irritation. But also, those days that I do put on a whole bunch of war paint, it feels more special and less like a daily chore.

So, yes, the benefits to NOT getting dressed are endless: less laundry, non-existent dry-cleaning bill, a more streamlined wardrobe (and thus major cash saved) — and, like I keep mentioning, that all-important concept of comfort, and thus greater focus. There are absolutely those moments that I question my decision — part of my job involves getting a LOT of review samples, and I often wonder what the UPS guy thinks I do for a living, that I receive a whole lot of packages and am home all day. I do try to at least shower in the morning and keep my hair tidy.

It's important to have a clear divide between home time and work time, but, for me, that divide doesn't have to include a chignon and heels. Considering that I'm working IN MY HOME, why would I want to be uncomfortable? Plus, it blows my mind how much more work I can get done when I can jump out of bed, hit the coffee pot, and start my workday. My personal best comes when I eliminate distractions and work hard and diligently — no wardrobe decision fatigue necessary.