Reading about how several of you are trying to balance difficult job decisions & childcare situations really puts things into perspective. I was initially worried about trying to WFH while caring for an active toddler, but am just thankful I have the ability to do so. I’m also especially appreciative of those working extra hard and putting themselves at risk while the rest of us hunker down at home!
On the topic of working from home, I did so for over half a year after having Nori before easing back into a co-working space, so got well acquainted with all the distractions of WFH. Working in a tiny condo all day with my little one and nanny present wasn’t ideal for productivity, but two big factors that helped me were: 1) setting aside a designated workspace at home with all the tools you need (resist working from the couch or any available surface area!), and 2) getting dressed each morning with a working mindset. Changing out of PJs and into something semi-put together makes a huge mental difference for me. It also helps a bit with my posture since I’m not soo darn comfy that I eventually find myself curled up or sprawled out on my chair. Also, being already dressed makes it easier to step out for a quick walk to get fresh air during the day!
By getting dressed for working at home, I’m certainly not talking about tailored pieces, but rather comfortable stretch items that are extra low maintenance (because who has time to dry clean or iron “home” clothes?). Below are a couple pieces in my closet that serve this purpose well, and will continue to outside the home once we’re eventually back to our new normals.
1. KNIT blazer
Specifically, one with the comfort of a sweatshirt but still looks polished for your video conferences (or just for feeling sharp!). I’ve mentioned this Gibson blazer countless times (see it on me under look #2 and here with jeans) – it’s probably my top recommendation for a casual work to weekend wardrobe and looks equally great with jeans, pants, skirts and dresses. I have xxs petite and it’s a true to size fit on me (see on me here, hah!). I’ve added a few colors to my closet over the years (black, white, grey) and think grey is the most low maintenance and versatile.
2. Pull-on Cropped Pants
Anything “pull on” is a great candidate for all day comfort and ease, and I look for a slightly cropped length that won’t drag on the floor without shoes on. I have an old pair I’m always reaching for, but recently tried on and would definitely recommend these high waisted cropped pants (non pleated) in navy or black. The cut is very flattering with a petite-friendly length, and the knit material is medium weight, not thin, and felt wrinkle resistant. XXS petite in the navy or black knit pants measure 12.5″ across the waist with a 22″ inseam.
As a different option, although the pleated pants I’m wearing in this post are not something I’d reach for at home, I did want to mention they are very comfy and surprisingly easy to dress up and down. The pleats are wrinkle resistant and retain their shape through washing, and the pants are flowy and lightweight (and fully lined). To dress it down, simply tuck in a tee or turtleneck into the high waist, throw on a denim jacket, and add low block heels. For a more polished look I’d add a white blazer and pumps, and for cocktail attire I’d swap in a satiny or lace camisole and strappy sandals. XXS petite in the pleated pants measure 12.25″ across the waist with a 25″ inseam (these are the ones I’m wearing in the post).
3. Cardigan jacket
A classic work to weekend favorite. The cardigan jacket checks off all the comfort boxes while adding a touch of structure and some style. The J.Crew Sophie is a trusty one (see it on me in look #2 ; size down), and they also have a longer collarless version I’ve been eying. Sweaters can show wear more quickly with frequent washing, so I only wash when actually dirty (which isn’t often since I usually have a layer on underneath cardigans), and I lay flat to dry on a mesh drying rack instead of machine dry. For a similar option with international shipping available, Topshop has this similar cardigan jacket.
4. Pleated skirt
Elastic waistbands are a common theme here! And why pleats? Well they’re wrinkle resistant, the pleats somehow stay shaped after washing, and they’re super comfortable and lightweight for moving around and sitting in (not to mention, maternity friendly). One of my unexpectedly most worn pleated pieces is a snake print skirt that will camouflage all stains (see it on me). Mine is old but there are several similar options, including this pleated snake print skirt that I tried on and found to be nearly identical to mine! An xxs regular measures 12.25″ across the elastic waistband, 29″ length, and has a full lining.
5. Staple cotton sweater
This one is far from exciting, but Everlane’s mockneck crop sweater is truly one of my most reached for basics. It’s easy to wear tucked into any of the above bottoms, or wear untucked thanks to the shorter petite-friendly length. It’s lighter weight and good for everyday indoor temperatures, and the 100% cotton is easy to wash (note it will shrink a bit if you machine dry it).
For a more casual, thicker oversized fit sweater, I’d recommend their link stitch sweater (rust color is on sale) which is also 100% cotton and has not been pilling prone. The fit of the “rust” on the model is very odd – it’s definitely more relaxed IMO. See it on me – I wear mine with stretch ankle pants or legging jeans for all day comfort!
6. Extra soft striped tee
Recently I mentioned the sustainability-focused brand Amour Vert, and have hardly been able to put down this 3/4 sleeve striped tee (also at Nordstrom) ever since I got it (see a peek of it on me). It’s the queen of my breton shirt collection and I have quite a few from over the years! The modal fabric is oh-so-soft and feels better against the skin than many of my pajamas, but still looks put together in a variety of outfits.
Note it is regular sizing and runs a little long on me in the torso (sleeves come in 2 lengths and I’d suggest 3/4 for petites). If possible I would leave this out of the dryer as well to minimize pilling over time, which sounds like a hassle to some, but air drying is the norm for most of my favorite pieces. I recommend owning a drying rack or two in general to prolong the life of many of your garments.
Another line of work-to-weekend tops that come to mind for tee shirt level comfort are Banana Republic’s threadsoft line, which are about half modal blend (same type of fabric as in the Amour Vert tee). See a few of my try ons from this collection.