Stay home, feel fab

We Loved Working in Our PJs in 2020. Here's Why We Should Get Dressed in 2021

Tips on mastering the professional work-from-home style ... and okay, you can still wear your PJ bottoms.

By Gwendolyn Knapp December 28, 2020 Published in the December 2020 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Personal stylist Charlene Lawson says it’s time to get dressed.

Image: Thomas Shea

We never thought we’d live to see our daily fashions served up the same way as our preferred breakfast spuds—homestyle, ftw! But now that we’ve embraced the PJ-bottom revolution, can we ever return from our couch-potato ways? Charlene Lawson, chemist and certified personal stylist of Style Chemistry Consulting ( explains why reconsidering our daily attire is crucial, especially if this work-from-home thing truly becomes the norm.

You don't have to go it alone though. Lawson offers some tips on how to find new ways to put your best foot forward in the coming year, sartorially speaking. 

Master work from home style.

“There are things you can’t control working from home—it is what it is—but you can control how you show up,” says Lawson. “When we look good, we feel good, and when we feel good, it tends to improve our performance.” Whether you have to appear on camera or just need to finish a big project, take some time to put yourself together.

It doesn’t have to be an intensive set of rituals. A 10-minute routine, including makeup—“It can be as simple as a light powder, foundation with some blush and lip gloss, mascara,” she says—an easy hairdo, a nice blouse (jewel tones look best on video calls), and a simple piece of jewelry can work wonders.

For men, a nice button-down will do (you can skip the tie), but always opt for a solid color, which looks more professional on camera, and a tailored fit. “Baggier clothing does not show up well on video,” says Lawson, but she does recommend layering on a nice cardigan or sweater for a softer touch.

She also notes one thing everyone should keep in mind: All you have to do is manage to present as professional on camera. “Look, you can be comfortable below the waist—sweatpants, pajama pants, slippers all day long,” she says. “But at least from the waist up, you want to feel presentable and feel good about yourself.” 

Get dressed, every day.

“When I’m in my PJs all day, I’m not very committed; I may want to nap one minute and watch TV the next,” says Lawson. Thankfully, at least two trends are still around to make us feel comfortable and casual while tackling our to-do lists. “There has definitely been an uptick in athleisure,” says Lawson.

That doesn’t mean sweats and leggings. “It’s like this in-between style to where you’re not completely casual, but you’re not completely gym-bound.” And you can also embrace the resurgence of street style: “That’s definitely trending,” she says. “Casual maxi dress, no heels necessary. Put on the tennis shoes and head on out.” 

Organize your closet.

“It’s a great time to start detoxing your closet, so we step out post-Covid looking confident, rejuvenated, and a whole new woman,” Lawson says. To start, go full Kondo method: “I recommend taking everything, I mean everything, out of the closet and onto the bed. Every piece of garment must earn its place back in based on two different criteria: Do you love it? Does it fit you properly?”

From there, organize your go-to pieces into categories—base pieces (pants, dresses, neutrals), interest pieces (printed blouses, sweaters), layering pieces (blazers, belts), and accessories. “I can get up in the morning and pick A, B, C, D. It takes the thought process out of it, so we can focus on more important things.” 

You can also just give away the threads you don’t use, especially things that haven’t been worn in a year or two, especially the items that are far too snug. “That’s psychological abuse,” she says, and anyways those clothes can be put to much better use if they’re out in the world instead of sitting in your closet. “There are many women you can bless that need help. You can donate those pieces to women’s shelters, to nonprofits geared toward women and young ladies.”

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