Working From Home Chic and the importance of a new routine

— by Alyson Walsh

Business Creative. Photo: Claire Pepper

As a journalist I am well versed in Working From Home Chic. Going from a big publishing house to the spare room does affect your wardrobe choices somewhat. These days, I’m dressing for myself and my lifestyle, not to look on-trend or to impress an editor at monthly conference. Above The Desk Dressing means business on the top half, casual on the bottom. Mostly this involves stretch trousers, posh joggers or side striped pants with a slightly fancier top. It’s a look I like to call Business Creative. Some people feel it’s important to change into professional mode when working from home and not spend the day in pyjamas or a dressing gown (the Admin Kimono) but I am pretty relaxed about this. For me, the vibe is pretty much the same for work, weekend, whatever. I don’t feel like I need a specific WFH wardrobe but I do think having a wash and wearing a bra are important. Feeling-pulled together and comfortable is all part of my daily routine.

Channel 4 News ran an interview with former special envoy and hostage Terry Waite, the other night. The humanitarian who was held captive in Lebanon for five years (mostly in solitary confinement) offered expert advice on how to cope with self-isolation, ‘Take it positively, take it as a constructive experience,’ he recommended, ‘this keeps hope alive. Live today as fully as possible.’ Very wise. Waite also pointed out the importance of a schedule to bring a sense of normality to an extraordinary situation, adding, ‘ Everybody needs some sort of framework.’ Over the last few days working from home, together but in separate rooms Mr That’s Not My Age and I have developed a simple routine. Not usually one for extra admin and micro-managing, I’m even encouraging him to draw up a timetable…


Stop touching your face. Photo: Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph

As we are only in day two of lockdown the schedule could change dramatically, but so far it looks like this:

No listening to the news in the morning, instead I read a book for half an hour and Mr TNMA cracks on with his emails. Mid-morning we take a break and meet in the kitchen – I’ve been perfecting my coffee-making skills, more of which at a later date – and then it’s break-time on the balcony. Fortunately the PM has decreed that we can go outdoors once a day to exercise. So it’s back to work till lunchtime and then straight into our early afternoon exercise session. Because London is crowded and we live in a Coronavirus hotspot and people still don’t know what six feet is, we’ve swapped walking for cycling. Off we head for a bike ride up alongside the local woods. How much has enforced staying at home increased our appreciation of being outdoors in nature?

An afternoon at the computer is followed by YouTube Yoga at 6pm. THANK YOU to the follower on Instagram who recommended Yoga With Adriene – we’re both as stiff as the Queen’s little finger and no doubt we’ll be stuck in the beginner’s class for quite some time, but we’re enjoying the calming experience. The plan is to continue YouTube Yoga once the current crisis is over ( I’ve written it down, so now it must happen). So serious are we about our newfound hobby, we’ve bought yoga mats and blocks online in time for this afternoon’s session. 

‘Solitude is really quite remarkable you will discover you have abilities within you that you never knew you had,’ Terry Waite continued, ‘I would like to hope that we can come out of this realising there is more to life than amassing money.’


How are you adapting to our new normal?

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STYLE NOTES: in the top photo I’m wearing an old cashmere roll neck from Gap, the side stripe trousers are old Me + Em, the leather boots a gift from Grenson. In the second photo for the Telegraph, I’m wearing a jacket from Hugo Boss (loaned  from Fenwick), a very old khaki t-shirt, Joy Joggers from Hush and my own hi-tops from Good News.

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As a journalist I am well versed in Working From Home Chic. Going from a big publishing house to the spare room does affect your wardrobe choices somewhat.