For many of us, working from home became the new normal this year. And while most of us have fallen into a WFH wardrobe routine/rut — we meet again, hoodie and sweats! — blogger and content creator Alex Ayaub believes there’s a better alternative. She encourages people to play around with their personal style in whatever way works best for them at a time when clothes might feel like the last thing worth fretting over.
“It’s like Bill Cunningham, the fashion photographer, said: Clothing is armor. When we get dressed every day, we’re putting on that armor to face the world, and the world looks different now,” says Ayaub, creator of the lifestyle, fashion, and beauty blog The Nines. “It’s really helpful when we can feel like ourselves and express ourselves through clothing, because we don’t get to go out to a restaurant right now, laugh with friends, and express ourselves in those ways. So, I think it’s really important to make sure you feel that way within your home.”
Ayaub, a Troy native who now lives in Las Vegas and oversees brand development for the women’s luxury footwear brand Chloe Gosselin, spoke with Hour Detroit to share ways to have fun with your work-from-home style while still allowing yourself the grace to show up however you need to for the day.
How to Master Work-From-Home Style
Start with One Piece
Instead of trying to construct an entire look, focus on just one element, and then build your outfit from there. Doing so will take away a lot of the stress and potential dread of getting ready for the day, Ayaub says. “When I work from home, I try to [focus on] one piece rather than an entire outfit, because I think, especially at home, [that’s] a little unrealistic and overwhelming,” she says.
Keep It Comfortable
Ayaub suggests opting for casual pieces that you’ve probably already incorporated into your quarantine wardrobe, such as sweatshirts and oversized sweaters. “If you’re on a Zoom call and you’re wearing something really stuffy — and it’s already uncomfortable to be working from home — you shouldn’t do yourself a disservice by making yourself uncomfortable in something that doesn’t feel like you.” These pieces are also easy to dress up with items like a silk midi skirt or a pair of white jeans, she says. Birmingham-based boutique Caruso Caruso is her go-to spot for graphic sweatshirts, while Détroit Is the New Black is her source for sweatshirts that proclaim local pride. For an entire sweatsuit that’s a bit more refined, Ayaub swears by the L.A. leisurewear brand Entireworld.
An Accessory a Day …
Throwing on a pair of statement earrings or a few simple rings can go a long way toward elevating a casual look around the house. Ayaub likes to add necklaces to her outfit and recommends Brinker & Eliza, a Connecticut-based jewelry line made by a mother-daughter duo. “If you have a plain gray crewneck sweatshirt, you throw on some necklaces, half-tuck [the sweatshirt] into your pants — it automatically looks really stylized and cool,” she says.
Make Intentional Purchases
Ayaub recommends online shopping as the safest way to add to your wardrobe these days, but she also encourages people to choose their shops mindfully. “I’m trying really hard to support small businesses in this time because, you know, Nordstrom is going to be OK. Zara is going to be OK. But the store downtown might not be,” Ayaub says. She finds vintage and thrifted goods on Etsy and Depop and gets all her vintage tees from Birmingham-based shop ABC Vintage. She highly recommends Thrilling, a Black-owned vintage online marketplace, for resale gems.
Maintain a Routine — Or Don’t
At the end of the day, we’re just trying to show up for ourselves and others the best we can right now. So, don’t beat yourself up if you spend the whole day in your pajamas. If you choose to do so, slowly work up to a routine that suits your schedule. Ayaub says she gives herself the first two hours of the day to lounge in her PJs, drink some coffee, and answer emails before getting dressed by 10 a.m. “First and foremost, it’s really important to be kind to yourself,” Ayaub says.