The power of style

How your style can not only boost your mood, but also your productivity

Whilst it goes without saying that what we wear isn’t the biggest concern right now, it’s hard to dispute the transformative power of clothes. Getting dressed each morning serves as a psychological boundary to separate between bed and business mode, and can significantly impact productivity, our mood and confidence whilst working from home.

First things first…what is style?

To quote Orson Welles, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”. Style is a form of self-expression; it’s personal; it’s unique; there’s no herd to follow; no rules – style comes from within.

Why am I talking about style, now of all times?

Ordinarily, the clothes we put on are about participating in a dialogue with the world around us, saying ‘This is me’. Obviously, ‘ordinary’ is still somewhat on hold, but, as Dame Helena Morrissey  -often referred to as ‘superwoman’ for her ability to juggle a high-flying career in finance with nine children! – explains: “The dialogue hasn’t stopped, it’s just altered its intonation and volume”.

What does this mean for you?

As tempting as a day in our loungewear may be (no judgement!), what we wear can unquestionably have an impact on the way we feel about ourselves, our mood and confidence. And now, more than ever, it’s important to do the things that can put a smile on our face.

Not only a way to express ourselves, what we wear can be a powerful statement of intent, setting the tone for our day, even behind closed doors. Getting dressed serves as an important psychological boundary to ourselves and others to delineate between bed and business mode.

And in the less structured and more uncertain environment of working from home, routine and structure are key to productivity. According to business psychologist Charlotte Armitage, one of the easiest and, arguably most crucial parts of a routine to implement, is ensuring that we get dressed – this leads to a change of mindset, psychological pace and focus, therefore preparing us for the working day ahead.

What is the working from home dress code?

One of the luxuries of working from home is that we really can wear whatever we want – ‘getting dressed’ doesn’t have to mean sticking to workplace dress codes. In fact, being comfortable can also be great news for our productivity.

Psychologist Prof. Carolyn Mair explains that what matters more than the actual garments we wear is that they help us feel good. Reach for your favourite shirt, your favourite colour, or anything else that has a special meaning to you.

Now is the perfect time to experiment with your look, it’s an opportunity to go a little more daring that you might in the actual office, because…well, why not! ‘Shop’ your own wardrobe, trial those pieces you’ve never quite mustered the confidence to give a spin in the real world. Rediscover that dress you used to love or figure out how to finally make that shirt with the tags sill on work as an outfit. It might not go right every time, and that’s fine. In fact, it’s more than fine – just have fun and experiment!

Top tips to master comfort and feeling fabulous whilst working from home…

Simple tweaks can elevate your look, and importantly impact how you feel.  Be impromptu Zoom-call ready, even if you’re colleagues are in the office, with these tips…

  1. Turn to colours that make you smile. Colour can make a world of difference to how you feel – it can boost your mood and confidence in an instant, even if you’re just at home and talking to people through a screen.
  2. Take your loungewear up a notch with a coordinated set. No need to compromise on comfort, with the bonus of looking that little more pulled together.
  3. Turn to throw-on styles for effortless chic. Reach for a shirt or wrap dress, or the versatile jumpsuit.
  4. Waist up dressing is what it’s all about these days. Turn to a statement collar, puff sleeve, bold pattern or supersized earrings to add some interest to that square box on the screen.
  5. Switch up your slippers. Opt for sandals, ballet pumps or mules to feel less slow motion and more action woman!
  6. It’s all in the detail. Whether it be a hair accessory, a printed silk scarf, a red lip, or statement necklace, sometimes it can be the smallest of changes that can have the biggest impact on our mood.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that when we dress, we express ourselves. Rather than merely ‘getting through’ the next few days, weeks, months…turn to your style to give you that much-needed boost.

Our thanks to Deborah Burnham for this article.

Deborah Burnham is a professional stylist running her own consultancy and bringing out the best in clients by creating looks that enhance their shape, colouring, and most importantly, confidence.

Whether you’re wanting to reinvent your wardrobe or find simple tweaks to get you out of a style rut, you can find out more about the services she offers via her website, where you can subscribe to her newsletter for regular style tips, tricks and inspiration. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.


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