Gift Guide: What to wear when working from home


Not everyone has time to shop around (not to mention most people have no desire to shop in stores at all right now) and look for the newest items on the market that could appeal to the loved ones and colleagues on their gift-giving lists. (Or for themselves, because let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)

With that in mind, here is a helpful list of apparel and accessories that are both professional and comfortable for working at home well into 2021.

Beats Solo Pro headset, Jill Burrows Caramel & Silver indoor slippers, Velocity men’s blazer, Quince Mongolian Cashmere crew, Aritzia Daria pant
Courtesy of Beats, Jill Burrows, Velocity, Quince and Aritzia

Aether: Based in Los Angeles, Aether’s (pronounced like “ether”) technical clothing line for men and women was designed with the outdoors in mind, but many of their durable yet comfy pieces can be worn indoors. And unlike a lot of apparel brands designed specifically for outdoor wear, Aether’s shirts and sweaters are much more aesthetically appealing, making you look cool on Zoom but keeping you warm as temperatures drop and you resist turning your heater on. The brand’s Japanese merino Henley, touted to regularly sell out, has inherent moisture-wicking qualities, keeping body temperature regulated whether the wearer is indoors or using it as a layer in colder climates. SRP: $225.

Aritzia: If you are working from home, remind yourself: You do not have to wear “hard pants.” But maybe you don’t want to sit around in your pajamas or sweatpants all the time. (No shame, whatsoever, if you do, though.) Canadian label Aritzia’s Daria pants, a set of vegan leather leggings, have become a cult favorite among fashion bloggers in the past few years given how durable and comfortable they are. They often pop up as an ideal option for wearing on airplanes, but that means they’re just as good to wear at home. For a dressier look, the brand’s Conan dress pants come with a pull-on waistband and elastic backing. They’re also made with Terado, a Japanese fabric that’s matte crepe on one side and satin on the other. SRP: $138 for the Daria pant; $148 for the Conan pant.

Apple: When talking about workwear, you might not think of headphones in the same category. But in the Zoom era, how can you not? Not only are they crucial to maintaining decent audio during a conference call from your living room, kitchen, or outdoor deck if you are so lucky to have one (we’ve all enviously seen you there), but everyone on the call can see your choice of headphones on the video chat, too. It doesn’t get much more sleek and functional than the Beats headset. For work purposes, consider the wireless Solo Pro headset, ergonomically designed for all-day wear. There are two listening modes: Noise Canceling with real-time audio calibration, and Transparency Mode, which lets you stay aware of your surroundings. Powered by the Apple H1 chip, you can take calls, skip songs, and control volume with one button on the ear cup, and then activate the headset for Bluetooth connectivity by folding and unfolding the ear cups. You can expect up to 22 hours of listening time on a single charge, or up to 40 hours if you turn Noise Canceling and Transparency Mode off. SRP: $300.

Birdies: If you’re looking for an upgrade for your slippers that make you feel as if you’re going out, Birdies touts its footwear as stylish flats that are secretly slippers. Launched this autumn, the Birdies x Minted Collection is the product of two mission-driven, female-founded companies that joined forces to support the artisanship of female creators in order to showcase their work in a unique way. Taking inspiration from nature and wildlife, artists Julie Murray, Jessie Burch, and Emilie Simpson created motifs to be embroidered on Birdies’ classic velvet flats, translating their designs into intricate embroidery to create wearable art—a first of its kind collaboration for both brands. The collection includes three styles: the Starling in Falling Fern, the Blackbird in Royal Perch, and the Heron in Wild Zebra. SRP: $165.

Jill Burrows: Many people (myself included) are not fans of wearing outdoor shoes in the house. Not only is it unsanitary, but many cultures consider it disrespectful. So maybe it’s time to consider a pair of comfortable but fancy shoes to wear only at home. Fitting somewhere between slippers and loafers, Jill Burrows’ stylish slip-on flats might elevate your mood (and your feet, ever so slightly) while working in a home office. The leather slippers are intended for all-day wear, year-round. Each pair comes in a logo shoe bag, making for special gift packaging. SRP: $128.

Ministry of Supply: Ministry of Supply is an MIT-born company that leans on “textile science” to make durable, comfy clothes that can go straight from dryer to drawer or suitcase. The brand just launched a few new pieces that are especially suited to working from home—or really working from anywhere. Almost nothing spruces up an outfit in person or via Zoom faster than a smart blazer. The men’s Velocity Blazer features a resilient stretch fabric that retains crisp lines, thanks to a soft-yet-strong fiber that’s machine washable and wrinkle-free. SRP: $495.

M.M.LaFleur: When the only time colleagues can see you is via videoconference call, you’re probably less inclined to put on a stiff, fussy dress shirt. But it’s a lot easier to keep up appearances than you think. The key is not to overthink. A simple but well-made T-shirt can even do the trick. M.M.LaFleur has made its mark in the women’s apparel industry by designing and producing luxury workwear at still-aspirational but better prices than the likes of designer fashion labels. The Choe Top, in particular, is a work-appropriate T-shirt that is both stretchy and structured and looks just as sharp tucked into a tailored skirt as it does with jeans. And it won’t require a trip to the dry cleaner as it’s machine-washable. (It’s also comfortable enough to wear on an airplane, when you’re ready to do that again.) SRP: $145.

Pairess: Launching a fashion business during the COVID-19 pandemic as retailers continue to face devastating losses is a brave venture. But launching a brand of attire tailored for working from home might be a saving grace. Founded by two Asian-American women who pivoted their careers from Silicon Valley tech to fashion entrepreneurship (they met while working together at fintech company Affirm), Pairess’s debut capsule collection was built for a longer-term shift in consumer demand for fashion products that prioritize comfort, functionality, and wellness. While there might be a shift away from so-called hard pants when working from home, winter months might call for more coverage. The Amelia 2.0 Pull-on Relaxed Slim Leg Pants are made with wrinkle-resistant, stretchy fabric and an elastic waistband. And it’s fitting that they’re named after Amelia Bloomer, a suffragist who advocated for less restrictive, more comfortable clothing standards for women. SRP: $125.

Quince: There are few things more classic as well as more comfortable than a cashmere sweater. Tailor-made for the everyday uniform, it can be worn when you need to look your best with dress pants, or casually with a pair of jeans around the house. Quince posits that high-quality staples shouldn’t be unattainable luxuries. Thus, the brand connects with factories to sell direct to the customer, promising consumers better prices and factories with better margins. SRP: $50 for the women’s and $60 for the men’s cashmere crewneck sweater.

Rails: If there was one piece of clothing that defined women’s fashion in 2020, it would be the nap dress. Sometimes it’s called a housedress. For others, it’s just a plain old dress. Regardless, there is something liberating about a billowy dress free of a waistline, making working from home all the more comfortable. This striped, linen, sleeveless, and flowy gown is great in both warm and cool seasons as it is easy to move around in and goes well with a cardigan or cowl-neck sweater as colder temperatures move in. SRP: $198.

Sarah Flint: The easiest way to spruce up your Zoom look comes in the form of a 45-centimeter by 45-centimeter square of fabric. That would be a neck scarf, with one twist, instantly elevating even an old sweatshirt. Handcrafted in Como, Italy, this 100% silk scarf by American shoemaker Sarah Flint and painted by artist Ella Sienna (formerly Ella Jackson), featuring florals from the British countryside, will have you dreaming of spring all through winter. SRP: $145.

The North Face: With more than 200 positive reviews, the North Face’s Motion Pants for men are touted to be comfortable for all body types, and can be worn at the office, while working from home, out at a restaurant, or even while traveling. The mid-weight, straight-fit hiking pants are crafted with DuPont’s Sorona Triexta durable fiber fabric and sport a reflective detailing under the pant cuffs that could come in handy at night. SRP: $75.

More must-read lifestyle coverage from Fortune:

  • The cofounder of underwear startup Parade on why the era of Victoria’s Secret is over
  • Should you renew your travel credit card for 2021?
  • How to utilize your frequent-flier miles this year even if you’re not buying plane tickets
  • A reading list for the 2020 presidential election from the New York Public Library
  • Telling men’s stories through their cars

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