The more I work from home, the more I dislike jeans. They’re rough and itchy, and finding the perfect fit is like trying to prove Carol Baskin killed her husband.
If I find a pair of jeans that fit nicely around my legs, my stomach pops out of the top. If I find one that fits beautifully around my waist, the inner-thighs rubbed out because they’re too tight.The more I work from home, the more I dislike jeans. They’re rough and itchy, and finding the perfect fit is like trying to prove Carol Baskin killed her husband.
If I find a pair of jeans that fit nicely around my legs, my stomach pops out of the top. If I find one that fits beautifully around my waist, the inner-thighs rubbed out because they’re too tight. Don’t get me started on the pockets either. No matter what I do, I can’t find a pair of jeans with pockets deep enough for my phone. Or my wallet.
Then I discovered leggings
Months before quitting my job and moving back to the States, I started wearing leggings. If you haven’t worn leggings before, you’re missing out. They’re so comfortable, I often sleep in them. I’ve yet to find a pair of leggings I didn’t look good in. I’m often staring at myself in the mirror after buying a new pair, whispering, “Well, hello there.”
However, there’s a downside to my newfound love of leggings. When I wear them, I don’t do as much. Instead, I lay around the house, or I feel like I’m taking a day off from working.
Even when I do laundry, I don’t do as much writing when I’m wearing leggings. Typically, washing my clothes can keep me productive with my writing projects. Not when I’m wearing comfy clothes. So, as you can see, I found myself in a dilemma. I love feeling comfortable while I work, but I don’t get there. Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s going to work for me. If I feel comfortable, I’m getting lazy.
So, I’m going back to jeans
During the pandemic, I noticed memes on Facebook and Twitter, encouraging new home-workers to wear their work clothes as they work. I experimented with wearing jeans while working instead of leggings. For once, I believed the memes.
When wearing leggings while working, I found myself gravitating towards my phone instead of working on new articles or writing assignments. With jeans, I’d still glance at my phone, but I wouldn’t linger the same way I would with leggings.
I started wondering. Is there science behind this, or am I focusing on a trivial detail for my productivity? Is my clothing the ultimate motivator, or am I acting out of routine?
Turns out, there is some science behind the clothes
Scientists spent years trying to figure out if clothes affect someone’s productivity. The University of Hertfordshire had a group of people wearing a Superman shirt. The people reported feeling stronger and more confident wearing the shirt.
One study in Harvard talked about two college professors. One professor kept themselves dressed professionally. The other dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. The students thought more highly of the casually dressed professor. However, the Harvard study suggested the students thought like that because they came from a prestigious college.
Multiple studies show how lab coats encourage more focus for people in the medical field. These studies showed 61% of employees are more productive when they wear casual dress. Hive mentions when people dress up when they work, it’s easier for them to separate work time and leisure time.
Dressing formally for work also helps you mentally separate work and leisure time, which could be very helpful for people who need to create stronger boundaries between these two parts of their life.
Now, I know why I don’t do so well when I wear leggings
When I dress up anymore, it’s because I know I’m going out in public. Jeans mean I’m going to work. That I need to make some money and not lay around the house like a bum. Leggings, however, are more of a leisure thing. I wear them when I’m going to bed. I treat my leggings like pajamas, and that’s why I don’t get as much done. I never got the mindset that leggings are for productivity.
It’s nothing surprising. Growing up, when you went out in public, you wore jeans. When you went to school, you wore jeans. Most places I worked at required people to wear jeans. Leggings or other types of sweat pants weren’t allowed.
For someone like me, I can’t get myself to a point where I can associate leggings with work. So instead, I use them as a reward for a productive day of working.
When you work from home, your clothes matter for productivity. If you’re used to going out in public in a pair of jeans, you’re not going to work well in a pair of leggings.
You might work from home, but the clothes you wear still matter. You don’t have to dress up in a suit and tie, but you do want to wear what’s going to motivate you to work.
For me, jeans are what help me gain more productivity. However, someone out there could do better in a pair of leggings. Another person has better productivity in a suit. The only person who knows their best working outfits is you. Whatever clothing you need to separate work from leisure while you’re home is going to be your work clothes from now on.