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How to Dress for Going Nowhere: Your Stay-at-Home Fashion Guide

how to dress going nowhere how to dress going nowhere

Congrats! You’re doing it, you’re making it through the Corona Crisis. Let’s all take a step back and do a basic hygiene check, okay? As someone with five-plus years experience of working from home and three go-arounds with the new baby fog (which, let’s face it, is kinda like quarantine), here are my top 10 tips for how to make it through the interminable homebound days with your dignity intact … and a little bit of style to boot.

Disclaimer: We realize that the Corona Crisis is, in fact, a crisis. There are people with much bigger fish to fry than deciding what they’re going to wear for the day. But, for some of us, putting together an outfit is one more way to cope when so much else is beyond our control.

  • Shower every day, preferably in the morning.

    This is nonnegotiable. Dry shampoo is still having its moment, but if there ever was a time to do things the old-fashioned way, maybe it’s now? We should all be washing our hair. Call me crazy.

  • There is no dress code, so long as you get dressed.

    No one’s expecting high style right now, but getting dressed is a commitment to keeping your sanity. It’s tempting to flapjack around the house, but put on a bra. A bra means business. We’re setting the tone for the kids so let’s not look like a bunch of stranded slobs waiting for an apparel bailout. However! You don’t need to sacrifice comfort. Thankfully, the loungewear trend is still strong so settle into a pair of soft pants. No reasonably sane person is wearing jeans at home.

  • Dress your children.

    I try to get the kids dressed by 8am every day so they know there’s a difference between weekdays and weekends. For whatever reason, I feel better if they’re watching cartoons in clothes rather than pajamas. If you have a baby in the house—you lucky thing—dress her in whatever makes you happy. Dressing a baby is basically like putting clothes on a potato. They certainly don’t care what they’re wearing. So bust out your favorite baby shower presents ‘cause if not now, when?

  • Keep up with a quarantine fitness regimen.

    Pick one activity each day—a walk, a run, yoga—and do it. Ideally this is a solo activity. My morning walks are giving me life right now. Or, you can throw a rock on the Internet and find a good workout program. Do a dance party with the kids if that’s all you can manage. You’ll feel better, hopefully less full of existential dread, and healthier. Obviously this a time when health = wealth.

  • Maintain basic grooming habits.

    Choose one body part each day and rotate through the week. Face, shave, etc. Mom hack: My kids aren’t old enough to be left in the bath alone but I double value their tub time by using the good bathroom lighting to pluck my eyebrows.

  • Moisturize.

    Your face, your body, your overwashed hands. Feet. Moisturizing feels good and smells even better. The self-care movement is having a re-birth and you can buy any face treatment out there or make your own. It doesn’t need to be expensive. (Though I do swear by this one. I don’t actually know what it does, but it’s divine.)

  • DIY beauty treatments wherever you need the love.

    If the grays are driving you nuts, time to roll up your sleeves and break out the Clairol box. There are a million tutorials for learning how to trim your bangs or perfect the elusive liquid eyeliner cat eye. Go wild ‘cause the stakes are low. You’ll have time to grow out whatever damage you do.

  • Pick ways to be Fancy-ish Nancy.

    Fielding conference calls during the day? No one expects you to go all out, but it might make you feel more composed and put-together to swipe on some lipstick. Or put on mascara and your favorite sweater. Add heels, if it makes you feel official. Little wins. Take a final look at your beautiful self by using a handy camera check. Find a new background if you’re sick of your digs. Most handy of all, here’s an app to mute background noise.

  • Be easy on yourself.

    We’re all taking it one day at a time. Or one hour at a time. Most of us are juggling work and homeschool on top of dealing with an unprecedentedly freaky global situation. Worrying about how you look is low on the list of priorities but there’s no doubt that personal hygiene affects your mood. So if you can do one thing from this list every day, consider yourself a goddess.

  • Wear whatever makes you feel like a total babe.

It’s not like we’re going to a cocktail party anytime soon. So why “save” your favorite dress or piece of jewelry? Wear ‘em to dinner one night. Or plan a fun theme party via Zoom. Whatever. Anything goes these days. Find whatever it is that makes you happy. Own up to your vanity. It’s one of the few things we can control right now.



Toby Lowenfels is a writer and mom of three in Culver City, California. Follow her daily musings at @tobyfels.