The Freelancer's Guide To Style

by Natalie Gontcharova
Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

As a freelance writer, I rarely have to leave my apartment to go to work. Actually, I'm typing this during an hour-and-a-half subway ride to the beach, where I'll spend a few hours enjoying the suspiciously gorgeous NYC weather (seriously, are we being punk'd or is this actually happening?) before going back to typing away on my laptop. I'm wearing a halter-neck jersey dress over a bathing suit with TOMS. Yup, I can pretty much be as casual as I want. Suck it, office monkeys.

But before you get too jealous of my fancy-free lifestyle, let's spend a moment lamenting all the silk blouses, pencil skirts, and designer heels sitting in my closet and hardly ever seeing the light of day. [Moment of silence for the pretty things.] After working from home for so long, I've adapted to this — I don't miss getting dressed up, and I don't see the point of donning my fancy duds unless I absolutely need to. That's because I've perfected a few little ways to own my style and express myself without exerting the effort I would if I were going to an office every day. To all the freelancers out there in their pajamas, 1) I feel ya, dawg. 2) Here are some ways to keep from going insane (wardrobe-wise).

1. Get dressed in one step

I've tried spending all day in pajamas, and I just end up being extremely unproductive. That's probably because, just like working from your bed is a no-no, most of our brains associate pajamas with watching Netflix, glass of wine in hand (precisely why I change as soon as the clock hits 11 p.m.) If it works for you, awesome. I prefer clothes that are just as easy as pajamas or sweats but are still clothes, like lightweight jersey dresses. It takes maybe a nanojoule more energy than staying in your PJs, but you'll feel much more put-together — which can help jumpstart those brilliant ideas.

2. Assess your comfort level

Are you the type of person who feels naked if you don't have a killer outfit on and your eyeliner just-so? Good for you. (If you work from home, maybe your perfection is wasted on sitting around the house all day. Just sayin'.) Are you perfectly fine spending all day in sweats? Awesome. I'm somewhere between these two. They key is finding a level at which you're comfortable but still feel good about yourself. A lot of freelancers, including myself occasionally, like to work from a coffee shop, so there's more of a reason to get dressed up (or, let's face it, get dressed, period) if you do that.

3. It's okay to "recycle" clothes

As someone who works from home, you probably don't spend a lot of time pressed up against sweaty strangers on the subway. So it's unlikely that your clothes get super-gross: You can wear the same skirt or cardigan in the same week once in awhile. Come on, no one will see you anyway (hooray for hermits)! And if they do, you can just say your clothes have superpowers that cause them to spontaneously multiply.

4. Live it up

You never know, someday you may get an actual [gasp] 9-5 job. So wear your Ninja Turtles muscle tee and purple jellies to your heart's content.

5. Your workout gear totally counts as clothes

Do you work out? Are you lazy? No, you're not, because you work out. So give yourself a break and let your yoga pants double as pants-pants. That way, you won't have to change before you go to the gym. (Although, please change post-workout.)

6. Going out after? Just add accessories

Unless you're going somewhere very fancy, you can always elevate a simple jersey dress (or skirt and tank combo) with platform shoes and some bangle bracelets for evening.