THE IMPORTANCE OF DRESSING UP AT HOME
BY Kay Barron | Fashion Director, Net-A-Porter
For many of us, working from home can mean lounging around for days on end in sweatpants, hoodies and pajamas. Here, NET-A-PORTER’s fashion director KAY BARRON explains why it’s important not to let lamentable lockdown turn into sartorial letdown – and that dressing up is as good for your mental health as it is for your dignity. So, while it’s important to feel relaxed in your new working environment, it’s always a good idea to show your closet some love…
Above: NET-A-PORTER’s fashion director KAY BARRON
As I write this, I am wearing black leather culottes by Current Elliot, a white T-shirt (freshly ironed), and a pair of leopard-print kitten-heel court shoes. While getting dressed this morning, I changed the accessories twice before settling on two chain necklaces and one earring. I had laid the clothes out the night before (yes, I really do that), having stood in front of my wardrobe deciding what to wear for this Thursday. Or whatever day it is. Indeed, I am writing this during lockdown at my kitchen table, and no, no one else has seen me today – or, in fact, this week – and it is unlikely that anyone will.
Above: Emerson Fry's Sequin Jacket; perfect at-home sparkle for the holidays.
For the most part, we partake in conference calls with the cameras firmly disengaged, I live alone and I’m certainly not dressing for the attention of the odd delivery person – though give me another month of this and that might be a different story. I am dressing purely for me – and definitely for my mental wellbeing.
“The idea of dressing from the waist up (for video calls) is lost on me. Just get fully dressed… It is heartening to see that many people haven’t let their personal standards slip, but for every crisp white shirt there is an abundance of bathrobes”
In a time when I am now restricted from doing everything I love – going to restaurants, bars, Pilates, spending time with actual people – I need to take control of what I still can do and what has always been true to me. And that is dressing up. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not throwing on a gown every day and applying layers of makeup, but I am making the same effort that I make when I’m heading to the office. I have a ‘look’ and I’ll be damned if coronavirus is going to take that away from me, too.
Above: Silk Velvet Frock Coat from Sabina Savage
My closet of skin-tight denim, lots of leather, complicated shirting, high, high heels and black silhouettes as structured as my haircut has remained largely unchanged for years. It’s my luxe armor, that I have been perfecting and evolving since I was a teenager, and it has seen me through everything. And, right now, that armor is more important to me than ever.
Naturally, some people are taking this opportunity of working from home to embrace loungewear, or 24-hour pajama dressing. However, the idea of dressing from the waist up (for video calls) is lost on me. Just get fully dressed. Half-business, half-sloven is the kind of half-baked styling that would result in total half-baked thinking on my part.
Above: Shosh Black & Gold Taffeta Blouse with blouson sleeves.
Instagram’s @wfhfits account provides an insight into people’s new workwear aesthetic. It is heartening to see that many people haven’t let their personal standards slip, but for every crisp white shirt, there is an abundance of bathrobes. And while I understand the need to feel relaxed in your new working environment – especially when you have other distractions, such as children – it’s never been my default setting. I don’t own trackpants. I own one hoodie, and – under ‘normal’ circumstances – it is strictly reserved for walking to, and from, the gym. I have never been someone who changes into ‘comfortable’ clothes when I return home from the office. In fact, I am someone who doesn’t even take their shoes off. Though, maybe, on certain occasions, I might loosen a belt a little.
I can’t concentrate on a 9.30am call if I’m still in my gym gear and, oddly, I also can’t fully pay attention if I don’t have shoes on. I feel undressed without them. Last week, I spent one day in baggy jeans and the aforementioned hoodie. That day, I was less efficient than normal and snacked all day. Now I’m not fully blaming my attire, but it certainly didn’t help. If I’m not dressed like ‘me’ to work, then I don’t feel like me – and that day passed in a haze of barely read emails and a party-size bag of M&M’s. I won’t make that mistake again.
Above: Brazeau Tricot Silk Tulle t-shirt.
Other than choosing what to wear each day – honestly, in a day of very little to do, it’s amazing how much pleasure it brings me – my other diversion is reading. Currently, I am escaping into Ma’am Darling, a Princess Margaret biography, which reminded me of previously reading about her daily schedule:
9am: Breakfast in bed, followed by two hours in bed listening to the radio, reading the newspapers and chain-smoking.
Noon: An hour in the bath is followed by hair and makeup at her dressing table, then she puts on clean clothes – “as one would imagine of a Princess; she never wore any of her clothes more than once without having them cleaned.”
12.30: She appears downstairs for a vodka pick-me-up.
Of course, Princess Margaret didn’t have an itinerary of emails and calls, and I’m not encouraging lying in bed till 11, chain-smoking or day-drinking, but as our current situation gives some of us a little more time to ourselves, there is a lot to be said for making a bit of an effort. Wash your hair, or slip into your favorite shoes that you never get to wear. At this time, I think we would all benefit from being a little bit more Margaret. You owe it to yourself. Just leave the vodka pick-me-up till after 7pm. (source: net-a-porter.com)
Seven Instagram Accounts For Interiors Inspiration
1. Maison de Sable
Somewhere between a Wes Anderson film and your favorite sci-fi movie lie Maison de Sable’s futuristic designs. Conceived by artist Charlotte Taylor, her creations are totally escapist and completely cathartic to endlessly scroll through. Think pastel tones, curved corners and infinity views that will help you break the fourth wall of your own home.
One of the most exciting Instagram accounts from the creative community in Marrakech is Laurence Leenaert’s LRNCE. Her textiles, ceramics and artwork – inspired by the line drawings of Picasso and Joan Miró – are staples on the shelves of tastemakers everywhere. Keep your eye out for snaps of Leenaert’s terracotta-toned adobe-style home, where she shoots her creations against the backdrop of a piercing Moroccan sky.
3. Gavin Houghton Design
Interior designer Gavin Houghton is the owner of that candy-striped veranda – reposted by countless tastemakers and recreated by countless punters with Ikea’s Sofia fabric. Gavin Houghton Design’s speciality is classic with a twist of eclectic – and the interior designer’s homes in Tangiers and south London are testament to his brilliant eye for pattern and color. Check out his wonderfully quirky ceramics, too.
4. Sister by Studio Ashby
The latest venture from supernova style-setter Sophie Ashby, Sister by Studio Ashby is a line of wildly covetable vintageware, bespoke furniture and art pieces. Here, you’ll find the finishing touches that every room in your house is crying out for.
This thoroughly eclectic curation of interiors, arts and culture is the antidote to any scroll slump you may find yourself in. From Monet’s primrose-yellow kitchen to the hallways of the fabled Chelsea Hotel in New York, Pieces has gathered beautiful rooms from history and created the ultimate interiors mood board. Idyllic for anyone looking for inspiration in unlikely places.
6. The London List
Editor Ben Weaver writes a brilliant weekly newsletter covering everything from sustainability in design to spotting future art classics. If you ever need reminding how art and interiors blend seamlessly together, follow The London List. Here, you’ll spot the luckiest rooms in the world – decked out in countless Picassos and Basquiats.
7. Abel Macias
Abel Macias’s brightly colored murals have placed him firmly in the tradition of David Hockney and Keith Haring. Based in LA, he has been transforming residential and commercial spaces with his signature bright and beautiful motifs – gaining something of a cult following along the way. For anyone considering a feature wall in their own home, Abel Macias is the perfect inspiration.
Excerpt from Net-A-Porter; story by Olive Wakefield For more inspiriting interiors, click here...
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“The mirror is where you find a reflection of your appearance. The heart is where you find a reflection of the soul.”