Is it required to follow a dress code in a coworking space? While freelancers and contractors may still engage in “wardrobe wars” protecting their right to wear sweatpants, it’s clear that suitable attire helps us maintain a professional image. Mariam Simmons of Alpine Swiss reveals the main secrets to staying appropriate and fashionable in a remote work setting.
Coworking spaces have revolutionized the way we work by providing a remote work setting that is not an office or a home but somewhere that meets us halfway. Yet, this newfound comfort did not abolish all office traditions, one being the dress code.
When we relax our attire in a shared professional environment, fellow freelancers may judge us in a manner similar to that in a workplace. So, what is the appropriate dress code for sharing a workplace with others as an independent contractor or a freelancer? And is it time to rethink wearing sweatpants to your coworking space? Below, you’ll find some tips on elevating your remote work fit at a coworking space.
1. Don’t Look Like You Just Got Out of Bed
Not all of us lead a carefully-organized lifestyle; we tend to snooze our alarm or even miss it completely. As tempting as darting out of bed in your pajamas might sound, it might not be the most practical for conveying a sense of professionalism and capability.
Keep in mind that although it is not a traditional 9 to 5 job, you are technically still a professional ‘at work’ when you’re at a coworking space. Our clothing significantly affects how competent we feel, and it also communicates how we wish to be perceived by others. If in a hurry, go for a couple of smart-looking yet comfortable pieces, such as a plain t-shirt paired with well-fitted jeans or trousers.
2. Avoid Anything Too Tight, Too Short, Too Revealing, or Too See-Through
While wearing yoga or sweat shorts might have worked when we were doing Zoom meetings at the beginning of the pandemic, it does not apply to coworking spaces. In a professional setting, we want to be noticed for our skills rather than our appearance.
The way we present ourselves is directly linked to our sense of respect toward ourselves and others. Deep necklines, crop tops, and sheer or unbuttoned shirts are inappropriate in any work setting, whether on-site or remote. Dressing well emits an aura of self-confidence and efficiency, which in turn reflects on how others treat and perceive us as fellow professionals.
3. Stay Well-Groomed While Staying Comfortable
Walking into your coworking space with bedhead might not violate any particular dress code policy, but it will draw the unsavory attention of fellow freelancers and workers at the scene. Being well-groomed and presentable is as essential as dressing well.
You do not have to go as far as implementing a 14-step morning routine but stick to the basics. Maintain a decent haircut and well-trimmed facial hair, brush your teeth every morning and keep your nails clean. Make sure that your clothes and shoes are not dirty or stained and that your shirt or top is not wrinkled.
4. Adopt Business Casual, Casual, or Smart Casual Outfits
Some coworking spaces have different standards when it comes to attire. While some border on the corporate side as far as standard dress goes, other coworking spaces leave attire entirely up to their clients. In our efforts to dress for success, the terms business casual, casual, and smart casual are frequently mentioned.
Sometimes we feel secretly confused for not being able to discern one from the other. Here is a straightforward description of each attire that can help you step up your remote work wardrobe at a coworking space.
We usually see people wearing business casual in some offices or firms. As per the ‘casual,’ business casual does not mirror a highly professional image since it can include bright colors and patterns. This attire includes collared or button-down shirts, chinos or tailored pants, and loafers, heels, or boots for footwear. Business casual is often seen in professional and corporate-like coworking spaces.
Most of the time, you can get away with this type of relaxed and comfortable attire. Although the term ‘casual’ may seem ambiguous, it is simply the effortless pairing of basic clothing items available in any wardrobe. Casual attire is often worn in coworking spaces that promote a more relaxed environment, such as those located near the beach or in the countryside.
Despite not being clearly defined, smart casual balances a neat professional look with essential relaxed pieces. It is efficient and comfortable combined, providing you with a professional yet effortless feel. We recommend sticking to smart casual in a coworking space, as you will never feel out of place with this attire. Here are some examples of smart casual for men and women:
Smart Casual for Men
Classic jeans with a straight-leg, chinos, and well-fitted pants. Make sure the fit is not too baggy or too tight. Purchase essential colors, such as black, navy, or beige, to mix and match with different items.
Button-down or slim shirts, short-sleeve or dress shirts in various basic colors such as blue, white, or navy. Polo shirts may also be included.
Stick to minimal accessories to complement the outfit. You may also add high-quality accessories, such as wristwatches, to elevate your look.
Blazers or sports coats are the perfect addition over shirts for a more professional fit.
Casual sneakers or classic leather shoes like loafers. Stay away from running shoes or trainers, as it renders the fit too casual.
Smart Casual for Women
Collared or button-down shirts, blouses, short or long-sleeved shirts. No cotton or fitted shirts with graphics or text. Add a blazer in a pastel shade for a professional feel.
Chinos or tailored pants. Go for light and breathable fabrics such as silk or viscose.
Heels, flats, or Oxfords. Always choose something that you feel comfortable in.
Jumpsuits and midi or maxi dresses in soft floral patterns for a delicate yet polished fit.
Classic bracelets, necklaces, and earrings to refine the fit. Wristwatches may also be added.
The ease and flexibility that coworking spaces offer has significantly altered office traditions of the past. However, it did not manage to mitigate the importance of appearance in the workplace. Even in a coworking space, we are still operating in a professional circle that calls for attentiveness to self-presentation. Choosing the right manner in which we present ourselves is as relevant now as it has always been.
Mariam Simmons is a fashion enthusiast and Content Manager at Alpine Swiss. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations and gets inspired to create helpful fashion and lifestyle guides. With over a decade of writing experience, her main goal in creating content is to ensure readers learn something useful and provide value instead of noise.
Does your coworking space follow a dress code? How do you manage your remote work wardrobe at a coworking space? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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