How lockdown and WFH made me fall in love with the oversized shirt

Amy de Klerk
·3-min read
Photo credit: Angelina Jolie in 'Mr and Mrs Smith'. Stephen Vaughan/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Angelina Jolie in 'Mr and Mrs Smith'. Stephen Vaughan/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

From Harper's BAZAAR

A little over a year ago, we entered what quickly became our new normal, where many of us were thrown into working from our homes full time. We negotiated working from makeshift desks (the kitchen table, the sofa, sometimes the bed), swapping office catch-ups with colleagues for spending 24 hours a day (!) with our partners, and carving out a new routine that no longer involved a commute. And, we also suddenly found ourselves without any pressure to dress in any particular way. We could literally spend the entire week in our pyjamas if we wanted to, something which filled me with an almost childlike excitement early on, before it quickly dawned on me that, while an odd day spent in your PJs can feel like a treat, do it for a few in a row and not only will your productivity take a serious nosedive, but you’ll also feel like a complete slob.

So, over the past 12 months, I, like most of my friends and colleagues, have found the line between comfort and professionalism, ditching the pyjamas and dressing gowns for sweatpants or jeans and trying to look pulled-together, at least from the waist up (and yes, of course, some days I achieve this better than others).

It recently struck me though that I have lost count of the number of times I have thrown on my white baggy button-up shirt 10 minutes before a Zoom meeting because – make-up or no make-up, showered or not, even if paired with gym leggings – the shirt makes me look and feel at least vaguely put-together. And now, I don’t think I’ll ever stop relying on it.

Photo credit: Homeegirls
Photo credit: Homeegirls

If you're anything like me, some days in lockdown can make you lose sight of the fact that you’re a professional woman with an actual real-life job, while you find yourself struggling to complete tasks that used to be a breeze. Although what you wear is certainly not a foolproof method of fixing waning motivation, how you look can impact how you feel and slipping into something that is both comfortable and undeniably professional (in a way that a T-shirt or jumper can’t always replicate) has helped me to feel driven and, dare I say, look stylish.

With working from home now a reality, at least part time, for most of us going forward, I couldn’t recommend a chic, comfortable and loose-fitting shirt more. Throw it on with your sweatpants for a Zoom meeting; wear it with a pair of tailored trousers when you’re heading into the office for real; team it with jeans or a floaty skirt all weekend long; or even wear it over your bikini on the beach.

Photo credit: Yaitte
Photo credit: Yaitte

My discovery of the versatility of the button-up might not be particularly ground-breaking, but until lockdown, I had never personally appreciated it. Now though, I can say with some certainty that a trusty oversized shirt will be part of my uniform forever. Want to join me? Shop some of my favourites below.

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