Home >Lounge >Features >The new rules of waist-up dressing

Even as the nationwide lockdown eases and workplaces begin opening up, albeit sparingly, it seems work from home may be here to stay.

One of the many charms of working virtually is being able to dress comfortably while looking chic for the numerous video calls through the day. The trend of waist-up fashion, though possibly temporary, has brought personal style into sharp focus—what works or doesn’t work, and finding the sweet spot between keeping workwear formal yet fashionable and comfortable.

If you are still unsure about how to dress for a video call, here’s some help. Lounge spoke to three stylists on how to look and feel good.

Karl short-sleeve high-collar shirt by Karl Lagerfeld
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Karl short-sleeve high-collar shirt by Karl Lagerfeld

CONSISTENCY

If your wardrobe is filled with tailored separates or monochrome basics, stylist Divyak D’Souza suggests building on it. You don’t need to change your personal style— just enhance your strong points. It’s important to imagine yourself from the perspective of clients, seniors and peers, and ask what change would suit you.

That said, it’s also a good time to get out of your comfort zone just a little bit. Stylist Mohit Rai says, “A white shirt is so classic that it acts as a conduit to a new style, which may be a slight deviation from your regular one." It’s eye-catching and there’s no risk of a mismatch with your lowers.

Working from home offers a degree of freedom to loosen up your regular style. The idea of home brings comfort and that should reflect in your style. As stylist Akshay Tyagi says: “You don’t have to dress in a completely formal way because now you might be able to get away with a ‘Casual Friday’ style every day. Everything’s relaxed, and with the weather in India in mind, you needn’t layer with clothes or accessories unless you are required to."

A vintage series watch by Casio
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A vintage series watch by Casio

ACCESSORIES

Akshay Tyagi says it is a good time to invest in a smart pair of spectacles, given the amount of time we are spending in front of screens. Since screens emit a lot of blue light, computer anti-glare glasses or blue light-blocking glasses are a good option to ward off eye strain. And, of course, a good frame can help shape your face better.

When it comes to accessories, women have a greater variety to choose from but men too can diversify. “A watch automatically elevates your style," says Mohit Rai. With ties, bow ties, boutonnières, pocket squares, tie bars and cufflinks, there’s enough to keep you looking put-together. For women, Rai and Tyagi both suggest a statement piece of jewellery: necklaces, earrings or bracelets. It goes a long way in helping the overall look come together.

A white shirt by Atsu
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A white shirt by Atsu

PATTERNS AND COLLARS

You can arrange your clothes for each workday, separating them by prints and collars since these will be the most visual elements of your outfit.

In terms of graphic prints, fine patterns might look glitchy on the screen. “Pinstripes and tiny checks can look a little distracting so they can be avoided, especially if they are horizontal because they can make you look broader. Even patterns made with contrasting or pastel colours can look jarring or washed out on screen, respectively," says Mohit Rai. Akshay Tyagi suggests going with patterns and prints that are spaced out and offer blank space for a visual balance on the screen.

“Working with different kinds of collars or cuff details is a good direction because that gets enough attention on the screens. Depending on what angle your screen is at can help to choose the kind of neckline you want to wear, because you know the perspective from which you are being looked at," he says. For instance, bateau or scoop necklines are safe options as opposed to high ones because they might add volume. “Blouses with pussy bows or closed off collars can be avoided because they can look too stuffy or uptight, especially while working from home. You don’t want to look too severe in such an environment," says Rai. He suggests open necklines—the lines will draw attention to the

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