What we wear affects our work habits  


Lorelai Hofer, Reporter

You roll out of bed for another day of school at a computer. Between classes, you nod off into your third nap of the day while you try to keep up with the endless amount of Zoom meetings. Yells and laughter from a sibling down the hall distract you. You wonder if  at-home learning would be more productive if you wore something different?

For one school week, I tested this question by wearing all different types of clothes during my at-home learning day. I tried to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, in order to make the daily conditions as close as possible. By wearing everything from pajamas to formal clothes, I will try to determine if what we wear has an effect on our work habits.


I decided to start the week with the least effort possible: the “I woke up like this” outfit. I rolled out of bed in my pajamas, quickly tossed my hair into a ponytail, and brushed my teeth. This extremely easy look took less than five minutes. Though getting ready took a very little amount of time, finishing schoolwork took more time than I expected. While wearing my cozy pajamas, I admit I took a few naps throughout the day. Something about wearing what you would to bed makes you want to go back to it. Throughout the day, I definitely felt more distracted than I do in my normal attire of leggings and a t-shirt. I found myself scrolling through my phone, watching random videos, or sometimes even just staring off into space, on the verge of taking another nap. By the end of the day, I finished all my work, but it took an hour or two longer than normal. I definitely feel like wearing pajamas all day made me less productive.


For my least favorite day of the week, I forced myself to get up and put on what I would wear for a normal day of school. I threw on a pair of jeans and a nice long-sleeved shirt. This outfit even included shoes. I fully brushed my hair and teeth and put my contacts in. This casual look probably took around 10 or 15 minutes. Tuesday happened to be my PSAT day, so I was actually at school for part of the day. This was honestly the most productive I’ve been in a while. Part of the reason was probably the fact that I actually went to school, but I still had to come home and do work from all of my classes, even the ones I missed while testing. If you take a second to imagine trying to get a whole day’s amount of work done while being five hours behind, it seems and is very stressful. I ended up finishing all my work around two hours later than I normally would. Because I took the PSAT and came home to continue with even more assignments, including an algebra test, I feel like Tuesday was definitely very successful. Jeans, a shirt, and, don’t forget, shoes seem to be a very productive and distraction proof combo.


The halfway through the week mark deserved a good in-between fancy and casual outfit, so I went with my own take on business casual. I don’t know about you, but whenever I am told to dress in business casual, I’m never quite sure what that means. I always play it safe with the happy middle between “I’m paparazzi ready” and “I threw on the first thing in my closet that wasn’t pajamas or yoga pants.” 

With that being said, I decided to go with a skirt and a cardigan-shirt combo. I even put on slightly heeled boots. To continue with the business casual, job interview theme, I put on the most basic makeup of mascara, lip gloss, and the lightest brush of eyeshadow. I also decided to straighten my hair, which brought this outfit’s prep time to about 45 minutes.

Since it took so long to get ready, I figured I should be extremely productive today, but that wasn’t always the case. I was actually very awake all day, after spending so much time getting ready. There was no way I could possibly take a nap because I was all dressed up, had shoes on, and definitely didn’t want all my hard work on my hair to be destroyed. Though I was awake and ready for the day, I still found myself procrastinating my work, especially with the lack of Zoom meetings, and getting distracted by scrolling through Instagram for the one-millionth time, or wanting to watch more of whatever random show on Netflix. Since I was wearing a skirt in the middle of winter, I was also freezing all day. Even though I sat under multiple blankets, I would start shivering and getting distracted by wonder if I was in the North Pole, based on how cold my house was. 

By the end of the day, though, I finished all my work early. I was definitely surprised I finished early, based on my lack of focus, but it made sense with the amount of work I had. My business casual outfit definitely made me feel more productive than wearing pajamas all day, but I felt infinitely less focused than when I wore Tuesday’s jeans ensemble.  


For Thursday’s outfit, I took it a step up from business casual with a typical Sunday best dress. I got up and curled my hair, which always takes an extremely long time, and actually put makeup on. I did a full makeup look completely with everything from eyeshadow to foundation to lipstick. Though all the preparation took around an hour to get completely ready.

The downside to wearing a dress and heels in the middle of the winter is the fact that your legs and feet are freezing all day long. By the end of the day, my feet felt numb and frozen due to the heels and cold weather factors. Even with being cold, I got a lot of work done. I finished my work early and technically finished school before three o’clock. I was definitely more focused than on an average day. I also was wide awake, because I had gone through all the steps of getting up and preparing for the day, with the addition of curling my hair and putting on a lot of makeup. Wearing this nice, sort of fancy outfit made me feel productive and ready for the day, which I didn’t feel on other days, such as Monday’s pajama day.


For the final day of this experiment, I decided to go out with a bang and wear a prom dress. I recently received my cousin’s very  2000s prom dress, and to my surprise, I actually found a time to wear it.

Bright and early Friday morning, I got dressed and ready for my fictional, at home prom. I curled my hair and fashioned an elegant prom ready hairdo thanks to Pinterest. I even went all out with a glittery and artistic makeup look. It took around an hour and a half to get ready. But to say the least, I definitely won the best-dressed award at all my Zoom meetings.

The downside to taking forever to get ready in the morning is that you feel unprepared and behind all day. Even with being wide awake and looking fabulous, I fell behind in my classes, and I felt like I needed to rush to keep up and get back on top of everything. Other than the lingering feeling of being behind and, of course, being cold from wearing a strapless dress in the end of January, I was productive. I was focused and got all my work done right on time.

Even though I was awake and ready all day, I think being prepared for prom is a bit extreme for your daily choice in wardrobe. It had the same effects as just wearing a nice dress or business casual, but it made me feel behind and a bit uncomfortable.

After a week of wearing and working in the most luxurious outfit to a pretty gauche one, I can definitely say what I wore made a difference on how I worked. The more time I spent getting ready, the more awake I was, but it came with the consequence of feeling behind. When I put no effort in, I felt tired and unmotivated to work. 

With this being said, the last place goes to – you guessed it – pajama day. Wearing pajamas all day makes you want to go back to sleep, which doesn’t help with motivation. I felt unprepared and unproductive all day, and truly just wanted to close my eyes and sleep. It honestly felt like a waste of a day and something I could never do for the rest of online school if I want to complete any work.  

In fourth place, we have the prom dress. Though it was fun to get dressed for a sad at home by myself prom, it was not worth the time and effort of getting ready. The prep time took forever for something with pretty average results. Also, it’s unrealistic to get ready for prom every day of the week. 

The third most productive outfit was business casual. I could definitely see wearing this throughout the week, but I didn’t see much of a difference in how much work I got done. It gets third place, because it was pretty mediocre, not very helpful but also not causing me to fall behind. 

My second place, runner up for most productive outfit, is my Sunday best dress. I definitely was awake and focused, but the prep time was a bit much. I think a more simplified version of this, maybe just the dress and either the hair or makeup, would have made it feel a lot better suited for day to day work. 

Finally, first place goes to (drum roll please) the normal day of school outfit. It brought back the old routine of getting ready for the day, without taking too much prep time. It was also comfy, without making me feel like taking a nap all day. I got a lot of work done, and it made my day have a bit of a feel for what used to be normal. 

What we wear has an impact on our work habits. Our clothes and preparation can make us feel productive and motivated, or it can make us feel unprepared and ready to sleep. It’s important to find a nice mix of clothes that makes you comfortable and ready to take on the world. So try this experiment out, and see what at the end of the day makes you say “I gave today my all and it paid off.”