What To Wear When You Work At Home & Other Thoughts

It’s 9:15 here and I’m still in my jammies. In a few minutes, I’ll change into my work clothes which often look like the photo below that John took of me the other day. That’s me with my sweet little Canon G11 that allows me capture most of the images you see here, at least those I’ve taken since September 2010.

My work at home attire must meet certain requirements, comfort and flexibility for movement are key so I can crawl out onto to the rocks if necessary when I want to get close to my subject. My camera must be in my other hand because I’m trying to get that stick out of my shot without falling in the water.

I need to tell you that this spot is walking distance from the house here in Cornwall and not  a photo from New Zealand as John and I like to refer to it when discussing it in passing as in, ” You know the river spot that looks like it’s from a Peter Jackson movie.”

Yesterday, I attended a planning strategy meeting. I left the laptop and cell phone behind and took notes the old-fashioned way with a pen on some small squares of paper which I carried in my pocket and scribbled on when I had an idea I thought might work for a novel I’m writing. I was interrupted a few times in the lanes by passing cars requiring me to give way. Some even caught me with pen and paper in hand which must have looked funny given I was dressed for a run like in the first photo. (The photo below is one of the lanes in summer)

There were some other distractions though, seven to be specific. Unlike the old days when a colleague might drop by to discuss a project, my distractions were a different sort. Having intentionally left my camera at home yesterday, I have to substitute a couple of older photos taken on days out like yesterday. Distractions that like to give your hand a lick and wag their tail with delight are always welcome in my world.

This was taken in the buttercup field I’m always referring to in other posts.

Here are a few examples of past work clothing.

I had to wear this look five days a week for three and a half years. It made getting ready for work in the morning very easy.

I’m on the far left in this shot taken during my pharmaceutical career. I won a sales award that night. Judging by the look on my face this must have been taken before I won it. This company did not like for women to wear slacks to work even if it was a suit. Not sure how the woman in the back pulled it off. ( I never realized the size of those shoulder pads, yikes! )

This was taken on a day when I did a presentation along with a local physician who talked about HIV related anemia. I remember this day very well because an older man on crutches (permanent, not temporary) came up to me later and shook my hand. He held it a bit longer than one normally would and said, ” You’re a writer ” which was totally out of context for the event and certainly unrelated to anything I had said that day. I remember I got all teary and had to work to keep from crying.

His look was intense and later when I asked someone about him, they said he had a gift for knowing things and that people went to see him for help. They stopped short of saying psychic as he didn’t like to be called psychic, but said he was known for helping people with his gift. It was certainly an unexpected gift to me that day. To have a stranger sum up something so important, something I barely allowed myself to think about as a real possibility given my work schedule and other things, well … I’ve never forgotten it.

I worked with these ladies on projects a time or two. This one was a breakfast on World AIDS Day. Three of us were working for pharmaceutical companies while Debra at the far left, organized the breakfast and worked for a local hospital at the time. She went on to work with Karen who is standing behind me. Karen ended up working for my old company when she and Debra where downsized from her longtime employer.

Sometimes my work day attire was more fun that other days and I had to hang out with half-naked men. No jokes please about that fanny pack or bum bag, depending on your country of origin, that I’m wearing around my waist. It was a company giveaway and I had to do it.

This was a bad phone photo of me dressed for work in 2008 when I was working for a local hospice. I was in a doctor’s office at the time and wanted to email John a photo of me at work. Can you tell I like black?


Elizabeth Harper - Wedding Photographer 2009

Here’s a job I love doing and what I generally like to wear when I’m working. (Note … I hate to shoot posed group shots like this and only do it on request) I’m not sure who to credit for this photo.

John took this one of me shooting from the balcony of a church in Barford, England as the bride was entering. I like to wear black when I photograph weddings and so far no one has yet to confuse me with a waiter. If anyone ever asks me for a drink, I’ll just smile innocently and say, ” Yes please.”

That’s it for today, I’ve got to tie on my work shoes and hit the road for another planning meeting. Sometimes I talk to myself when I’m working through plot lines and yesterday I got caught by an older man who I didn’t see working behind a hedge in his back garden. I felt obliged to stop and explain and I’m still not sure if what I said made sense. His Cornish accent was pretty thick and one can only say, “Pardon?” so many times without feeling foolish. It’s the kind of thing that could come up later in pub conversation as in, ” Aye, did ya know that American girl talks to herself when she’s writing her notes in the lanes. “

Sounds like a partial blurb for a book jacket in a way … American author, Elizabeth Harper, wrote much of her first published novel on notecards while pretending to run through the lanes around the village in Cornwall that she calls home. It was only after hearing a bit of good-natured pub chatter about her antics that she decided on the title, ” Mad Lizzy ” for this well written first book.

It’s actually not the name of the novel I’m working on, but I like it so well that I might use it for something later. What do you think?


45 thoughts on “What To Wear When You Work At Home & Other Thoughts

  1. Great post. I LOVE the second photo, of the stream. Wow. I would like to have a framed print of that one. It looks so peaceful yet mysterious.

    Currently my “work” attire is a bathrobe or stretchy pants and a tee shirt. I don’t like to go out of the house because that requires me to put on a bra. ICK.

    I look back on the days when I had to wear pantyhose and dress shoes every day, and shudder. Thank God for business casual…

  2. I love the photos of those river spots. Just gorgeous.

    My work clothes are most often my jammies till noon or so, then barn or riding clothes, back home to jammie bottoms and whatever I threw on top and I’m half ready for bed. It’s lovely to work at home. Most days I don’t even wear makeup. I’ve worked like this for so many years, I can’t imagine getting up and getting fully dressed and made up every day.

  3. that river spot is amazing. so beautiful.
    i’m lucky that my work clothes are pretty casual. I don’t think I could function wearing a dress and stockings every day. You have the prettiest smile in all of the photos.

  4. I’m working at home right now. Still in my jammies and robe, even though it is after 10am. I enjoyed reading your post.

    Yes, I wore the huge shoulder pads (and accompanying large gold chain necklace), too. What were we thinking?


  5. I am lucky enough to have an out of home job at my college where they allow us to wear just about anything comfortable!

    Gorgeous photographs might I add!

  6. I love, LOVE the Cornwall pics. And the dog too. It’s hiding behind a post as if saying, “don’t you come near this ball, or I’ll …I’ll run!” The car in the background just makes it even more picturesque.

    Oh…and am I the only one who thinks 1996 wasn’t that long ago?

  7. When I’m writing I wear sweat pants and fleace tops–socks and crocks. I like to be able to slip off my shoes easily, so I can sit cross-legged in my chair!

    Thanks for this sage sartorial advice——–


  8. Me + Writing = Pyjamas. I generally write in my room so it’ll be pyjamas, even if it’s the middle of the day. However I also write in my school library so I’m in uniform which is pretty depressing.

    I’d love to be able to write in a place like that, but unfortunately I live in the suburbs of London, hardly the pretty spot you’ve got! When it’s sunny, I go and lie on the trampoline in my garden with a notebook … yeah, not quite the same.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  9. Wow, Cornwall really is the setting of the Lord of the Rings! Love the photos of the dog, as well. It’s always great to have a fuzzy muse when you are an artist, musing on things that are not so fuzzy 🙂

  10. Those photos leave me longing for Cornwall! I’m envious of your surroundings, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few summers there. Enjoyed the post, thanks!

  11. Hey, people of the wordpress, does anybody go to work, like office, any more? 🙂
    Obviously, working from the comfort of one’s house beats going to the office.
    Any good jobs you can recommend?

    Thanks for sharing your photos!

  12. I enjoyed this post. I have someone in my life who sometimes “knows things” about people. He actually avoids shaking hands, because it unnerves him, and he would rather not know things he shouldn’t know.

  13. I have just discovered your blog and it is wonderful! Your photographs are just lovely, and congratulations on making such a radical change to your life; it takes so much courage 🙂 I look forward to reading your blog often. I’m sure it strikes a cord with many of us.

  14. Those pics of the water and nature are wonderful! What a great job you have.

    I wear whatever is close, comfy, and soft when at home working. I don’t answer the door either, because it usually means I have to change to something more “presentable” and I’m not willng to do that most times. My home is my refuge, my sanctuary, and I just want to be me and be comfortable.

  15. I worked as a doctor’s receptionist in a tiny clinic where I can basically wear anything of any colour as long as its decent.

    My other job as a corporate tech writer has no standard uniform but I stick to fashionable corporate wear and once in a while on very cold days add a military style trenchcoat in winter.

    There was another time I worked as a Melbourne Writer’s Festival volunteer so I had to wear the t-shirt. Did the same for Oxfam – why don’t these people make T-shirts for size 4 volunteers? I was drowning in the oversize things.

    Then I worked at a supermarket where we had to wear a paisley green collared shirt and black pants as a uniform. That was the worst work wear I’ve ever had. I’m enjoying being free to wear what I want now.

    By the way, my Mum has so many clothes with shoulder pads. I hear they are undergoing a revival! Anyway I enjoyed the work wear journey through your snaps!

  16. I definitely feel freer in ‘comfy’ clothes – I can skip, jump, roll around on the grass and do silly things without having a care in the world. It’s a great way to work!

  17. Hi, I amaze myself too for I am on most days in a dress at home. Sometimes I call some of my better nighties a dress too so there you have it. And then there is my other persona when I dress up..mostly in crepes and silks and wearing a bright red lipstick. I simply love the color red and so many of my clothes are in shades of it. I’m into total grunge at home and my hubby and daughter have to bully me into wearing something passable for unexpected visitors.

  18. Working from home gives me the independence and freedom to be myself. Life is a series of experiments. I can work, write, listen to music, watch a movie, sip a cup of coffee, talk to people, meet my girlfriend, watch my favorite music show and the most happiest thing is that i can wear whatever i want to.

  19. Gorgeous photos — what a great place you’ve chosen to live!

    I write for a living and, with my second book out tomorrow (!!!) I went out and finally spent some very serious coin last week on proper grown-up clothes for the 14 (so far) very public events I’m doing to publicize it. Much as I, like you and many others, live in sweats, I find it gets demoralizing to never look pretty and adult and you can gain a ton of weight and not notice! Three of my new dresses are structured and lined and they make me feel very different, in a good way.

    I love the freedom to dress comfortably, but I also relish getting dressed up and being more formal as well.


  20. I luv the photo’s of the stream…nice!

    I wish I could be out and about during the day and take in nature like you…instead I’m mostly stuck in meetings, wearing corporate clothes :-s I do try to spice up my outfit as much as I can though…maybe someday I can write full-time and get out more…*wishing*

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