17 open source technologists share their work-from-home uniforms

Nerdwear of the technically employed. What's your style?
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Taking a walk outside


As the world turns and some folks begin returning to the office, I feel it's a good time to ask our community of open source techies: What's your work-from-home (WFH) uniform?

Do you dress like you would if you were going into the office? Or are you more comfortable in workout clothes or even your PJs? Do you have a template you stick to most days?

I have a format that helps me feel both productive and comfortable, and if I need to run an errand in public, I don't have to change first: A clean, nice-fitting shirt (T-shirts are OK) on top of comfortable pants (yoga is OK but not pajama). I've leaned into my stash of T-shirts from fun conferences I've attended with people I miss seeing and locales in my home state that make me proud.

Some Opensource.com friends and contributors weigh in on their work-from-home uniforms below. What's yours?

Over the last eight years, I've learned that if I try to work in my PJs, I will get nothing done. In warm weather, I'm in shorts (cargo, of course) and a T-shirt. In cooler weather, it's jeans and a T-shirt with a sweater or hoodie. Never shoes, but I'll wear socks once my feet start getting cold. —Ben Cotton

Last winter, I un-ironically told two friends: "I miss my clothes." Most of my wardrobe went untouched for a year, not because I had outgrown or no longer liked my outfits, but because I had nowhere to wear them. Working from home means I'm exercising at least once before, during, or after work. Between walking a (very brisk-paced) dog and taking a class at the gym on my lunch break, I often work in sneakers complete with bike shorts and a tank top. But when the situation calls, I can pop a cardigan on to look more professional. —Lauren Maffeo

Before the pandemic, I tried dressing like I was going to do something that day. WFH was a privilege, and I really appreciated it, as it afforded me the ability to take care of my needs and work at the same time. Once the pandemic hit though, it became tiring to put on a front that I was going somewhere because, well, no one was. Most of the time, I'm wearing a Red Hat or Kubernetes/Cloud Native T-shirt and workout shorts. I live in Michigan, though, so those shorts get swapped out for joggers when it's cold. But that's pretty rare given my office is pretty warm thanks to all the computers. Oh, and slippers, like right now because my feet are cold for some reason. —Chris Short

My WFW (work from work) uniform was always conference T's, jeans/cargo pants, and sandals or sneakers. So, my wardrobe hasn't changed... Well, that's not exactly true: Having not replenished my supply of conference T's, some of them have become a bit ratty, but I'm not on camera. And my hair is a bit messier. Sidenote: The New York Times had a recent article on a slide in hygiene and grooming during COVID, and, according to the article, many are saying they're going to remain a bit sloppier post-COVID. —Kevin Cole

I used to wear suits and professional woman's wear for the office. Now I get to go back to the tech WFH uniform: nerd shirt, pants/skirt. Often I add a scarf to jazz it up for video. I wear shoes because my feet get cold. My colleagues mock me, but I do my hair and makeup every day. How I missed all my nerdware and hoodies due to "serious non-tech office jobs." —Heather Leson

I try to stay dressed at home like there could be a strong reason to go out at short notice with my shoes and go-bag near the door. Too many years living in earthquake country, I guess. —Stefano Maffulli

I wear pajamas most of the time, but I keep a "video shirt" ready in case I need to go on video for some reason. For a template, my day is driven by the calls and meetings on my calendar. During my breaks there, I'll run up and down the stairs a few times just to stretch my legs. —Peter Gervase

No video meetings for me, but shorts and T-shirts are the regular. Jeans when it's colder. —Bob Murphy

I love playing around with color, so I wear five different colored tops (mostly not ironed) for five days, paired with comfortable cotton pants. I love my earrings, so I match my tops and earrings. Every now and then, I do wear my jeans and other formal outfits to make sure that I fit into them. —Nimisha Mukherjee

I start my day in gym clothes because I squeeze in a morning workout before I hit the keyboard. My current WFH uniform is a T-shirt or polo and shorts. I try to wear shorts as much as I can when I WFH. In fall and winter, I stick to chamois shirts, fleeces, and jeans. I end my day back in gym clothes because I hit the gym four out of five nights during the week. —Will Kelly

My WFH outfit is the same as my office outfit: knit shirts and jeans. Unlike some of my colleagues, I have not grown a beard and let my hair get long and shaggy. A bike racer I knew once said, "You dress like a bum, you ride like a bum," and I feel the same is true for me: "You dress like a bum, you work like a bum." —Gary Smith

I learned long ago when I started full-time remote work, that I needed to do the whole "get up, get ready, get dressed like you were going into the office" thing, providing some structure to my day and to get my head in "the right place" for work. Jeans, T-shirt, socks, boots (or shoes, but mostly boots1), and my ever-present head wrap. I don't know about everyone else, but I have a space that is dedicated for work, and I have my EDC2 bag that I take to and from my home office with my personal belongings, the same as I would any other job. When it is time to stop working, I pick up my bag and take it with me as a signal to myself that I'm done for the day. —Kevin Sonney

1 You keep livestock, you wear boots. I'm sure you can guess why.

2 "Every-day carry"

I get up every morning at about the same time, around 7:30am, and get dressed in comfortable, casual clothes. I've been doing this for the last eight years since I retired. I have a light breakfast, and in the summer, I walk between four and five miles. Then I return home and begin my morning routine of juice or tea and toast, then checking email, attending meetings (more on Zoom or other virtual platforms this year). Keeping a routine is important to me, and dressing comfortably is, too. —Don Watkins

At one point in my life, I was a chef. So, I have a bunch of chef pants, which are really comfortable but not stylish. I've been wearing them over the winter combined with some of my "ugliest" conference T-shirts. A couple of years ago, a coworker visited Russia and was staying with a family that had a grandmother who loved knitting wool socks. So, he brought wool socks back for everyone. So, ugly chef pants, ugly conference T-shirt, and wool socks hand-knitted by a Russian grandma. —Craig Sebenik

My WFH uniform is not much different from my regular outfit. I like to be comfortable, no matter if I'm at home or talking in front of a thousand people at a conference. That means that I'm in T-shirts all around the year, no matter if it's WFH or a large IT event. It's one of the perks of being an engineer, not in sales or management. The only difference is that I wear jeans in public and something more comfortable, like sports pants, at home. —Peter Czanik

It has been at least 30 years since I wore suits, then (for a while) "business casual." Most days now, I start early in my jammies. Wednesdays, I start with my yoga pants and top because my online yoga class starts at 9:30. Other days I change into jeans or cargo shorts and a solid black, conference, or other geeky T-shirt after breakfast. I always shave because that is one thing that makes me feel civilized. I am "retired," so I don't feel any need at all to have a different video presence other than my "normal" mode of dress. Besides, the only video meetings I attend are the Opensource.com and Enable Sysadmin weekly writer calls. —David Both

The only rule is there are no rules! I wear whatever I want, mostly a Red Hat T-shirt and shorts or jogging pants. If I have an important meeting, I try to be more presentable. —Kedar Vijay Kulkarni

Before walking the dogs, I am in sleepwear and a dressing gown while eating toast and having that first coffee. After the dog walk, I'm in shorts/polo/T-shirt if it's warm enough, or jeans/cargo pants if it's colder. I tend towards classic Shadowman shirts if I'm not on customer calls or major internal briefings, and the newer Red Hat logo-based shirts if I need official branding. Sadly, we're heading into winter here in New Zealand, so hoodies and jeans are starting to become a bit more normal. For my 3am calls with the United States, I've got a snug dressing gown and a warm drink. —Steven Ellis

Thanks to the Opensource.com Correspondent program, here's my Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter uniform. —Chris Hermansen

Opensource.com swag, a spring outfit



Opensource.com swag, a winter outfit



Opensource.com swag, a summer outfit


What's your WFH uniform? Are you in a T-shirt and pajama pants, or do you dress as if you're going into the office? Please share your remote work attire in the comments below.

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Jen leads a team of community managers for the Digital Communities team at Red Hat. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughters, June and Jewel.

1 Comment

I had started working from home six years before the pandemic hit. So nothing had changed in the way I dress. My thought is dressing as though I'm headed into the office puts me in the frame of mind that I *am* at work.

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