For me, one of the biggest changes I noticed after leaving my office job and working full-time in my side hustle was the fact that I didn’t need to ‘dress-up’ every day.

After all, I’m pretty sure that my stuffed teddy bear doesn’t really care what I wear each day!

Creating a freelancing wardrobe

And I'm not ashamed to admit that it is actually something I miss...

I'm a bit of a girly girl when it comes to clothes, and have found that since I started working from home, my care factor in terms of what I put on each day, including makeup and hair, is pretty much zero.

It's actually a little concerning, particularly as I sit here in my sweat pants, a striped top with a few holes in it and a black hoodie (a huge gasp is heard across the world as those that know me, realise just how bad it's gotten that I'm wearing a hoodie!).

Now, I'm not saying any of this is bad or that anyone that wears this type of clothing on a regular basis is any less cool or awesome, but for me, it's like a little piece of who I am is slowing disappearing...

So what's a gal to do?

From today onwards, I'm now looking to create my own Freelancing Wardrobe.

I've started a board on Pinterest to capture the style I'm looking for and I've started getting a little creative on Polyvore with my own ideas.

Dressing to work from home

I feel that by getting up each day and dressing how I want to dress, in nice clothes and putting in a little effort into how I look, it will actually transfer across into my work.

I've always been someone that took pride in what she wore and how I presented myself to the world — if you have to get changed to go out and grab a coffee because you wouldn't be caught dead outside in what you're currently wearing, then there could be an issue (by the way, this is me I'm talking about!).

Create Your Own Freelancing Wardrobe

Now I know this is probably not high on everyone's list, but it's important to me, and if it's important to me, then I KNOW it's important to some of you out there!

So here's a step-by-step guide on how to create your own freelancing wardrobe so you don't fall into a funk — because no matter what you say, what you wear does affect how you feel about yourself.

And I want to be real clear here — this is all about you.

My wardrobe is a reflection of the things I like to wear, and I'm not someone that really cares about what others think. I'm not into latest fashion's. I prefer to wear clothing that I'm attracted to, which generally means a lot of colour!

So make sure your wardrobe is made just for you.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Start a Pinterest board for inspiration. Collect items of clothing you like and 'pin' them to this board.
  • Look at your own wardrobe. If you've been working in a corporate office, you'll probably find lots of suits that you don't need anymore. Donate them to charity and only keep what you will actually wear (do this regularly every season change!)
  • Once you've collected some ideas, start window shopping in your local stores for similar items of clothing. The key is finding items that will work well with a number of different items in your wardrobe for multiple outfits.
  • Decide on a budget. If you're just starting out full-time freelancing, you'll need to pick clothing items carefully. Use big department stores as your base. The key to buying items that look like they've come from an expensive store is all in the colour you buy and the texture of fabric.
  • Build your freelancing wardrobe up until you have enough items of clothing to create 5-10 outfits. Continue to add to your wardrobe as needed, depending on the season.

If you're keen to get started and you're not sure what you want, I'd also suggest checking out Polyvore and creating some of your own sets there.

Below is a video about how to do just that. Then you can pin those sets to your Pinterest board as well.

Shopping on a Budget

You need to be smart with your money, I get that.

So I wanted to talk about how I make purchases on a budget. Because you don't want to buy items that look cheap, feel yuck and start to get holes in them after a couple of washes — because those types of purchases will cost you more money in the long run and just make you feel crap too.

Here's a look at my decision process when I'm shopping in my budget-friendly stores:

  • Colour: If I'm looking for mix and match items, I'll always shop budget. Stick to neutral colours, like white, black, cream, navy, light brown. These look good no matter where you buy them from.
  • Fabric: Feel an item before you buy it. The more stiff and shiny a fabric is, the more it can look bad if it's not made from quality materials. Opt for cotton and looser fabrics to avoid having your clothing look and feel cheap.
  • Cut: Sometimes you can find an item of clothing in department stores that looks exactly like something off the runway. Be careful with these items - make sure you try them on and follow the colour and fabric advice above.

I'm a huge fan of stores like Target, JC Penny, Big W, Farmers, Top Shop etc, because they provide you with access to fashionable clothing, but at really affordable prices.

Do you have your own suggestions when it comes to designing your own freelancing wardrobe? Share them in the comments below! And if you need help, please reach out and let me know.

If you're currently in Brisbane, Australia, maybe we could even go on a shopping date...!

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

    4 replies to "A Freelancer’s Wardrobe – How to Avoid the Sweatpant Trap"

    • Genevieve

      Hi Lise, just a little suggestion to add….if you’ve left a job that required more upscale clothing of which you will no longer have need, why not sell it on Ebay or take it to the local thrift store instead of donating it? As a beginning freelancer (which I am!), I can definitely use all the financial assistance I can get. You’d be surprised how much you can make by selling upscale and name brand clothing!

      • Lise Cartwright

        Great tip Genevieve – when I left my corporate job, I’d already been downscaling so didn’t have a lot of brand name clothing to sell, but brilliant idea if you do, thanks for sharing!

    • Ana

      My most recent job had a casual-dress policy, so most of my clothes fit that atmosphere. For my home office, I tend to wear simple dresses made of soft material because they are the most attractive and comfortable for sitting down all day.

      • Lise Cartwright

        Ana, that’s super lucky – not many people have access to casual-dress! And I agree, soft material all the way 🙂

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