It’s time to get rid of that rumor that people who work at home spend the entire day in their pajamas.  First of all, it’s not true. Second of all — oh, wait, it is true? Sometimes? Okay. We need to fix this.

The truth is that if you want to take yourself seriously as a freelancer, blogger or small business owner — if you want to really value your self-worth and prove you’re the right person for the job you created — you have to dress like it.  Freelancers, small business owners, and other people who work at home are so good at maximizing efficiency and productivity in other areas of their business that they often choose to neglect their clothes. They wear all the hats, but don’t take the time to change out of pajamas. This can eventually prevent your business from getting to the next level.

Clothes affect your mood

Looking good makes you feel good. Take a good look at yourself, right now: are you proud of your appearance, or are you feeling a little gross in yesterday’s pajamas or sweatpants? Putting on work-appropriate clothes boosts your mood and helps you take yourself — and your business — more seriously.

If you’re appropriately and professionally dressed, you’ll be less likely to accept clients who aren’t willing to pay your full rate. You’ll be less likely to waste the morning procrastinating or checking Facebook. You’ll be more likely to feel good about yourself and use that energy to get things done.

If you don’t believe me, here’s the science: a study published in Qualitative Research In Psychology indicated “even just thinking of certain items from their wardrobe gave individuals a boost in confidence.” (And yes, you get even more confidence if you actually put the clothing on.)

Clothes get you opportunities

How many times have you decided to skip working at the coffee shop or co-working center because it’s 2 p.m. and you haven’t yet put on grownup clothes? How many times has a client asked you to Google Hangout or Skype and you’ve had to postpone while you scramble to make yourself look presentable? Getting up and getting dressed will get you opportunities. Staying in your pajamas all day will ensure your business stays in the same place.

Clothes change your mindset

Want to feel powerful? Wear something red. If you want to harness your collaborative skills and interpersonal energy, try softer blues and warm, inviting colors. Blacks and grays say “take me seriously,” and are great all-purpose colors for any situation.

Same goes for clothing line and shape. Straight lines help you focus your energy; flowing curves often expand creativity. There’s a reason why a business executive wears straight, clean suits and a writer/artist often wears flowing blouses and scarves. The right clothes get you in the right mindset. (Pajamas, on the other hand, only put me in the mindset of “going back to sleep.”)

clothing ideas for home based business ownersClothes don’t have to be constricting

So we like pajamas because they’re “more comfortable,” eh? Start by reading CEO of Me’s featured article, How to Turn Your Work at Home Wardrobe From Drab to Fab Without Sacrificing Comfort. Then get to work.

Imagine working at your home office in a soft knit dress. Imagine going out to a coffee meeting or contacting a client while looking fabulous. None of this has to be uncomfortable; we’re not talking about Spanx, heels, or pantyhose here. Take a look at the great, comfortable dresses and tunics at Vineyard Vines. Can you imagine landing your next client while wearing one of those? I can.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you work at home, you never have to think about your clothes. Instead, dress for the job you want — and then watch as your clothing helps you get there.

This is a post by Sara Stringer

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