Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh, wrote about his generation’s increased attention to style the other weekend: ‘Our calculation is this: where the body goes, the soul follows. That is, let yourself slack, and yours will be a life of Netflix-watching, of mid-life resignation to career stasis, of awful domestic banter about being under the thumb.’
Researchers at Northwestern University studied how clothing can influence our psychology and the way we approach certain tasks - what they term ‘enclothed cognition.’ One experiment found that students performed better in attention tests after wearing white coats and imagining themselves as doctors. It’s about the mental state of mind that the clothes induce upon the wearer.
So, when you have the Zoom call with the board, it’s time to get serious. Whilst an Oxford - such as the Chelsea - may be out of view, it isn’t out of mind. A jacket will put you in the right frame – try a softly structured navy blazer with a thin gauge Merino wool polo shirt ( we particularly like fellow British maker John Smedley.)
When it’s your shift on the home-school front get into the role - don an earthy sports coat, Bengal striped Oxford shirt (with an ever so slightly frayed collar, for authenticity) and a pair of corduroy trousers – it may even mask your lack of teaching qualifications. Finish the look off with a pair of unlined Dovers in mink suede before stepping up to the blackboard.
A burst of exercise is vital to clear your head, giving you focus and your day punctuation. Edward Green can’t necessarily help here - aiming for a 5k PB in a pair of loafers would be something of a challenge. After your run and a shower, unwind a little - find a new space, and give some time over to reading, refreshing your mind and meditate on the bigger picture.
Working from home
We look at how our choice of clothes and shoes can influence our productivity and help avoid cabin fever
in this new age of home-working.
Whether we’re living in a country still under lock-down or have begun emerging back into the world, we’re all faced with a new normal, in which we will spend more of our lives working from home.
Every facet of our lives may be played out under the same roof but we don’t always want to be in the same mindset. What we choose to wear is a key element in setting the tone for our day, and the different chapters within it. Winston Churchill may have famously worked from his bed with a glass of whiskey and soda but for most of us, there lies the road to ruin.
So, by all means, start the day in a dressing gown and a pair of Albert slippers, as you sip your morning coffee and catch-up on the latest developments, but soon it’s time to get ready for business.
Here we look at a few different approaches to style in this new age of home-working.
The loafer was already proving more popular than ever before – and for good reason. It’s a shoe that embodies the new melding of formal and informal style and now it’s a natural choice for home-working. Slip into a loafer and you have the reassurance of a Goodyear-welted shoe without the strictures of an Oxford. A crisp white shirt, pair of Incotex chinos and mink suede Piccadillys may well become your new uniform.
Now’s the time to wear something looser, more comfortable –some linen drawstring trousers from Derek Rose and, for your feet, slip into a pair of Polperros. The dreamy Polperro exists in the wonderful realm between a loafer and a slipper, such is its lightness, thin sole and unlined calf suede construction. Options are aplenty in terms of colours but Coral will bring that needed dose of summer style. Refreshing and cheerful, what could be better to wear for an alfresco dinner on the terrace, with a cashmere shawl-collar cardigan.
Whilst we may all be at home, there’s an unprecedented variety of entertainment which is now available from the comfort of our living rooms. Spend your evening with a virtual trip to the Met Opera, for which the newly introduced Rochester in black calf and suede would be the ideal choice. This opulent loafer was the work of legendary shoe designer, and one-time Edward Green owner, John Hlustik - himself a great opera lover.
These are, of course, serious times, and we don’t mean to be frivolous. But as we find new ways to live and work, we should recognise that whilst our dress may no longer be seen by others, it nonetheless exerts a power over our own thinking, helping us to find the right mindsets for the roles that we continue to play.
Illustrations by Andrea Mongia