I know; I know. Who gives a shit what you wear around the house? I try to, although I have a pair of housepaint-spattered sweatpants that might argue otherwise. But like Fred Rogers, I come home from work most days and change into something more comfortable (and toddler-mayhem-resistant) than my office dress. I also telecommute a lot, like an increasing number of workers, and it helps to have wardrobe items that are not something I’d sleep in but veer a little left of an office dress code to wear on those days.
So what constitutes decent style at home? Some inspiration above from James Baldwin (at his place in France), Yasuto Kamoshita (at home in Tokyo), Johnny Carson (in New York), John Updike (in Massachusetts), and Frank Sinatra (in Palm Springs, I think–check out that hi-fi!). Of course these photos are all at least mildly staged, but why not dress like a photo crew could arrive any minute and shoot you contemplating life in your favorite midcentury modern chair?
You take your shoes off when you come home, right? You’ve seen what people do on sidewalks. For home wear, you can dispense with the needs that might define the shoes you wear in the elements–no boots, no real treads, why even bother with laces? Some good options are Belgian style loafers, Kilim slippers (try Res Ipsa or Etsy), Birkenstocks (I like the Bostons), moccasins (like Updike), or for fireside wear, something like LL Bean’s lined slippers. Some of these you may be tempted to wear outside of the house; just keep ‘em off the pavement.
Especially during the cooler times of year, something to drape over your shoulders while at home can be nice. The most obvious choice is a cardigan; it helps that it can just replace a jacket when you come in. Plain (my choice these days) or shawl collar, buttoned rarely; or double-breasted like Mr. Kamoshita above. I’ve had good experience with Uniqlo for basic cardigans, Derek also had some excellent cardigan recommendations recently.
If you live in oxford cloth button downs like I do, then you probably wear one at home unless you’re doing yardwork or scrubbing the floor. Once my OCBD collars get exceedingly frayed or the bodies need a repair, they’re relegated to around-the-house or under-a-sweater wear. My favorite western shirt also gets a good amount of wear around the house. Of course, if Slim Aarons is not in fact coming over to take a portrait, you can eschew the collar and wear a comfortable t-shirt or henley, like Mr. Kamoshita.
Some of these recommendations–collared shirt, a nice sweater, loafers–may seem a little dressed up, but I wouldn’t recommend wool dress trousers, or any dress trouser, for home wear, even if they’re comfortable, unless you’re Cary Grant. Home is your opportunity to wear your most beat-up denim, or the fanciest of sweats, although plain cotton khaki pants, maybe in a five pocket cut like Updike above, are a solid option.
A Chemex carafe, hot coffee in a jadeite mug, a nice turntable, plenty of records (also a good Spotify playlist), a sturdy tanker desk, a comfortable chair, something to write in, something to read, and perhaps a faithful dog. Sure beats instant coffee and a cubicle.