Should you worry about what to wear if you don’t “do” the 9 to 5 routine? If you work at home, are retired, are a stay-at-home mom or the like, does it really matter what you wear around the house so long as you’re comfortable ?

Of course !

Because even though you may not see anyone all day, you’re still dressing for someone: yourself.

Scientists have long noted the correlation between how we dress and how we feel about ourselves. When we look good and are appropriately dressed, our confidence soars. When we’re having an “off” day and don’t dress, our confidence plummets.

Now translate that to an at-home scenario. With no dress code, no regular interaction with adults, and no one to answer to but ourselves, it’s really easy to go the sloppy jeans and sweats route. After all, no one sees you, so no one really cares, right ?

Not exactly.

While it’s certainly therapeutic to step away from your whirlwind life sometimes and dress any way you please, months and years of wearing a rag-bag wardrobe can do a real number on your self-esteem

So what are some casual, easy-care looks that will take you through the day, from running errands to hosting play dates to volunteering in your community? Here are a few suggestions:

A CRISP SHIRT

A crisp shirt with a collar immediately upgrades any outfit, especially jeans. Add a vest, cardigan, or jacket for a polished look.

Go TRENDY

Want to look current without spending a lot? Pick up a couple of trendy tops each season and become the “fashionista” of your peer group. Try a cute pair of shoes, a trendy belt, a new handbag — or whatever, without spending a lot.

Now true, these quick and easy tricks take a bit more imagination than the standard T-shirt and jeans or sloppy sweats, but the return is SO worth the investment. When you feel good about yourself, it shows — in your attitude, your energy level, and your quality of life.

So don’t become a member of the sweatshirt and jeans squad just because you spend most of your time at home. Put together a couple of casual wardrobe capsules and challenge yourself to look pulled together every day, whether you’re home or out to lunch or whatever is on your agenda for the day. Remember: you tell others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. So ditch the sweats and slip into something a little more authoritative and garner the respect you deserve.

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For questions about fashion, Lou Nagy may be reached by e-mail at l_nagy1@hotmail.com.

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