Currently, my day job requires simply that I be comfortable and relatively neat looking. Whenever I wear a nicer business suit or dress, perceptions change. At an old job, I was frequently asked, “Are you going for a job interview?” My response was always the same: “Nah, it’s laundry day.”
Then it occurred to me that writers don’t really have uniforms. We often work alone all day, usually in the comfort of our home office. I was surprised to find out how many writers get fully dressed to write instead of wandering to their computers in their underwear. Considering how writing has become an after-work ritual for me, I couldn’t conceive of wearing anything that might stifle my creativity.
Which brings me to my “writing uniform.”
I can’t quite imagine Margaret Atwood, Nora Roberts, Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen schlupping around in their footie jammies while penning masterpieces, but neither will I believe couldn't be comfortable and look fashionable while working.
Unfortunately, I can only achieve one of those at a time.
In my opinion, the writer’s uniform should play two important roles: it should (a) be comfortable; and (b) indicate to the outside world that you are WORKING, and that you CAN’T BE DISTURBED RIGHT NOW.
Note: I’m sure there are people out there writing in three-piece suits and high heels, so comfort is subjective. In my definition, comfortable means that state in which you can produce the highest word count possible.
My writing uniform starts with stretchy cotton jogging pants and a soft sweatshirt. I have two of each in my “writing clothes” drawer. A pair of cozy fun socks is essential; I usually opt for either my knee-high rainbow socks or the puffy spa socks I got for Christmas.
Sitting in front of a screen and not moving for hours means your blood stops circulating and you get pretty cold, so I will usually don an oversized zip-up hoodie. The one I own has what I call “writer’s elbow”--a giant hole in the left elbow worn in from propping your chin up while sitting in front of the monitor.
Unfortunately, a sweatshirt and hoodie aren’t usually enough for me, since I am a cold-blooded lizard woman, and because I’m somewhat frugal and enviromentally conscious of energy use, I don’t usually turn up the heat. Instead, I’ve taken to wearing hats indoors.
I have two hats for writing: a hand-knit beanie, and THE SERIOUS HAT. If I am wearing THE SERIOUS HAT, it is because all the blood has gone to my brain. THE SERIOUS HAT is very warm. My husband and cat both know not to talk to me when I wear it. If I am wearing it, I have likely locked my office door because I’m on deadline. One look at me in THE SERIOUS HAT, and you will understand that I AM SERIOUS about writing.
Finally, to combat the dreaded “mouse hand,” I put on a pair of Dickensian writing gloves. They’re a pair of white cotton dollar-store gloves with the tips cut off. When I put them on, I like to pretend I’m Bob Cratchit, counting beans for Mr. Scrooge who won’t turn the heat up.
I think you'll agree, my outfit definitely gets the job done.