Work-at-home wardrobe rules

Memo to those who work at home:

It has come to our attention that you folks who don't go to an office every day do not adhere to an enforceable dress code.

Granted, many of you bailed out of the 9-to-5 world to escape jobs that required suits and ties or heels and hose. But how do you expect clients and the outside world in general to take you seriously if you don't dress for success? And wouldn't you feel more professional if you followed a basic dress code?

Therefore, we here in the main office have drafted a proposed dress code for those of you who never leave your homes to perform your valuable work functions. We will conduct an open comment period during which we'll seek your input. Then, without warning, the following rules will become mandatory:

1. Pajamas are not proper office attire. Ditto for bathrobes.

2. Blue jeans are acceptable, of course, as long as you're not meeting clients face-to-face. But there are limits, people. Blue jeans that have been worn for more than six days in a row without washing will be considered a violation of the dress code.

3. Jeans with holes, slashes, patches, burn marks, tire tread patterns, coffee stains or large ink spills are verboten. Legs of said jeans should be approximately the same length.

4. Baby formula spit-up on your shoulder is not to be considered an accessory. Dried spit-up on both shoulders cannot be passed off as epaulets.

5. T-shirts are acceptable as long as they are in good condition (see Item 3 above). T-shirts should not bear beer slogans, rock band logos, curse words or depictions of naked people. Remember: Even if you don't see any clients all day, you'll probably run into your child's teacher at the supermarket.

6. Sweatshirts. See Item 5.

7. Sweatpants are comfortable work-at-home attire, but wearing them anyplace public should be reconsidered. No one's backside looks good in sweatpants.

8. Even though you're no longer going to a proper workplace, underwear still should be changed and laundered regularly. Turning it wrongside out doesn't count.

9. Flannel shirts are proper attire, if you're a lumberjack. However, we recognize that many of you work in poorly heated spaces and therefore need to layer on warm shirts, so we are willing to overlook these. Flannel shirts should have at least 50 percent of their original buttons. Any flannel shirt you owned in high school probably should be discarded.

10. Denim shirts. See Item 9.

11. Clothes should be put on hangers after they are laundered. Valuable work time is wasted sorting through that pile on the floor of your closet, trying to select a garment on the basis of crunchiness.

12. We here at the main office recognize that many of you enjoy the comfort of bare feet. But there are many hazards lurking in your home. Sharp-cornered plastic Legos. Need we say more?

13. Similarly, working in the nude to circumvent these regulations is not recommended. That coffee is hot. Trust us.

14. Personal hygiene remains important, even for those who work all alone. Here, we will refer you to the Rule of Doubles. You can safely double whatever your practices were when you worked at a regular job without risking dismissal or divorce. For example, if you showered daily when you went to the office, you can now shower every other day. Ditto for shaving your face or legs. However, if you were one of those pigs who only showered once a week to begin with, you might want to consider taking the math the other direction. Teeth should be brushed regularly and deodorant applied every day. You may be working at home, but there's still your family to consider. And, believe us, they'll let you hear about this.

There, that wasn't so painful, was it? No neckties. No high heels. Just a few basic rules for maintaining a professional appearance, even when there is no one around to see it. You'll look better and feel better. And you'll be ready to get right to work every morning, which is all we here at the main office care about anyway..


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