Whole libraries have been written full of advice on how to dress for business. What none of these tomes consider is how to dress for business when you are working from home. There will be advice on finding the right outfits for interviews, for traditional businesses such as attorney's offices or a bank. There will be advice on how to fit in with a flamboyant PR agency.
And then, of course, there are even more books about employers' own rules of dress: How to make the most of dress-down Friday without losing too much kudos in the office, how to handle extremes of weather, foreign visits, invasions, papal audiences and so on.
The list is endless, but what many of those tomes fail to mention is how to dress for business when you're working from home.
It's one of the perks of working from home that you have complete freedom over your choice of clothes while working. If you're at your most productive at three in the morning, you can work in your pyjamas. If the weather is hot, you can don a bikini and work in the garden.
So the whole concept of power dressing, of dressing for success goes completely out of the window when you're working from home. But there are two questions you should consider before you consign your working wardrobe to the charity shop:
Some people put on their work ethic with their working clothes. When they don a shirt and tie, they become serious, business-minded and focussed. If that's you, you could become increasingly unproductive if you tried to work in your pyjamas or dressing gown.
If a special set of clothes puts you in frame of mind to do productive work, then how to dress for business becomes more important than comfort alone. You must make sure that you wear that set of clothes when you work from home or change your state of mind.
Ignore how your mind works, and you could seriously damage your business.
Some people are never embarrassed. They can host an impromptu party in hair curlers and flannel pyjamas. Some of us are not so lucky. Before you decide to abandon your working wardrobe in favour of frayed jeans or a dressing gown consider this: is there a chance that you might have to see a client or business prospect during the day? And would you mind receiving them in a dressing gown?
If your business involves seeing clients, you cannot take your comforts too far. When a client arrives at your house, you have to be ready to receive them in an outfit that benefits your business.
But even if you don't see clients as a rule, is there a chance a prospect might turn up on your doorstep out of the blue? If so, then stick to outfits you can live with being seen in. And keep in mind that more and more people use webcams during business calls. You may be comfortable in your bikini, but will your state of undress offend a customer on the other side of the world?
So while how to dress for business is entirely your own choice when you're working from home, you have to consider if your style of dress will help you achieve your business goals. If it does not, change it. If it does, make yourself as comfortable as you want.