What is Proper Writing Attire?

Of course there isn’t any such thing. I thought I’d throw the question out and learn what others wear while they are writing.

I have a good friend who gets up at 4 a.m. everyday and begins writing in her pajamas and doesn’t get dressed until she’s through with her literary process.

I must confess I always get dressed before I start my day doing anything. Could be partly because this was what my mom did until she reached her 90s, then she’d eat breakfast in her bathrobe and get dressed afterwards. Another reason is for twenty-three years hubby and I ran a licensed residential care facility in our home for six adult developmentally disabled women. We never knew when licensing or the regional center might make a surprise visit and I didn’t want to be caught looking less than professional.

I no longer worry about looking professional, but I always dress for whatever I’m going to be doing the rest of the day. Once I take my shower, I put on whatever I’m going to be wearing no matter what time that happens. I do not like to change clothes. Strange, but true. Hubby is just the opposite, he’s wear his grungies until just before it’s time to go somewhere.

Another reason I get dressed right away is because of family members who just drop in. No one bothers to knock around here and once we’re up the front door is unlocked.

So… I could be writing in casual clothes because I’m staying home all day or you might find me in business type clothes because I have to go to a meeting–like today.

Tell me about your writing attire.


11 replies
  1. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Laurel-Rain Snow says:

    Okay, I'll admit that I start OUT in pajamas, with my first cup of coffee. But that's partly because I get up very early, like 5:00 a.m. By eight or so, I'm dressed and ready to go!

    I, too, am used to being "dressed" for most of the day, because for more than thirty years, I had to go to a day job—social work—and I was there by 7:00.

    BTW, I like the look of this blog!

  2. BrennaLyons
    BrennaLyons says:

    And here I was, prepared to talk about clothing at a signing…grin.

    I also get up early these days…5:30 or so most days. Maybe a day of sleeping in until 8 or 9 every week.

    I throw on grungies (on weekdays…probably just yesterday's jeans–that will make sense in a few minutes–and a t-shirt) or lounging pants/PJ pants and a t-shirt (on weekends) and starting working, while I get the kids up and off to school. Note that I wear grungies on week days, because I have to drive one…or two of them to school in the morning. I'd rather not do that in PJ pants.

    I don't get showered and "dressed" for the day in a full clean outfit until half an hour before I pick the kids up OR before I have to be somewhere, like an appointment or a teaching gig or lunch with my husband. If that's not happening, I am decent but not presentable for more than close friends and family, until mid-afternoon (which is why yesterday's jeans aren't a bad thing…they were only worn for a few hours the first day, not a full day).

    Now that I'm not working full-time outside the home, I like being freshly showered when I'm getting ready for my husband to get home or facing people. Other than that, I like being comfortable.

    I am fond of showing up for speaking gigs (for school-aged children) in jeans and t-shirts and telling them, "Being a writer means you can wear this or PJs to work."


  3. Mary Cunningham
    Mary Cunningham says:

    Fun topic, Marilyn. I usually read e-mails and drink coffee in my jammies. But, I have this quirk that doesn't allow me to do any serious writing until I'm dressed!

    Like Brenna, I don't have to be in business casual. Just jeans and T-Shirt, (grocery, errand-wearing clothes)



  4. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Marilyn, I love working in jammies! If I'm on deadline and don't go anywhere (meaning, Ed has to take over grocery shopping for awhile and mail bills), I live in them. But if I break up the day with a workout or if I have other things to do (and I'm not on deadline), I end up getting dressed. Still, I always change back into my "uniform" (as my hubby calls it) before plunking down at the computer to resume work. I have a lot of camisoles and yoga pants that do the trick and are suitable enough to receive the UPS or FedEx man (or retrieve mail from the box without alarming neighbors). Fun post, Marilyn! I love hearing how everyone else does it!


  5. Kate Gallison
    Kate Gallison says:

    The proper attire, if you want to talk proper, depends on what you're writing. If you're doing a thinly veiled expose of a small New England town you must wear mom jeans, sneakers, and a plaid flannel shirt in the manner of Grace Metalious. If you're writing a historical romance you must wear, at minimum, a flowery hat.
    But, things being how they are, I generally wear something that I can wear on the street when Harold calls upstairs and says, "Let's go out for coffee."
    -Kate, aka Irene Fleming

  6. Sunny Frazier
    Sunny Frazier says:

    Ohh, this is like an obscene phone call:"What are you wearing (insert heavy breathing)?"

    I guess I'm the drama queen. I wear long flowing robes unless forced to go out of the house for something mundane like grocery shopping. In the summer I have my "patio" dresses; in the winter, long, jewel-colored robes. My mother, who was stationed on Hawaii as a young war-time wife, wore muu-muus all my life. My sisters and I do the same. Tradition (and comfort).

  7. June Rodriguez
    June Rodriguez says:

    This is a fun question Marilyn. I follow one rule my mom gifted me with. Never leave home in something you would be embarrassed to be caught dead in. I wake-up early every day to take my son to school so I dress in casual but neat attire until I get home. Then I put on my housework clothes, t-shirt and loose pants. An elastic waistband is a must. Whether I'm sitting at the keyboard or washing dishes comfort is a necessity

  8. Dorinda Ohnstad
    Dorinda Ohnstad says:


    Like you my attire depends on the demands of the day. If I don't have to be in court, meeting or teach then I'll throw on casual comfy clothes. Otherwise, as soon as I'm showered (after my daily latte, breakfast and checking e-mail first thing in the morning) I put on the clothes I need for the day. I too don't like to have to change more than once a day. So, you could find me in shorts, sweatpants, skirt and blouse or high-powered lawyer suit depending on the day's demands.

  9. Cathy Walker
    Cathy Walker says:

    LOL. I like this question. I have no choice but to put on my barn clothes as soon as I get up. Can't make the goats wait for food and freedom, they'd be very upset. I come in from morning chores and put on casual clothes…jeans, t-shirt or something comparable. If I'm going to work at our own business, I change there into a karate or tai chi uniform, then back into my casual clothes. If I'm going to the goat farm where I work part-time, I have to wear totally different barn clothes than the ones I wear here. I can't take the chance of bringing home disease from those goats to mine. I change back to casual when I get home. Ummm, I have stay in my casual clothes until I have to go back to the barn and put the goats away. Jeesh, I'm getting tired just writing about this clothes changing routine. I guess it boils down to the fact that when I write, I'm in casual clothes. That was the original question…right?

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