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With 42 percent of the American labor force currently working from their couches and kitchen tables, the working-from-home economy is in full swing. Almost half a year into this new normal, we’re too familiar with slowed internet connections, the intricacies of Zoom, and which room in our house has the best lighting for video calls. But one persistent question lingers: What should I wear?
The question of quarattire is a thorny one. Comfort is, of course, paramount. But too much comfort can yield to sluggishness, at least for me. Breaking up the day with clothes I wear to work and clothes I wear to sleep is one of the only ways I’ve been able to trick my brain into telling the difference between Wednesday and Saturday. Still, now that I’ve been freed from the tyranny of real bras and pants with an actual waistline, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back. And yet, of the many minor perks of office life, the one I miss the most (besides, like, seeing other people and the free coffee) is the joy of wearing a particularly cute outfit. There’s something about knowing you look good rather than just fine that makes the entire day go by faster, not to mention the compliments. Very few items of clothing can walk the line between fashionable enough to get that dopamine hit and comfortable enough that I don’t immediately want to change into bike shorts. The best I’ve found is this set of twill shorts overalls from American Eagle’s Aerie brand. Within a week of them arriving on my doorstep, I not only wore them twice but managed to convince three other people to buy them. They’re just that perfect.
Shorts always pose a risk for women like myself, who have what I’ll describe as generous thighs. Shorts that fit around the waist are often too tight in the legs or rise uncomfortably as soon as you start walking. Or they fit perfectly in the leg but require a belt to prevent gaping at the waist. Overalls are typically even more of a hazard: If they’re too tight anywhere, it’s a recipe for unflattering and uncomfortable clinginess. If they’re too loose, you run the risk of looking like an oversize toddler. This set of overall shorts manages to dodge that entire minefield with aplomb.
They’re breezy but not shapeless. They’re relaxed enough that you can lounge in them easily, but they won’t look out of place should you opt for some socially distanced drinks. The knotted straps aren’t just for a bit of garden-chic flair, they’re also adjustable, which means you can wear shirts with a variety of different thicknesses under them without worrying about the way the overalls drape. I’ve worn them with T-shirts and crop tops, and the overalls handled both like a champ. And though I haven’t had the chance to test it out, I have a theory that they’ll pair very well with a sweater or turtleneck when the best time of the year—long sleeves and shorts weather—is finally here. Perhaps most importantly, the pockets are huge for when you need a change of scenery and move your entire workstation from the living room to the kitchen. For those in cooler climes, they even come in a full-length version that I have my eye on for when fall rolls around.
In the past year, I’ve managed to mostly purge fast fashion from my spending diet, but American Eagle is one of my last remaining holdouts, not least because its fare tends to far outlast similar retailers. Though honestly if these overalls disintegrate in a year, I can’t say I’ll be too upset. In their brief time in my life, they’ve already done wonders in making me look put together even when an impromptu Zoom call arises.