Cucumber is a British fashion brand built on using innovative, technologically advanced fabrics to make women feel comfortable and look great. The brand was created by Eileen Willett and Nancy Zeffman in 2017 after speaking to their female friends about the challenges they face in keeping cool and staying stylish at all times. Cucumber’s collection includes luxurious and sustainable British-made clothing, sleepwear and leisure staples. Here, Eileen Willett gives her advice on comfortable but chic working-from-home style.
What are your top five tips for dressing to work from home?
Working from home has meant mastering the art of the dreaded smart/casual, or possible casual/smart but with an emphasis on a bit of styling up top and serious comfort all over. This is how we do it:
Choose a handful of your favourite bottoms, some joggers, some cargo pants, a favourite pair of jeans, sports leggings and some shorts. That is all you will need for this lockdown. Ever.
Have a good look through your closet for one or two gorgeous, cherished tops. Put them on a hanger near the front ready to pull over whatever you have on anytime you are called to a video conference.
Ditto earrings – the bigger the better. Also a good strong lippy, eyebrow gel and tinted moisturiser – looks super polished on camera with minimum effort.
Buy some good slippers with support, we like Fitflop clogs, that’s all we are wearing all day long unless we’re going barefoot.
Do you think it’s important to continue dressing for work during lockdown?
I’m giving a great big yes to this question. I find it a struggle to concentrate on work – whether taking calls or simply tapping away on the computer – if I catch sight of myself looking like I’ve been dragged out of bed backwards. Gearing up into work mode is definitely easier when I have my work kit on, it subconsciously sets my mood from slow to go, and even with the video off, it gives me a confidence and mind-set that I think is palpable.
A lot of people are having to juggle working from home with parenting or caring for a relative at the moment, do you have any tips on dressing flexibly to go from running after kids one moment, to a video conference with a client the next?
Whether we like it or not, being a star multitasker is what it is all about at the moment. To suit the work/life juggle, we at Cucumber think that wardrobes should have key multitasking pieces that help you flow seamlessly between kitchen chaos to Zoom conference room without minimum hassle. This could be something as simple as our Shell Button Top, which whispers cool classic on a call, but can also be thrown together with matching pyjama shorts for that Netflix boxset marathon before being chucked into a cold wash and hung dry to a crease-free finish (we are so over ironing.) We’ve designed our collections to become those go-to pieces that you reach for time and again because they feel so brilliant on and make you look great with zero fuss.
What have been your personal go-to pieces during the lockdown?
I have a few pieces I have worn in rotation just because they are so easy to wear and style up. My Pacific Blue Oversize tee is my favourite piece knotted at the waist with leggings for an early morning walk, breakfast then the inevitable power cleaning session. To get into work mode, I’ll pull on a pair of cropped AG jeans with our Stone Drape Knot Tee and some big, glossy hoop earrings. When I’m in need of a break, I’ll swap out the jeans for cut-offs and sit in the garden with a book and birdsong. I try and end the day with a workout and a combination of sports bra, yoga shorts and our Strappy Top is perfect for yoga. The top often ends up in bed with me; too comfortable to take off.
How does fashtech fit into working-from-home style?
Fashtech is all about effortless style, wherever you are. A combination of performance fabrics, seasonless design, and exceptional quality that means you never have to worry about what you are wearing. There is no creasing, overheating, or restrictions, so whether you are conjuring up meetings or meatballs, or indeed both, fashtech gives you the confidence you are always looking good.
Cucumber clothing is sustainable and locally made – can you explain what this means for the brand and its customers?
Being a sustainable, English and locally made is elemental to our brand, and something we love to shout from the rooftops. We are committed to trying to break the fast fashion cycle of buying something on sale (which does not reflect the true cost of making the garment), wearing it a handful of times (the average in this county is seven times) and quickly moving on to the next outfit. We count ourselves as slow fashion. Our clothes are seasonless, multitasking, made to last, and require minimal care (meaning less energy and water). We love the fact that we know everyone at the factory and share dog and yoga tips with the owners, listen in to Romanian folk music at our sampler’s studio and are grateful recipients of the occasional bottle of Cypriot wine from our graders. Since lockdown, the proximity of our warehouse has meant we can easily fulfil orders on foot. The transparency of our supplier relationships and the way we run Cucumber has been very beneficial to our brand. These days, honest comes at a premium.
Do you think these are things that will become increasingly important during and following the coronavirus pandemic?
This is only too true. I think it is clear that, post-Covid 19, consumers will agitate for increasing openness from companies. The brutal effects of the pandemic have concentrated people’s minds and the shadow of any sort of sleight of hand in selling goods will be knocked back ruthlessly. I also believe that a desire for locally sourced, designed and made products will resonate with more and more with many.
What are you most looking forward to doing once the lockdown is over? And what will you wear for the occasion?
This is a simple one, sitting down to a delicious meal on the back porch of my father’s house in Vancouver with family and good friends watching the sun go down. I’ll be in my gold Chloe flatforms, Cucumber Silver Harem Pants and a Melissa Odabash white bikini top, and I can’t wait!