When the real cold weather starts, it's tempting to ditch any sort of dress code and head to work wrapped up in a sleeping bag. Thankfully, common sense (and a little vanity) brings us to our senses; but since Winter definitely means bundling up, even for the office, we're helping you to do it as stylishly as possible. No, a corporate look isn't exactly cozy, but there are ways to warm up the suit look (aside from following Anna Dello Russo's lead and slapping a stick-on heating pack under our clothes) with some creative layering. For our favorite ways to do just that — plus a few key pieces — read on:
- The surest way to stay warm and polished is all about the fabrics you choose. Winter calls for heavier finishes, like velvet, corduroy, and wool. While you wouldn't wear a wool suit in August, you also shouldn't wear your linen jackets in November. Trade your breezy fabrications for something more cozy, like these wool trousers or this velvet blazer.
- Layers don't have to be bulky or oversize to get the job done. A knit layer as the base of your look, like a turtleneck sweater, is a great starting place and will insulate against the chill better than any button-down can. Add it underneath a suit jacket to top off your trousers, or even layer it under your classic sheath dress to stay polished with a cozy twist.
- Invest in polished outerwear. You might be able to get away with your college-day fleeces on weekends, but adding one to your 9-to-5 look distracts from any otherwise-sophisticated statement you're making.
- If your job requires heels or otherwise dressier footwear, then stick to something with a little more substance for those chillier days (read: no fancy footwear here). It sounds gratuitous, maybe, but something with a lug sole that can handle the elements is obviously going to keep you more protected than a ballet flat or a loafer. Look to a knee-high boot or leather ankle boot for more coverage on your tootsies; you'll thank us when you're not weaving around frozen puddles. And if you think that you can't pull off boots with a pencil skirt, then let this be your reminder of otherwise.
- No matter what your office dress code expectations may be, warm, textural accessories are always a safe bet. Look to details like sleek leather gloves, a fur collar, or a cable-knit scarf to cover up and heat up a blouse or a dress. Likewise, upgrade your legwear with thick, wool or knit tights (not those sheer panty hose) underneath your dresses and skirts. It's a small change that will have a major impact on your comfort level.
Read on for the rest of our tips and tricks.