Brrrr! Lately, I've come across a lot of posts about how to dress professional and still stylish during the winter months. Problem is: it appears that these posts are directed at young ladies living in balmy 30-degree-winters with no snow on the ground. Heels?! Really?
I say balmy 30-degrees because in Iowa, I've been riding out sub-freezing temps for over a week now. We're not talking a cozy 20 degrees either. I'm talking 5. With a -15 windchill. Eventually, we Iowans acclimate to the cold. And when that first 40-degree sunny day comes next spring, we'll be out and about sans coat, sans sleeves, sans pants.
But for now, we need to keep bundled up – and stay cute and professional while we're at it. Because interviews, internships, and jobs don't take a break for winter hibernation. So I've put together several cozy layered looks that keep you warm when you're on your way to or from work and out and about – but that can be easily peeled away once you hit the wonderful warmth of the office. The outfits range from the very casual end of business casual to a more professional look.
Tip #1 | The Art of Layers
When done right, layers don't make you look like the little brother from A Christmas Story. Layers shouldn't consist of multiple cardigans and sweaters. Instead, start small and build from there. Put a camisole on under your blouse. Over the blouse, wear a cardigan. Then a blazer. And finally, your coat. The beauty in this is that when you're out and about in the cold, you'll be warm. But when you get to the office, you can shed layers until you're comfortable.
Tip #2 | Thick Tights, If You Must
I enjoy wearing dresses all year round, so I understand the reluctance to wear pants all winter long. If you're like me and absolutely must slip into a dress now and then for work – don't skimp on the tights! Avoid any too-thin tights with too-many holes. No fishnets. No lace. No swirly patterns. No argyle. The thicker, the more opaque – the warmer your tights will be. Opt for a heavier dress, too. Choose boots that go up to the knees or above. And don't forget nice, cozy, thick boot socks. (Even though I forgot to add them to all of these Polyvore sets.)
Tip #3 | Heavy – Not Hefty – Coats
Sometimes just because something looks puffy and thick, we think it'll keep us warm. This isn't always the case. And all those marshmellowy coats really just bulk you up. Instead, opt for weight. A nice, fully lined, tweed coat or peacoat can keep you just as warm (if not warmer) than puffier options. Plus, they look much more chic. Also look for length. A coat that goes down to your lower thighs or knees will keep an extra portion of your body warmer.
Heels do not mix well with ice, sleet, and snow. Neither do flats that make your toes go numb in two minutes flat. Choose boots instead. This doesn't give you an excuse to wear Uggs, hiking boots, combat boots, or the likes. Go for sleeker options like riding boots and little ankle boots. Opt for flat soles or – if you must – a slight one or two inch heel. You may be an inch or two shorter than when you prance around in your power stilettos, but it sure beats slipping on the sidewalk or in the parking lot on your way into the office.
Not the sweatshirts. (Leave those for the gym and lounging around the house.) Sweaters can be dressed up perfectly for professional attire. Again, don't go for heft. Go for weight. A sweater can be just as warm as layering a cami, blouse, and cardigan – so go a little lighter on the layers to avoid sweating it out all day at work. Do layer a sweater under a lightweight boyfriend blazer for a cozy-cute take on business casual.
What's your go-to winter wardrobe for work look like?
And what are your bundled up (but not bulky!) tips for office fashion?