Monday, December 08, 2014

You Should Know: Winter Workwear - Three Essential Cold Office Survival Tips

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WW4

This was a year of huge changes. We moved from Colorado to Michigan (talk about culture shock!), I took a break from teaching, and there are more big things in store for us this year, too!

One of the big things that changed was my work dress code. As a teacher it's all about comfortable shoes, durability, and whether or not you have to dry clean your clothes because when you work with 26 eight year olds your clothes will get dirty.  This year I have found myself working in a very different setting! I sit most of the day and the dress code requirements are a stricter than my Colorado Elementary School (no jeans, ever!).

I work in a large drafty studio with huge windows that was built in the early 1900s and the heating and cooling in that place is very inconsistent! I've learned a lot about staying warm at work this year and I wanted to feature a few practical office appropriate outfits that I can wear to work and share what I've learned about working in a c-c-cold place! Luckily I do work in a creative/design oriented department so being fashion forward or trying out a new look to see if it's going to work is totally appropriate...it just needs to be professional!

1) Layer Up! - The temperature of my workplace fluctuates from day to day so I have found that layering is the perfect solution. I'll wear three or four thin layers to work so that I can adjust to whatever temperature they decide to set the building at that day. An example of layers would be something like a cotton base layer (tank top), a long or short sleeved shirt, and a blazer or sweater. Sometimes I'll even pair a larger sweater over a blazer or a larger blazer over a cardigan. Layers, especially if you concentrate on a singular color palate and correct fit, can look completely professional. I rotate a few large pashmina scarves with my coats every day, too, and can pull those and put them on even after my coat has been taken off or use them on my lap or around me as a blanket under my desk, too! 

2) Fabric Content Matters! - This is the most important tip I can give you. If you really want to stay warm invest in some wool or cashmere sweaters, blazers, and base layers. I know for sure that a wool sweater is going to be significantly warmer than an acrylic sweater or cotton sweater of the same weight. I don't like bulky, shapeless layers so picking thin layers in the right fabrics helps me to stay put together looking and feeling. The blazer featured in this post is actually a polly/wool blend and is incredibly warm and cozy! I have a few vintage blazers that go a step above and beyond and are a thin wool suiting with a silk lining and they are the warmest of them all! Silk can keep you incredibly warm even though it is very thin. 

3) Coffee/Tea/Hot Cocoa is your friend! - Does your office have a hot water heater or coffee maker in it? Drinking warm beverages really does help warm you from the inside out and can be a great way to cope with a freezing office! If your office doesn't have one, you could consider bringing one in. Many years ago I worked for one winter in an office that didn't have anything like that set up. I bought a super cheap electric kettle (with an auto shut-off!) and some tea and brought it in for everyone to share to help us stay warm and cozy under the guise of it being a winter treat for my co-workers. Everyone loved it and started bringing in their tea, hot cocoa, and even a french press coffee maker for everyone to share. I only invested about thirty bucks in the whole thing but it really helped me stay warm and build the office community. 

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WW8

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Jacket: Express (ca. 2006, so no longer available.)
Blazer: Ann Taylor ( can't find this online anywhere! I'll update if I do.)
Shirt: Old Navy
Shoes: J. Crew
Purse: Franklin Covey (somewhat similar here)


6 comments:

  1. You look fabulous! I just love your hair, it's the perfect accessory to anything you put on! I hear you on layers! Our building is so cold!!!! Layers save me!

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    1. Thanks for the compliment on my hair - I've started washing and brushing it less and it's really liking that and getting all volume-ey. I could probably use a trim sooner or later, though...

      It's crazy how cold it gets. Moving to Colorado made me forget how cold the midwest is and when I came back...man...talk about painful!

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  2. The heating at my school is super inconsistent too - wearing layers is crucial! Love your shoes by the way :)

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    1. Thank you!! What are you teaching these days? I am starting to miss teaching so I'll live vicariously through my friends and fellow who are teachers until I'm back in the classroom :)

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  3. Layering is the key to life in Spain and I can definitely identify with fluctuating temperatures! Here the mornings are freezing, the afternoons pretty fair and during the day at school I'm always sweating in the hot stuffy rooms! I love your idea about layering blazers and cardigans! I am going to have to give that a try ASAP!

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    1. That sounds just like Colorado! We never had to air condition our house there - we just opened and closed the windows strategically.

      I think layering is the key to anything - I really am into it right now and have been experimenting with it a lot! I feel like there's a fine line between put together and sloppy with layering, though...but it's almost always a polished and relaxed look if you do it right! I'll keep playing with it all winter and hopefully by spring time I'll be in good shape and have it completely figured out!

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