How should you dress this winter when you work at a freezing office, and your trusty back-of-the-chair cardigan just won’t cut it? What are the best ways to keep warm while still looking professional and stylish?
Reader J wonders:
My office is freezing cold in the winter — some of the assistants and paralegals keep huge blankets in their office spaces and wrap up in them, or alternatively wear Northface jackets around. As an associate, I can’t get away with cuddling up in a warm blanket or wearing my Northface — it doesn’t exactly scream competent and professional. Do you have any recommendations for sweaters or wraps that look professional but are also very warm?
We talked about how to stay warm in a freezing office a looong time ago (and, more recently, staying warm with office A/C), but now is a great time to readdress it. While gloves, space heaters, and wraps-as-lap-blankets can help when you’re in your office, here are some thoughts for people who are moving around a lot (e.g., during meetings) during the day, or those who just don’t have the option to wear gloves or sneak in a space heater:
- Cashmere and merino wool. If most of your pullover sweaters are cotton or a polyester blend, you need to upgrade to cashmere or merino wool — I notice a HUGE difference in warmth. These don’t have to be expensive — we’ve seen prices dip as low as $60-$80 in recent months from places like Talbots and Lord & Taylor — and they don’t have to be bulky.
- Layers. I’d add a wool blazer on top of a merino sweater (perhaps with a cashmere wrap or ruana thrown around my shoulders for added warmth). (Here’s another wrap that looks great for a cold office.) If you’re feeling preppy you could always wear a cashmere cardigan around your shoulders (and here’s a great tutorial on that from WhoWhatWear, also pictured). Adding a layer of silk long underwear or fleece-lined tights under pants can really help as well.
- Try a long cardigan. Knee-length (and longer) cardigans are back in fashion, and they can be a great thing to wear. Yes, some of them (fine, a lot of them) can look and feel a bit like bathrobes, but they still can be a nice option when you’re seated at your desk. They look a ton more professional than wearing a North Face jacket or a blanket, but they cover almost as much.
Ladies, how do you stay warm in a freezing office?
N.B. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course we highly value all comments by our readers, we’re going to ask you to please keep your comments on topic; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. Thank you for your understanding!