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The Hunt: Winter Coats That Work As Hard as You Do

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We’ve talked before about how to buy a great winter coat — but we haven’t done a roundup in a while! Which winter coats have been your favorite this year, ladies? Do you vary your coat choices based on your outfit (e.g., wearing a longer coat with a skirt/dress)?  Do you buy a new coat each season, or once every few years?  How many coats do you keep in rotation at one time — and what do you do with the older ones?

For my own answers, I still love my dark green Cinzia Rocca coat that I got a few years ago — but I also wear my Primaloft coats from Lands’ End if I’m running around with the kids (I have a shorter one as well as a longer one), as well as a few wool coats I inherited from my grandmother. I definitely vary my coat based on my outfit — I would never wear a shorter, hip-length coat with a skirt or dress. Just due to closet space limitations, I’ve kept my coat collection pretty small!

Before we get to the roundup for today, here are a few general categories to consider for winter coats for work:

Pictured below: the Hall of Famers readers swear by: one / two / three / four

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Beauty Wednesday: Natural Beauty Products for Winter

We’ve talked a lot about drugstore beauty items and how your beauty routine changes in the winter, but more and more my winter beauty routine is involving “natural” beauty things — supermarket, even! — and so I thought I’d round up a few I like to kick off the discussion. Find out below how I’m using apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and castor oil in my beauty routine. Ladies, have you experimented with natural beauty things? How did you like them compared to fancier beauty products — is anything a definite in your routine? 

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The Hunt: Stylish Velvet Blazers and Other Wintry Jackets

stylish-velvet-blazersSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I love a good wintry blazer, usually to keep at the office or use as a lighter layer in fall weather. Velvet is indeed having its moment, so this hunt is heavy on stylish velvet blazers for work — but we’ve also included tweed, wool, and other heavyweight fabrics. (Interestingly, corduroy blazers are difficult to find at the moment!) Ladies, do you wear heavyweight blazer separates to the office — and which fabrics are your favorites? Gotten any great winter blazers lately?

Before we get to our favorites for today, check out some of these general categories:

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The Hunt: Wool Coats for Work

coats for work

2017 Update: Check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

After the weekend we’ve had (thank you Jonas), it may seem a bit silly to talk about professional-looking coats — after all, when it’s freezing, nasty and disgusting outside, being warm and dry are the primary considerations. Particularly when working from home is easier than ever, if you make it into the office at all, no one should be judging you for blizzard attire like an expedition coat and Sorels. But it isn’t blizzarding every day in the winter, and I still think a wool coat (or, fine, even a slim-fit puffer coat like some of the ones we featured on our roundup of washable coats for CorporetteMoms) does look more professional.  Shop for a winter coat that covers your thighs (for warmth, as well as the most versatility — nothing looks quite so silly as a peacoat and skirt), and be sure to size up if you need to to accommodate a sweater or blazer beneath your coat. (Other great layers: silk turtlenecks and long johns can add serious warmth without bulk, and there are so many puffer/fleece vests that I’m kind of tempted to try them under my winter coat on really cold days.) I’ve always looked for a wool/cashmere blend as the best (the cashmere makes it warm; the wool makes it durable), but I’ve also heard great things about alpaca’s warmth; these days you can find technical enhancements to wool like Lands’ End (pictured after the jump; it’s good to 10 below!!) or lined with thinsulate, like some J.Crew and LL Bean coats.  Ladies, what coats are you wearing this winter? How many do you have; which ones do you think are the most professional-looking, which are the warmest, and so forth? Have you recently bought any coats you love? 

First, a roundup of some special interest coats:

(If you’re interested in previous discussions, here’s our roundups from 2013 and 2009.)

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How to Do Business Casual in Cold Weather

How to Do Business Casual in Cold Weather | CorporetteWhat are the best strategies for staying warm during a wintry commute while still looking professional when you get to work? How can you look stylish and professional in the winter? Reader M has a question about how to do business casual in cold weather:

I’m graduating this year and moving somewhere cold, and I have no clue how to dress business/business casual in the winter. (I have tons of dresses and cardigans and skirt suits from my summers, but rarely any winter clothes.) Specially, I’m wondering — what kind of coat should I buy? What kind of shoes/boots should I wear under work pants? What do I wear to walk to work in the snow/rain? I know this is pretty basic question, but I’d love a post on this topic!

Great questions, M — business casual in cold weather can be tricky! Some thoughts for you:

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What to Wear to a Holiday Office Party

What to Wear to an Office Holiday Party | CorporetteHere’s a fun question: what to wear to an holiday office party? We have six ideas below, all great whether it’s for your holiday company party, your SO’s office party, or some other holiday networking party. (We talked about holiday office party etiquette a few days ago!) As a general rule, pick two from the categories below and mix with regular workwear, unless you are 100% sure cocktail attire (or black tie!) is appropriate. A good clue: if the party is on a workday and all employees are invited (not just management types), take our suggestions here. As always, I suggest young businesswomen avoid showing cleavage, as well as what I’ll call “unexpected” skin (think cutout dresses, etc). Even bare arms may not be appropriate — know your office!) You should also be wary of anything requiring a special bra.

We’re shared some of our top picks for your holiday office party below. (Note that the pictures are clickable, and if you’re uncomfortable clicking a mystery link you can mouse over both the picture and the text link to see the destination.)

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