The Office Pashmina: 9 Ways to Use a Wrap at the Office

Ways to Use a Wrap at the Office | CorporetteBesides keeping a blazer at work, it’s also a great to have a wrap handy in your office. Sure, they’re great to grab as a top layer when you’re freezing, but that’s just one of the many ways to use a wrap. Here are nine other reasons to keep a wrap at the office:

  1. Use it as a lap blanket when you’re wearing a skirt or dress and your legs get chilly.
  2. Need a quick power nap at work? Fold your wrap and use it as a pillow.
  3. Could your dreary office really use some color? Drape a folded wrap on the back of your chair or on another chair in your office.
  4. Sit down at work and realize your new skirt is shorter than you thought? Add a little coverage with a wrap. This also works if you like to get comfy at your desk by putting your feet up, etc.
  5. In the same vein: If your new top didn’t seem revealing in the dressing room but you end up inadvertently flashing someone at the office, layer a wrap over it. 
  6. Hold a wrap over your head (or wrap it around yourself) in the rain when you’re caught without an umbrella.
  7. Spill something on yourself? Cover it up with a wrap until you can change your outfit. 
  8. On a work trip and the plane is freezing? Use it as a nicer and softer blanket/pillow than the ones from the airline.
  9. Cover your neck in the wintertime if you’re wearing a neck-baring winter coat and don’t have a scarf with you.

Now that you’ve realized all the great ways to use a wrap, check out a few of Kat’s favorites, most of which are currently on sale:

Pictured above: one / two / three / four

You may have noticed that one of those is called a ruana and the rest are labeled wraps. What’s the difference, anyway? The terms are often used loosely, but here’s a guide to the technical definitions:

  • Wrap: A general category that refers to a garment meant to loosely wrap around the upper body, like a shawl.
  • Shawl: A square, rectangular, or triangular piece of fabric that’s designed to be draped over the shoulders and arms. A pashmina is a type of shawl.
  • Pashmina: The technical definition refers to fine wool produced from a Cashmere goat. The most popular blend is 70% pashmina/30% silk, but 50/50 is common as well.
  • Poncho: A piece of material with an opening in the center for the wearer’s head, with or without a hood.
  • Ruana: A poncho-like item (but longer) with or without a hood; a sleeveless square or rectangle of fabric with a slit down the front and a hole in the center for the wearer’s head.
  • Scarf: A garment that can either be square or thin and long that’s meant for wrapping or tying around the neck. An infinity scarf is a closed loop.

What are your favorite wraps? Do you leave one (or more) at work for one of its many potential uses? What are your favorite ways to use a wrap? Have you found any inexpensive wraps from, say, Amazon or Target that you like just as much as fancier wraps? 

Pictured below: I love this tissue-thin silk/cashmere wrap, particularly in warmer months — and it comes in a ton of colors. 

office pashmina - 9 ways to use a wrap at work

ways to use a pashmina at the office



  1. is the $4000 shawl made of magic?!

  2. I buy thin wraps and wear them as long scarves with my coat. I wear them indoors as an accent color or pattern, usually untied or loosely tied lower on my body. In chilly meetings I wrap them around my shoulders. I’m a senior executive and I don’t see anything unprofessional about this.

  3. Anonymous :

    I just purchased 2 wraps from Brooks Brothers, while they were having a good sale.
    Original plan was to return one, but liked them both so keeping them

  4. Charleston, SC for family vacation? :

    My family has been debating where to go for a vacation this summer, and somehow the idea of Charleston popped into our heads.

    It would be me, my husband, our preschool-aged child, and two dogs. We would be driving there and back, and we’d be looking to do Airbnb or some sort of residential hotel. We’re somewhat flexible on dates, but ideally we’re looking at a week in late June or into July. We had the following questions/concerns:

    (1) Is there enough to do to keep a young child (and us) relatively busy for a week? (I expect we would be bored silly by more than 2 days in a row at the beach. We’ve done the Outer Banks before and it was nice and relaxing at first, but we all got bored about halfway through ) If so, do you have any recommendations for kid-friendly museums, parks, etc.? The Low Country Children’s Museum looks like it would be right up my kid’s alley, and they have Pirate Tours (??!?!?)

    (2) I see the average temps and humidity for the summer look pretty high – any anecdata as to how oppressive it actually is? (Is basically everything there air conditioned? Are there areas that are more temperate than others – like near the water? DH runs warm – is this a terrible idea?)

    (3) Even though we will have a car, are there areas that are particularly walkable where we could wander around for a few hours? (That’s probably our favorite thing to do on vacation – just stroll around, see the sights, find somewhere cute to eat, etc.)

    (4) At the risk of outing myself, our dogs are (very sweet and friendly and well-trained) pit bull mixes. Can anyone speak to whether there is any breed specific legislation (i.e. pit bull bans) that we should be aware of? A very quick internet search makes me think we’re okay, but I figured asking the hive can’t hurt. (FWIW, we were not planning on taking the dogs out to restaurants or anything like that – just staying with us and out for walks, etc.)

    (5) Any areas we should look closely at (or avoid) in terms of where to stay?

    Thanks so much in advance!

  5. Anonymous :

    I am allergic to cashmere, so I have a gorgeous rectangular shawl made of heavy silk that I found at Nordstrom several years ago. The fabric is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen and hard to describe–not shiny at all, soft and almost fuzzy. If you didn’t know it was silk you, you might think it was wool or cashmere just looking at it. Alas, Nordstrom stopped carrying the item before I could purchase it in more colors. Does anyone know where to find something like this?

    • You can try Etro but it will be expensive. Their shawls and scarves are gorgeous. Like, this is what I hold out for when I’m saving up for beautiful accessories.

    • Less expensive than Etro you might try etsy. There are lots of crafters who knit or weave or dye silk scarves and you can see if one fits your requirements. I would be careful with international sellers. It has been my unfortunate experience that Chinese sellers call silky polyester “silk.” I would look for 100% silk and a good return policy.

  6. 10) waving at passing dignitaries
    11) window ladder segment
    12) kindling (for those over-A/C’ed offices!)
    13) cubicle forts

  7. Wait you’re not supposed to wear your coat indoors all day because the building in freezing?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Apparently not. Too bad, my office has no heater and the building was apparently built when insulation meant hay and wood burning stoves. Slight exaggeration, but not by much.

  8. Lord & Taylor is having a big sale with code SHOES (for shoes) and FINAL for sale / clearance.

    I got $180 La Canadienne low boots for $88. There are others under $150. I also snagged some Lenox bone china pasta bowls marked down to about $20.

    It is actually worth navigating their terrible website (slightly better these days).

    • Lazy cook :


      I just got $220 La Canadienne low boots for less than $80 with Ebates added.

      Great sale. Thanks!!!

      I have a La Canadienne boots addiction.

  9. Question for all those who are experts in HR/employment law. We have an open office, and one of our admins insists of listening to right wing Christian talk radio (some station called WAVA here in the metro DC area) without headphones, because she claims that she read that headphones destroy her hearing! As you can imagine, the show format of her preferred radio station is as follows: a show on why LGBT people are evil; a show on how all Muslims should be put in prison death camps; a show of how all feminist should be burned at the stake because they are all devil-worshipping witches ect. The content offends may others working in the open workspace. She claims that if she is asked to change the channel, that she is being religiously persecuted and if we ask her to wear headphones, we are putting her health at risk. The complaints for the LGBT, Muslim, and female workers are piling up at hr. What can we do with her?

    • In-House in Houston :

      That is ridiculous! I worked there (I’m an L&E attorney) I would tell HR that they need to tell her to turn it off because it’s a distraction (the sound itself) to the other employees. Has SQUAT to do with the fact that it’s a religious channel. If she has that channel on, then someone else has Martha Stewart on, then the next person has hip hop…you get the point. Soon it’s a cacophony of sound and a distraction to the entire area. They should tell her to turn it off or put on headphones. Not ask her, tell her. If she refuses, send her home until she has a change of heart.

      • In-House in Houston :

        Also, this means that no one at their desk can listen to anything at all w/o headphones.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I am not American, but seriously, that’s not a thing. Listening to chat shows at work isn’t part of a religious practice and asking her not to listen to it is not prohibiting her or infringing on her beliefs. In an open office, I am surprised that anyone is allowed to listen to the radio without headphones as it is so disruptive to others. Maybe a total ban on the radio is required as then it does not impact her specifically?

    • Anonymous :

      If I worked next to someone so ridiculous, I would play the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) on repeat all day long just to mess with her.

    • Impose a radio/music ban for the whole office, regardless of the subject of said radio/music because the noise is disrupting other employees. It’s content-neutral, not religious discrimination.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I have zero HR background, so take my response for what it’s worth. But have I taken HR and harassment training over the years, as required by my employer. Anything that is deemed offensive to another person in the office should not be tolerated. A bible on their desk, potent perfume, body odor, sexual innuendo in emails, etc. You name it. If someone complains to HR that they are offended, the situation must be addressed (i.e. shut down).

      • maple legal :

        I would play some Music to drown out her radio (because I am mean like that)

        However, an office ban to open radio is reasonable. I would have thought that was already in place. I work in an open office and background noise (phones, people chatting) is bad enough without having music or radios to add to the mix.

        I can’t wait until I get my own office.

  10. givemyregards :

    Post a few days ago about a fed gov job I was supposed to start on Feb 6 – rec’d an e-mail this morning from their HR saying I was good to go b/c everything had been processed pre-hiring freeze, but received another just now saying that they’d received new guidance and because one form wasn’t generated already, I’m frozen out.

    Now I’m sitting in my current office paralyzed with anxiety because my last day is supposed to be next Friday and now it looks like I’ll be out of a job. Planning on telling my current boss what’s going on, and maybe there will be a slim chance they’ll keep me on in some capacity, but I would also totally understand if they said “sorry, too bad.”

    • Oh, no; so sorry. I hope it can get sorted out for you.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s possible that their in-house agency counsel is a little confused and are playing it safe with just temporarily putting things on hold. Check out the interim guidance from OMB. Given that you were given a firm start date before Feb. 22, I think you could still be hired. Hope it works out.

      • givemyregards :

        Thank you, I appreciate that insight. I normally struggle to push back on things like this – when people tell me “well these are the rules” I tend to listen – but I’m trying to gently ask them to please go back and ensure that that form is not sitting on the system somewhere, see if it’s possible to work around it since my start date was established, I was cleared by security, etc.

        Just spoke with the person who would be my boss and she is going to see if she can work with HR as well to get it resolved so fingers crossed.

    • Also – if you currently work for the government it’s very possible they’ll be open to keeping you around since they won’t be able to backfill you now. (This is how it would work at my company, but private sector.)

  11. Great post! Thank you for timely suggestions to keep warm this winter.

  12. Kat I’ve been reading the fashion buying tips and advice that you provide- especially about looking for quality and good value – as well as fashion of course! I want to bring to Corporette readers some like minded thinking that I noticed from Eva Chen, director of Fashion Partnerships on Instagram about Instagram influences on shopping.
    She says, ” I think that fashion has always been about change and evolution and right now it’s just a bit accelerated. I do feel, on a personal level, I am shopping for more timeless things, like the perfect pair of jeans (just found a pair at COS that I love. Perfect amount of stretch) or black boots. And then accessorizing around that. So in a way, Instagram has made me think about the things that will be the canvas to changing highlights (like accessories).

  13. Martin nuala :

    I have a thing called a Lele Zipper Scarf that I wear legit every single day. It’s a square fabric with a zipper there are literally 6 ways to wear it – as a scarf, a wrap, a skirt, a hood. It’s truly genius. And comes in a million fabrics. Made in Philadelphia

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