Staying Warm in the Subzero Office

subzero office in the summerIf your office is freezing, it doesn’t matter how hot it is outside — you want to bundle up and stay as warm as possible. Can you stay warm in a subzero office where the A/C is blaring — and still look polished? Trust us, there’s a better way than having an office Snuggie, as some of Reader N’s coworkers seem to have done:

Despite record breaking temperatures this summer, I find myself huddled in my “office sweater” most of the day. (You know, the one you keep in a drawer in case your nice business casual outfit can’t keep you warm.) While some of my co-workers have long resorted to bringing in  fleece blankets to huddle in, I would like to avoid this ‘burrito-chic’ fashion.  I’m already wearing winter-weight pants with seasonally appropriate tops, but most of the time I resort back to the tired but appropriate Old Navy sweater. That is, until I found a strange alternative.  My question for you is it so strange I should actually just stick to my sweater…

The piece in question is a blazer made of thick hoodie material. It’s fitted/tailored  just right for me as a blazer, but it has a zipper where the front buttons should be. I feel kind of funny wearing such an odd thing, but it does make me feel like I’m more business-casual than business-burrito.

Snow(business)man, originally uploaded to Flickr by oxygen timebomb.I’m with you — it always felt like my office was the South Pole in the summertime.  And trust me, nothing makes you feel more glamorous than settling in for a long day of doc review wearing a hat and gloves (although, hey, those are options).  We’ve talked about how to stay warm in the office in the fall and winter, but the summer office can be a bit more difficult because there’s such a stark contrast between your inside and outside dress. (Pictured: Snow(business)man, originally uploaded to Flickr by oxygen timebomb.) Here are some more professional suggestions…


– The wrap.  I think every woman’s office needs a wrap.  It’s particularly great to wrap around your legs if you’re wearing bare legs and a skirt — in addition to keeping you warm, it pretty much lets you sit however you want to.subzero office because of high A/C - a stylish young woman tries to stay professional while suffering from freezing office A/C

– Layer a cardigan under a blazer.  I have always loved a good silk cardigan for the office, for this exact reason — the silk holds its shape far better than cotton.  On your way to the office, wear your tee or tank by itself and throw your sweater over your shoulders (just make sure to button the sweater to avoid the “cape” look) — when you arrive at the office you can add the sweater, add the blazer you keep at the office, add both, or add the blazer and then throw the sweater over the blazer’s shoulders. Or, ha, wear the cardigan, layer the blazer on it, and then throw the wrap around your shoulders for extra measure.

– Socks.  If you frequently work for long stretches without getting up, this can be a great way to keep your toes warm, since you’re probably wearing bare feet with your pumps or flats.

– Hot liquids. Coffee, tea, soups… nothing feels quite so great as to wrap your hands around that warm container. Another good snack for the freezing summer office: oatmeal (which you often can make with just hot water, so it’s a great office snack anyway).  (Actually, the first time I ever drank coffee was to stay warm — when I was 15 I attended a writer’s conference, and was the only teenager in the room, so all they had was coffee — I was so freezing that I decided to add enough sugar to it until it was drinkable.)

– Resort to fleece.  My only objection to fleece is that you will definitely look seasonally inappropriate — but sometimes you just don’t care because you’re freezing!  It sounds like Reader N has found a good piece; I’ve also pictured a few pieces below that I think could work for the office — when designers like Akris are making fleece cardigans (marked down to $511!) you know it’s the beginning of a trend.  (Pictured below, top row: 1, 2, 3. Bottom row:  1, 2, 3.)


Readers, how do you stay warm in the freezing summer office? Do you think fleece is ever acceptable for the office?

Social media images via Deposit Photos / TKK.

Even if it's sweltering outside, if the office A/C is blaring it may feel like you work in the tundra. Can you stay warm in a subzero office -- without resorting to hoodies, blankets, and other snuggly options?


  1. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    I have no clue about staying warm in an office, but I SURVIVED! Got through the bar, made a couple of new friends, and didn’t get sick. I consider it a win!

    And now I want the dress in the reply. I have to stay off DP.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :


      • Dang it, Ms. BEF. I just bought two of her dresses on your recommendation last week, and now I want this one. Boo.

      • That’s really pretty. Any experience with DP dresses in person? How do they look? I like the style, but it’s almost 100% polyester.

      • eastbaybanker :

        Never heard of DP–missed your rec last week. What gorgeous dresses!

      • Congrats! Also, that dress is fantastic. Any word on how DP sizes? I am a 4 with Ann Taylor and BR.

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        This dress is amazing and this site has made me have to add practice areas to my solo practice to support my new shopping habits.

    • Congrats!! Me too! High fives, and have an extra martini for me!

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Only if you promise to do the same. Congrats to you to!

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I’ve found DP to run to true to size, but the more elastane, the more it will conform to the body.

      Just make sure to check the length of dresses/skirts before ordering because when DP is short, it is short.

      And w/r/t the fabric, I haven’t had any complaints (especially since everything I’ve gotten is machine washable), but I am also just out of school, so my standards may be lower than someone who has been exposed to nicer fabrics.

  2. Anonymous :

    Such a timely post. I am frickin freezing in here, Mr. Bigglesworth.

  3. I have a James Perse sweater blazer and, for when things get desperate, a knee-length black cashmere hooded-cardigan.

    Then again, I usually have my forbidden space heater whirring under my desk, so I only need the others for meetings.

    If I’m out of the office for depositions, I always bring a love quotes scarf to throw over my legs. I also bring along an extra-large tea and then make friends with the receptionists to let me into the coffee room for hot water at the break.

  4. How timely – just browsing for a space heater. Anyone have recommendations? Looking for quiet and least likely to blow a fuse and leave my entire office in the dark.

    • emcsquared :

      I’ve had good luck with my Sunbeam (except when maintenance cut the cord while I was having my appendix taken out…grrr). It isn’t “loud” but it definitely makes a fan noise. Also, it has a cooling fan setting so if the AC ever goes out, I’m good. It has never blown in a fuse in any of the four office buildings I’ve used it in (fingers crossed).

    • Personally, I like my little Vornado (“digital vortex heat!”, haha). The one I have is relatively quiet (I’ve knocked it around a little, so it buzzes sometimes, I think something is loose) and I ‘ve never had a problem with it at my old apartment, my house, or my office. The best thing about it is you can choose the mode (fan, high heat, low heat), and change the temperature by actual degrees Fahrenheit with an up/down button rather than just some goofy dial. It also cycles through on the display with the mode, current room temperature, and the temperature you set it on. It’s also all-plastic on the outside, so nothing will burn anyone if they touch it. It makes my 66 degree office bearable.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I have a mini Vornado which sounds simpler than J’s, just no/low/high heat fan. It also automatically turns off if it gets tipped over, which is nice for safety. It’s fabulous. We also have a Vornado fan at home that we run every night, all night. 3 years and it still works perfectly. I’m really happy with Vornado quality.

    • I bought my Impress office space heater on Amazon earlier this summer. It was cheap and it’s very quiet. I’ve been happy with it this summer!

    • Always being freezing, I did plenty of research on the perfect heater to hide under the desk. The Holmes Whisper Quiet 1500W Space Heater Model HFH2968 is the absolute best. It is so quiet, even people who pop into my office cannot hear it (albeit, they may feel the blast of heat when they walk in … but that’s another story). Its efficient, really warm, and truly “whisper quiet.” I keep it on the “low” setting to avoid tripping any fuses, but even on that setting its incredibly warm. It also has thermostat settings. It’s on amazon for $29.

    • I have a Vornado at home. But for the office, I have a super cheap one, it’s a Holmes. Sounds kind of like the one @Paige had – I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond and used a 20% off coupon.

    • Last winter (or maybe summer?) someone suggested a heating pad as an alternative to a space heater, and it really works for me. I sit on it, put it on my lap or behind my back and it warms my whole core, with a lot less strain on the electrical circuit.

      • As someone who once tripped the circuit to an entire side of the floor (after business hours, possibly on a weekend but I can’t remember) with a tiny Walgreens space heater when my trial team was visiting another office, so that we all froze and had no lights and were running our laptops on the batteries with no external screens… consider whether your building’s wiring can take a space heater. It seems like such a small, inconsequential thing than can bring much comfort and happiness… until it all goes wrong and building services chastises you and no one seems to get the absurdity of the fact that you were just trying to maintain circulation in your fingers so you could continue typing at some ungodly hour of the night in a far-away city for a trial that ultimately got pushed 6 months…

        In a total pinch, I’ve used one of the Thermacare backwraps — it heats the core like nobody’s business, and actually works (both on back pain and chills).

        • Yikes. Was your heater plugged into the wall? Mine is plugged into a surge protector. That should help, right?

      • I have a heated electric foot pad. It kinda stunk like rubber at first, but I feel like its much safer than a heater. Bought it on amazon. But the heating pad would be much more versatile!

    • I had a DeLonghi which was great…until the cord caught on fire. [to be fair, I had been running it almost everyday for three years straight]…but word to the wise – turn it off when you leave your office! (Thankfully I was sitting right there).

  5. karenpadi :

    My office is cold due to a lack of humidity. My humidifier is great for making the office feel warmer.

    Also, see if maintenance or facilities can redirect a blowing vent in the office. They usually can’t turn off or block a vent but redirection can make a huge difference!

    • Check with your neighbors. If multiple people are running heaters in a small area, it can have, um, electrical consequences.

    • Whoever had my office previously taped all of the vents shut with packing tape. I haven’t notified anyone, because I love that my office is about 3 degrees warmer than everyone else’s.

      • OOO! Good idea – I might have to try that as my office is extremely cold!!

        • The downside to that is it doesn’t change how much heating/cooling the system generates – it just redirects to the other vents. In a friend’s office, so many people tapes their vents shut that a handful of people were pretty much getting all of the air conditioning.

    • Anon Analyst :

      Yes, definitely check with maintenance. Mr. Analyst is an HVAC tech at a large office building and he routinely gets “hot” and “cold” calls. In his buildings all the thermostats are set to specific temps. They will check the temp in the area to make sure everything is working correctly and can adjust vents, etc as needed.

  6. I finally found the solution to this problem this summer — get a space heater for your office. My office has them for particularly cold winter days, and we’ve all just kept them year round for when the overactive A/C hits. I’d ask your office manager if they have some in the office already, and if not, ask if you can order one from Amazon for your office.

  7. I love that ruffle collar fleece jacket. I have to wear a sweater every day at work but have to be careful to make sure I don’t have to leave the building because it’s frickin hot out there! Luckily I have a short walk from house to car and from car to building.

  8. Board Member Problems :

    I’ve definitely done the biz. casual burrito look myself. Silk can be pretty helpful too. It looks light and summery but can actually be quite warm. LL Bean has silk camis and long underwear if you want warmth without bulk.

    And, I also have a novel-length threadjack:

    I recently joined a board of a small organization. The organization is facing a financial crisis because our main source of funding is being dramatically reduced over the next year and then discontinued after that. We are planning our first major fundraiser in a couple of months. I’ve worked for a NFP before, so I know what goes into a major fundraiser.

    The problem? The board president. She is incredibly controlling and micromanaging, yet ineffective. We have so much to do for the fundraiser, yet she doesn’t want to allow anyone to do anything, but hasn’t done anything herself. Example: we want to send out a mass mailing to let everyone on our mailing list know about the fundraiser. We already have a flier printed up with a ton of information about it. Everyone on the board thought that the flier was fine to send out to everyone, but the president thought we needed to have a postcard. A post card that is going to need to be designed, printed, etc. Who is going to be in charge of that? She is. Will she actually do it in time? Doubtful. I suggested we send out a mass email, and she said “oh, but so many of our supporters are older and some of them don’t have email.” I offered to write an email asking a target group of people to solicit all their friends and she said “no, I want to do that.”

    I’m the treasurer, and she won’t give me the laptop with all the financial information on it. I get a flash drive with a copy of everything, and I have to send her spreadsheets of all the transactions I log. And it’s not like she’s embezzling money (really, I promise, I see the bank statements and all the supporting documents). She just “needs” that level of control.
    How do you deal with a person like this? All she wants to do is talk about everything we need to do, but once someone volunteers to do something she says no that she’ll do it, then it doesn’t get done in a timely manner or ever. I’ve been to two board meetings so far, and I’m already thinking of staging a coup (and no, I’m not the only person on the board who feels this way). ARGH.

    • Always a NYer :

      Stage a coup with the other board members to take control.

    • I work in advancement at a nonprofit. Here are my questions:

      + Do you have staff? Tell me more about them. A president or CEO (different from the Board Prez)? Do you have a staff fundraiser? What’s their level of involvement?

      + What kind of donors do you have? Members (like, Friends of the Library), alumni or just people who give because they care passionately about your cause?

      Your answers will shape my answers. Without knowing more, I’d say you probably need to rally the Executive Committee and/or other powerful Board members to your cause; you may need to enlist the help of senior staff; and the worst case scenario may have you resigning from the Board. But tell me more!

      • Board Member Problems :

        There is no staff. There is a board of 9 people, and we support a group of about 35 people who do The Work The Organization Does.

        On the board, we have
        -the president (a member of the group that does The Work)- this is the problem person I was talking about
        -the director (in charge of the group that does The Work)
        -a professor of The Work
        -three financial types (including myself– we are all new members)
        -the lawyer (married to a person who does The Work)
        -the fundraiser
        -the person with connections within the type of “industry” we are working in (she rarely shows up, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to roll off soon)

        Several people just rolled off the board, and we are looking for new members.

        Our donors are mainly people who appreciate what we are doing. A smaller group of our donors are those people who do The Work for our particular organization, and therefore care about it too. There was a line item in the budget for dues, but I didn’t see any that we received, so I think that may be something that happened in the past, but not any more.

        The director guy has been out of town most of the summer, but I think he’d probably be a good person to talk to/get his perspective, etc.

        • OK, this helps a lot. First, it may or may not be a conflict of interest for your Board President to be someone who also Does The Work. So think on that a bit.

          Knowing what I know, you need to stage a coup. Let’s call it an intervention for now. Your @$$ is on the line as a Board member — you technically have fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and if/when Bad Stuff starts to happen, you’re going to be called on the carpet to answer. I think you’re doubly involved because you’re the Treasurer. You need to get that laptop from her, first off. And you should also go ahead and print/mail the flyer instead of the postcard — because one person doesn’t get to veto the entire group (usually).

          Ask yourself how many fellow Board members care about this and/or notice the President’s behavior, and find yourself some allies.

          Also, since you come from a NFP background, you probably know this already (so please forgive me if sounds soapbox-y): events typically have a lower ROI when it comes to fundraising. Same for direct mail. But if you could ID a handful of key donors who’d be willing to make significant and/or one-time gifts to the org in order to fill the gap for this year, you’d likely spend a lot less effort in raising the same/similar amount of money. I realize that that’s hard (especially if a person isn’t used to asking), but perhaps look around at your Board and/or the people who have been giving the longest to this org. Additionally, I’m hoping your Board has all given at or above X (X = significant level) and if not at X then at least that they’ve all given something.

          I hope this is helpful! Good luck. I agree, too with the poster below who said that it’s your responsibility to make sure this organization doesn’t fold. It can be a lot to ask of a volunteer, that’s for sure.

          • Yeah, ANP’s advice is great. Altho, given what you said above about the director being gone for much of the summer, and you are new to the board. I might chill out for a hot sec and do a little more research before launching the coup. And check in with the director when he’s back, at least see how a couple meetings with him go, or even have private chat with him to see what he thinks. There might be a different dynamic when he is not around, but he just needs his vacation, so everyone puts up with things falling apart a tiny bit while he’s gone. And then, if things continue to go badly when he’s back, it’s definitely time to get the coup moving quickly.

          • What’s the theory behind significant Board donations? Seems to block out folks who might otherwise be able to provide skilled leadership.

    • no, you can’t ‘reason’ with crazy people and make them do what you want. Never works. You will just burn yourself out from the exhaustion of beating your head against a brick wall.

      Your instinct is right, the only solution is to stage a coup and take control away from her. As someone who has worked with incompetent/ineffective nonprofit types for many many years, the only way to deal with obstructionist and/or crazy people is to outnumber them. And, once the group becomes effective and starts getting amazing stuff DONE for once?? People will love you and your group will grow, and the crazies will be even more outnumbered. And once they can’t get all the attention anymore, they will give up. Most normal people want to be part of something positive and effective. It’s a virtuous circle.

      At first it feels like being mean, but honestly, the people you really want to be part of the group will be happy that someone is taking charge and helping to actually get things done.

      • I don’t think it’s “mean” to unseat someone who’s incompetent and who’s preventing an organization from meeting its own objectives. Mean or nice has got nothing to do with it.

        Mean/Nice has nothing to do with it, and I think the sooner people (especially women) stop feeling obligated to judge others and themselves on the mean/nice spectrum when it’s completely not applicable, then, the more effective we can be.

        • I totally agree, and that was kind of what I was trying to say. When I first launched a power play, my first thought in my head was ‘oh, this feels so mean’ b/c the crazies I was dealing with were really good at guilt trips disguised as ‘being inclusive and giving everyone a chance to participate.’ But then I talked to other people who were peripherally involved, and they all told me that we were doing the right thing and they were glad to have people fixing things. So that’s when I realized I shouldn’t think about it as mean/nice, that that was some obnoxious ‘nice girl’ trap I was falling in, and I needed to focus on what the organization needed to survive. And if people whined and said that we weren’t being ‘nice’, too bad.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I came onto a nonprofit board post coup, and if the coup hadn’t happened the organization would have gone under. I’m glad that people before me kicked out the ineffectual board members out, and gave the organization a chance to succeed. It sounds like your organization is in a tough financial position. You can’t afford poor leadership at such a critical juncture.

    • EngiNerd (not to be confused with Lady Enginerd) :

      Can this be used as an opportunity to train your errant board prez to do what she should be doing?

      It sounds like she’s just used to a smaller show or a different position where she actually has the time to dedicate to putting together all these documents and things herself. I bet if you or someone else in your office took the initiative to draft 2 or 3 postcard or an email or any of the other things and presented them to her to either chose between or to add her comments to (maybe saying, “I know you’ve been really busy, so I/we put these together – just let us know what you’d like added or changed.”), she’d eventually catch on that this is the way to go. You’d basically be forcing her not to micromanage some of these things.

      • Regarding the president, I agree she sounds like a paid–but I think you’re mixing some apples and oranges in here that may undercut your valid arguments. For example, if you have a flash drive with all the financial information on it, why do you need the president’s laptop–which probably has other information besides what pertains to you. To demand the laptop when you already have all the financial info, and know nothing is amiss, can backfire and make you look like a micromanager as well.

        Regarding the fundraiser–before you stage a coup over postcards vs emails, have you drawn up a schedule /timeline of what needs to happen and when? If that’s not your job is the person who’s responsible willing to do it? That document becomes “procedure”–and when the president says she’ll do something and misses a deadline. 1) it’s both obvious and impersonal and 2) it forces action without any particular person forcing the issue/

  9. I wish I had this problem. My office is never cold enough.

  10. question for L&E attys :

    I know working in l&e was discussed several months back, but I have a more specific question. Specifically, if you switched from employee side to management, how did you do it? (i feel like switching from managrment to employer/plaintiff side can be explained ideologically, likely.) I know that CA Atty said she did it. I’d like to do the same, but unsure how to spin my plaintiff side exp to appeal to the management side.

    Thanks for any help!

    • At my firm (L&E boutique), we’ve had a lot of attorneys come from the employee side to work for us on the management side. I don’t know that, ideologically, it’s ever been an issue. In fact, people coming from the employee side often have more experience in the courtroom than those that have been pure management-firm sided their entire career.

      You could also say that you want to work on more complex cases with sophisticated clients, if that’s true at all.

    • Stealth Mode :

      Well, for starters no one I know has switched from management to employee for ideological reasons, so get that out of your head. They’ve done it because they didn’t like the big firm life and wanted to go into private/boutique life. Where were you hoping to wind up? I know in my biglaw office we’d have concerns about quality v volume of word, different types of client relationships, whether it seemed like you valued our type of work (ie did you stumble into plaintiffs work after law school or are you dedicated to unions).

      Ps- this is the pessimistic defensive view for sure, but I think it’s one you need to prepare for

      • question for L&E attys :

        Gah, just lost whole post. Ideological reasons weren’t really my point, was an example of a reason to justify a switch. I know my firm prefers to hire (I.e. To use your example, that they believe in unions) using that as a strong consideration.

        I am almost too prepared for what you describe, Stealth Mode! I got thrown into plaintiff side b/c it was the best opportunity out there for me at the time. What JJ says about more sophisticated clients and more complex work is the exact reason I want to switch. I guess that since I do know how hard it will be in having a difficult time thinking of other reasons why. I feel like I have to marshal as many arguments as I can to be in the position to make a move.

        Appreciate your help!

        • Another articulable reason is that you want to counsel management as the policymaker from the beginning and engage in pre-dispute resolution rather than object to the decisions made by your adversaries.

    • At my L&E boutique we represent (in different situations) both management and employees. I’ve found that this gives me a valuable perspective on both sides of things, and I think you could talk that up in any effort to switch sides. Honestly, I feel like other than a few of the not-for-profit labor groups ideology plays into things very little (and in their situations often their ideology conflicts with their ability to do what’s best for their individual clients rather than The Worker as a concept). In management situations, I can ensure my clients are in compliance or get them there, which ultimately helps employees.

  11. Research, Not Law :

    A microwavable heating pad on your lap does wonders.

  12. I keep a warm cardigan in my office, to throw on or over my legs (I probably should upgrade to a shawl per OP).

    But mainly, I am in Looooove with my space heater this summer. Virtually all the women on my floor have one, and it’s kind of crazy, bcs w/the hot & humid mid-Atlantic weather we’ve been happening, at least 2x/week we get a mass email mid-afternoon from building management exhorting us to do all we can to reduce energy consumption. To which we think, if the d*** a/c weren’t up so high, you wouldn’t have so many space heaters running, and problem solved!

  13. As a lawyer in a cold office in Chicago, I spent many a lunch hour looking for the solution to this problem. Space heaters are verboten in many offices. You may have to take care to hide it when you go home at night. Heating pad is good. Another option I considered is one of those car-seat warmers that you could put on your office chair. They usually have a car-charger cord but you can find a plug adapter. Any engineers/marketing people want to help me develop a “heated chair sweater” that you slip over your office chair and plug into a USB or outlet, with zoned heat (or for warm-blooded people, coolness?). There are those electric blankets that you could sit on but it doesn’t necessarily appear “professional”.

    Also, a pair of discrete fleece slippers to wear when working at desk, NOT for walking around the halls.

    • phillygirlruns :

      +1 on the slippers. i have a pair of dark brown suede moccasin-style slippers (think ugg “dakota,” but from target) that live under my desk. they’re warm but look a little less obvious if i forget to change out of them before running to the water cooler/printer/whatever. which i definitely did yesterday.

    • While proper heaters are forbidden at most offices, the new ‘pocket’ heaters available look basically like computer speakers. And they heat just you and not the whole office, which is even more discreet. Your chances of getting busted are minimal :-).

  14. electric blanket! you can sit on it or keep it in your lap, does wonders for warming you up without making you too hot.

    • I guess i mean an electric heating pad. It fits on my chair, under my b*tt, so it is not visible above my desk, therefore avoiding the whole ‘unprofessional looking’ problem.

  15. Threadjack: Poll on How Happy You Are With Your Outfit Today

    (A) Love It! I feel confident and great!
    (B) It’s fine, I’m content about it without feeling like Tigger
    (C) Enh
    (D) I don’t really like my outfit today
    (E) ARGH! I’m tearing at myself because it’s uncomfortable or I really hate my outfit today
    (F) Other __________ (please elaborate)

    I’m at D, about to fall into category E. Grr. Sadly, it’s starting to affect my productivity (my top is really uncomfortable now that I’ve been in a sitting position for several hours. The shoulder area really, really bugs.)

    • bleh, C) I guess?
      I had to run a call this morning that i was Freaking. Out. About. this morning, so i just threw on my blah but comfortable jeans, a long-sleeve tshirt and sneakers. And then when walking out the door and realizing is was FREEZING, grabbed a wool sweater to throw over. So, im comfortable, which is fine, but bleh.

    • B. But I totally understand how it feels on one of those D and E days. Hang in there, the day will be over soon!

    • 2/3 attorney :

      Definitely D. I have a new necklace, which is nice, but my pants aren’t flattering, and I had to wear my pointy-toed heels (office emergency pair) since I forgot my almond-toe pair at home today.

    • I’m a (B) today. Wearing my favorite coral skirt with a white blouse, gray cardigan, gray pumps and white bib necklace. I wish I’d have done another pop of color besides the coral.

    • Diana Barry :

      Between A and B, I guess. I like my outfit but I am annoyed with myself for not being a smaller size right now (which is dumb bc I am only 3 months postpartum).

    • F. Love my outfit (Target ponte knit cap sleeves – thanks for the recs). My hair and makeup leave a lot to be desired today. That’s what I get for sleeping in.

    • Backgrounder :

      Solid B today. Colbalt blue sheath dress (I’m sheath obsessed). Yesterday was an A!

    • (F). If it fit properly, it would be a solid (B+), maybe (A-). But I’ve lost a few pounds (yay!) and nothing is fitting right (ugh!).

    • Maddie Ross :

      B. It worked in my head this morning, but the actual execution left a little to be desired. It could be partly because I was too lazy to iron or steam and the wrinkles have only gotten progressively worse as the day’s gone on. I look like I slept in my clothes at this point.

    • C. Threw on a plain pink button down shirt, gray pinstripe pants and the world’s most boring navy shoes. Everything fits well, so not terribly frumpy, but it’s awfully boring.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I’m boring today too. I’m boring most days, sad to say. It just seems so much easier.

    • B. I’m wearing my magenta Skirt, cream silk shell and 3/4 sleeve mustard cardigan, all of which I love, and I am wearing some of my favourite shoes today (tooled leather pumps from Remix), but I feel slightly under-accessorized.

    • (A- I don’t think I’ve ever been at an A) Had an arbitration with an arbitrator who I know always looks put together and fabulous so I made sure to step up my game.

    • F. I’m wearing a dress I normally wouldn’t wear to work because I have a picnic/ theater in the park thing immediate after work. I like the dress but it is super casual. Plus, my sprained ankle isn’t healing as quickly as I’d like so I’m not really enamored with my shoes

    • anon in tejas :


      one of my favorite BR suits, new top from talbots, low kitten heel patent leather pumps. feel like the cool and confident lawyer I am.

    • karenpadi :

      C-/D+. I can’t stand my work clothes anymore. I just can’t. My pants developed a hole by the knee (along the seam) sometime since I last wore them. Trying not to bend my knee when I am out of the office so hopefully people won’t notice.

    • A) until 3:30 pm, at which time I had to unbutton my pants under my shirt (I’m 13 weeks pregnant). Now I’m a solid E. Sigh.

  16. TurtleWexler :

    Ugh, my office is freezing about 96% of the time because when the geniuses-that-be redid the windows here, they put in some type of solar windows that are supposed to cut down on the need for heating. Great in theory, but…this is Seattle. We don’t HAVE sun here, except on rare and almost-mythical days like today. So, when they only pump in half the heat the office actually needs because the “sun” supposedly supplies the rest, it’s not pretty.

    I complain to building management. A lot. They come in, act really surprised that my office is practically arctic, and proceed to do nothing about it. Once summer is over, I plan to amp up my complaining significantly, but fortunately things are sort of bearable at the moment. I have three cozy cardigans that live in my office, and sometimes end up wearing them all. I also have two shawls I drape over my legs. I drink a ton of hot herbal tea. I might resort to one of the forbidden space heaters eventually. I also might start working from home more and make it known that the reason is that I can’t actually type when my fingers are frozen solid, and therefore can’t work in my office. Other than that, I’m at a loss…

    • Fingerless.

      Not kidding. I got some cheap acrylic ones from target or something, but you could also buy fleece ones and cut the finger tips off. When i was in Oregon and my office was in a drafty Victorian, i wore fingerless gloves all year round.

      • TurtleWexler :

        I have some, just forgot to write about them in my previous comment. They help a bit, but not enough. I’ve thought about those warm-up packs you get at REI/EMS that slip into your gloves and are meant for skiing and winter hiking, but I can’t justify paying that much when this is a building issue that they really need to fix (not joking, one time the tech came in to take the temperature here and it was 61 degrees. It’s not usually that bad, but I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve actually been comfortable in my office so far this year).

        • aw, that really s*ucks. 61 degrees is completely ridiculous. and it is so obnoxious that they won’t freaking do their job and fix it. Our building (in N. CA) put in this whole new thermostat system this year, and it has been about 5-10 degrees COLDER ever since, and it’s summer! It’s not even that warm outside, i just don’t understand why we are spending money running the AC in freaking Northern California in the summer, it is so frustrating.

        • I am in Vancouver. I feel your pain.

          Re the hand warm-up packs, have you seen the reusable ones that you “reset” in boiling water after use? If you find a set of those, you won’t have to pay for multiple sets of single-use-only hand warmers. I’ve seen them around and they don’t cost more than about $5. Highly recommended.

      • OR, you could get these cashmere ones!! Dang, I just might have to purchase these for myself in anticipation of winter!;jsessionid=2cwuuugQxl6Y9hOsVbs-Nw**.bluefly_node4

        • Always a NYer :

          Thanks for the recommendation, I just bought them and a leopard print scarf!

    • Seattleite :

      Turtle, get a heating pad and sit on it. I mean it. I carried that thing from class to class, all through school. And am using it, even today, in my west-facing office with new solar windows. #yayforunderheatedlecturehalls

    • If you really want to make a stink about it, find your lease and check the Landlord’s covenants. Chances are they are obligated to keep your office within a specified range of temperatures (and I doubt 61 is within that range). They may be in default of the lease.

      I’m in property management, and what you’re describing is ridiculous.

    • Get a pocket heater. Wear fingerless mittens.
      And then don’t overlook moral pressure. Walk around the office wrapped in a major fleece blanket (emergency orange is good). Wear a knitted hat at all times, and a huge scarf. It’ll make your point.

  17. Diana Barry :

    I should bring in a heating pad. My office being cold also makes it impossible to pump. Arrr.

    • Diana Barry :

      Also, they moved the thermostat for my office into the next office, and as a result it is COLDER. Argh! The guy is not always there, so when he’s not I just go in and turn it off.

  18. Not only do I have the office sweater, I also have office slippers, simple Minnetonka ones in grey

  19. AnonInfinity :

    I use a wrap. But I’m a lucky lady with a thermostat in my office, so it’s usually not too bad in here except on the weekends when the lack of people makes the temperature do weird things.

    I am very intrigued by the blazer that Reader N purchased! And I think the ones that Kat suggested look perfectly fine for the office.

  20. Doc Prion :

    I work in a freezing office in the summer like so many others (winter too for that matter). My solution is two fold 1) I have a little heater under my desk that I run . 2) I have folding slippers that I put on when I know Ill be sitting for long periods of time.

  21. Wedding dress question–help most appreciated!

    One of my dear friends is looking for a J Mendel pre-fall 2009 collection dress that she hasn’t had much luck finding on the internet, and she’d like to buy at a discount if possible. Does anyone have any recommendations? We’re on the East Coast, so any of the major East Coast cities would probably be fine places to scout, and I’m sure she’d be willing to at least call places elsewhere.

    Thanks in advance to you all!

  22. TJ re: Skimmies

    After reading all of the rave reviews about the Jockey skimmies, I ordered a pair to try. I am wearing them now, and am disappointed that they seem to roll down/not stay in place. They also seem to hit me way too high–perhaps a function of the fact that I am short waisted. Have any of you had this problem?

    I ordered a medium, as I read several comments here and elsewhere that ladies in sizes 12-16 were wearing the large. I am a 6-10 petite (depending on the manufacturer/label), so I figured medium should be perfect. If I sized down again, I might get a pair that hits slightly lower on the waist, but then I’d be worried about muffin top. These are not at all tight, so I can’t imagine the issue is that medium, is too small. Any recommendations from the hive on what to do/other things to try?


    • I haven’t had that problem, but I don’t like the Skimmies either. They are really, really long – probably an 8-10″ inseam – and thus show below many of my skirts, especially when I sit down. And the fabric is basically the fabric from a pair of tights, which feels itchy and hot in hot, humid weather. So I’ll be sticking to my 4″ compression shorts.

      • Bluejay — I love my Skimmies, because they are worlds better than anything I’ve used before (but admittedly, I am not in a hot/humid environment right now, so maybe I’ve just not been exposed to their weak points), but I am really intrigued by your 4″ compression shorts. What brand are the/where do you get them? Also, do you find that 4″ is enough to prevent the, ahem, “chub rub”? I’m just thinking to shorts I have, and I don’t think I have anything shorter than 6 inches, so I’m worried that anything shorter wouldn’t completely eliminate the issue.

    • Backgrounder :

      I’m a 10-12. I ordered the M and they fit wonderfully (have on a pair today). I really like the material it’s A LOT lighter and more breathable than the Assets (fake Spanx) shorts I was wearing previously. I haven’t had any issues with the top rolling down yet (definitely did with everything else I’ve tried). No issues with the high-waistedness.

      I would suggest maybe sizing down to a S but YMMV.

    • Merabella :

      I would try to size down. It seemed the consensus on Amazon when I looked at the reviews. If those don’t work out for you though, you should also try Soma’s Vanishing Edge panties. They are the best thing ever.

    • I’m having problems with them to, but on mine the legs edge up. This totally defeats the anti-chafing purpose of them (at least that’s why I bought them.) I’m an 18, and I bought the 2XL, according to the sizing chart. I’m wondering if I should have sized down. I really love the weight of them, but it’s very annoying to have to keep pulling the legs down!

    • Yeah, I am trying to wear them for anti-chafing, but as I said, I think a smaller size would produce a muffin top even though I am not that pudgy around the middle. I think maybe these just don’t work for me. Pretty sad, as in theory these are exactly what I want–no compression, just anti-chafing. None of the anti-chafing gels or creams does not anything to stop the rubbing of the thighs.

    • Seattleite :

      Never worn the skimmies, but today I am wearing what might best be described as a ‘culotte slip’ or ‘split skirt slip.’ Essentially, a slip that is cut like wide leg shorts. The wide legs & silky fabric mean no riding up. IIRC, I got it at the Vanity Fair outlet at one of the outlet malls.

  23. One of the glorious things about my very old office building – you both turn off the AC and can open the windows. Though I definitely have had this problem in other places, with no really great solution except looking frumpy in my office sweater.

  24. Tea. Gallons of hot tea.

  25. PSA: The Gibson linen blazer from Nordstrom that Kat featured last month has been restocked in new colors. Would the pink be too Elle Woods for the office?

  26. I think Blazers in thicker/more casual materials are the perfect staying warm sweater.
    If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, H&M has had this blazer for quite a while (2009 fall, correct me if I’m wrong), but they re-release most of every season (blazer section in fall, jacket section in spring) and this fall they have it in a bunch of lovely, office appropriate yet fun jewel tones:

    If you are yet looking for something thicker, try an actual jacket. I especially love the Peplum and the way the collar drapes

    Another option I used all of last summer was a large, very thick cashmere wrap that was big enough to qualify as a blanket, but could be draped somewhat elegantly so that if I had to get up and walk around the office, it wouldn’t look like I am wearing a blanket. It was originally somewhere in the $300 price region, but I got it on Ebay. Try looking for reversible ones, so you options for wearing it while only storing one piece.

    Boardroom Belles

  27. While we’re talking about drapey sweaters and warps, how do you guys store these?

    A large pashmina-type wrap I fold neatly and put in a drawer. What about one of those open-front-drapey cardigans? (like the purple one shown above) Hanging is not so great for the shoulders, and folding seems to make it really wrinkly…

    • I fold them inward out (you know, take them by each shoulder with three fingers, lightly shake them out and then use a fourth finger to fold over the sides, so you have the inside of the back on the top) and then gently roll it up and put it in a drawer. I’ve seen people drape it over the back of a chair and hang it over cubicle walls.

  28. i’m always freezing, and a heated fleece throw blanket that i bought at lands end saved my sanity at work. i can put it on my lap to cover my lap and legs while i’m sitting at my desk, and no one is the wiser. it’s so warm that as long as i’m wearing my suit jacket on top, i don’t need to do the full-body burrito look. plus, i think a heated blanket gives you more flexibility than a space heater because you can kick it off instantly if you get hot.

  29. My company gives us jackets for various departments, projects, etc. I have a fleece one with a broken zipper that serves the purpose of office sweater quite well. While not exactly biz cas, the company logo offsets the sportiness (my excuse, anyway).

  30. The DKNY Cozy is the best invention for cold offices: You can wear it so many different ways! I keep one in my office and I love it so much!