Update: We’ve updated links below, but come check out our more recent discussion of 9 ways to use a wrap at the office!
We were thinking last week of the multitude of uses for the wrap, of which every woman should buy one or two to keep at the office. (Pictured: Made to order fabric shawl from Nitscreation, available on Etsy.com for $15-$30. 2017 Update: since this one is sold out, check out our favorite wraps, below!)
Update: Our Latest Favorite Wraps
Some of our favorite office pashminas as of 2023: black / green / gray (lighter weight) / lavender ($20!!). If you’re looking for more of a ruana jacket, I highly recommend the Brooks Brothers’ ones!
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In addition to being a great way to keep warm during the summer (when air conditioning goes into overdrive) and the winter, they can be used to:
– Fold for use as a pillow for a power nap
– Add more color to your office, either thrown across a visitor’s chair or folded on the back of your chair
– Warm your legs when wearing a skirt, using as a lap blanket
– To add length/coverage to skirts when working alone in your office… Maybe it’s just us, but: when we’re working behind a closed office door, we tend to put our feet up on the desk and otherwise sit in positions that can be troublesome with a skirt (particularly A-line). And, of course, we’ve been embarrassed at least once when our secretary opened the door without knocking, or when that guy down the hall mistakenly opened our office door, thinking it was his own. Sure, we could stop sitting like that, but instead we tend to compensate by wrapping the scarf around our hips in order to add length to the skirt and to keep it closer to our body.
– To touch hot objects. Last week, we had to smile when we got one reader’s triumphant e-mail about her run-in with the hot office copier:
All alone in the office in the middle of the night, the copier broke. I took apart the machine to unjam the paper, but a mechanism had bent out of shape. Always one to listen to my mother (“don’t stick your fingers or a fork into the toaster while it’s plugged in! you could electrocute yourself!”), I struggled to improvise pliers out of non-conductor office items. I tried accounting tape ropes, inkless plastic pen wedges, and almost gave up–until I remembered the silk scarf around my neck. Wincing, I looped it around the mechanism and pulled–and it snapped back into place! Everything worked out and I finally left the office with all materials produced and the scarf none the worse for the wear! I can only thank myself, really, for matching that scarf to my shoes at the last minute this morning as I ran out the door!
Love it! A wrap would work just as well in this circumstance, we think. (And hey, we’ve all tried to fix the copier/fax machine/printer by ourselves in the middle of the night. It’s part of the fun of the job.)
Readers, what other uses have you found for wraps? We know there must be more…
You can also wrap them around your head, bedraggled refugee style, when it unexpectedly starts raining.
Also, I love seeing pieces from Etsy linked here – nice to support individual artisans!
Except I always wind up plagued by flapping when I wear a wrap of any kind. I don’t like to flap anywhere, much less the office.
love the copier story! I, too, always brace myself when winding an arm inside to free that last bit of trapped paper.
to add to the list – to add a layer over “surprise” tops that don’t look revealing with the usual dressing room stretching routine, but somehow do awkward things once in the workplace (“oh, if I use the big stapler, the v-neck falls to the side! super!”).
I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who sits “like that” at her desk! Feet up, cross legged, whatever is comfortable and the wrap ensures that I’m not flashing anyone.
I always use mine to stay warm, but it’s also good if you have an unfortunate lunchtime spill.
This same seller on etsy also has pashmina wraps for $20. I have one and it is incredibly warm and beautiful.
I love wearing all black from head to toe and adding a very colorful pashmina/wrap. My favorite is gold. It makes me look just a teeny bit older (which translates to “more experienced” in the consulting field). And I agree with “Anon”– Etsy.com is such a great resource for finding local, handmade items, most of which make great gifts!
Love my pashminas and plan to pick up a few more. I rocked a pink one at the Assoc of Corp Counsel meeting in Boston last week and noticed more than a handful of others there. The meeting rooms were freezing and a wrap sure helped when I didn’t want to wear a blazer.
Also good for plane trips when temps are unpredictable.
Love the copier adventure — great save!
And count me in the “sits like that” group. I try to keep it behind a closed door, but there are the inevitable barge-ins…
Bought one last week while at a conference, and now I vow to have one with me whenever I go to conferences and the like — when you’re forced to sit for long periods of time, and you don’t know what the air conditioning will be like.
I second the travel/plane use. I’ve found that these are perfect for traveling. Sometimes a jacket is too warm or bulky, sometimes it doesn’t keep out the drafts — either way, the wrap works well, in place of or in addition to the jacket. Plus, as an improvised pillow on my tray table when I can’t find another position to sleep in (think of little kids with their heads down on their desks). I never travel without one now — and I think it takes up much less space than other options for keeping similarly warm/comfortable.
In a warm climate, an appropriate wrap can be a “jacket alternative” in a business casual office. I often wear a sheath dress into the office in the summer but keep a larger wrap that can be pinned at the shoulder to cover bare arms if a more conservative client comes in for an unscheduled meeting.
On my last vacation, a large olive double-faced wool wrap substituted for a blanket on a cold night in the Sahara. It was much softer than the blankets offered by the trip outfitter and I knew where it had been, i.e. not out in a tent for a month.
Wraps also are good for covering your lap when you go for an impulse pedicure but happen to have a skirt on. No need to flash the pedicurist!
I must have about ten wraps at this point, ranging from a Burberry extra large cashmere in the traditional plaid (great to liven up a basic black outfit), to a couple of double-faced wool fringed wraps (to dress up an unstructured Melton wool jacket or cardi with trousers), to two sided silk (good in the summer as a scarf substitute), to a large silk metallic Burberry for evening (to perk up a plain black evening outfit at a business function). In my book, you cannot have too many wraps!
Wraps, absolutely. But those dreadful pashmina things are so played; to me, they just scream tourists-on-Canal-Street-in-the-90s.
I have a huge wool one in my office that I use as a shawl but is big enough to keep me warm if I end up working late and don’t have a jacket for the cool night walk home. I keep it draped over the back of a chair when I’m not using it, so it looks a bit decorative, as you suggested – but I’ve noticed that my male colleagues will not sit on this chair when they stop by my office, presumably because the shawl is on it. Women have no problem sitting on it.
I also take a wrap with me on any trip, for all of the above reasons. I love a good wrap, and it is the most versatile piece you can travel with. When napping on planes I feel so cozy with my personal wrap-turned-blanket, knowing that I will stay warm and the only germs I am getting are my own.
Wraps are good for hiding a poochy belly after a carbo-loaded meal.
Thanks Corporette! I have a bunch of wraps but I never thought of wrapping them around my legs. Today I’m as warm and cozy as possible in my heavily air conditioned office – thank you! I ordered another one from Etsy too, great recommendation.
here’s a great one and not too expensive. love the simple black or tan…
I have found the best time to wear a wrap is when traveling on business. I can still look professional, just in case I run into any colleagues in the terminal, and when I board the airplane, I use it as a blanket.
For travel I use it to
– cover eyes on plane
– improvised pillow
– temp control
– ground cover if I am forced to camp out at O’Hare
-when there are no paper towels in bathroom
-cover a stain on your clothes
-cover a low cut or ill-fitting top (I sometimes drop 5lbs and totally lose what little cleavage I have to keep my dress up – I bike to work and don’t notice the fit difference until I am changing into my dress at work)
-fold it and sit on it when I am too short to see over guy in front of me at a show!
Wraps are a traveler’s best friend. In addition to the uses suggested above, a wrap becomes the perfect head covering for entering a place of worship, plus a makeshift arm covering if sleeveless tops aren’t allowed. On a more basic level, wraps can be used as tourniquets, slings, and bandages if you are in a pinch.
Does anyone have a recommendation on where to find shawl pins?
I’m developing quite the collection of wraps, and thought some nice pins might help add to the ways I wear them already.
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