[HOW TO] dress for work in the winter

Dorothy Perkins camel belted coat; John Lewis ribbed cashmere scarf; Jaeger navy wool skirt (via John Lewis); L.K.Bennett black wool skirt (via John Lewis); and John Lewis knee high black heel boots.

I live within a mile of my place of work and therefore walk to work every day of the year, come rain or shine, heat-wave or artic temperatures. It is necessary then, to be wrapped up warmly for the walk in the winter months but then I often find myself relatively warm once in the centrally heated offices. Does anyone else have this same problem? I find myself forever in a dilemma when I stand infront of my wardrobe each morning.

So, two years ago* I put together my top ten tips for dressing for work in the cold weather, which still hold true today:

1. The most important item of clothing you will buy for winter is a warm coat. For work this should be smart (obviously!) and preferably knee length, I think. This length will work with trousers and skirts alike. Colour is also important, I think a camel, black or navy blue works best.

2. In my opinion, you can be more imaginative with your accessories, hat, gloves and scarf. Maybe try a nice bright colour that will make you feel better about heading out into the cold on those dark winter mornings. I am lusting after a fuschia pink scarf at the moment.

3. You don’t have to forget skirts or dresses just because it is winter. Go for a warmer material, maybe a wool mix suit skirt, with black opaque tights and classic knee-high boots.

4. Boots are key to a winter work wardrobe. A classic black leather knee-high boot with a small heel (2 and a half inches or less). They will pair perfectly with a skirt or dress and will also fit under trousers to add extra warmth when necessary.

5. If you do not want to wear boots to work every day, I tend to pull on a pair of comfy boots to walk to work in and change once at work into my heels.

6. Layers seem to be the obvious answer but for work wear I often find that they bulk me out and make me feel frumpy. If you find you need to layer up for extra warmth, try a thin thermal vest. (M&S do some very pretty vests which do not look too old fashioned.)

7. Keep a spare cardigan in the office. My office is usually very warm and I therefore often wear a dress with only a scarf and coat which is fine for my walk to work but when the temperature drops in the office later in the day, I find I need an extra layer.

8. Just because it is dark outside doesn’t mean that your clothes have to reflect this. The shops are filled with colourful winter clothing, use this to buoy your mood and that of others!

9. Arm warmers are very “of-the-moment”. If, like me, you wear a lot of three quarter length sleeves, these are the perfect solution for braving the cold outside the office. Leg warmers (which tend to be cheaper) work on your arms too!

10. Send me your tips for number ten and I’ll add the best one to this list!!

*This article was originally written and posted two years ago. You can still find the original on the blog but this one has been updated a little and has the addition of some pretty pictures!

Images via thecolorofbeauty; houzz.com; nordstrom.com; us.asos.com; taryncoxthewife.com; jcrew.com; 25.media.tumblr.com; and media.tumblr.com.


26 thoughts on “[HOW TO] dress for work in the winter

  1. These are good tips- thanks for sharing! I also walk to work, so I was beginning to think about how I would handle my morning walk as the temperature drops.

  2. I walk the mile-ish to my office most days, too!

    I have a pair of outdoorsy-camping-skiing long underwear that are skintight and black. They are basically thermal leggings and super-warm, yet don’t overheat in my office. From November-March, I wear them with wooly socks (in lieu of tights!) under dresses and skirts. NO ONE has EVER suspected that they are thermal long-johns!

    I featured them in an illustration two years ago on layering techniques for new england winters: http://positdesign.com/2009/12/outside-is-frightful/

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