Dressing up for work when the temperature’s down

Grand Forks (N.D.) HeraldJanuary 8, 2014 

  • 3 tips for staying warm at the office

    1 Long-sleeve dress with a denim jacket and knee-high boots. Or a dress and a black blazer, statement necklace, patterned tight and black booties.


    2 Weighty leggings paired with a structured jacket and a low bootie.


    3 Accessorize: A weighty statement necklace works well throughout the year. A cashmere, wool or pashmina scarf that will add warmth and texture.

Overdoing it is the biggest mistake people make with winter work attire. While temperatures may be below freezing, that doesn’t mean bulky layers, sweatshirts and winter coats are acceptable at the office. Women can create a work-appropriate look with business jackets, scarves, tights and booties.

Leggings vs. tights

Rachael Hammarback is owner of luxurious fashion boutique R.H. Standard in Grand Forks, N.D. – a place well acquainted with cold temps. For a typical day at work, Hammarback suggested a weighty legging or a long-sleeve dress with a jacket.

She styled her sister-in-law, Jodi Green, in a black legging and a gray blazer. She finished the look with a brown boot and a warm olive green scarf.

Hammarback noted that not all leggings are appropriate for the workplace.

She said thick structured leggings like the ones from BCBG work because they are weighty. “It has a zipper and a button. It absolutely alleviates (any worries),” she said, adding that it’s important that a legging still holds one together like a typical pant. Inexpensive cotton and elastic leggings are OK for lounging at home, but they’re not appropriate for the workplace, Hammarback said.

Leggings aren’t for everyone.

For someone who prefers dresses to pants, Hammarback chose a striped long-sleeve dress by BCBG. Pairing the dress with a denim jacket and knee-high boots, she created a winter-appropriate everyday look for the office. For extra warmth, Hammarback said “a navy blue opaque tight would be really cute with this.” Or, a high smart-wool sock would, as well.

High-profile workday

Whether it’s for a meeting with clients, a visit from the CEO or a year-end presentation, there are days when one needs to step it up a bit. Hammarback suggested a more high-profile look.

She styled a blue-paneled dress and a black blazer, finishing the look with a statement necklace, a patterned tight and a black bootie. “The heel height is to your discretion.”

Hammarback said the look would be perfect for a day of client meetings or parent-parent conferences for a teacher.

Another high-profile option is weighty leggings paired with a structured jacket.

Hammarback styled a bold winter-white jacket with a low bootie. “This, to me, is how you make a legging look sophisticated.”

Hammarback said the same leggings wouldn’t be appropriate without the jacket because the overall look would be too skin-tight.

Accessorize for winter

Most don’t change with the weather. A weighty statement necklace works well throughout the entire year.

Like jewelry, scarves are also trendy year-round. But, the weight and fabric of scarves does change with the seasons. For winter, Hammarback suggested a cashmere, wool or pashmina scarf that will add warmth and texture.

Other accessories such as tights and boots are specific to the colder months. A black or gray tight with some kind of pattern is great for the office.

Riding boots, a heeled boot or flats work in the winter as well.

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