Dressing for the office can be a challenge. Sometimes I envy men for the simplicity of their workwear: collared shirt, trousers and nice shoes. Done. I’ve often thought of wearing the same thing to work, which would be totally fine, but I don’t find collared shirts very comfortable and I hate ironing. In the end, I’m happy that there are other things I can wear to work that are comfortable and still look professional.
Following-up on our last post about dressing professionally in cold weather, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things to wear at the office in the winter.
Of course, if you see the outfits below you’ll see that I don’t work in a completely casual environment but nor does anyone in my office wear a suit, we’re a business casual kind of place which I think a lot of offices are nowadays.
Winter Work Outfit Staples:
1. Ankle boots:
As Laura mentioned in our last post on winter workwear, if you live in a snowy place you’ll need serious boots for wearing outside and another pair of shoes to change into when you get to the office. I leave a pair of black ankle boots under my desk. I like ankle boots over loafers, oxfords or ballet flats because I don’t need to think about my socks. If your office is on the warmer side in the winter maybe a low-cut shoe will work for you, but I like that I can wear a plain cotton or wool sock with my boots while I’m in the office for a bit more warmth. I really like Clarks shoes and wear a pair similar to these ones.
2. Structured cardigan:
It’s been really hard to find an example of this, which I realize is very unhelpful. But I’ll try to update again later if I find a good well-made one (I think the ones below are both polyester which would be pretty uncomfortable). Anyway, I find a cardigan that had a bit of shape and body to it is great to have in the office to throw over any outfit. I have one from H&M I bought a few years back that’s a heavier-weight knit and has a bit of a peplum to it, it almost looks like a blazer, but is infinitely more comfortable.
I know a lot of people hate turtlenecks. But hear me out, I think they are an excellent staple for office wear. I like to think of them as a replacement for a collared shirt. There’s no ironing involved, they’re comfy and stretchy, they even replace the need for a scarf! I think they give a nice polished look and they’re making a bit of a comeback so there are lots of options available in stores. My favourite is a short sleeved mock turtleneck. I realize that sentence is pretty much an oxymoron, but there you have it. The short sleeves mean I can take off my cardigan and cool down if I’m in an overheated office, and the shorter mock neck means I never feel like I’m being strangled. I liked the look of the one I found on Amazon (see pic below), but I’ve had really good luck at the Gap with these and their quality is usually good too.
4. Slim trousers
I probably don’t need to say much about this. Who doesn’t wear a plain pair of trousers to work? I like narrower ankle-length trousers (I’ve already written too much about that), because they work whether I wear boots with a bit of a heel or ballet flats when the weather warms up. If I could only visit a store and try them on, I’d love to buy this Everlane pair or this one (the model is even wearing a turtleneck).
5. Comfortable dress
I never wore dresses to work in the winter until I found one like the one pictured below. What works about this dress for me is that it’s stretchy (and therefore comfortable) and roomy (so I don’t have to deal with my dress sticking to my tights). I wear it with opaque tights or leggings (that’s where having slightly taller ankle boots come in handy – disguises the bottom of your leggings!).
This may sound crazy, but has anyone worn a dickie since they were in elementary school? I’m kind of thinking they’d be a great solution to my hatred of collared shirts.
I hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about what to wear to work in the New Year. I’d love to hear if you have any other winter work wardrobe recommendations.