rb threw this one into the Suggestion Box:
Dressing for really cold offices but still looking professional? Colleagues have resorted to fingerless gloves and even snuggies.
Why is it that office environments are always places of temperature extremes? A handful get uncomfortably hot in winter, but more are chilly during the cold months AND the warm ones. And in my experience, cold offices seem EVEN COLDER during the summer. It’s like any building with an imbalanced HVAC system just gives up and turns its dials to “arctic” once the sun comes out. I’m sure you office workers are all too familiar with air conditioners that get cranked up to levels capable of crystallizing saliva. Although the sun may graciously warm those lucky enough to sit near windows, many of the world’s cube farmers spend their days shivering as they type.*
Now rb’s coworkers have gone to some serious extremes, but there are other, potentially more stylish ways to combat the cold in an enclosed office. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
You lose 86% of your body heat out of your toes. This may sound like an obvious one, but be sure to mix some pumps, boots, and Mary Janes in with the strappy sandals, especially if you’re wearing a top or bottom that shows some skin. It makes a huge difference when your tootsies are toasty. Light colored, short, or perforated boots are good bets for spring and summer, too, if your feet get truly frosty. And they allow for the added bonus of socks!
You lose 91% of your body heat out of your neck,** so consider keeping it covered while you work. Turtlenecks and cowl necks may work for winter, but you might want to do something a bit more seasonally appropriate as we move through summer. Scarves are the perfect stopgap. Silk traps body heat beautifully, as I mentioned a while back, but feel free to go for any material or weave that works with the day’s ensemble.
Wear your hair down
As I mentioned in #2, keeping your neck covered by any means possible will help fend off the chill. If you have shoulder-length or longer hair, let it fly free. You’ll be amazed how much warmer you’ll feel.
Keep a cardigan or blazer at your desk
A neutral or black cardigan won’t ruin the average outfit, nor will a classic blazer. And you can always take it off when you leave your desk for a meeting, should you feel that it’s messing with your overall look.
Swaddle yourself in a wrap
Back in my days as an office worker, I kept a gorgeous red Eileen Fisher wrap slung over my desk chair. It was made of that thin, nubbly, quintessentially Eileen material that I will admit to knowing zilch about, but it was WARM beyond all human comprehension. Any pashmina, shawl, or large scarf can help a cold office officer, of course. Throw it over your legs beneath your desk if your knees begin to freeze. And again, if yours is an odd color or ruins your outfit, just sling it over your chair whenever you leave your desk.
Keep a mug of boiling water
You lose 107% of your body heat out of your hands. And although this tip has nothing to do with style, I’ve found it to be incredibly effective. Get a big ol’ceramic mug, fill with boiling water from the tea tap on your office’s coffeemaker (or microwave some tap water for a minute or so), and cradle lovingly. Contact with the warm porcelain defrosts your fingers almost instantly. It helps even more if you can sip it, especially because hot water tastes weird so you’re unlikely to slam it like a mocha.
*Of course, we should all be deeply grateful for the AC. I consider outdoor gigs and electric-fan-only situations and count my blessings.
**Also 73% of people make up statistics.
Image courtesy Nordstrom
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