Rain or shine, business continues. And so does corporate culture.
Dressing for a day at the office can be complicated by the seasons, but bad weather is no excuse for dressing inappropriately: with few exceptions, you’re still expected to follow the dress code.
Casual vs. cozy
It’s tempting to dress solely for warmth and comfort in winter, as the days grow shorter and chilly temperatures have you reaching for mittens and scarves. But, depending on your industry, there’s a definite limit to how cozy you can be around the office.
Your company may have a business casual policy or allow for bending the rules in particularly treacherous conditions, but neither is likely to last all season long.
What not to wear this winter
Avoid turning heads for all the wrong reasons by steering clear of these winter wardrobe snafus:
Tracksuit pants and shirts: These ultra-casual hybrids between day clothes and pajamas are purposely devoid of all professional qualities. Nothing says, “My alarm didn’t go off,” like a rumpled pair of cotton sweats at the office. They’re better left to weekends and sick days spent at home.
Jogging suits: If your outfit is more suited to the locker room than the board room, it’s probably not appropriate. Velour, spandex, polyester – the variety of synthetic fabrics available in coordinating colors still doesn’t bring them up to business casual status. Bottom line: your co-workers shouldn’t see you in yoga pants and a hoodie, at least not at your desk.
Parkas: Oversized winter coats aren’t meant to be worn indoors all day. Even the fur-trimmed variety are no substitute for business jackets. If you’re cold at your desk, chances are you’re not the only one; speak to maintenance about adjusting the building’s temperature. Meanwhile, a pashmina, scarf, or discreet lap blanket can help you relieve the chill without making you look as though you were just leaving.
In general, a good rule of thumb is that if a piece of clothing is more casual than business, it’s probably not suitable for work. Ask your employer if you have doubts about what’s appropriate at your office. Classic styles, after all, trump cozy any business day of the year.