Everyday Style | What to wear to the office in winter

What to wear to the office in winter

Nikki ParkinsonEveryday Style, Fashion 19 Comments

It’s been almost six years since I worked in an office that wasn’t part of my home.

The closest I come to imitating office wear now is if I’m going to a meeting, a breakfast or lunch networking event or a speaking engagement – like this outfit I wore when I recently lectured to journalism students.

Mela Purdie top and pants | Sussan jacket | Michael by Michael Kors shoes | Dinosaur Designs ring

Mela Purdie top and pants (current and available here) | Sussan jacket (two years ago) | Michael by Michael Kors shoes (two years ago bought in NYC) | Dinosaur Designs ring (last year)

What to wear to the office in winter – or any season for that matter – is not as clear cut as it used to be.

This is a good thing because traditional office wear of a pant or skirt suit and shirt could get pretty boring, especially if the creative inside of you was screaming out for some attention.

Work places in general have become a whole lot more relaxed. Not every office has relaxed dress code but across the board this is the general trend.

Here are my tips for making office wear work for your wardrobe personality (also check out Wednesday’s post as one of the reader questions I answered might help too).

What to wear to the office in winter

1. Consider the overall dress code for your office. Is it creative-relaxed or corporate-conservative … or a bit of both. Take your cues from those around you whose style you admire. This will help you to quickly work out the level of acceptable dress in your work environment.

2. Make sure you have the basics covered. Office basics may include pants, skirts and jackets. A combination of these creates the building blocks for your work outfit. They can be worn many times over and just “freshened” each time with different tops and accessories.

3. Show your personality through accessories. No matter how conservative your office, this is the easiest way to show your personality and offer up a “surprise and delight” factor to your outfit. Think leopard print pumps, a statement necklace with a conservative top or shirt, a brightly coloured handbag. This type of accessory not only gives your outfit a lift, it will give your whole mood a lift.

4. Show your personality through colour. It’s so easy to fall into the neutrals’ territory when it comes to colour and the office. There is nothing at all wrong with neutrals and they really do make the best investment colours when it comes to your basic pieces but it’s also easy to splash a little contrasting colour around with those basics. I like doing that with a jacket (see above) or in a top that makes the basics just pop.

5. Master the art of layering. This applies whether it’s winter or not. Office temperatures are generally the same all round which means you have the unfortunate situation of freezing in summer and overheating in winter. And then when you step outside the office you’re likely to overheat in summer or freeze in winter. In winter, some kind of coat is an essential as the beginning and end of the working day is when it’s most chilly. I think it’s then essential to have a jacket or knit underneath that could be taken off should it get too hot in the office. The key with layering is that your base outfit needs to be ok to be on show on its own. This is your starting point when getting dressed. Think does what you’re wearing as the base layer constitute an acceptable office outfit? Then add layers from there as the weather dictates.

Your #everydaystyle for the office in winter

Not everyone who joins in #everydaystyle each week works in an office but many do – or have cause to dress like they do.

This is a great cross-section of the office style that I see popping up each week. I love how each of these women have brought their own style to their work outfits.

Each has winter elements to their outfits and each has employed layering to add interest but also much-needed warmth.

Everyday Style | What to wear to the office in winter

Left column (from top): @kimbalikes | @peta_ballerina_traineemama

Middle column: @bespoke_heirlooms | @shergb | @fashionista_in_suburbia

Right column: @creatingcontentment | @smaggle

Which winter office style can you most relate to?

Join in

Want to join in? Simply upload a photo of yourself showing your everyday style to Instagram or Facebook, use the #everydaystyle and tag @stylingyou so I can find you. Don’t feel you have to post every day. Post when you can. For consideration in my outfit of the week round up, I look first for clear, in-focus photos without text or borders on them. These work in best with the montage layout.

More inspiration

Check out Wardrobe Wednesday with Kim-Marie on Kimba Likes.

Over 30? Rach from Redcliffe Style links up with other style bloggers each Thursday for 30+ Style.

Comments 19

  1. HI Nikki. Great advice as ever. I am one of those who has taken to dressing for everydaystyle even if I don’t post it. Your blog has inspired me to take a little extra care each day, consider my overall wardrobe and shopping choices an bit more, and feel ok about it. Currently travelling in Europe for work and then a holiday. Packing for corporate wear plus casual and sport was a challenge but I think I did it, using some of your tips. Cheers.

    1. That would have been a challenge Samantha … and I’m so glad that it’s a great personal challenge for you. It’s been so good for me too. To mix things up even if I am working from home and not going out anywhere in particular. Enjoy your holiday after the work stuff!!

  2. I work in an office, and the dress code is pretty flexible. When I have meetings I prefer to look a little more ‘Billie’, otherwise ‘Nina’ is quite acceptable. 😉
    Love all of the #everydaystyle looks – very inspiring! Thanks Nikki 🙂 x

  3. “leopard print pumps, a statement necklace” …it’s like you know me! Yes indeedy, I may work in a corporate office but I know how to bring a lot of me to my work wardrobe. For those that can’t add bold statements, I’d recommend a bright lip – it’s an easier way to bring a pop of colour into your work day.
    PS: how smokin’ hot do @Kimbalikes:disqus and Carly look? Yowser!

  4. Love the post Nikki, and the great everyday outfits – Ms Smaggle looks stylish as always and shergb is wearing an outfit that almost exactly mirrors one of my regular winter looks. As I’m currently going through a wardrobe transition, it’s nice to think about how I can simplify while also shaking up my usually conservative (and not really me, personality-wise) office look.

  5. morning nikki, your suggestions are a good guide.
    I’ve never worked in an office, but I do like to see women looking smartly dressed with an air of actually knowing what they are doing.
    I’ve always been in creative fields and I’m as creative as one can be … but somehow when I step into an office I want to see a bit of formal order.
    this is coming from a totally objective field and someone who is so nebulous thinking it’s not funny! lol m:)X

  6. Thanks for featuring me Nikki! I just love winter style. All those lovely textures. The opportunity to layer makes me happy too.

    I very rarely wear all black so I had to add some coloured tights and contrasting accessories. My office is in my house too – but sometimes a girl just needs to dress up, right? I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to wear my lovely new Harlow skirt. Cut beautifully. I had given up on pencil skirts but I’m back in the game now baby!

    I just love #everydaystyle – I get so much inspiration and love to be able to contribute a smidgen of that myself. X

  7. I spent many years in the ‘corporate’ world, and always tried to inject a little something different – similar to your suggestions such as accessories. I am back teaching for the moment and must say I am enjoying not being restricted to the whole corporate look every day. I love mixing it up – one day boho, next day a bit of corporate, the list goes on. Helps me bring out my creative side!!!!

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