It has been said that the coldest winter is an office summer, known as Women’s Winter. Anyone who has worked in an office environment will likely attest, this is incredibly accurate. Even though I haven’t worked in an office for over 20 years, I can still vividly recall those absolutely freezing days when I was so miserable I couldn’t concentrate, how I kept a boiled wool cardigan at my desk at all times and how I loathed losing all the internal body heat I had generated by insulating myself when I had to leave my desk. Women’s Winter is no joke.


Not surprisingly, most office thermostats are set for the comfort and metabolic rates of a 40-year-old man. As if women don’t have enough professional obstacles to overcome. Sure, let’s throw thermostat sexism into the mix. An overlooked benefit of telecommuting was at least you could control the temperature of your work environment.

In today’s post, I’m not going to give you tips on how to look less like a yeti or Arctic explorer-like because there is no way to do ‘stylish’ once you’ve wrapped yourself up in every available blanket, scarf, and cardigan to keep warm. And while I can’t promise my tips will give you the feeling back in your fingers and toes, they will at least give you some realistic ways to approach layers so they are more versatile for women’s winter and look less like afterthoughts.


In this first look, I styled this MM Lafleur cardigan/jacket jardigan hybrid for warmth. I chose the style because it’s a comfortable and professional piece. More importantly, I selected the color for its versatility. If layering for warmth is a critical component of your work wardrobe, then choosing the colors of these layer pieces is important. This makes a shade like ivory so useful. No matter what you are wearing with the ivory, it will work. The biggest issue with layering at work is that pieces usually look like they don’t belong with your outfits and put a ding in a professional outfit. Choosing a color that will work with whatever you are wearing will not just keep you warm but also keep look purposeful.

I styled the cardigan with a navy top and pants, both from MM. Fleur and finished the outfit with pumps from Sarah Flint and a gold disc necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane.


I am using the same solution in this look as I did in the previous one. I chose a neutral-colored jacket that can be layered over any neutral shade. When it’s blazing hot outside and you don’t want to wear a jacket to and from work, having one on hand that you can throw on with whatever you are wearing will keep your outfit looking work appropriate. Women often assume that a black blazer is the most versatile but black can be a trick go-to shade if you are someone who wears neutral shades beyond this color. What happens if you are wearing navy or brown? Instead, choose from the entire tan, taupe, and beige spectrum, whatever flatters your coloring best, and all will work.

I styled this blazer from Kobi Halprin with a pair of black Veronica Beard trousers, and a blush sweater from The Fold and finished the look with a silver John Hardy necklace and beige flats.


I usually recommend this cardigan from Hobbs to clients who would like to have go-to layering pieces that aren’t obtrusive. Will this cardigan keep you warm while you’re sitting under an AC vent? Probably not, but it will offer some additional warmth without distracting from your overall look. In addition, these cardigans can be helpful when wearing sleeveless dresses and tops and prefer a little bit of arm coverage.

I styled the Hobbs cardigan with a red Frances Valentine dress, Stuart Weitzman sandals, and pearl drop earrings.


women's winter

If you recall my post from last week, using a button-up shirt in lieu of a cardigan is an option if you want to change things up. Will a button-up shirt give you the same comfy, cozy warmth of that down comforter you’ve dragged to work because setting a campfire is illegal on company property? No, but it’s at least a layer that will look more stylish and isn’t a fire hazard.

I styled this silky cotton relaxed shirt from Everlane over a white cotton tee from J.Crew and a pair of wool Theory pants in heather grey. I finished the outfit with white chunky loafers from M.Gemi, a white belt from Mango, and hoop earrings.


women's winter

In this last look, I styled the incredibly affordable cotton, cashmere cardigan from Quince in grey for warmth over a basic black dress from Reiss. Back to my tips about choosing layering pieces that have universal use so they don’t look like afterthoughts, I chose grey due to how universal the shade is. To finish the outfit, I added this cognac belt, also from Reiss, beige flats, and a chunky tortoise necklace from J.Crew.

I don’t think these solutions will eliminate your need for a space heater or mountains of layers to keep you warm, but they are sensible ideas for those frigid temperatures that require an extra layer, particularly if you are leaving your desk and don’t want to look like a pile of laundry. Godspeed to you this Women’s Winter season and I will check to see if you’ve finally thawed out by Christmas.