How to Dress Professionally During a Toronto Winter

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When temperatures plummet, it can be a challenge to dress for work and still look professional. Here are a few ideas to help you to stay warm and look good at work. Think layers It might be freezing on your commute into work, but many workplaces are very warm even during the winter months.

For women, a lambswool or cashmere cardigan or sweater worn over your dress or shirt looks elegant and can easily be removed once you’ve thawed out. When we think about layering, we tend to focus on outer layers, but layering underneath is just as important. When the weather outside really is frightful, silk or thermal long johns worn under pants will keep you snug. Women can wear a fine, silk chemise under any shirt, dress, or sweater without it showing or creating extra bulk.

Fabrics to keep you cozy

Natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, and silk are perfect for keeping you warm in the winter. Silk knits look delicate but are excellent for keeping the wind out, while wool makes the warmest sweaters and coats. Cotton might not be the first fabric you would think of for winter wear, but a cotton shirt worn under a wool sweater or cardigan makes a versatile combo that you can adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day.

Contemporary tech fabrics such as Heat Tech from Uniqlo make lightweight but warm and stylish tops, leggings, socks, and underwear. Garments made from tech fabrics feel surprisingly thin but retain body heat, as well as being easily washable.

The overcoat

An overcoat is the key piece for your winter work wardrobe. In all but the harshest conditions, a well-cut woollen overcoat, long enough to cover all of your dress, skirt, or suit jacket, is the most professional-looking choice. If the weather is really freezing, and you have to walk more than a block from your car to the office, try a smart, knee-length down coat in black, navy, or dark brown. One with a belted waist helps to give you some contours and avoid that Michelin man look.

Tights and boots

Lambswool or thermal tights in subtle colours or black are much warmer than pants in cold weather for women. Leather boots will keep your toes warm and dry and still look good, and you could slip a pair of thick socks over your tights and no one will see.

Men can opt for two pairs of socks, or wool socks for the commute with dress socks to change into once you reach the office. Of course, if you have to walk any distance in snow or slush, you have no option but to wear waterproof snow boots. In a way, this simplifies your work wear dilemma, as you can keep a pair of nice shoes at the office to change into.

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