How To Dress Professionally When It’s Below Freezing Outside

How to dress professionally when it’s below freezing outside

How to dress for cold weather

We’ve reached that time of year where we can expect to have some sort of weather challenge everyday. If it isn’t snowing, it is raining. Even if it isn’t, it is freezing. These kind of conditions can make dressing for work quite a challenge as you want to look professional, but not freeze to death at the same time. Heels look lovely, but I am not losing a toe to frostbite.

We talked to Sarah Miyazawa La Fleur, the CEO and Founder of M.M. LaFleur, a New York based luxury clothing line designed with the purposeful woman in mind. The site’s “online Dressing Room” model allows a customer to order up to four dresses, and try them on in the comfort of her home without having to make a financial commitment. Miyazawa managed the luxury goods portfolio of a private equity firm in New York and Paris before she went into fashion so she knows a thing or two about blending professional and fashionable.

1. Layer under, not over

La Fleur hits the nail on the head in her assessment of on any given day in the winter you need to prepare for very different temperatures. “Winter in New York makes me feel as though I’m simultaneously living in three different climates—from my balmy apartment to the freezing office to the even colder streets of the Garment District. Layering is the obvious solution to this problem, but the mistake many make is layering only on top. The age-old “coat on top of cardigan on top of sweater” bulk conundrum, if you will. That’s why layering underneath is key. It’s light, it’s easy, and will prevent you from looking like the Michelin Man. My go to is Uniqlo’s Heat Tech, Japan’s best consumer product invention since Sony’s Walkman.  It’s light, but warm (thanks to its proprietary fabric) and, best of all, machine-washable. ”

2. Au revoir, pants. Hello tights, dresses, and boots

Pants do seem like the logical choice for cold weather, but sticking certain pants into boots will leave you looking like a storm trooper. “People think ‘cold’ and immediately turn to pants, but I cringe at the thought of dirty snow-water soaking into my pant cuffs. For me, there is nothing more chic than a cozy dress on a snowy day. My favorite go-to tights are the “dig-free” opaque tights from Commando—they’re so comfortable and don’t leave crease marks on my skin. Pair those with some killer knee-high boots and a long-sleeved dress, and you’ve got the epitome of winter sexy. I’m very partial to our Narie for this look.”

3. Wear white pants

Don’t believe any of that Labor Day mumbo jumbo. La Fleur says it is all about the winter white. “I love white pants during the holiday season. A creamy colored pair of trousers is appropriate even for the office. If you’re feeling extra daring, break away from silly fashion rules and bring out your crisp white jeans! Pair it with a cozy knit sweater and wear it with some black leather boots. Labor Day, Schmlabor Day.”

4.  Two verbs to live by: wrap and belt

Get your accessories on! “Accessories are your best friend during the dark winter days, especially when the default is to wear black, black, and then some more black. A scarf is a playful, cozy statement that looks cool peeking out of a big-collared coat or when paired with a dress or blazer. The best ones can double as a wrap or shawl. I never leave home without one. I also love belting; it naturally adds contours to your layers with a flattering cinch around the waist.”

By: Meredith Lepore

Meredith Lepore is the former editor of the women’s career site, The Grindstone. She resides in New York full time and is a contributing writer for Your Coffee Break and Levo League, where a version of this article originally appeared. 

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