via To Vogue or Bust
I live in downtown Chicago and walk just about everywhere, rain or shine, sweltering or freezing. Needless-to-say, the wild temperature swings and wicked weather patterns in this city dictate what I wear just about every day.
I need to stay warm in the winter without being a sweaty mess when I get to my desk from power walking through tundra in a monster parka.
I prefer to not be a sweaty mess in the summer from blistering heat as I walk to my office. (I aim to smell like I just got out of the shower, but not look like I just got out of the shower by the time I arrive at work.)
And I don’t particularly care to be soaked in a down pour during my forty-five minute walking commute each way. (Remember, I don’t want to look like I just jumped out of the shower…)
So, with due care and diligence, I check the weather app on my phone each morning (likely more than once because I’m pretty groggy and don’t really register what it says until I’ve read it a few times). I walk to my closet and select a few pieces accordingly. Here are a some thoughts that go through my head:
If it feels like hell has frozen over:
Tights ~ What can I wear with warm tights? And if I really want to feel cozy, how can I swing my leggings to feign being tights?Bad weather likely requires winter or rain boots. Tights fit much more easily into my boots, as opposed to unsuccessfully trying to stuff my pants into my boots and arriving at work with thoroughly wrinkled (and maybe wet) pants. Really bad weather contending with your commute? Just wear a dress or skirt.
Want to wear colored tights with that dress or skirt? Let’s be serious. Who couldn’t use a little extra vibrant color on an otherwise gray and sullen winter day? Stop back over next week for my post all about colored tights at the office!
Cardigans & Thin Layers ~ I’m gonna need to wear a serious coat. I hate layering heavy jackets over bulky blazers and sweaters. Instead, I opt for a cardigan or maybe a long sleeve dress. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I may even layer a dress over a button down shirt. I know I’ll need the sleeves for warmth, but I’ll take a pass on the bulk. My coat will more than likely provide plenty of that.
Statement Jacket ~ Probably not warm enough for a really frigid day, but surely will do the trick on a regular old “cold” day. Lots of great looks with statement jackets above!
Scarf ~ You’ll likely need gloves or mittens and a hat too, but a scarf is a great start. Despite seeming a bit piddly, they actually pack a pretty powerful warmth punch.Wanna check out a few ways to wear scarves? The lovely ladies above showcased an example or two. And I have a nifty scarf remix to share as well. Wanna make your own? I’ve got you covered.
If a flood is in the near future:
Boots ~ We’re not talking the riding or heeled, leather or suede kind. Gotta have some rain boots! Not only are they super functional (hello Hunters) but they are cute to boot (pun intended).If we’re back to the aforementioned “frozen hell” scenario, rain boots might not cut it. Winter boots to the rescue.
Please just pull on the boots. We’re all bundled up and looking like fools. No need to breach the “it’s ok to look ridiculous in terrible weather” social contract and ruin your nice shoes while trying to endure cold, wet feet in the name of fashion.
Instead, toss those heels or flats in your bag when Mother Nature demands boots. Leave the knee-high boots and little booties in your closet. Save those for another dry day. The flats and pumps will fit much more easily in your bag and be perfectly suitable for the office.
Sidenote: Weather forecast cold but dry? If the forecast really says no rain at all, consider throwing on a pair of wool or heavy socks over your tights and rocking your riding boots. I’m a frequent guest at this secret style party.
Dark clothes ~ Ever stood on the corner waiting for the little “walk man” light to inform you it’s your turn to cross the street only to end up the butt end of a city bus’ “speed through the puddles along the curb” joke? First, your boots and long coat will protect and save 80% of you, if you’re wearing them. But the other soaking wet 20% of you will not be very happy. At least if you’re wearing dark clothes, all that muddy moisture blends in a little while you let it dry during your first morning meeting.
Even if you’re an experienced veteran wise enough not to stand right up against the curb while you wait, don’t you HATE those little droplets of mud and dirty water that pop up on the back of your legs while you walk? Racing to get to work (mostly to get out of the rain, not necessarily to actually “get to work”), you forgot to check for splash marks when you arrived. Half way through the day you realize the back of your calves are covered in all sorts of little brown splotches? And even worse, not a single co-worker said a word to you about your style situation? That’s loyalty.
First off, those Hunter boots would have had your back. But if you’re wearing dark tights, they’ll be easier to wipe down and dry faster than pants. And they won’t slightly drag on the ground absorbing water that slowly and discreetly creeps up the back of your legs. You know, you’ve been there… Denim is the biggest offender.
If it feels like the world is melting:
I wouldn’t know. That doesn’t really happen here.
No, just kidding. It does get warm for what feels like about three weeks a year here. And when that happens, I layer up like a champ. I strip down for the walk and layer back up upon arrival at the office with the intention of not losing my job for inappropriate attire, or lack there of. (Or something like that.)
As a last resort:
Remember that aforementioned social contract? It’s a thing. A real thing. And I abide by its rules. Some days, you just have to wear this…
Live in Australia or New Zealand? Or some part of the world not currently subject to plummeting temperatures and a brazen winter powering up its engines? Go pound sand! (Just kidding. Well, maybe do it literally. And then let me live vicariously through your beach adventures.)
Live in California? I’m sorry to hear about your draught. I’m not sorry to hear you never have to walk to work in pouring rain… You don’t need Hunters.
Got some more not-so-swell weather style tips? Share in the comments. We need all the help we can get as we gear up for another cycle of crappy cold.