Fashion Cents: Winterizing on the Cheap

It is wintertime, and I’m facing the same problem I faced last year and was unable to correct due to finances: my professional wardrobe is full of mostly-summer items. Last year I bit the bullet and finally invested in a Really Good pair of boots, which I love, and will probably wear every day this winter. I also received a couple of very nice sweaters for Christmas which are work appropriate. But the issue of the rest of my warddrobe remains. So, kind, loyal, nonjudgmental readers, please help me out! My solution to not being stylish is to work for the elderly who are known for not judging young women for dressing frumptastically. But I have the occasional work happy hour type thing, and I would like to go to those.

Since my office is business casual, I expect to be able to wear my simple long-sleeved crew neck shirts to work. Of course, I only own five of them, so that means more laundry for the Husband to be doing. I have a few long-sleeved button downs that I sometimes break out, but several of them have shrunk from years of use and recently got shipped to the thrift store. One of my favorite ways to stay warm in the winter is by wearing fleece vests, but I can’t help but feel that these are not work appropriate. Would a sweater vest be more appropriate, and could somebody please suggest one that is stylish? I do like being warm but still being able to move my arms. I have extra long arms so long sleeved shirts are a challenge for me.

Another way to winterize my wardrobe that I have considered includes purchasing things like fleece lined tights or additional pairs of Under Armour Frosty Tights to wear with skirts and boots. I’m also considering sweater tights or standard leggings, both slightly warmer than tights, which can be purchased for a reasonable price at the local DSW or Kohls. Are sweater tights still considered stylish? Is there a way to make them professional?

Then there is the issue of suits and dress pants. I own a winter suit. It’s still pretty chilly. As are my dress pants. I have one heavier duty pair of dress pants, but the rest are all a lighter weight. As much as I would like to buy a wool, fleece lined suit or pants, they are probably expensive and quite possibly do not exist. I think the answer to this might be *gasp* long underwear. Does anyone have a preferred brand to recommend? Does anyone know if they make flannel or fleece lined dress pants?

Also, is there some kind of tutorial out there for the fashionably impaired on how to wear a sweater with a wide belt? I bought a wide (four inches?) woven belt last year with the intention of wearing it with sweaters, but it turns out it just looks kind of silly on me. I thought it was because I’m short waisted, but really, I think I just can’t dress myself. Which brings me to the last issue: accessories. The solution to my frumpy, dull, outdated winter warddrobe is probably all in the accessories. So please feel free to suggest necklaces that look good over boring crew-neck long sleeved shirts and scarves that will fancy up an otherwise plain ensemble.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Fashion Cents: Winterizing on the Cheap

  1. I think we need pictures of your wardrobe to help make suggestions. So start taking pictures of yourself in outfits that need work so we can give advice and hunt for accessories.

    I wear fleece lined tights and sweater tights. I think both a stylish, so no worries there. I think it’s all a matter of proportion and making sure you don’t look like a big marshmallow when you are done getting dressed.

  2. maggie

    I have no real experience in how to dress warmly and stylishly for an office… as a grad student and even adjunct faculty in a costume design dept., there was a lot of leeway, and the funkier/cooler/more comment-worthy, the better. My go-to for snowy months was skinny jeans tucked into brown leather boots and a tunic-type top with a belt… or an above-the-knee dress with a long cardigan, tights, and the same boots. Repeat, ad nauseam. ;P

    I second the photo idea, though! It’s a lot easier to get a feel for stylish or not w/photos vs. descriptions.

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