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GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Overdoing it is the biggest mistake people make with winter work attire, said Rachael Hammarback owner of R.H. Standard in Grand Forks, N.D.
While the temperatures may be below freezing, that doesn’t mean bulky layers, sweatshirts and winter coats are acceptable in the workplace, Hammarback said. Regardless of the weather, employers expect their workers to arrive looking professional and pulled together.
Hammarback said with business jackets, scarves, tights and booties, women can create a work-appropriate look that will keep them warm through cold winter days at the office.
EVERYDAY OFFICE WEAR
For a typical day at work, Hammarback suggested a weighty legging or a long-sleeve dress with a jacket.
She styled her sister-in-law, Jodi Green, in a black legging and a gray blazer. She finished the look with a brown boot and a warm olive green scarf.
Green, who is a first grade teacher at Century Elementary School in Grand Forks, said she typically wears dress slacks and sweaters to work, but leggings would be a nice change.
Hammarback noted that not all leggings are appropriate for the workplace.
She said thick structured leggings like the ones from BCBG work because they are weighty. “It has a zipper and a button. It absolutely alleviates (any worries),” she said, adding that it’s important that a legging still holds one together like a typical pant. Inexpensive cotton and elastic leggings are OK for lounging at home, but they’re not appropriate for the workplace, Hammarback said.
“People mistake leggings and tights sometimes,” she said. “Tights are not pants.”
When Hammarback asked Green if she’d be able to wear these leggings in the classroom, Green said, “Absolutely, yes.”
But, leggings aren’t for everyone.
For her friend, Amy Enget, who prefers dresses to pants, Hammarback chose a striped long-sleeve dress by BCBG. Pairing the dress with a denim jacket and knee-high boots, she created a winter-appropriate everyday look for the office. For extra warmth, Hammarback said “a navy blue opaque tight would be really cute with this.” Or, a high smart-wool sock would, as well.
As an executive at Midcontinent Communications, Enget said the look would be perfect for a commercial shoot with clients.
“If I have a commercial shoot, I need to be in something a little bit more casual, so I’m able to assist,” she said. “I dress for my day, and I dress based on the people that I see.”
HIGH-PROFILE WORK DAY
Whether it’s for a meeting with clients, a visit from the CEO or a year-end presentation, there are days when one needs to step it up a bit in the style department. For these special work occasions, Hammarback suggested a more high-profile look.
She styled Enget in a blue paneled dress and a black blazer. She finished the look with a statement necklace, a patterned tight and a black bootie.
“She’s doing a bootie with a heel, but you could do the same outfit with a boot or a wedge,” Hammarback said. “The heel height is to your discretion.”
She said Enget is comfortable walking around in a heel, so that’s typically what she chooses. On the other hand, a lower heel or flats are generally more appealing to Green, who spends most of the day on her feet.
Hammarback said the look would be perfect for a day of client meetings or parent-teacher conferences for Green.