A reader asks:

Dear Kathi,

I am 48 years of age and usually wear jeans to work but, now there is a change and I have to dress casual, no jeans. The only thing is, we do not control the heat or air conditioning in our office so in the winter it is so hot that we have to have a fan on and in the summer it is cold. How can I dress nice so I am not hot or too cold?

Trish, Milwaukee

Hi Trish,

The answer to your question Layer, layer, layer!

There are several lightweight sweater fabrics now on the market. I wear sometimes 2-3 at a time and then take them off or put them on throughout the day as I go in and out of different client environments. Buy different sleeve lengths and you can layer at whim. The bottom layer is best as a sleeveless shell.

The trick to layering is to watch the necklines. They should not compete with each other. Solid colors are the easiest to combine. If you choose to wear a print, keep it simple, in the same general color family as the other layers and only use it for one layer.

Another secret weapon would be the ‘shirt jacket’. These “pseudo” jackets are shirts that you can wear over other shirts or lightweight sweaters. These usually are button fronts with long sleeves and shirttail hems in solid colors. Try keeping one of these or a solid color lightweight suit coat jacket at work to throw on when the cool air hits.

Perhaps you can exchange your jeans with dressy corduroy or even tweed slacks? If you find the perfect fit, you will be surprised how much more comfortable dress slacks are in contrast to jeans. Make sure to take the time to buy the perfect fit in better fabrics for the most comfortable all-day wear. Tweed slacks are great because they do not show wrinkles and are classic style. There are lightweight tweeds as well as heavier tweed fabric with lining depending on the season.

During the summer, perhaps you can keep a pair of socks in your desk to slip on when the AC is cranked up. At the end of the day, you can take them off before you leave. The trick will be to find shoes that you can wear with or without socks. Flat mules might be useful but please wear them only with slacks.

Good luck finding a new style at work and be cool!
Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.

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San Diego Professional Organizer