Dressing Professionally When It's Cold
March 9, 2005 5:54 PM   Subscribe

I live in a warm climate, and I have a job interview in a cold climate in the near future. How do I dress professionally when there are a few feet of snow on the ground?
posted by abbyladybug to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

My winter wardrobe is completely based on wool. My pants have a nice satin lining that will keep me warm. Sweaters, and blazers layer to keep in the warmth, and to top it off a nice cashmere blend overcoat and scarf.

I'm pretty sure all of the above tips will translate for women's wardrobe, but in addition to that, I've seen past the knee wool skirts, and high boots work well with thick tights.
posted by splatta at 6:10 PM on March 9, 2005

Layers will keep you warm.

What job you are interviewing for? There are degrees of latitude depending on what profession you wish to pursue.

If you are a graphic artist or a programmer this may not apply, but if you are a marketer or a lawyer or a person seeking a corporate position within a large organization, here is what I would recommend:

A nice turtleneck under a tailored jacket. A conservative skirt, boots. An overcoat. A hat. Gloves.

You don't need to look like a page from Vogue, but it is a good idea to project a conservative look of quiet elegance. Whether the interviewer actively looks for this or not is moot - but if you dress cleanly and elegantly for an interview it shows respect for the organization that invited you. Not knowing where you are from, or where you are interviewing, I am assuming a North-East city, where the dress codes tend to be a bit more conservative than the South, or the Pacific NorthWest where I live.

This means - for the warm blooded person visiting Northern climes for a job - dress warm, but still project a professional attitude that will help you get hired. Good luck in your interview!

ps - I visited New York City last week (where mornings were 9F) from Vancouver (morning temps, 60F). I was bloody cold. But I had layers, and a winter coat (which I never wear here), and a hat and gloves and a pair of black suede mules that I wore outdoors.

pps- check the weather in the city that you will be visiting prior to leaving. you might find that, if the snow storm has passed, then you may need to worry less about snow on sidewalks because it tends to be cleaned quickly in the city core.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:10 PM on March 9, 2005

In any professional setting, you shouldn't have to brave any snowbanks—sidewalks and paths should be clear. That said, make sure your footwear is prepared for salt and slush on the ground.

Also, don't worry about the big overcoat, because your interviewer will have a closet for that sort of thing.

Otherwise, what seawallrunner and splatta said.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:16 PM on March 9, 2005

I find it much easier to dress professionally in winter, as you can easily wear nice jackets, etc. (For some reason good summer clothes always make me look like I'm from the PTA). For women, thick tights can be worn under a skirt or slacks - they are excellent under trousers to keep you warm, and don't bunch like long underwear. If the snow is very bad, and you think it matters, you can always carry indoor shoes in your briefcase, and change in a cloakroom if they have one (you'll also want to leave your coat behind there). But in most cities's downtown core the walks will be shovelled enough that you can walk in regular shoes, though your feet might be a bit cold.

Do women have to wear skirts? I've always thought many women look more professional in a nice pair of slacks, a blouse and a well tailored jacket (cut to flatter them, not just a boxy copy of a mans). Elegant and professional. But maybe I'm a bit of a polar bear, because a regular blouse and jacket would keep me plenty warm under an overcoat. The turtleneck idea is a good one.
posted by jb at 6:21 PM on March 9, 2005

Oh - of course, men can wear thick tights too, under their trousers. In fact, if your legs get cold they might be a good idea. No one would ever notice they weren't trouser socks.
posted by jb at 6:26 PM on March 9, 2005

Just wear an coat, gloves and scarf along with what you'd normally wear, and take a cab to the interview.
posted by nyterrant at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2005

For men, the easiest thing under trousers is knit pajama bottoms (long undies seldom fit well for some weird reason, at least not if you have muscular legs).

Be very careful of your shoes! One exposure to salty slush can destroy something nice. If you have something that looks good that is fake leather (plastic!) this won't be harmed by the salt.

I'd be cautious about the turtleneck. You might get too warm indoors. This can be a huge problem as you dress warm for outdoors then move into heated areas. That's one of the advantages of layers.
posted by Goofyy at 7:32 PM on March 9, 2005

I'd hope you don't have to take any overcoat off before meeting the interviewer. It's amazing what a nice overcoat can do to create the impression of seriousness with a hint of elegance. Women have more interesting choices in overcoats but even the more creatively stylish ones seem to me to radiate a solid hint of professionalism.

It's a 1940s thing.
posted by mediareport at 7:49 PM on March 9, 2005

Response by poster: Wow! Thanks. I should have said before that my field is Psychology, and I will be traveling to Boston, and it's supposed to be REALLY cold next week. Most of the snow will be done falling by the time of the interviews, but it will probably still be on the ground.
posted by abbyladybug at 7:51 PM on March 9, 2005

There are style elements to dressing for cold weather as well as warmth considerations.

Dark colors, in my experience (which is basically just vicarious through my roommate's well-dressed girlfriend) are considered for appropriate for cold-weather clothes in a formal setting like a job interview.

A long wool overcoat is more professional-looking than a shorter one.

A nice scarf adds a lot of warmth and style.

A hat is sketchy because it can muss the hair - it is a must if you'll be outside much but if you wear one bring a comb and whatnot.

Wear gloves! No one likes to shake a clammy cold hand!

Boots are better than heels.

A nice dark wool suit (honestly, there is no need for lots of underlayers if you'll just be in and out of a cab, and you might get too hot inside) with a blouse and maybe also a sweater underneath (a thin sweater), should be fine. I'm under the impression that even the most conservative of environments are okay with pants for women.
posted by mai at 7:54 PM on March 9, 2005

I am reading the great advice of everyone here, and I think... goodness, it's not 1999 anymore is it! :) The dress-code pendulum has swung back to conservative
posted by seawallrunner at 8:05 PM on March 9, 2005

The dress-code pendulum has swung back to conservative

Funny, I think of it as drag coming back into style. :)

Business drag, but still...
posted by mediareport at 11:18 PM on March 9, 2005

Piggybacking: any advice on good dressy but practical boots for women?
posted by redfoxtail at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2005

For good-in-snow shoes in general, I love anything by White Mountain. (I'd link, but all the sites I'm finding are showing only spring styles.) I have a pair of their Mary Janes, which have a 2-inch heel, but basically a snow-boot construction: flexible and thick rubber sole (the heel's rubber, too), lots of tread, and water-resistant leather. They're a little a-few-seasons-ago-chunky, but they're very cute and very practical.
posted by occhiblu at 9:05 AM on March 10, 2005

Best answer: Minnesotan weighing in here, to say that honestly, I wouldn't advise overdoing the warm layers for your indoor outfit. Many offices in northern climes are heinously overheated in winter, and you don't want to sweat like a pig during your interview. (It might not be a bad idea to ring up the organization in question, and see if you can find a friendly secretary/recept. type who can clue you in as to how hot or chilly the place runs.)

Re: footwear, waterproofness is likely to be more important than warmth; the Boston forecast looks like slush-o-rama, and in such weather I sometimes just pull a pair of Totes on over my regular shoes.

Good luck with the interview!
posted by Kat Allison at 10:01 AM on March 10, 2005

Also, hair. A look that involves your hair being a bit more tied down will help with flyaway issues that hats can bring. Either go with something that is already a little mussed up and fluff it when you take your hat off, or go for something very slick and managed. Offices will be hot and they will also be dry so tuck a bit of hair groom and/or hand lotion into your bag for last minute touching up.
posted by jessamyn at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2005

Response by poster: I GOT THE JOB!!! Thanks, everyone.
posted by abbyladybug at 7:59 PM on March 17, 2005

« Older Fog Gun! Shower!   |   Ancient chinese messaging/encryption system Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.