How to Cope with Varying Temperatures and Still look Well Dressed

Layers final picture

The answer is layering.  Getting layered up could be the best thing that you can do on days when the temperature and the weather vary greatly within an 8 hour period.  Either it starts sunny and warm and then gets cooler, leaving you feeling completely frozen and regretting having left scarf, hat, gloves at home.  Or it starts off foggy and cold and turns gloriously sunny and warm.

The layering principle also applies to more extreme temperature climates – tropical zones for example where offices and homes may be air conditioned but other environments might not be.

So, for temperate climates like the Northern Hemisphere here are a variety of layering combinations which will see you through a wide range of temperature variations in one day:

Layering by garment type

Dress, cardigan, jacket, coat – for days which start cold, but then warm up during the day, ending up cool in the evening.

Dress cardigan, jacket, pashmina or shawl – as above but a bit more artistic looking

Dress, jacket, poncho or cape – Capes and ponchos are unsung heroes as far as I am concerned.  They add a super layer of warmth over a jacket and look fabulous.

Dress, jacket, coat, wool wrap – a classic combination and suitable for those of you not wedded to your cardigan collection.  Travel to work in the whole ensemble, maybe leaving off the wool wrap if the weather is mild.  Wear the dress, or dress and jacket throughout the day.  If it’s cold you have either the wrap or the coat as back up.

Fabric Type

Spring signifies a change in temperature (even if that change is slow, or arrives in fits and starts).  Pyschologically I think it’s important to make a change out of winter clothes, to be leaving some of the heavier weight fabrics behind and wearing something lighter, something with a gentle colour, or at least something to break up the black.  Although you might be ready to make that change, you don’t want to freeze to death either if the weather turns cold. Again, layering is here to help. For example:

How layering can help by Fabric Type

One dress in a lightweight fabric (silk, lightweight wool), with a cropped cardigan, and a jacket on top.  The jacket to be suitable for attending meetings. If it’s cool in the morning a pashmina or wool wrap in a coordinating colour can be worn.  If your office is fairly informal you can wear the dress and cardigan throughout the day and the jacket for meetings and for travelling to and from work or going our for lunch.  If your office is more formal and the heating is effective, remove the cardigan upon arrival, wear the dress and jacket throughout the day.  For travelling home/when the office gets cooler, pop the cardigan back on, and wrap the pashmina elegantly around yourself, and you are good to go.

One skirt or pair or trousers in lightweight fabric (chiffon, lightweight wool eg challis or crepe), one shirt, one cardigan, one jacket. The jacket can be either one which is essentially a short coat, whose function is to keep warm, or it could be one which is more like a suit jacket, with lapels and a button which fastens mid-chest or near the waist.

What are your secret layering tricks?  How do you cope with varying temperatures?  What is your main concern about temperature variations, being too hot, or too cold, or getting caught out in the rain?  Please let me know in the comments box below.

Have a great day!


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