Dressing for Success...Successful Dressing

Autumn has come to NJ. Let me rephrase that...after an extended summer (last Wednesday was 80+ outside), pre-winter has come to NJ (morning temps in my area were anywhere from 37-42).  The autumn that I know and love (moderate days perfect for pumpkin spice lattes and sweatshirts that can be removed mid-day and cool evenings perfect for sleeping with the window open for a gentle breeze and cuddling under a blanket with no need for the furnace to turn on), has ceased to exist.  Forget the beautiful foliage...the most of the leaves are still on the trees and green.  A few have started to turn, but they, like me, don't know what to do.  It was too wet from April on.  Summer was hot, as expected, by incredibly humid (even more so than usual) and the fun weekends at the beach were hampered by overcast skies.  We thought autumn was coming, but then summer was back in October!  (Who in the Northeast has their A/C on in OCTOBER???)  Now we're in the middle of the month and we're feeling temps that we usually get around Thanksgiving?  Forget that morning walk...I've been stuck inside all week long due to rain and cold.  (When it's cold, damp AND dark, the klutz in me is hesitant to go out.)

With crazy weather like this, how does one dress for success?  Heck, how does one just dress period?

Here is my advice:  LAYERS!

For example, last week I had a two-day off-site meeting.  Although it was a new venue, I know the structure of this annual meeting.  I know the presenters like to keep the room FRIGID.  So despite the fact that it was supposed to be in the 80s both days; I donned my tights (fleece lined!), winter skirt, blouse and winter blazer.  It was brutal getting dressed in the house which does not have central air.  But once I was in that conference room, I was glad I had dressed as I did.  Outside people might have been catching some rays; inside the Artic polar bears would have been happy.  (I am not kidding; there was an indoor fireplace in the lobby which is where I chose to go during our breaks.)  When we wrapped up on the 2nd day and I had to schlep/drag items back to the office; I thought I was going to die of the heat.  I couldn't wait to get home and peel off those tights and put on a t-shirt and shorts. (Yes, during the 2nd week of October!)

Now, here we are one week later; the middle of the month of October.  My beautiful mums have shriveled from the cold (not quite frost bite).  Out the door at 7:30 this morning was just over 40 degrees.  But the sun (which doesn't rise until after 7...making it really hard to motivate myself to get out of bed and do any kind of workout and IMPOSSIBLE to get the kid of bed without a fuss) was shining bright.  The expected high today is 50 and it's windy.  According to weather.com, at this very moment it is 45 outside but feels like 38.  How did I successfully dress today?

I knew it was going to be sunny and that I would be working in my office cubicle today.  So I pulled out a light skirt and a short sleeve blouse.  Perfect for a summer day.  Summer day?  I was chilly as I dressed, so I put on a light blazer and sheer hosiery.  When it was time to head out to do the early morning school drop off and then head to the office, I put on a warm coat (gloves were on standby) and turned on the heat in my car.  (Can I say again how much I LOVE the heated seats...ummm...warm butt and back?)  Once I was in the office I took off the coat, but left the jacket on...for about 10 minutes.  Then it was off and the fan was on.  As I said, the sun is shining and according to my (crappy) thermometer/clock is it nearly 87 in here.  (I think it tends to read high and it is directly in the sunshine...)  You think I am kidding?  I am not!

Sure, I could close the blinds, but that doesn't do much.  (I know those who have tried.)  I heed my own advice:  Layers.

If it is going to be sunny; no matter what the season or what the temperature is outside, be prepared for HEAT.  If it is cloudy; again, no matter what the season or the temperature outside, be prepared for COLD.  I have shivered in July with my under desk heater going full blast and my ugly wool sweater wrapped around me. (The ugly sweater that you keep in your office just for such situations.)  I have stripped down from a sweater and turtleneck in January to a t-shirt because it was over 90 (I keep an oversized ugly one in a desk drawer just for such occasions.)

More advice:  invest in a cheap under the desk heater AND fan.  They will be worth every penny if you work in a "typical" office environment.  (Is there anyone out there who works in an office where the temperatures actually make sense?)  Have a sweater AND a light t-shirt available.

Successfully dressing means being prepared. It's the only way to dress for success!


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