Business Casual Superstar: A Working Wardrobe in a Winter Wonderland

by Rachel Yeomans | February 25th, 2010   

By Huma Rashid

As most of you know, I have a blog of my own where I put together business casual outfits every single day for under $100 (although I’ve missed the last few days due to illness/school). I often take requests and questions (feel free to email me if you have any), and one of the questions I received recently was about how to dress in a warm business casual outfit. And this reader didn’t mean warm coral colors, either – this reader meant warm. Because she, like me, lives in Chicago, and we’re cold 9 months out of the year.

It’s a great question, and I’ve put together what I think is a great outfit. Let’s take a look:

ww8 Business Casual Superstar: A Working Wardrobe in a Winter WonderlandRibbed Turtleneck Sweater Dress in Cilantro ………. $39
T-Strap Pump in Camel ………. $14.99
Pull Through Belt in Cognac ………. $19.50
La Regale Bead Clutch in Brown ………. $24

All right. I know we’re all feeling a little emotional right now, lots of feelings rushing around, so let’s just calm down, take a deep breath, and sit down and talk about this. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed.

(Have you guys gotten used to my dramatic sense of humor yet? No? Just checking.)

Anyway, we have a pretty green sweater dress. Normally, I avoid turtlenecks, but I like this dress so much that I don’t care. And it’s got to be warm, too. It’s a good length – down to your knees – and it looks like a thick, strong knit. Almost all of my sweater dresses are from Victoria’s Secret, and I can tell you, they’re durable (so long as you treat them right), warm, comfy, and of good quality. I like that the sleeves are short (because you’re wearing a jacket outside anyway); sleeves around my elbow keep me from overheating in a turtle neck sweater dress.

I picked the green because it’s just a really pretty, rich color. It’s also dark and cool, so I wanted to warm it up with matching tan accessories. I picked the brown T-strap pumps because I have a soft spot for T-straps; I just think they’re so girly in a vintage sort of way. (Dita von Tesse often wears T-straps, if you’re one to be swayed by such facts.) I picked a matching camel belt to cinch in the waist and give you a flattering shape.

Not feeling the belt? If you don’t mind going $2-$3 over our $100 budget, try this one on for size. It was my original choice, but I couldn’t make it work. (Sorry, Tim Gunn!)

2010 02 24 184407 Business Casual Superstar: A Working Wardrobe in a Winter WonderlandIsn’t it lovely?! You can snag it at Aldo for $25. I like it better than the Arden B belt, but it was a little too expensive and would have put me over the limit.

The reason I couldn’t make it work was because I wanted to include that clutch. Yeah, it’s a little fancy, but it’s just beads and not sequins or rhinestones or anything. And it brightens up the otherwise plain dress, too. I think it’s an eye-catching addition to a rather subdued (and sophisticated) warm outfit for work.

And there we have it! If you have any requests or questions that you’d like me to incorporate in future posts at my blog or here, email me!