Ooh, I was a bit down in the dumps in my last post, wasn’t I?! I’ve been a bit all over the place recently, but the change of seasons and approach of another birthday usually do that to me, not to mention the looming upheaval of leaving my job… I find it hard to stay grumpy for long though. Not once I have party dresses high on my sewing list!
This isn’t a post about party dresses however (I’ve got to actually make some first…). It’s rather triggered by one of the (several) points I was moaning about last time, which was the lack of daylight and dry weather available for photographing outfits. This can only mean that winter has well and truly arrived! We’ve had hailstones, and galeforce winds, and storms so big they get proper names (a new thing for the UK – previously they were just ‘very big storms’; now they’re Abigail, and Barney…). Admittedly, it’s not very cold here in London (yet), but the thing with me is – I’m always cold. It’s like Narnia in here.
It’s easy enough to stay warm inside your own home, but because not everyone feels the cold to the same extent I’ve pulled together a few ideas for ways to keep warm in the respectable, communal environment of the office that also happen to be ways to fulfil some of those crafting urges.
Layers are of course the foundations of a warm outfit. But they don’t necessarily have to be thick; heavy woollens aren’t always appropriate if your office has a formal dress code (I used to work in an office that had only let women wear trousers in recent years…). Silk vests or slips are a very easy way to add a layer of warmth without bulking up. Apparently the extraordinarily long fibres allow for a tighter weave and this is one of the reasons silk traps heat so effectively. I would guess this applies to silk jersey too – does anyone know?
Sew Over It’s silk cami pattern is a breeze to sew and requires very little fabric; its low scoop neckline makes it perfect for layering under all sorts of tops, whilst Ohhh Lulu has a couple of cami/slip patterns as part of her gorgeous lingerie range.
If you’re like me, your work shoes consist of a selection of ladylike but impractical ballet pumps and courts, simply inviting draughts to come and caress your feet. But under a desk, no one can see your feet, right? So if you’re sitting for long periods keep a pair of chunky knit socks under your desk to slip on and keep those toes toasty. Use chunky wool and keep them loose to make it easy to pull them over tights and to remove them with minimal foot-wiggling effort (should your boss suddenly call you over!). Lauren of Lladybird and Jen of Grainline have both blogged about knitting socks lately, so check them out for inspiration.
Not the coolest workplace accessory, but making your own cover can at least move this invaluable heat source in the direction of stylish. I knitted the hot water bottle cover pictured below for my sister for last Christmas; it’s worked up in cotton rather than wool so it doesn’t ‘bobble’ so quickly, and looks a little less old-fashioned. The pattern was found here.
A smaller bottle will be more discreet but can still provide free personal warmth for hours. Bonus: hot water bottles can ease muscles stiff from prolonged sitting.
Wearing a snood
So wearing a scarf can seem a bit much in the office. It draws attention to how cold you are, and people say helpful things like ‘it’s really not that cold’, as though you’re just a wimp and not a delicate hothouse orchid whose leaves/fingers are about to drop off. Really you should just weather this storm of un-sympathy, but if you’re trying to stay low and/or stylish, then a snood may be an excellent alternative. Casually slouching around your neck, the right snood (knitted or cloth) can appear almost an extension of your top – like a really oversized collar. And if things get really bad you can always pull it up over your head.
Lacy fingerless gloves
Rowan Kidsilk Haze is one of the cosiest yarns I’ve used; I’ve knitted three very lacy jumpers in it and in spite of all the (designed) holes, they really punch above their weight in terms of warmth. Wearing proper woolly gloves indoors, even fingerless, is a guaranteed way to get weird looks. But a little lace peeping out from your sleeves that just happens to extend as far as your knuckles – well, that’s a fashion statement, right? Silk wools are pricey but there’s a pattern on Ravelry that uses less than half a ball per pair, so that’s one for me and one other for, ahem, me…
I hope some of these tips and crafty ideas help you as they’ve helped me! Being cold anywhere sucks. Being cold at work, where you may have no control over the temperature and warmer-blooded colleagues are baffled by your shivers, sucks more. But being constantly cold can also affect productivity and it’s proven to render you more susceptible to catching bugs (ergo requiring time off), so it’s actually in everyone’s interests to let us Queen Elsas of the world do whatever we need to keep warm!