I’ll admit, I’ve spent a fair bit of time talking about how best to fight the cold recently. But today I drove to work through a hailstorm, so I’m not quite ready to shut up about warmer clothing just yet. 

If you’re anything like me, dressing for your job during the colder seasons can often be a lot more challenging than throwing together an outfit in the summer. Whether any of your layers are a uniform or not, you have to prepare for the worst, while also creating a look that can adapt to indoor temperatures if need be. But you also can’t go overboard for fear of looking and moving like this: 

It shouldn’t have to be that way, though.

Regardless of how much time you spend outdoors on a typical work day, the basic principles for staying warm remain the same. And once you know them, dressing for the cold is bound to be easier — come rain or shine.

So if you’d like to know how best to keep your team warm, dry, and comfortable whatever the weather, look no further than the advice below!

As the saying goes, the best things come in threes, and layering is no exception. No matter how many layers you use, they will fall under one of three following categories: 

1. The Base Layer

The base is your initial, most rudimentary heat-retaining layer. As this will be underneath all the others, it needs to be as thin and comfortable as possible. 

The key to maximising this layer is avoiding any unnecessarily exposed skin. Make sure you wear a long-sleeved top with a particularly long hemline as well. This will make it easier to tuck into your trousers or bottoms to ensure heat doesn’t escape from your lower torso.

If your team has to wear a specific top for work but is allowed some creative freedom on the bottom half, you might want to consider jumping on the high-waisted trend to make the tuck a little easier (and more fashionable).

High Waisted Outfits via TheTrendSpotter
High Waisted Outfits via TheTrendSpotter

It’s important to note, however, staying on-trend is more suitable if your business predominantly operates indoors. For the outdoor labourer, I would recommend swapping out jeans for practical, durable, and flexible work trousers

And if your entire outfit is picked for you, layering underneath your uniform is the safest bet. This also comes in handy when one base doesn’t quite warm you up enough.

If you decide to wear an additional base layer or two, I suggest sporting a tight vest or t-shirt under your main base. Yes — I did just tell you to avoid exposed skin, but you want to be able to bend your elbows. you don’t want your clothes getting in the way of typing or lifting. 

2. The Mid-Layer

The mid-layer, also known as the insulation layer, is the first proper provider of warmth.

Depending on the level of outdoor activity you’re expecting, you can opt for anything from a casual hoodie to a full-on fleece. But the more time you spend outside, the less I would recommend wearing cotton, as it retains moisture and can lower your body temperature instead. 

For those of you whose daily commute involves driving a car, I recommend the bodywarmer — also known as a gilet. These sleeveless padded jackets are perfect for maintaining body heat while freeing up the arms for steering. You also get to show off the sleeves of your mid-layer, which is a fun bonus. 

They come in various materials and thicknesses, so have a browse of our catalogue and decide what works best for you. 

My personal favourite is the Russell Ladies Outdoor Fleece Gilet in burgundy. Made of anti-pill fabric, it has a flattering fit and is impressively compact for an outdoor item. Whether in its male or female fit, this gilet is great for throwing over anything from a shirt or blouse to a casual tee, making it equally practical for embroidering your company logo onto.

Russell Ladies Outdoor Fleece Gilet

Of course, this particular example is most suitable to the mid-layer, but padded and waterproof bodywarmers offer a level of protection perfect for your outer piece as well. Don’t underestimate the lack of sleeve!

3. The Outer Layer

When it comes to your outer layer, the goal is to stay warm and dry. 

During sunny spells, you can wear anything from a light SOL’S Unisex Surf Windbreaker to a tougher Russell Softshell

But on cold, rainy days, you’re going to need the most weatherproof clothing you can get. Personally, I would look no further than this 3-in-1 jacket by Stormtech

Stormtech Atmosphere 3-in-1 Jacket

With 5,000/5,000 breathable, waterproof fabric and H2XTREME® stretch technology, this jacket is incredibly versatile and functional. What’s more, the built-in layers provide additional warmth and eliminate the stress of picking a mid-layer.

So, while this jacket is clearly amazing for outdoor roles, it would even be a great piece to throw on and off for walks to work from your car (and back). It allows you to drive in a comfortable t-shirt and then throw on multiple warm layers instantly.

But it’s no surprise that something by Stormtech would be so versatile. Their clothes always deliver on quality. See for yourself.

Of course, many of us take public transport to work. As this can involve a lot of standing around and waiting, I would encourage you to go big and warm. If you’re not sure where to begin, we stock fleece-lined Kariban Parkas in nine different colour combinations (some more tame than others) and you should definitely give them a look. 

Kariban Parka Padded Jacket Orange/Black

If you work outdoors, staying as warm as possible while still being able to operate tools and machinery is vital. You need an outer layer that is both unobtrusive and weatherproof.

In addition to heftier gilets like the Work-Guard Vostex Bodywarmer, we offer a range of warm bombers in the standard colours as well as hi-vis finishes.

Yoko Hi-Vis Bomber Jacket

We also have a selection of padded jackets in various shapes, colours, and sizes if they’re closer to what you’re looking for. 

Result Womens Ice Bird Padded Jacket

And thus concludes the list of layers!

Now that you have your three, it’s important to understand the relationship between them.

Ski Layers via ASO Mammoth
Ski Layers via ASO Mammoth

While I have suggested doubling or even tripling up in some areas, you don’t want to go overboard. Essentially, the bigger the layer, the less likely it is you can wear two or more of it.

I’ve actually come up with a short equation to help you remember this pattern and avoid any excess.

where x = layer type and y = possible additional layers of same type …

3 – x = y 

For example, the Base Layer is number 1, so:

3 – 1 = 2

Meaning you can add 2 more base layers before it interferes with the mid- and outer layers — such as a vest and t-shirt under your long-sleeved thermal.

Similarly, I would only suggest one extra mid-layer. You can’t beat the classic combination of a fleece and bodywarmer. 

Of course, this was just a little fun.

Only you know what will feel right for your team. 

But if you use these tips as a guideline, and browse our Rain or Shine page, it might be easier to work out just what that is. The page features some more of our favourite layers, suitable for representing your business whatever the weather.

So, when you’re all set, look at what you own, try to categorise accordingly, and remember to stay warm!