Signature Wardrobe Warm Outfit

WARM! outfit

In the midst of energy price increases, we’ve had a cold snap, and my thoughts are turning to the kind of warm outfit you can wear when working from home on your own. While not turning the heating on.

WARM! outfit
Woman in fur coat c. 1940-30, photo by Ruth Hollick (1883-1977)
Ruth Hollick Collection, State Library Victoria

In the old days, people wore layers. Lots of layers. Their homes weren’t always windproof, and they couldn’t always afford heating. Or new clothes. Warm outfits were imperative.

And as visiting the library everyday to use their heating isn’t really feasible, I’ll be taking inspiration from the olden days and thinking about how we can leverage the clothes we already own to stay warmer.


Without heating, the main benefits of being inside are staying dry and out of the wind.


We’re trying not to buy extra clothes, so if you’ve been planning your outfits for a few years this will be automatic.

If you haven’t, well, most likely no one will see you.


Not strictly necessary, but if we hadn’t needed the warmth our ancestor’s wouldn’t have started wearing them!

In Victorian and Edwardian times, men and women wore a “combination.” A one piece garment covering arms, trunk and legs. The corset went over the top of the combination, followed by warm petticoats.

I think this “base layer” is probably the most important for a consistent level of warmth, though you may prefer leggings with a separate top. Ideally something very snug, made of wool, silk or a synthetic designed for warmth.


Logically, if you’re looking for warmth the next layer (“mid layer”) will also be full length, something like a long sleeved, high necked t-shirt or flannel button down shirt. Ideally long enough to tuck in to your bottoms.

Which could be fleece lined jeans, a second pair of leggings, or a longer (mid-calf) skirt.

Paired with an outer layer such as a wool cardigan or heavyweight fleece.

And if you have to leave the house, a warm waterproof coat.


Inside, a par (or two) of thick woolen socks might work well enough, though you could also team then with house shoes.

If you need to go outside, something waterproof that covers the bulk of your feet, like a boot.


Hat, scarf and gloves, inside and out.

Depending on what work you’re doing, you may need fingerless gloves.

Wrap Up

Bear in mind if you’re sitting for a long time, even in a warm outfit, your body will cool down, so you may need to get up and move to get your blood pumping again – a good time to put the kettle on, take a pee and check the status of your washing.

And if you’re moving around, you’ll get warmer, and perhaps sweat, so you’ll need base layers that wick moisture away, and know when to unzip or remove them as well.

You might also want to look at Working from Home Outfits when you’re working from home.

18th May 2022

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