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< Back Career Advice

5 tips for transitioning work wear from winter to spring

Debra Auerbach | April 3, 2015

Workwear for spring

By embracing layers, and incorporating some fresh colors, patterns and fabrics, you can easily weather the transition from winter to spring – while still looking professional.

The calendar may officially say it's spring, but depending on where you live, your weather may be experiencing an identity crisis. One day it's warm and sunny, and you throw your winter coat into the back of your closet…until the next day, when it starts snowing and you begrudgingly layer on the cold-weather clothing again.

These in-between, majorly fluctuating temperatures can make it challenging to dress for work each day. But by embracing those layers, and incorporating some fresh colors, patterns and fabrics, you can easily weather the transition from winter to spring – while still looking professional.

Tip No. 1: Add some color
During the winter months, it's easy to fall into a pattern of donning darker colors to match the seemingly endless dark and dreary days. But adding some color to your wardrobe is one of the easiest ways to bring your winter wear into spring, says Eila Mell, shopping/style expert and author of "How to Win at Shopping: 297 Insider Secrets for Getting the Style You Want at the Price You Want to Pay." "Now is your chance to lighten up. Adding a pop of color will instantly update you for the warm weather to come," she says.

For women, that could mean choosing a bright-colored blouse or some bold-hued jewelry, and for men, a vibrant pocket square or tie.

Tip No. 2: Rely on layering
While the temperatures may be getting milder, the days may still start off on the chilly side, so your best defense against getting too hot or too cold is to add easy-to-remove layers.

"Spring weather can sometimes be unpredictable," Mell says. "It can be cool in the morning and evening, yet warm in the afternoon. If you layer a thin cardigan under a blazer, you'll be warm enough for the cool weather. If it gets too warm, simply remove the cardigan. So simple and so effective."

Tip No. 3: Choose transitional outerwear
As the snow slowly turns to rain, your best defense against a soggy work commute is a sturdy yet stylish transitional jacket, such as a waterproof parka or a classic trench coat. "A trench will give you the warmth and weather protection appropriate for spring," Mell suggests. To keep your outerwear on trend, consider a military-inspired utility jacket or a trench with leather piping or color-blocking.

Tip No. 4: Play with prints
Prints are work-appropriate all year round, but you can be especially daring with them during the warmer weather months. "Floral prints are a great way to literally bring spring into your wardrobe," Mell says. "Nothing says spring more than nature-inspired clothing." This spring, go bold with bigger floral patterns, and try wearing them in less conventional ways, such as on a pair of trousers or a midi skirt. Men can experiment with prints by mixing them – a striped or gingham shirt with a polka-dot tie makes a fun but professional spring style statement.

Tip No. 5: Switch up your accessories
If you're still not ready to fully transition your wardrobe into spring just yet, start slow by switching up your work accessories. Trade in the heavier scarves for lighter fabrics such as linen or cotton, or swap out your darker-hued work bags for some bright or warm-toned totes or messenger bags. Mell even suggests bringing your whites out from winter retirement, because who follows that "No white until Memorial Day" rule anymore?

While the unpredictable temperatures may make dressing a little more challenging, you don't have to sacrifice your work style while you wait for warmer days. With these tips for transitioning your work wardrobe from winter to spring, you'll feel confident and professional when stepping out, no matter what temperamental weather you may face.