How to Keep Warm in the Summer

Yes, you read that right. WARM in the SUMMER. I am sitting at my desk right now, eating my lunch and freezing my gazongas off. And it’s 85 degrees in the greater Twin Cities area right now, headed for 94 later this afternoon.

Office workers are all too aware that summer means air conditioning cranked up to levels capable of crystallizing our snot. Although the sun may graciously warm those lucky enough to sit near windows, most of us cube farmers spend our days shivering as we type.

Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond grateful for the AC. If I had an outdoor gig, or worked in an electric-fan-only situation, I’d be far, far grumpier. But the fact is, it puts a major cramp in the summer Sal-style to work inside a refrigerator on days when I want to wear my sundresses and sleeveless tops.

So here are some things I do to keep warm at the office without looking as if I believe there is still a foot of snow on the ground:

1. Closed-toe shoes
You lose 86% of your body heat out of your toes. Mix some pumps and Mary Janes in with the strappy sandals, especially if you’re wearing a top or bottom that shows some skin. It makes a huge difference when your tootsies are toasty.

2. Scarves
You lose 91% of your body heat out of your neck. Lightweight, drapey scarves are all the rage right now. Grab ye one and cover up!

3. Wear your hair down
As I mentioned in #2, keeping your neck covered by any means possible will help fend off the chill. If you have shoulder-length or longer hair, let it fly free. You’ll be amazed how much warmer you’ll feel.

4. Keep a cardigan at your desk
A neutral or black cardigan won’t ruin the average outfit. And you can always take it off when you leave your desk for a meeting.

5. Swaddle yourself in a wrap
Mine is red, although not dip-dyed like the one in the photo. It’s made of that thin, nubbly, quintessentially Eileen Fisher material that I will admit to knowing zilch about, and it is WARM beyond all human comprehension. But any pashmina, shawl, or large scarf can help a cold office officer. Throw it over your legs beneath your desk if your knees begin to freeze. And again, if yours is an odd color or ruins your outfit, just sling it over your chair whenever you leave your desk.

6. Keep a mug of boiling water
You lose 107% of your body heat out of your hands. And although this tip has nothing to do with style, it is incredibly effective. Get a big-ass ceramic mug, fill with boiling water from the tea tap on your office’s coffeemaker (or microwave some tap water for 1.5 minutes), and cradle lovingly every few minutes. Contact with the warm porcelain defrosts your fingers almost instantly. It helps even more if you can sip it, especially because hot water tastes weird so you’re unlikely to slam it like a mocha. Gradually introducing warm liquid to your innards raises your thermostat for an hour or two, I’ve found.

Anyone else have tips for surviving summer in a cold office?

(Image courtesy

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8 Responses to “How to Keep Warm in the Summer”

  1. CoutureCarrie

    Isn’t A/C killer? They keep office buildings at like 65 degrees in the summer becuase it’s supposed to make people more productive – ridiculous! These are great ideas. I am constantly drinking hot tea to stay warm in A/C environs.

  2. Budget Babe

    one of the perks of working from home is that i can control my climate to suit MYSELF and no one else! no more thermostat wars with coworkers! no more spaceheaters! muahaha!

  3. drwende

    I collect light-weight cardigans, as closed-toed shoes in Phoenix summer heat are a non-starter. Your suggestion of a scarf around the neck is sounding VERY good, too.

  4. WendyB

    At my last corporate job, we all used to keep absolutely dismal-looking cardigans at work to fend off the icy A/C.

  5. fleur_delicious

    lucky me, my boss was too cheap to crank the AC – or the heat. HAHAHA. However, if it did get cold, a cardi was a lifesaver for me, always. It’s such a simple layer and can be pulled on and off, on and off, while one attempts to maintain some kind of stable, comfortable body temp.

    and I say put some herbal tea in that hot water, makes it taste a heck of a lot better.

  6. enc

    I used to keep my 284% body heat contained in a fur balaclava at all times when I worked on the magazines.

    In my office, it was freezing. There was at least a twenty-degree difference in temperature between inside and outside when it was summer.

    That’s not the most baffling thing, though. The most baffling thing was why they kept the AC on in winter.


  7. In Yr Fshn

    I’ll be working in an office soon and, as someone who truly enjoys 90 degree weather, i dread it.

    Nice math!

  8. Celebrity Style

    Whats up with this scarf? It’s too hot in summer time but people still wears it.