Winter time is coming soon, and that means having to wear a lot of sweaters outdoors.

At the workplace, I can usually get away with a nice sweater without any patterns on it, thanks to being in a programming field with little client contact. But I am still expected to keep a business-casual level of attire.

The problem is, the office kicks up the heat throughout the building during the winter, and it can get unreasonably warm - at which point I need to remove my sweater.

Most of the time for warmer weather I wear a polo shirt for business-casual, but these all have collars and buttons that bump up against a sweater, so I can't just wear one underneath.

What other options do I have to wear under a sweater that would still keep the same business-casual level of professionalism as a polo shirt? Preferably, I'd also like to avoid having to switch shirts in the middle of a work day.

  • 6
    what do you mean "buttons that bump up against a sweater" – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Oct 17 '19 at 20:14
  • How about a short sleeved cotton shirt (rather than a polo shirt) that you can wear with a sweater over and then take it off as needed? – seventyeightist Oct 17 '19 at 20:17
  • 2
    How do your coworkers handle this situation? – sf02 Oct 17 '19 at 20:59
  • Or a v neck sweater – Neuromancer Oct 17 '19 at 21:26

I wear polo shirts and cotton shirts under a jumper/ sweater without any problems with the buttons or collars.

enter image description here

You just need to make sure your jumper has a wide enough neck to accommodate the shirt collar. V-neck style jumpers are also good, especially if you're wearing a tie underneath, but as you can see in the image, round necks shouldn't be a problem.

  • I think this is my problem - sweaters that have a tall collar won't work with polo shirts, so I need sweaters with a wider neck. Thank you. – Zibbobz Oct 18 '19 at 12:40
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    @Zibbobz "v neck sweater" is the keyword here then – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 13:50

The general answer to that will be: ask your manager what is appropriate for your workplace culture. There is no strict definition of business-casual.

Sometimes in winter I prefer set of 3 layers that looks like:

  1. White t-shirt
  2. Button-up shirt without a tie, probably something patterned as plain shirt is more formal
  3. Blazer / sports coat

This set seems to be gender-neutral, at least in the US. Sweater can be replaced with a fleece vest (pretty tech-y) or a cardigan (pretty old-styley):

Mr Rogers

Leslie Knope


The interwebs are full of style advice. Here’s an article that recommends wearing an oxford or dress shirt under your sweater, or using a blazer over your polo, but not combining polos and sweaters. Personally, depending on the quality of the garments, I think you could get away with it sometimes.

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