These Cozy Designs Put a Freeze on the Office Chill

 In Guide, Style

Every August morning, brave women across St. Louis bundle up for the cold day ahead. With cardigan, coffee and space heater in hand, they open the door to their office buildings, only to be hit with that familiar blast of Arctic air, courtesy of central AC and Bob in accounting who won’t keep his hands off the thermostat.

The comfort of our suit-and-tie wearing counterparts has long taken precedence, leaving women to hide well-planned outfits under bulky sweaters and jackets. Worse, it has long been known that cold temperatures affect women’s productivity. For example, one recent study found that when office temperatures rise 10 degrees, women’s math and verbal performance scores increase by 27 percent.

For Lydia Crespo, textile designer and founder of Argaman&Defiance, “Stay cozy” is more than her company’s tagline—it’s the focus of her hand-painted and hand-printed apparel line. Crespo’s blanket-sized raw and fine silk patterned scarves have wrapped women in refinement and comfort in the workplace for years. But recently her line has expanded to address the office chill, which hit especially close to home for Crespo when she moved her studio from the balmy buildings of Chicago to the land of air conditioning in St. Louis.

Her marble fleece crew, for instance, has become an office staple for professionals who want to be comfortable in the office but still be taken seriously. When the unisex sweatshirt is sized down and paired with a blazer, for instance, it provides sophistication with an edge for professionals in any industry.

Crespo credits the unexpected appropriateness of her sweatshirts within the corporate world to her unique design approach. “What I’m doing is often referred to as tie-dyed, but it’s not that hippie tie-dye—it’s a little but more professional, a little bit more sophisticated through the colors that I’m using and how I apply the dye. I typically like a lot more negative space in my designs so it’s not too overwhelming.”

“One of the reviewers on my website said that she pairs fleece with a plaid pair of pants,” Crespo says. “I would have never thought about doing that, but that negative space and design allow you to pair the piece with a bold print.”

These Cozy Designs Put a Freeze on the Office Chill

The Argaman&Defiance marble fleece gives the traditional business suit an unexpected edge.

Another option is her casual kimono, available in solid black or windowpane design. “I wanted to design something to where it looked beautiful and elegant—something that could go easily with jeans or you could dress up for a night out,” Crespo explains. “It’s pretty much an acceptable way to wear a blanket without going full Snuggie. If I’m being honest, it’s how I always prefer to be—wrapped up in a cozy blanket.”

These Cozy Designs Put a Freeze on the Office Chill

Each one of Crespo’s kimonos is painted by hand to ensure a one-of-a-kind piece for work.

Crespo’s designs are available for purchase through the Argaman&Defiance website or at her studio in the Foundry Arts Centre in St. Charles.

Images courtesy of Hannah Anderson, Sunrae Photography.

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