Seattle was recently named one of America’s worst-dressed cities by GQ magazine. Anyone who has been here knows that’s … not inaccurate.

At worst Seattleites look like we’re perpetually going camping. People show up at the office, dressed like they just stopped in on their way to the gym … only they weren’t going to the gym. The weather poses a challenge, to be certain. According to Seattle.gov, it is raining in Seattle 50 percent of the time,  but that’s no excuse.

A friend recently issued a dress better challenge. Her own goal is to wear dresses more often. I accepted the challenge. My goal recently has been to wear dresses or skirts about once a week. It’s hard in the winter, but I’ve been inspired recently by fashionable commuters.

At best, the men and women of Seattle have some serious style. We’re really good at layering – out of necessity – but layering opens the door to tons of creativity. The ladies love their boots. They keep the bottoms of our jeans from getting soaked. I have a drawer full of tanks and tees of all varieties: long-sleeve, short-sleeve, stripes, patterns, plain, red, blue, purple, green and more. I have a collection of cardigans and light jackets in the closet. A blazer or cardigan over a shirt is instantly chicer than an old hoodie from college, and equally warm. The layer combination also adds room to play. Belt the cardigan, wear a patterned layer underneath or tie on a scarf. The challenge I see is making sure the outfit works whether you wear the outer layer or remove it when it gets warm.

Another trick I’ve picked up is wearing dresses in the rain. Again, not wearing pants means no soggy hems. I really hate when my pants drag through puddles! I have some pretty cozy tights that make the dress experience less chilling.

I do own a REI-tough rain jacket and the Pacific Northwest-required black fleece, but I like to save those for the seriously cold and rainy days when I’m going to be outside for a while. Trench coats are great for a polished outer layer on the standard drizzly days when I’m just going to the office. But I will admit to sneaking the fleece under the nicer coats from time to time.

On even the worst, coldest, rainiest morning, I think I can manage a sweater and trouser jeans. So there’s no reason for me to show up at the office in my WWU sweatshirt with the kangaroo pocket. I’ll save that for the evenings at home.

Are you in for the dress better challenge?

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