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What do men wear to work in winter in Canada?

Photo by Gregory Hayes

What do I wear to work in the winter in Canada? I have this question from many who are immigrating to Canada. Just so we cover this from the start, the weather in Toronto is pretty mild in comparison to the rest of Canada. In many parts, the temperatures drop to extreme lows (say -27C as an average for some places). They have incredible amounts of snow in the winter and for a much longer time than we experience here in Toronto. This blog post will suffice for most territories but for those of you who are immigrating outside of Toronto, layering up at all costs until you are unrecognisable is the norm and completely okay! Remember that when you are inside a building it is warm and the layers are peeled off.


If you are meeting at the office, men will wear suit pants or smart cargo-type pants with a shirt and no tie (unless you are in banking or in an industry/company culture that wears ties). This goes for summer and winter. Lighter colours are often worn in summer and darker colours in winter. This is not a hard and fast rule but generally speaking this is the norm.

In winter you will simply add layers to what you would wear in summer. A short sleeve vest under your shirt is the way to go and a knitted sweater over the shirt (long sleeve may be overkill since the buildings are so warm inside). Many will wear a blazer/jacket over that. Rather have an extra layer that you can remove than not have it at all.


For a more smart/formal look, wear a coat over your jacket or simply wear the coat over your shirt and jersey. This coat is often called a car coat. A car coat is not as fitting as your blazer would be - it has space for more layers underneath the coat and it is is longer than blazer. You should be able to wear this over your suit or jacket. In this video I talk about the car coat and show you an example of one. An example of a car coat would be something like this one below, however this one is more of a trench coat since it does not have an inner layer but it will do the job for a mild winters day. It will certainly not be warm enough for the colder provinces that's for sure!