The Hunt: T-Strap Pumps

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — pumps are great, but for days where I’ll actually be walking/standing/running around, I always prefer shoes with straps. T-straps are classic, ladylike, and often super comfortable even if they’re not pitched as “comfort shoes.” In walking cities like NYC, they’re often great for the rainy fall day because they stay on your feet while hopping around puddles and running from sudden showers.   I’ve rounded up my favorites below (in both a slideshow and a chart, oo la la) — readers, have you bought any great T-strap pumps lately? 

 

I actually first saw these in person at Macy’s (where they have all 4 colors), but Endless has a better sale on both the tan/ox and the black/black colors. These look like much taller shoes than what they are because of the hidden platform, but still very buttoned-up and professional. They were $99, but Endless has them for $69.99 (all four colors still full price at Macy’s). Naturalizer Women’s Baila T-Strap Pump
I’m not sure what it is about these shoes, but they look more like commuting shoes to me — you know, where your pants are hemmed for 3″ heels and you need something 3″ and comfortable to run around in so your pants don’t drag on the ground.  That said, they might also be great with black tights and skirts.  They’re $88.95 at Endless (available in black, gray, and a purpley blue). Aerosoles Women’s Grapevine Pump
Ha cha cha.  I actually like these the best — all of the color combos look sophisticated and cool.  The red ones are really lovely, and black suede/”ginger” snake print (pictured at top) might be kind of perfect as well.  They’re $99 at Zappos.  Jones New York Helkie
I wish the T didn’t come quite so high on this one, but it still looks like a great shoe.  Note that she has some variations on the theme: the “Ginger,” pictured here, comes in black/black and beige/black; the “Gingerly” pump comes in ivory/snake trim, and the “Ginger2″ is a black lace that would be great for evening.  The “Ginger,” here, is $89 at Endless.   Ivanka Trump Women’s Ginger T-Strap Pump
Ha cha cha, indeed. These have a little bit of a rock and roll vibe to them, but I think they’re still subdued enough that you could get away with wearing them at the office — and the 2.5″ heel looks comfortable.  They were $231, but are now $118 at Endless (in 3 colors): black, gray, and a medium brown. Lola Cruz Women’s 228Z30BK T-Strap Pump
I usually like to go a bit nuts with the “expensive” choice for the Hunt, but I honestly prefer these $295 Rachel Zoe calf hair pumps over some of the $1K pumps I was looking at.  These just look classic, ladylike, and I think the top strap is dipped enough that it would also be flattering to the leg.  Gorgeous.  They’re $295 at Neiman Marcus. Rachel Zoe Karolina Calf Hair T-Strap Pump

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Comments

  1. Cleaning Services :

    Did anyone have problems convincing their SO to get a cleaning service for the home? I work in biglaw and when I do have free time, I don’t want to spend it!! My SO it super opposed to having someone clean our place, even though we could afford it if we wanted to. He’s from a cultural background that is very stingy about money – it’s a constant issue, but that’s another post – but he doesn’t get around to cleaning either. I’ve tried to talk to him about it but he just shuts down. He thinks we should be able to do this ourselves. I’d be fine with that if it ever actually got done, but it doesn’t – even when we try. Doesn’t have to be every week or even every other week, but once a month would do wonders for my apartment and my mind. Has anyone had similar issues trying to get their SO onboard with a cleaning service? If so, how’d you approach it, and did you wind up getting it?

    • I said, I’m not cleaning it. You do it, or we pay someone to do it. And then I didn’t do it, and it got messy, and he didn’t want to ACTUALLY do it himself (like many men, by “we” do it ourselves, he meant “you” do it).

      So he finally hired a service.

    • I insisted on this before my SO and I even moved in together, after I saw how he didn’t really keep up with his own place solo. I knew there was no way I could live at the level of ‘messy’ he was comfortable with, and that I would grow very bitter if I had to come home and clean up after him constantly to keep the house at what I consider an acceptable level of clean! So we have two cleaning ladies come every other week and split it 50/50. Maybe he’d be more on-board if you go for every other week, for the ‘big stuff’ (bathrooms, etc) vs. every week? You certainly have to spend some time in between keeping up with the dishes, laundry, etc, so its not like you are doing nothing all week. Argue it from your perspective and peace of mind, if you are the one who likes a cleaner house. Then, point out that time is the one thing in life that is irreplaceable… do you really want to spend minutes of your life, that you’ll never get back, scrubbing your toilets, on top of going to work every day of your life? Finally, point out that this is contributing to the economy, by employing someone who makes a living cleaning houses! Good luck!

    • Does he also come from a culture of male entitlement where his mother or some auntie or, god forbid, a sister is always delegated to do the cleaning? If so, he may have internalized some of this.

      At any rate, I’d do what sadie did.

    • The point of making money is to make your life easier. I just told my husband that I work 60+ hours a week and I refuse to spend my free time – that I could be spending with him – cleaning bathrooms, counter tops, the cook top, etc.

      Maybe do some research and have a firm proposal the next time you talk about it: “I have priced out cleaning services. It would cost $x amount for them to come once a month. Let’s try this on a temporary basis and see how it goes.”

    • If simply putting your foot down about it doesn’t work, you can develop a bad back. I did in fact decide to hire a cleaning service when I realised that a lot of cleaning postures compromised my back. It’s been much better, since.

    • Cinderella, MBA :

      Anyone have suggestions for accomplishing this if you’re not making lots of money? DH was laid off for several months last year; he’s back to work now but making 20% less. So, he does make a good argument for keeping spending to a minimum. But still, I’m exhausted working full time (and bringing in most of our income) plus taking care of 2 kids and sick of my dirty house. He does his fair share (usually), but his standards are lower than mine – the dirty house doesn’t bother him. Thoughts?

      • e_pontellier :

        It sounds like you should just have a discussion with him about your expectations / needs for a “clean” home. I don’t have a cleaning service, but I’m looking for one (any Brooklyn recommendations?). With DH, I just told him that it gives me anxiety when xyz isn’t cleaned to abc standard. This means coming up with specifics (e.g., cleaning the kitchen includes the stovetop, and cleaning the bedroom includes dusting the dressers AND vacuuming), but DH appreciated knowing. This way, I can actually be grateful when he cleans. Previously, I was just going after him and re-cleaning the things he skipped, which he felt weren’t necessary, and that just made him upset because he felt I didn’t appreciate all that he actually was doing.

        • Honey Pillows :

          Yep. This. Dear Young Buck couldn’t go to sleep before I came to bed, but his bedtime routine took a lot less time than mine (brush teeth, throw clothes on floor vs. clean out sink/start dishwasher, lay out clothes, start dryer/fold/put away a load of laundry, pick up livingroom, wash face, brush teeth, hang up clothes).

          Once he understood that I wasn’t futzing, but mentally checking those things off a list that had to be done before I could go to sleep, he started putting his clothes away at night and keeping the sink cleaner.

          In general, I think the responsibility for cleaning is internalized by women more than by men, and most of the resentment in cleaning, even when you have a partner who’s willing to help when you tell them what to do.

          Our messy male partners are perfectly capable of seeing what’s dirty and figuring out what needs to be put away. They just doesn’t think it’s their responsibility/doesn’t care. If a man realizes that taking responsibility for keeping things clean makes you less anxious, happier, and less stressed, he’ll probably do the cleaning or hire the service. It’s just getting that realization through his head.

          That was a bit off topic, sorry. To the OP, you need to explain to him that this is something that makes your life SO MUCH BETTER (sorry for ELLENCAPS). He loves you. He wants you to be happy. He just doesn’t understand how incredibly unhappy a messy house makes you.

          • Honey Pillows :

            Btw, yes, I know there are men wayyyy cleaner than some women, but most of the comments on here and my own experience are “He won’t clean the d*!@ toilet and I’m sick of it!” so that’s how I addressed the response.

      • Figure out how much it will cost to have someone come in and how often. Then figure out if there is something you can cut back on to make it financially reasonable. It doesn’t have to be dollar for dollar, just affordable. Then explain to DH that you can’t work as much as you do, care for the kids, and have to worry about cleaning. I think if you come at this from a position where you’ve worked out the details and you’re presenting him with facts, it will be easier than if you just say, “I want a housekeeper” and he just pictures money draining out of the family savings account.

      • This is tough. I think it’s very difficult for the person with higher standards to try to make the person with lower standards do the actual work to reach that higher standard. I’ve been the person with lower cleanliness standards before, and it can lead to resentment if your SO is always complaining about how you didn’t do a good enough job. If there’s a way you can relax your own standards, that might save stress in the long run. But if the dirty house really makes you miserable, an alternative approach is to figure out how much having a home cleaned to your standards means to you. If your budget is limited, is there something you’d be willing to give up – preferably a joint benefit like travel/entertainment/dinner out in order to pay a cleaning service? Personally, I hate cleaning and would give up a lot to pay someone else to do it. So the next time it comes up with your DH, if he says you really can’t afford it, tell him it’s important enough to you that you’d be willing to cut X out of your joint budget to pay for the cleaning service. Then the discussion can be less personal and more about ranking what types of “discretionary” items are worth to each of you. I use this strategy in a slightly different context, but it works. My DH is usually complaining that I’m not doing enough to pick up the house/take care of the yard, etc. I counter that I hate those things, would rather pay someone else to do it, and would give up X to be able to afford it. (FWIW, I make more $$ than my DH and work slightly longer hours too.) That usually ends the discussion, because my DH would rather do it than give up X (entertainment type expenses usually, like cable so he can watch sports). But I don’t see why this strategy couldn’t work in your situation too. Just be sure to offer joint benefits – like the entertainment things mentioned above, rather than something that only affects you, like clothing. You can’t be the only one to sacrifice :)

    • My husband still refuses. I used to have Merry Maids but I asked them never to leave the card on the counter. He would come home to a sparkling clean house and think that I was the one doing the cleaning. Eventually, I had to give it up, it was too much for my budget to take without telling him.

      I also did the same thing with a snowplow service because he would leave for work without shoveling and had no problem getting out in his truck but I kept getting stuck in my little car. He thought his friend was plowing us out and bought him a bottle of liquor for helping. Oops.

      • Yeah – I was going to suggest that if she works in Biglaw maybe she can just pay for it without her husband ever knowing? Although that sort of misses the point, which is that her husband doesn’t contribute to cleaning…

        • This seems like a terrible solution. This just contributes to the idea that cleaning is always “women’s work” and if she’s not doing it, its her responsibility to make sure it gets done. You and your spouse should be a team, and both should be contributing to things that make your home a happy, pleasant place! Husband needs to step it up here.

          • As problematic as the idea that cleaning is always “women’s work,” it’s also problematic that it’s not honest. Spouses should be able to be honest with each other. Especially about this sort of day-to-day keeping the house afloat and together type stuff.

      • That is so sad. :(

    • MaggieLizer :

      There was a wonderful thread a few months ago dedicated to cleaning services. A lot of commenters posted their reasons for finally breaking down and hiring a service, so maybe some of their reasons will resonate with your husband. I personally like the “supporting a small, female-owned local business” angle. Also, have you communicated with your SO that there are more benefits of hiring a service than just having a clean house – like reducing your stress and anxiety and preventing arguments about who has to clean what and when? He might be more willing to spend the money if he understands that it’s buying you peace of mind and the two of you a more harmonious home and relationship.

      • Exactly – you’re not spending $X per month for cleaning services. You’re spending $X per month to avoid the inevitable resentments and fights, while also freeing up time you can spend together.

      • I think you have to figure out what the aversion to cleaning stems from. For some people, it’s privacy concerns and not wanting a stranger in the house, or feeling like it should be something you do yourself, or not being the kind of person that has “help” or maybe it’s just a matter of being frugal. You have to figure out the root cause before you can address it. If it’s just stingyness, then I think you have to frame it in terms of money – for ex., I can’t be productive at work if I am worried about the house being a mess, this is interfering with my success at my job and I don’t want to save $100 on not having a service and get negative performance reviews in the process.

    • I also think, as women, sometimes we try to ‘compromise’ without realizing that in fact, there is no compromise at all, we’re just doing what *he* wants. I understand the point of not really liking the idea of just DOING IT regardless of his thoughts on the subject, but frankly, right now they’re just NOT doing it regardless of HER thoughts on the subject. Just letting him have his way isn’t ‘compromising’, it’s just letting him have his way.

      Particularly in this situation, where you presumably can afford to pay for the service yourself, with your income. If *he* isn’t willing to take on the cleaning himself, then I’d simply say, it needs to get done, this is how I’m going to solve this problem. If you have another solution which *doesn’t* involve me spending 20 hours a week on housework on top of the 60+ hours I work, I’m happy to listen. Otherwise, the cleaning service starts on Friday.

      If you both needed to contribute to the cost, then that would be a different conversation.
      In my case, it’s my husband who is the neat freak, he just doesn’t want to actually have to like, clean bathrooms all the time. Well, guess what, neither do I, and the toilet isn’t bothering me any. So he gets to pay for it. (I should point out, my house has never been *dirty*, he’s one of those people who prefers the house to look like a real estate sales model home at all times).

    • What about saying “I’d like to discuss this but every time I bring it up, you shut down. If you’d like to discuss, I’m open to talking about it, but if not, I’m just going to hire someone.”

  2. Maybe it’s because I’m short and have internalized ” always elongate the legs!!”, but I’m not a fan of T-strap shoes. Pumps are slightly less offensive than flats (whyy?) , but are they that much of an improvement over regular pumps?

    That said, the red ones are really beautiful.

  3. Chicago meetup! :

    Let’s vote on a day and location! I’ve set up a survey here:
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L57P9VN.

    I’m suggesting two days: Tuesday, Sept 25 or Thursday, Sept 27. I’ve set the kick off time in the poll as 5:30pm. I know this will be too early for some, but I (at least) plan to be there until at least 8pm.

    Primebar, Rittergut Wine Bar and 312 Chicago were repeat nominations for place, and so became finalists. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

    Winning time and place to be announced tomorrow and will be reposted periodically until the actual day. I’m really looking forward to meeting you all!

    Terry

  4. L from Oz :

    Um, don’t your feet get wet if you wear shoes like this in the rain? Not that it really matters – my feet are far too flat and generally unwell to wear anything like this. Besides, my city is casual enough that shoes like this would be incredibly conspicuous.

    They do look lovely though.

    • I can’t see how any of these shoes would be practical for a rainy fall day. They scream, “I’m a chorus line dancer” or, “I’m a tourist trying too hard” to me.

      They look like they’d be slippery when you want traction, and would let your feet get wet if you had the misfortune to step into or near a “mystery” puddle (common in NYC, and *gross*).

      I find the shoes that are a cross between ballerina flats and sneakers (in dark grey or black) to be most useful for day-to-day, and even booties (which I loathe) are more useful for damp weather walking.

    • well, yes, but on most days only my commuting shoes see the light of day anyway. I wouldn’t choose the Aerosoles as “commuting heels” for the reason you mention (aside from preferring to pin up my cuffs for the commute rather than trying to find comfortable heels).

      I’m eager to try this look, though I am going to pretend to climb up stairs when trying on in-store. I have one pair of ankle strap heels that is gorgeous when walking on flat surfaces, but the angle of the strap makes it impossible to walk up stairs without feeling like I’m about to amputate my ankle (well, either that, or leave the strap so loose that it’s messy looking and doesn’t help keep the shoe on my foot).

    • I’ve ruined ballet flats in the rain from stepping into puddles. Heels with a tiny platform fare much better for me.

  5. LOVE T-strap shoes. I have a narrow heel, and T-straps keep the shoe on my foot when pumps would be pulling free all the time.

  6. T-straps do not flatter my ankles/legs at all so I never buy them. I agree that they look elegant and professional.
    I have just bought a Printed Bandage Pencil skirt by Alfani (Macy’s private brand) and highly recommend it. The white-on-black print featured on the website is very office-appropriate and you can’t tell this is a bandage skirt with horizontal seams throughout. There were 2 other patterns in store – all in neutral black-white range.
    The skirt fits very well on a curvier figure; it is the perfect knee-length, is machine washable, and costs under $30. It runs large.
    I also tried on Snakeskin-Print Zippered Pencil skirt by Alfani and liked it a lot. It is more expensive, but still affordable and does not have horizontal seams.

  7. Knit Blazers? :

    What do you ladies think of knit blazers? I like the look of some
    of the knit blazers, but I am wondering whether these types of blazers will be too informal for my first year at a particular mid-atlantic biglaw firm. Suits are not required everyday. Thoughts?

  8. Paging TCFKAG :

    TCFKAG – I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know how to submit things for your tumblr, but I need shopping help!

    My sister is getting married next month, and wants me to wear champagne colored shoes with my navy (vintagey, 40’s style dress). I can’t find anything champagne that is remotely attractive and/or comfortable…HELP! My target budget is under $75, but I may make an exception for some gorgeous shoes :) TIA

  9. I never find t-straps that work for me. Something about the strap makes me feel like they are hard to fit, if that makes sense. I am very tempted by the Lola Cruz pair, though. I am picturing it with black tights in the fall — I think it would look amazing. Anyone have any experience with the brand?

  10. Speaking of shoes, can anyone recommend a stylish and attractive pair of shoes for a european city walking vacation? Weather will be in the high 60s/low 70s and the shoes have to actually be attractive, so no frumpy buckle loafers ;-) I am thinking something neutral, maybe black, that can go with lots of skirts, dresses, jeans too. My budget is under $200, preferrably $100 or less.
    I know this is a bit like hunting for the white whale, but in the event one of you has stumbled on such treasure, pls. share. TIA!!!

    • I’m going to Venice next week and have been looking for The One True Shoe. So I eagerly await responses with you.

      I do have a pair of black Naturalizer maryjanes and a pair of olive suede Privo maryjanes that I think will do. My dilemma is socks or no socks, especially since I will probably be wearing ankle pants or skirts. I find it much more comfortable to have socks, but it does look kind of stupid/frumpy. The Naturalizers and Privos have fabric lining, which helps. There’s also a variety of Tsubos (can’t think of the name, but I’ve seen them on Endless and DSW) that seem very squishy and comfy and I think may also have a lining good for going sockless. Skechers, Puma, and Bare Traps are other brands to try, but I think it does depend on one’s foot.

      I’m also thinking about just owning the socks-with-ankle-pants look – I got some nice ankle socks from Hue, so maybe it won’t look as frumpy as athletic ankle socks. The so-called invisible socks still show with these shoes and I find they slip down and bunch uncomfortably under my foot anyway.

      • I just bought some invisible socks from Hue – the ultra low ones – and am wearing them with flats today and couldn’t be happier. They have an elastic-y band and a sticky part at the toes that makes them stay on. You can see them a tiny bit if you really look, but it’s hardly noticeable. I got mine at Nordstrom Rack (2 pairs/~$5), maybe check those out for your trip?

    • This buying special Euro-holiday shoes, is that a thing? I see this question so often. There is probably nothing wrong with the shoes you own right now and use in town. Bring sneakers or something similar for the walking tours, because you will encounter some brutal cobblestones, and a nice pair of heels for going to restaurants and such.

      • It is a thing for me! I normally repurpose shoes i already own because i tend to walk a lot anyway and i like to keep cute and comfy shoes for this purpose, but i happen to be at a point where i don’t have a cute pair of transitional weather shoes so thinking of killing 2 birds with one stone: get a really comfy pair for the trip and then keep it in my rotation for later. FWIW, i do not do sneakers or other athletic shoes outside the gym, cobblestone vacation or not. Last winter, we went to Vienna and i was okay with a pair of riding boots. However, i worry it will be too warm for that in late September, which is when the current trip is planned. It might sound superficial but i really can’t do the whole tourist sneaker look. Also, changing to go out doesn’t always work out well for me b/c DH and i like to leave for the day and just be out so the shoes need to be able to go day to evening, assuming we don’t hit up anything to0 fancy for our meals. Not judging others, btw, it’s just not for me!

        • It’s the time of year – if I were going when it was colder, I could easily make do with 2 pairs of ankle boots. They’d look good with jeans and with nicer pants (I wouldn’t bother with skirts or nicer shoes). If it were hotter, I have a couple of pairs of sandals that would probably work. It’s mostly the socks-no socks, ankle pants-long pants that are causing problems.

          Also, to be perfectly honest, except for the above-mentioned ankle boots, I really don’t have any shoes that would, without question, be comfortable for walking around all day, to the degree that I anticipate walking in Venice. Same as Adele, I just can’t do athletic sneakers unless I’m at the gym. Call me vain. I have a pair of Skechers that are fairly comfortable, with socks, and I’ll bring those, but I’d love a pair of shoes that I could wear without socks and work with ankle pants and skirts. So far the Naturalizers are in the lead. I also plan on bringing a big ol’ roll of moleskin to try to prevent blisters.

          I also think what kind of shoe you find comfortable is a very individual thing. Ankle boots with a low (less than 2-inch) heel are the best for me, but I think it will be a bit warm in Venice for those.

        • I think you’d be fine in the riding boots.

      • This, yes.
        Why do Americans have ugly shoes that they are too embarrassed to bring on Euro-holidays, to begin with?

    • I went to Europe last year in October, and mostly wore cognac riding boots from Corso Como (best purchase ever). There were one or two days that it was a bit warm for those, and I wore something similar to the Giani Bernini Kitkat flats (link to follow). Mine are Giani Bernini and look really similar, but they had a strap across the top by the ankle. I love them, but I wish I would have sized up, so definitely find them at Macy’s and try them on first. Take into account that your feet may swell when walking a lot (which is what I didn’t do). They are very comfortable for my picky feet and body, so hopefully they’ll work the same for you!

      Also, I wouldn’t always recommend ballet flats or flimsy-ish shoes. I walked into a bathroom that had about 2 inches of fluid on the floor in Athens, and I was very thankful for my boots at that point.

    • Maha Breathe by Patagonia. Best walking shoe ever.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Toms are incredibly comfortable for lots of walking around – not sure if they’re the style you had in mind but they’re a step above sneakers at least. They come in lots of different colors too and are around $50.

  11. Anon in NC :

    I love the Jones New York shoe!

  12. Sweet as Soda Pop :

    I have a polo shirt fashion question for the hive… I will be recruiting at several college career fairs over the coming weeks. As such, I have many company logo-ed polo shirts I have to wear, which aren’t very stylish, or flattering too my figure. What are some things I can do to look more fashion forward, while still looking professional, and not covering the company’s logo on the shirts?

    TIA!

    • 2/3 attorney :

      Have you had them tailored?

    • Can you take them to a tailor and get the polos more fitted? I think that plus pairing with a skirt and a great watch or bracelet would make me feel more fashionable.

    • check out the sept. 7 entry on http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/

      Her work shirt is a t-shirt, but she still dressed it up. There may be some more ideas in the comments.

    • I had this dilemma but the polo shirts only came in men’s sizes that ran quite large and ended up looking like a muumuu on most of the women. We also had to wear pants. If you’re stuck with an oversized shirt I recommend straighter leg/slimmer fit pants rather than a wide leg, and tuck in the shirt with a feminine belt. Also jewelry and shoes will help! You’ll usually be standing for a few hours at a career fair so choose comfortable shoes.

  13. Threadjack: Am going to Tokyo, have just 1 day to sightsee. Any highlights, and any tour guides anyone would recommend? Staying in Shinkuju (sp?) district.

    • On one of the days I was in Tokyo, I wanted the juxtaposition of the very peaceful with the very hectic and did a late-morning visit to Happo-en gardens in the Shirokanedai neighborhood of Tokyo (there’s a metro station nearby):
      http://www.sunnypages.jp/travel_guide/tokyo_leisure/japanese_gardens/Happo-en/2168

      And for evening, I went to Harajuku to see the kids in their crazy, topsy-turvy, cut-up avant-garde fashions and wild makeup. Loved the contrast.

      Tokyo is an awesome place! Enjoy!

    • If you have some time very early in the morning go to the Tsukiji fish market and see if visitors are still allowed in to watch the tuna auction.
      If not, go get some sushi for breakfast – it is incredibly fresh. Nothing you eat at Tsukiji will be bad, and almost nothing you eat in Tokyo will. In fact I have eaten my way around Tokyo several times…

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