Navy Skirts… and Tights?

What color tights do you wear with a navy suit? Reader B wonders…

I’m a skirt suit kinda girl, in part because I prefer to commute in flats and then switch to heels at the office. (Since I’m short, most of my suit pants are hemmed for heels.) Winter isn’t a problem for my black and grey suits; I just trade the hose for black tights. (Side note: the Commando tights you recommended are now my absolute favorites.)

Here’s the issue: two of my favorite skirt suits are navy or navy pinstripe (similar to this J. Crew and this Banana Republic). Pairing navy tights with a navy suit seems crazy monochromatic, and most of the heather or grey tights I’ve seen feel a bit casual for the office. So I end up wearing plain old hose, and my legs freeze on the way to work.

Hmmn.  Great question — this is actually the combo that led me, many moons ago, to wear purple fishnets to work (pictured, in a random picture I happened to take that day – navy sweater, navy wool skirt, purple fishnets, purple shoes), although the last time we took a poll on fishnets at the office readers were really against ’em.  (Although, if you want, you can get a pair of purple fishnets here, or a crochet set here.) Poking around a bit online, here are a few more ideas: [Read more…]

How to Keep Your Feet Warm and Look Professional

keep your feet warm look professionalWhat shoes look professional and can be worn with socks? I keep getting questions about this, so let’s discuss. (Pictured.) First, reader J wondered:

I was wondering if you have ever covered where to find great workplace-appropriate shoes that you can wear with socks (that aren’t tall boots). The weather where I live is often cloudy and rainy so wearing shoes without socks leaves my feet cold, but I don’t want to wear boots all the time. Any suggestions? It seems like all I can find are very casual shoes or something that looks like it belongs in the men’s department.

Then, Reader L asked:

I’ve been searching your blog and others for advice about what shoes to wear to work when you have to wear socks. I mean real socks, not trouser socks. Did you already do a post about this? If not, would you consider it?

Great questions! I’m one of those people who constantly suffers from freezing feet, so here are the solutions that I’ve found in the past:

– Wear medium-height boots. Whether they’re flat-footed, wedge-heeled, or high-heeled, there are a ton of great options out there. We just did a roundup of knee-high boots, but in the past my go-to boot with pants has been the medium boot (above the ankle but below the calf) — I find the medium boot to be much more comfortable and less restrictive than the knee-high boot.  [Read more…]

What’s Off Limits in the Winter?

Up to my ankles in snow, originally uploaded to Flickr by Lollyman.Reader A wonders if and when it’s appropriate to have bare legs in the winter…

With the crazy weather in DC and other east coast cities this winter – windy and 35 degrees one day, 65 degrees and sunny another, and raining yet another, how do you suggest approaching the issue of tights or pantyhose? I work in a fairly conservative office, with a dress or skirt and blouse dresscode for women with no casual days and no jeans, ever. In February, is it ok to go to work sans tights or pantyhose if its particularly warm or very muggy? Is there a temperature guideline that you or others follow?

I’m curious to see what others say here. For my $.02: even though I don’t have a problem with bare legs from spring to fall (know your office, though!), something about bare legs in winter — even if it is 60 degrees — bugs me. Are tights or pantyhose really that “heavy” that you can’t wear them with a lighter-weight jacket? The problem with looking “out of season” is that it is a judgment call — as in, if someone thinks your outfit looks weird, they may think your judgment is out of whack, which may affect how you’re perceived at work.  It kind of reminds me of stories I’ve heard about little kids who refuse to dress seasonally, refusing to wear anything but shorts in the wintertime or corduroy pants in the summertime.  (Pictured: Up to my ankles in snow, originally uploaded to Flickr by Lollyman.)

[Read more…]

The Care and Feeding of Tights

Reader S wonders about tights…

I seem to be having a spell of terrible luck with tights this year – I wear a pair two or three times and then find a hole or a run. I’m willing to pay more for tights that last longer, but I’m afraid I’ll just continue to have the same bad luck with a higher pricetag unless I get some guidance. Suggestions?

I think proper tight care could be part of your problem, but it may also be which tights you’re buying.  As those of you who follow my Twitter feed know, I attended a press event earlier this week where Jenny Altman, the style adviser to Bare Necessities, sang the praises of Commando tights as being the only truly opaque, non-digging tights, as well as the praises of Wolford tights.  Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Spanx tights, as I mentioned earlier — they’re pricey but worth it! (Pictured: Commando 70 Denier Matte Tights Panty Hose, available at Bare Necessities for $34.)

That said — I’ve still had $8 tights that have lasted me years, so let’s investigate further… [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Plush Tights

Plush Fleece Lined TightsSuddenly, it has turned bitterly cold in New York, making me regret losing my favorite black cable-knit tights a few years ago.  I’ve recently heard of these fleece-lined tights from Plush, though, and am intrigued — but finding them is a bit of a challenge.  I can’t wait to try them, though!  They’re generally $35 at:   ShopBop (black, navy, charcoal, limited sizes only), Bare Necessities (black and charcoal, limited sizes), Revolve (black size M only), and Singer 22 (black size S only).

Note that Amazon has a number of more affordable options as well.


Polls on hose, and thoughts on other interview accessories

What Kind of Hose Should You Wear to an #Interview? | CorporetteToday’s reader mail comes with a ton more of questions about interviewing…

I’m a 3L and have an interview next week with a panel of district court judges for a judicial clerkship. I have a few questions with regards to my upcoming interview:

1.) I (and the interview) are in the Midwest, so it’s cold and snowy outside. I am planning on wearing a black skirt suit and am wondering if it’s appropriate to wear black tights with my suit? Or would pantyhose (off-black) be more professional?

2.) What do I do about a coat? Is it ok to wear a wool coat over my suit? I’m not sure if there will be anywhere to hang it or leave it once I get to the courthouse. Or should I just leave it in the car and just suck it up during the walk to the courthouse from my car?

3.) What about a purse? All I’m planning on bringing with me are copies of my resume, writing sample, etc. so I don’t necessarily need a large bag, but I don’t know if it’s unprofessional to bring my purse and carry the paperwork in a leather portfolio.

Good luck on the interview!  We’ll go through all of your questions… [Read more…]