The Hunt: Stylish Knee-High Boots for Work

Stylish Knee High Boots for Work | CorporetteSure, 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.

Which are your favorite knee-high boots for the office? As booties are big this season do you find that you’re wearing them less than in prior years, or do you still prefer the sleek look of knee-high boots with dresses?  On the flip side, are knee-high boots inappropriate at your office?  We haven’t done a round-up in a while (2014, 2013, 2012), so I thought we’d take a look.  As noted in previous years, the sleekest boots for work avoid Western influences like buckles and heavy seams, and while a heel isn’t essential (flat knee-high boots have come a long way!) they do tend to be more flattering with skirts.  (We’ll do a separate roundup of flat knee-high boots for work a bit later this season; stay tuned!)  Fun questions for the gang: do you pretreat your boots or otherwise make changes (e.g., waterproof sprays, adding rubber heel tips) or do you only do that when you take your boots in to the cobbler for their seasonal refresh?  If you love your boots, which brand and style is your favorite for work? 

First, a round-up for some special interests:  — unless noted all links go to Amazon, Nordstrom or Zappos:

As far as general sales go, do note that Cole Haan is on sale today at Nordstrom Rack, 6pm has a ton of Weitzman boots marked 50-70% off (including these gorgeous boots), and Amazon has a ton of Taryn Rose on sale for at least 25% off.

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How to Wear Flats in the Winter

How to Wear Flats in Winter | CorporetteIn cold weather, what are the best ways to wear flats to work? With socks? Tights? Reader E wonders…

Could you recommend some ways to style flats for the winter? In years past I have worn skirts and opaque tights with pumps or booties in cold weather (I don’t live in a particularly cold climate), but earlier this year I decided to give up on heels altogether because of some foot problems I’ve been having. I’m happy with my flats for summer looks, but ballet flats just look so odd with tights to me. I’m hoping for some better style ideas! What flat shoes work best for winter looks? Thanks!

Great question, Reader E — and even though it still feels kind of warm outside, the cold will be upon us in no time. (Winter is coming!) We’ve talked about wearing flats all the time, as well as interviewing in flats, but not in a while. Obviously you can just wear flats where you would have worn pumps, but if you can’t walk in flats with tights (I can’t!), or if you feel like something is off with the silhouette, then we need to dive a bit deeper.  I’m curious to hear what readers think, but here are some of my thoughts:

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The Hunt: Booties for Work

Booties for Fall | CorporetteSure, 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.

Booties: they’re in one season, out the next — but right now they’re hot. They’re inherently a more casual look than, say, pumps — boots become more and more casual the blockier the heels get, and the more Western-y the details get; a seam or two is on one end of the spectrum, while fringe, buckles, and belts are on the other end. For casual days at the office they can be great with ankle pants (worn with low, hidden socks so your ankles are still exposed), tights and skirts for casual days, or — if hemmed appropriately — trousers or flares. (The bottom of the hem should graze the top of your foot, leaving only about 1/2″ of heel exposed in the back.)  On the weekends, of course, they’re great with all sorts of denim, and the bare-leg-plus-bootie look continues to go strong (but to me that really looks like a weekend look!). I thought I’d round up a few that look great to me — readers, which are your favorite booties this season?  Which are your favorite styles of booties (e.g., pump-booties, stiletto booties, rugged booties, wedge booties) to wear to work — or do you primarily wear them on the weekends?

(Another fun question: we haven’t talked about peep-toe booties in AGES — what’s your feeling about them now? Yea or nay?)

First, some roundups of special interest shoes (unless noted, most links go to Nordstrom, or Zappos):

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Sniff Sniff: How to Prevent Stinky Shoes

How to Prevent Stinky Shoes | CorporetteWhat are the best practices to avoiding stinky shoes?  How do you destink your shoes once they’re already funky?  Reader K has a delicate question regarding smelly shoes:

I need advice on how to keep my shoes from developing a bad odor. I wear hose 90% of the time with my dress work shoes, and they develop a foul odor within just a few weeks of wear. I have tried odor eaters without success, old pantyhose filled with baking soda, rotating my shoes to never wear them two days in a row – nothing works. I haven’t normally had smelly shoes or feet, but now that I am in a professional environment and wear dress shoes instead of socks/sneakers, I can’t get a handle on this. I don’t notice the smell when my shoes are on, but when I take them off at home, look out. I am afraid that it will keep getting worse and my feet will smell all the time!

Interesting.  We’ve talked about delicate issues such as body odor, sweaty feet in pumps, what to do when drycleaning doesn’t remove smells, and general shoe care for women, but I don’t believe we’ve talked about stinky shoes. Reader K herself mentioned some of the other oft-cited advice, but I might stress a few things:

  • Give your shoes at least a day off — it lets the leather dry out.
  • Products like Silver Linings have insoles “infused with antimicrobial silver ions for women who wear shoes without socks.”  (They’re available at Amazon, but here’s the product page for more behind the technology.) Readers have also previously recommended Summer Soles, for open-toed shoes.
  • Look into ventilated shoes, like Geox — they’re designed to let air circulate better.  They’re sold at the usual spots (Zappos, 6pm, Amazon, Nordstrom), but here’s a link to their product page about the technology behind the shoes.
  • Avoid plastic shoes that don’t breathe at all.
  • Try the freezer — put your shoes in a ziplock bag, then stick them in the freezer for 24-48 hours.  (This is also supposedly a great way to defunk your expensive denim.)
  • Wear socks.  Trouser socks, knee-high pantyhose, even shoe liners all exist for exactly this purpose.  I tend to prefer toe liners when they don’t interrupt the line of the shoe. Here’s a link to our older discussion on what hose to wear with pumps (if any).

Here’s an extensive thread on Reddit with more tips for battling smelly feet; Mashable also has some advice.

Ladies, have you had to deal with stinky shoes?  What are your best practices for avoiding funk, and then your best suggestions for destinking your shoes?  



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The Hunt: Purple Pumps

Edelman Orella PumpSure, 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: purple pumps are one of my favorite things to wear to work. I like all shades of purple, truth be told, but my absolute favorites for pumps are the ones the color of wine, with a lot of reddish brown in them (but too dark a color to be considered a classic red or even a cordovan pump). They add a tiny bit of pizzazz, and look great with a variety of colors, including: black, navy, gray, cobalt, olive/army green, and beiges and whites.  We haven’t done a roundup in a while (2014, 2012, 2010).  Ladies, what color heels (not black or nude) do you find to be the most versatile color for pumps? Have you bought any purple pumps recently, or loving any older pairs?  

Some roundups of special interest shoes (most links go to Amazon, Nordstrom, or Zappos):

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Stylish, Comfortable Shoes That Are Made to Last

Salvatore Ferragamo Carla Pump | CorporetteFor some women it makes more sense to splurge on “investment” shoes for work that (hopefully) you can wear for years, rather than choose cheaper ones that you’ll keep having to replace. Reader M wonders:

I am struggling with my shoe game! I would like to invest in shoes that are stylish, comfortable, and long lasting. I notice that guys purchase one expensive pair of work shoes but they last their entire careers. I work in the finance area in a young company. Have you seen any gems lately you would like to share?

I’m curious to hear what readers think here, because I have mixed opinions about this. First, the “classic” black pump does change — right now toes are pointy; in recent years they were almond-shaped instead. Second, beware of pregnancy, aging, and feet — many women find that their shoe size will change throughout their lives. Personally I gained about a half size with each pregnancy, which — after having to donate the vast majority of my shoe collection — makes me happy I never committed and spent the money on that pair of Manolos or Choos. Even just with aging, your arches may fall and your feet may widen. So: I kind of don’t believe in “lifetime” shoes for women.

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