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The Hunt: Waterproof, Weatherproof Shoes for Work

weatherproof-shoes-for-the-officeSure, 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 don’t think we’ve had a good discussion on weatherproof shoes for work in far too long — so let’s discuss, ladies. Do you own both rain boots and snow boots where you are — or just rain boots, with the assumption that if it’s that snowy out you can probably work from home? What makes a shoe acceptable to wear all day at work, versus just for your commute? Do you have any rules about changing out of bad weather commuting shoes (e.g., no stopping at the coffee room before you change — or no big meetings until you’re in your “office shoes” — or do you actually do the thing where you change outside the office, like in the lobby of your building)? For those of you who are consultants, in court, or otherwise away from home base often — what do you do?

(Pictured at top, clockwise from top left: tall boot with laces / Chelsea / short with back bow / tall bow / bootie / heeled bootie)

For my $.02, I have an almost surreal memory from my lawyer days of having to review documents at the office one weekend when it was truly horrible outside — so bad that I took the subway instead of calling for a car. I may have had to take a different subway line than I normally took because weather was so bad — I remember getting out of an unfamiliar subway exit on one of those interior, tight streets around Wall Street and seeing snow piled everywhere, several feet thick, and I felt like the last few blocks to work were a true trek.  It could have been worse — a few months earlier, I had happened to buy super ugly Lands’ End snow boots on sale on a friend’s recommendation, and I was so grateful I had them!

Psst: we’ve also discussed how to do business casual in cold weather, as well as how to buy a great winter coat.

Before we get to the featured weatherproof shoes for work, I thought I’d round up some weatherproof, waterproof options in special categories:

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The Hunt: Stylish Velvet Blazers and Other Wintry Jackets

stylish-velvet-blazersSure, 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 – I love a good wintry blazer, usually to keep at the office or use as a lighter layer in fall weather. Velvet is indeed having its moment, so this hunt is heavy on stylish velvet blazers for work — but we’ve also included tweed, wool, and other heavyweight fabrics. (Interestingly, corduroy blazers are difficult to find at the moment!) Ladies, do you wear heavyweight blazer separates to the office — and which fabrics are your favorites? Gotten any great winter blazers lately?

Before we get to our favorites for today, check out some of these general categories:

Looking for an older roundup? Here’s our 2015, 2014, and 2013 round-ups.

velvet-cape-blazerI’ll grant you, this one’s a little out there — velvet and a cape — but it’s also the most affordable, at $44. Here are my thoughts: the WhoWhatWear collection at Target has been pretty reliably good, and the “cape-blazer” is on-trend and — if you’re looking for something festive to wear to a holiday office party or the like — this is a good option. It’s available in regular and plus sizes. Women’s Cape Blazer – Who What Wear
halogen-velvet-blazerFor a more traditional look, this $89 velvet blazer is hard to go wrong — love the dark burgundy here.  Sizes are pretty limited, alas. Velvet Blazer
uniqlo-roitsfeld-blazerOoooh: I love this heavy wool version from Uniqlo. (It apparently at one point had a matching skirt, but I can’t find it online — these pants look like they match, though.) There isn’t much festive about this, but if you’re looking for a heavy weight but affordable blazer, I’d start the hunt here. Sadly, it seems to only be available in sizes XS-M at the moment. Carine Tweed Jacket
madewell-velvet-blazerThere are a zillion black velvet blazers in this price range, but only this $89 blazer and the pictured $158 blazer have a lot of sizes left — several others are almost entirely sold out. I like that this one is only $158, collarless, and available in sizes 00-12. Lauren Velvet Blazer
regent-blazerThe Regent blazer has been around for years, with new colors and patterns coming out in seasonal fabrics like linen in summer and tweed in winter. In somewhat exciting news, the Regent blazer just got a matching pant, at least for the colors that come in their super 120s suiting fabric. This pictured blazer doesn’t have a matching pant, but that’s probably a good thing — but I love that happy purple houndstooth. It’s $248 full price, but use code SHOPNOW to take 25% off.   J.Crew Regent Blazer
smythe-velvet-blazerYAASSSS. There is always a seasonal iteration of the Smythe blazer, and I’m dying over this green velvet version, at Nordstrom. I love the fitted, tailored style, and the emerald velvet looks lovely and plush. It’s $695, available in sizes 4-8. Smythe Velvet Blazer

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!

(L-all)

 

The Best Stylish Velvet Blazers + Wintry jackets

How to Wear Booties to the Office

how-to-wear-booties-to-the-officeAfter years of tall knee boots, I’m personally thrilled that ankle boots and booties are 100% back. I started out writing our usual Hunt feature but then realized: There are so many styles now, it’s worth discussing: How many booties/ankle boots do you have for work, ladies, and how do you wear them?

Pictured at top, clockwise: tall bootie / boot-pump / Western boot / low ankle bootie.

To my eye there are a few major styles, with distinct ways to wear them — and not all of them are for work:

how-to-wear-low-ankle-booties-to-the-office1) The low ankle bootie, such as the Petty, pictured — this looks best when worn with ankle pants or possibly wider trousers, but it can be difficult to wear with skirts and dresses unless you are very young and/or attending Coachella. Still, these have been around for years and are the most established and probably the easiest to wear to work. Examples: Sam Edelman (note these come in wide widths sizes 4-13), Vionic, BP., Dolce Vita.
how-to-wear-western-booties-to-work2) The almost Western bootie with a chunky heel, possibly with a dip in the front of the boot (such as the Margot, pictured) — wear them with ankle pants, skirts, trousers, and dresses, but note that these have a more casual connotation because of the Western vibe. Examples: Rag & Bone (buckles), Rag & Bone (sleeker, pictured), Dolce Vita ($142), and UGG.
The Best Kind of Booties to Wear to Work (and they're $99!) | Corporette3) The sleek bootie/pump, probably with a skinny (and high) heel. These come and go in terms of popularity — they were out for a while but seem to be coming back now. These are in many ways the easiest to wear because they’re just like a pump. Anything goes — wear them with pants, trousers, skirts, tights, hose, bare legs, whatever — you can even dress them up to wear with a suit. Examples: this highly-rated $99 pair from Bella Vita (pictured – note that it comes in four widths), this pair from Aquatalia, or this pair from Ecco.
perforated-booties-for-the-office4) The sandal/open bootie, often seen with perforations, a peep toe, a sling back — these are best for transitional weather, and often read to me like bulky sandals. If you can’t wear sandals to work, don’t wear these. Examples: Adam Tucker by Me Too (pictured), Frye, Isola, Free People, Vince Camuto, Paul Green.
how-to-wear-tall-booties-to-work5) The tall ankle bootie, often seen with a block heel — this is the most modern version, in my mind, and I’m still getting used to seeing it around.  I first spied it on BrainDead (this GIF is the best screenshot I can find right now), and thought to myself, well, hey, she’s supposed to be a bit of a rebel/outsider, so it’s fine — but now I’m seeing more and more of them, particularly with skirts (knee length or lower), culottes, and more, including in fun fabrics like velvet. (Nordstrom has a dazzling number of velvet booties right now, including these $89 boots.) Know your office and yourself here — if you have any doubts, I’d say it’s best to save it for the weekend right now. Examples: Vince Camuto (pictured, only $140),  Prada, TopShop ($150!), Paul Green (water resistant), Steve Madden (platform!),
clog-booties6) Weekend booties: definitely save these for the weekend, unless you work in a very creative office: moto booties, clog booties, lug soles, and anything with shearling or a harness. Pictured: the best selling clogs at Zappos from Dansko.

Ladies, what are the major types of booties in your work wardrobe — and how do you wear them to the office? 

(L-all)

The Hunt: Tights for Work

the-best-tights-for-workSure, 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.

As cold weather sets in, I thought we’d do a roundup of some of the best tights for work out there. Ladies, which are your favorites — which are your favorite everyday tights, your favorite superwarm tights, favorite opaque tights, and favorite shaping tights? For me, my favorites for everyday are my Spanx shaping tights, for warmth, my fleece tights from Plush, and for opacity — which is lower on the list for me than comfort and durability, but I know is key for a lot of other women — are my Commando tights. I can’t wait to hear what your favorites are!

First, some general categories — and do note that we’ve talked in the past about how to care for tights, as well as hunted for the best thigh-high stockings for work.

bestselling-tights

Above: a few Hall of Famers, pictured: one / two / three / four

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The Hunt: Strappy Pumps

strappy-heels-for-wearing-with-tightsSure, 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.

If you’ve got narrow heels like I do, tights can be a problem with classic pumps — shoes I was fine with while barefoot always seem extra hard to walk in while wearing pantyhose or tights.  Still, after a certain point in autumn, bare legs just look silly, no matter how warm your body runs. My solution for a conservative office has always been to wear pumps with straps for most of the winter.  Now, of course, booties are so popular you may be able to wear those instead for all but your biggest days (know your office!) — we’ve rounded up some of the sleeker bootie/pump hybrids in bullet points below. Still, for those of you who prefer the sleeker look of strappy pumps, I thought we’d feature a few best selling styles and some current picks.  Readers, what shoes do you wear with tights in the winter? Are you on Team Bootie or Team Strappy Pump (or both? or neither?) Bought any great ones recently?

Some special interest categories (and those bootie/pump hybrids we mentioned):

Some of the best selling styles (we mentioned above include):

strappy-heels-for-work-bestsellers

Bestsellers row 1: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Bestsellers row 2: 56 / 7 /

* If you have wide feet, check out our roundup of workwear brands making heels for wide feet. Curious about previous roundups for strappy flats? Here are our favorites from 2015, 2014, and 2012.

In addition to the best-selling styles pictured above, some of our favorites that are new to shelves include:

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The Hunt: Purple Pumps

purple-heels-for-workSure, 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.

Oxblood, burgundy, port, wine, sangria, claret — I’ve always thought this  purpley/red wine-blood color is perfect for work shoes. Wear purple pumps to work as a neutral with navy and black — add a tiny touch of color to light gray outfits — and have fun contrasting them with pops of yellow, bright blue, and bright red.  Ladies, do you wear purple heels for work? What exact shade is your favorite? Of the trendier styles (pointy toes, block heels), do you have a favorite? Do you have any favorite purple pumps from years past? 

Some Hall of Famers are pictured here — these are best selling styles that come back year after year, priced $15-$595…

purple-heels-for-work-best-sellers

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Curious for some of our older roundups? Here they are from 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2010. Our featured favorites for today include:

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