The Hunt: Sleek Strappy Pumps for the Office

Sleek Strappy Pumps for the OfficeSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.

When the weather starts to get brisk, I’m always on the hunt for great strappy pumps to wear with tights to work, whether they’re ankle strap, T-strap, Mary Jane, crisscross, or other styles with straps. (Particularly as someone with narrow heels but a wide forefoot, I swear by these for comfort and stability!) Strappy pumps like these are great for days where boots may feel too soon — and they can also be great as shoes that “live in your office” to change into if you do your commute in rainboots. This year, there are more heeled oxfords on the market than in previous years (like these nice ones from Isolá and Calvin Klein) — and of course wearing booties to the office is so trendy right now that we’ll do a separate roundup for booties (stay tuned!). We’ve included some of our favorite strappy office pumps this year — which are your favorites, ladies? In general, what shoes are your favorites to wear with tights to work — pumps, strappy pumps, booties, or something else? 

Psst: here are our favorite tights for work (just updated the post!).

Pictured at top, clockwise from top: one / two / three

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The Best Merino Wool Sweaters for Work

The Best Merino Wool Sweaters for WorkSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.

Now that the calendar says it’s officially fall, we’re supposed to be easing into sweater season — cozy merino wool sweaters, for example — but in most parts of the country, temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. Let’s put that aside for now (it helps if you’re sitting in air conditioning) and start picturing the more typical autumn weather that will have you reaching for your boots, jackets … and merino wool sweaters. We’ve mentioned the many advantages of merino before: It’s very warm but also lightweight (often light enough to wear beyond fall and winter), and it holds its shape much better than cotton. It’s not quite as luxuriously soft as cashmere, but it tends to be more durable and is often machine washable. (Here are some tips on washing merino wool.) If you’re on the hunt for merino wool sweaters for work, now is a good time — there are a lot of sales out there, some offering deep discounts. Which brands are your favorite for merino wool sweaters? Do you prefer merino to cashmere for warmth? Which brands have you found to be the best at holding up to washing and/or dry cleaning — and do you typically machine wash, hand wash, or dry clean your merino wool sweaters? Anything else you like merino for, like socks, tights, skirts, long underwear, shells for under jackets? 

(Psst: Here’s our last roundup on the best affordable cashmere for work. And, er, our post on the best summer work clothes might be helpful today as well.) 

Here are some of the best merino wool sweaters for work available now:

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Wine-Colored Pumps: A Versatile Shoe for Office Looks

What to wear with wine-colored pumpsSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.

Every year, I argue that wine-colored pumps are some of the most surprisingly versatile pumps you’ll have, particularly for office looks. Wear them with black, gray, navy, beige, and white! Wear them in spring with kelly greens and pastel colors! Wear them in autumn next to emerald tones and other fall hues! If you’re looking for a fun, colorful shoe, a dark red/deep purple shoe is a great workhorse for your work wardrobe. It was interesting to note that this year there was a dearth in general of colorful pumps of any color — red is about as wild as most brands are going. (Embroidered/fabric/velvet shoes are popular — so many embroidered booties! — but I think that’s more of an impulse purchase and, frankly, much harder to incorporate into a work wardrobe.)  So: onward with the wine-colored pump roundup for today — but I’m curious to hear from you guys: do colorful pumps have a place in your working wardrobe? Do you prefer embroidered/fabric/velvet shoes to mix things up at the office — and how do you wear them? (For example, do you play it safe and wear a shoe with a bold print/detail with a neutral or monochromatic outfit? Or do you delight in mixing patterns, colors, and textures?)

Links for the pumps pictured above, going clockwise from top LH corner: one / two / three / four

Here are some of our favorite wine-colored pumps out there right now…

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The Best Laptop Bags for Work

the best laptop bags for workSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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 the best laptop bags for work, ladies — which ones have the pockets you need, the weight (or lack thereof) that you like, and generally looks great on your commute? Do you prefer to have a laptop sleeve within a larger tote bag, or a laptop bag by itself? How big is your computer — and how important is padding to you? We haven’t rounded up stylish laptop totes and sleeves in a while, so I thought we’d take a look!

Pictured at top.

Some of our Hall of Famers styles, mentioned below:

the best laptop totes for work

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The Best Tote Bags for Work, Interviews and More

The Best Tote Bags for Work - 2017 Roundup!Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.

Here’s today’s question, readers: what do you think makes for the best tote bags for work, interviews, and beyond? I’ve argued in the past that the best tote bags for interviews are nylon (lightweight) but structured (non-floppy, stand up by themselves on the floor), large enough for a folder (for copies of your resume), and are mostly a solid color without brash logos. In contrast, I’ve argued that the best professional tote bags in general may be leather (they often look more polished), be a laptop bag (or have a removable laptop sleeve), and have a ton more organization as needed for your daily schlep.

Ladies, do you have different tote bags for interviews and tote bags for work? Do you tend to collect tote bags in general? (I know I’ve got about 10 of them in my closet…) Which ones do you carry the most (and/or love the most)? In general, what qualities do you think makes the best tote bags for work?

Pictured at top, clockwise from top left: one / two / three / four .

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The Hunt: Job Interview Heels

Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.

In honor of on campus interviews coming up, I thought I’d focus today’s Hunt on job interview heels. What DO you look for in a job interview heel, readers? The most important thing to me, first, is that a job interview heel is comfortable for you — this may mean arch support, it may mean a puffy, sneaker-like insole, it may mean anywhere from a 2″ heel to a 4″ heel. (You can also wear flats for an interview, of course!) A comfortable shoe means a confident stride — I’ve seen some women interviewing look wobbly and unsteady on their feet. Don’t choose height  for “style reasons” if you feel like a baby giraffe just learning to walk! The second thing that’s most important for an interview shoe is that the shoe should be pristine — no scuffs, marks, or anything. If you’re interviewing in a heel you’ve had for a while, take it to the cobbler for new tips and polishing, at the very least. (Along the lines of a “confident stride,” note that many cobblers can add rubber tips to heels and even replace part of the sole with a rubber portion to make the shoe less slippery.) Readers, how about you — have you gotten any great job interview heels lately? Have you seen any faux pas or other fashion gaffes (or made any yourself) while choosing heels for job interviews?

Pictured at top, clockwise from top: one / two / three

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