How to Lighten Your Load

how to lighten your loadIf you’re carrying a million bags, how do you look professional?  How can you lighten your load and reduce the number of bags you’re carrying? Reader R wonders…

I work in a large corporate environment and recently had a daughter. I’m back at work, but I feel like a bag lady. I’m only 5’3″ and have to carry in my laptop, purse, pump, lunch, and coffee. (Not brave enough to add my gym bag to the mix, although I’d like to.) I feel like the bags overwhelm my frame and generally make me look smaller, younger, and unprofessional. How do others juggle all this STUFF?

Congratulations on your daughter, R!  Great question — I can see how this is a problem for new mothers, but also for other people carrying too much stuff.  We’ve talked about what your tote bag says about you, as well as how to save your back while commuting, but we haven’t really talked about a) how to lighten your load, and b) how to balance your load (particularly if you’re petite) so it looks more managed.

From my perspective, most of reader R needs to do is to reduce the amount of stuff she carries.  Some tips: [Read more…]

Rainboots — for Summer?

Rainboots for Summer? | CorporetteWhat do you wear to keep your feet dry during summer showers? Do summer rainboots exist? Reader P wonders.

A shoe question for you – what are the best shoes to wear when commuting in hot summer rain? I usually wear my tall Hunter rainboots fall through spring, but they’re way too hot for muggy +80 degree summers. Are plastic flip flops okay? They seem most functional, but I feel so weird wearing them with a suit or work dress. Is there something in between?

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I hate having wet feet — here in New York you can easily and unexpectedly wade into a puddle (including in a covered place, like the subway) that’s half a foot deep, if not more. I’m a huge fan of my Hunter rainboots for cooler months (pictured), and honestly I still pull out my rainboots if the weather is at all cool (up to 75 degrees or so, probably), but with kneesocks instead of tights.  I don’t have them, but these “topless” knee socks from Spanx look perfect for wearing boots with bare legs — they’re thin, and leave no elastic mark beneath your knee.

Summer rainshowers are different, though — no one wants to wear a pair of knee-high plastic boots when it’s 95 degrees. My usual commuting shoe, the flip flop (I hate to admit that!) is also unsuitable for wet weather, in my experience — the footbed of the shoe always seems to get too slippery for me in the rain, and the last thing I want when it’s pouring is to go go slowly and carefully. So my usual go-to outfit is: [Read more…]

Makeup For Biking to Work

makeup for biking to workWhich makeup is best for a biking commute, or another commute where you expect sweat and possibly wind? Reader K wonders…

Being lucky enough to live only four miles from my office, I’m wanting to start taking a bike to and from work every day for personal fitness, sustainability, and savings on gas and vehicle wear-and-tear. The difficulty is with wardrobe and makeup. Specifically, making sure I don’t look like a war zone every day. I have a feeling this is an issue for women in very urban environments as well, where walking and subway commutes can be the transportation method of choice. Since I’m in Texas heat is the biggest issue, but I’d also be interested in any ideas for dealing with the cold, wind, and other factors. What are some ideas for making sure I don’t look like a hot mess at work after biking in?

Great question. Biking to work (or walking!) are solid ways to sneak more exercise into a busy life — I actually really miss the time I used to spend walking to and from work. We’ve talked about the best bags for commuting, how to cool down quickly after a hot commute, and how to keep your regular bra sweat-free.  We’ve had guest posters share their love of wedges for walk-to-work heels, and I’ve shared my own trick — getting a pair of comfortable/stable “commuting shoes” that were the same height as my regular pumps (so I didn’t have to hem my pants differently), but maybe a bit uglier than what I’d otherwise wear around the office; I’ve also talked about how I’ve logged way too many miles in Reef/Teva flipflops with arch support (not recommended).  But we haven’t talked about which makeup is best for a possibly sweaty/windswept commute. [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Wick’em

Reader L passed this interesting little tip along: “As part of my New Year resolutions I’m trying to walk more during my lunch hour, but I noticed my bras started to get a bit smelly, I guess from the bit of sweat (ewww). I didn’t want to change into a sports bra just for a lunchtime walk, so I did some research and found this moisture-wicking bra liner. It’s easy (and fast) to put on (except with a dress), it’s comfortable, and my bras are in much better shape now from my lunchtime walks.” I think this is a great idea, and an easy fix for people who are trying to fit a bit more movement into an already-packed day. The liners are $20 at Bare Necessities. Wick’em: Bra Liner (picture after the jump!)

(L-2)

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The Hunt: Wool Coats

Reiss Leo Fit and Flare Coat

2017 Update: Check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

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 have always done my winter coat shopping in January (if not later) because of all the deals that you can get. Coats in particular are generally classic pieces, and considering the amount of wear you may get from it (wearing it several days a week, for months, for several years — at least) I’ve always seen it as a justifiable “splurge” item. For today’s Hunt, I thought we’d look for wool coats that you could fit a blazer beneath. The trick here is to get something several sizes larger than what you normally get — if you’re a size 4, consider looking at 6s and 8s. Readers, have you bought any great wool coats lately? Do you wear blazers beneath your coats, or do you have another system (e.g., keeping your blazers at the office)?
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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…]

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