Navy Skirts… and Tights?

1What 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...]

Staying Cool in a Hot Office

Fan, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ryk Neethling.How do you stay cool in an overheated office? Reader L — who notes that she is nowhere near “hot flash” territory — wants some advice on working with some overactive radiators:

You’ve written about staying warm in a cold office. What about staying cool in a hot office? The weather outside is frightful, but my office feeling as hot as fire is not so delightful.

Great question, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. (Pictured.) Some tips off the top of my head:

  • Dress in layers. Obviously. You may want to particularly look into breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk (which can block cold winds outside but still be comfortable inside).

[Read more...]

The Hunt: Wool Flannel Pants

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.

We haven’t talked about wool trousers for years, so I thought we’d discuss winter weight wool pants. Have you bought any lately? Which brands do you love best (for warmth and fit)? Do you prefer pants with linings, or do you often wear silk long johns or a full leg shaper (e.g., Spanx) beneath, negating the importance of the lining? [Read more...]

Socks, Cold Feet, and Professional Shoes

Feet in the snow, originally uploaded to Flickr by BuzzFarmers.What 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...]

How Does Your Beauty Routine Change With the Seasons?

Chilly, originally uploaded to Flickr by CrowcombeAl.I’ve been unpacking some of my fall/winter clothes as the days get chillier, and I thought it might be interesting to talk about how our beauty routines change with the seasons, too.  For me, it’s a few things:

  • I give up on airdrying my hair, and as I use the blow dryer more I’m switching my hair products back to the “keep my hair straight and frizz free” side of the bathroom cabinet (such as this) and putting away my “enhance my curls” side of things.  (We’ll see how that goes this winter.  If, unlike me, you’d like to rock your curls all winter, check out this post on how to do be curly when it gets colder.)
  • I stop using bronzer (because it’s ok to be pale)!
  • I start using a more moisturizing face wash (I like St. Ives Olive Scrub, which I discovered while pregnant)

How about you guys? What changes about your beauty routine when the seasons change?

(Pictured: Chilly, originally uploaded to Flickr by CrowcombeAl.)

The Hunt: T-Strap Pumps

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’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — pumps are great, but for days where I’ll actually be walking/standing/running around, I always prefer shoes with straps. T-straps are classic, ladylike, and often super comfortable even if they’re not pitched as “comfort shoes.” In walking cities like NYC, they’re often great for the rainy fall day because they stay on your feet while hopping around puddles and running from sudden showers.   I’ve rounded up my favorites below (in both a slideshow and a chart, oo la la) — readers, have you bought any great T-strap pumps lately?  [Read more...]