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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Weekend Wednesday: Summer Hats

summer hats for professional women

This is an occasional feature where we take a deeper look at weekend wear for professional women.

After my first pregnancy left me with a zillion sun spots (I think something about it made me more sensitive), I’ve gotten hugely into hats (as well as sunscreen) for weekend days. I know commenters were just talking about beach hats, so let’s discuss more broadly — which are your favorite fashionable hats, and where do you get them? Have you figured out a science to which head shapes look best with different hats? (It’s totally trial and error at this point for me!) Has anyone found a way to make a straw hat last longer than one summer? Pressing questions, indeed.

Some of the hats I’m liking now, pictured above:

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Reader Mail: On pant lengths and shoes…

Today’s reader mail comes from J, who is trying to keep her pants from dragging on the ground…

As a New Yorker, I walk at least a couple blocks to get to commute to work. As many women do, I usually leave my heels at my desk at work and wear more comfortable shoes to and from work. The problem is that for my pants to look good with heels, they are too long to wear with the comfy flats/cute sneakers I wear for the commute and drag on the dirty streets. How do women who have to walk for part of their commute deal with this conundrum and not ruin their pants???

This is a dilemma a lot of women face, and there are a variety of ways to deal with it. (Pictured:  Pants too long, originally uploaded to Flickr by puck90.)  First, we would suggest assessing what heel height, in general, you’re comfortable in for work shoes — and having your pants hemmed to that level. As a reminder: your pant should brush the top of your foot, and no more than an inch or so of heel should be showing in the back. For us, that comes to around 2″, 2.5″ — which, honestly, can usually be worn with commuting shoes that have a decent (thick) sole. (We just tend to wear our higher heels exclusively with skirts instead — it works out particularly well in the summertime if we opt to commute in flip-flops.) But let’s say your comfort level is close to 4″. In that case, you have a few options.

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