The Hunt: Strappy Pumps for Work

strappy heels for work2017 Update: We still think these are really cute strappy pumps for work, but you may want to check out our latest roundup of Sleek Strappy Pumps for the Office.

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: I find classic pumps challenging in tights (damn my narrow heels!). As the weather gets colder, though — particularly if you’re commuting in rain boots or snow boots — tights become more practical. My way of dealing with this has always been to keep strappy pumps at the office. They’ve become some of my favorite shoes over the years because I find them much easier to walk in. We haven’t talked about strappy pumps in almost a while, though, so let’s discuss… Readers, what shoes do you wear with tights in the winter? Are you a fan of strappy pumps for this purpose — or do you prefer to wear booties and shooties? Bought any great ones recently?

First, a round up of some broad categories (most links, unless otherwise obvious, go to Nordstrom or Zappos):

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The Hunt: T-Strap Pumps

2017 Update: We still think these are cute t-strap pumps, but you may want to check out our recent roundup of Sleek Strappy Pumps for the Office.

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…]

Sheer, Strappy Camisoles — Are They a Don’t?

We were a bit flummoxed when we got this e-mail:

I am an attorney and I just recently bought a super cute camisole from JCrew to go with a new light summer suit. The problem is, I don’t know what to wear underneath it because it is a little sheer. I assume I will be wearing my suit jacket over the camisole the whole time, but I’m still a little nervous about just wearing it plain. I was looking at nude colored shaping camisoles, but I am really clueless when it comes to that stuff. Any ideas?

OK.  Let’s assume the reader bought a darker color of the camisole, and not a flesh-colored one, and is still having second thoughts about how to wear it by itself.  Here’s our $.02:  There are many things this camisole is great for. Layering beneath a v-neck cardigan. Layering beneath a dress that is a little too low-cut. Layering beneath a — well, anything.  It’s a nice fabric that will feel nice against your skin. We would even say that this camisole is great for a blazer that you’re going to keep buttoned up (although, lazy as we are, we prefer to wear a t-shirt beneath a blazer like that because anything with sleeves will help you keep it clean and odor-free between drycleanings).   However — we have a problem envisioning a way to wear this as a blouse that wouldn’t make people in the hallway think, “Wait, did she forget to put on a top today?” Here are some general problems that we see with this that we would avoid, in general, for office wear:

  1. Sheer
  2. Spaghetti straps
  3. A back that is so low-cut it’s unclear if your bra will be peeking out of the top of it (let’s assume that the front is, or can be adjusted to be, high-cut enough)

On a summer day, without concern for the spaghetti straps, we might advise you to buy a second, identical camisole from J.Crew and wear it under the first to make it more opaque without adding too many competing straps.  But for work?  We think this piece works best as a layering piece for the office.  But: that’s just our $.02.  Readers, what do you say?

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