The Hunt: The Best Ankle Boots for Work

the best ankle boots 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.

Even though it’s been so warm lately, boots season will be upon us soon — so if you’re hunting for the best ankle boots for work, this roundup is for you. For this Hunt we’re focusing on low-heeled or flat options that are really walkable. Readers, do you have a favorite pair of ankle boots for work right now, or are you eyeing one in the store? Do you still feel like the Chelsea style is a classic, or do you prefer some of the newer iterations of ankle boots?

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The Hunt: Purple Heels for the Office

purple heels for the office 2018Purple Heels for the Office - 2018 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.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I always feel like purple heels for the office are a hugely versatile basic that every woman should have. Wear them with navy if you’re uncomfortable wearing black with navy! Add some interest to black and gray outfits, and have some fun with contrasting colors by wearing purple on days when you’ve got green or red accents, and fun with complementary colors when you’re wearing purples or blues. The definition of “purple” comes and goes over the years, of course — in years past we’ve rounded up wine-colored pumps with names like “bordeaux” — while this year there are a ton of super bright purples available for purchase, probably in part because the Pantone color of 2018 is ultra violet. Readers, do you have a pair of purple heels for the office — or purple flats or booties? How do you wear them, and do you consider them a basic or a “fun” shoe? 

Before we get to today’s roundup, here are a few specific categories (like under $100, extended widths, and comfort options) for purple heels for the office:

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The Hunt: Stylish Women’s Belts for Work

Stylish Women's Belts 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.stylish women's belts for work 2018

We haven’t done a hunt for belts in a while (if ever? hmmn) so I thought we’d round up a few today. There are some great sales, as noted below — and ladies, if you don’t have an animal-print belt, there are a TON of options, particularly for leopard print belts — now is the time to stock up. (We’ve noted before how these are surprisingly versatile options, and the leopard belt + red dress is a favorite style trick of Selina Meyer on Veep.)

Readers, what are your favorite belts right now? How do you wear them — and where are your first stops when you’re hunting for stylish women’s belts for work? 

Some particular favorites at the moment, featured below:

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The Hunt: Comfortable Work Heels

comfortable work heelsSure, 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.

Today we’re hunting classic, comfortable work heels — perfect for interviews, a starter work wardrobe, keeping at your office, and more. A few things to note at the get-go:

  • of course you don’t have to wear heels to work — check out our recent roundup of cute flats for the office
  • a note on comfort: comfort/walking with confidence is the top thing to look for — e.g., if you feel uncomfortable walking in 4″ heels don’t get 4″ heels! — you should feel comfortable standing in your heels for at least an hour (such as at a networking event) and feel comfortable walking at least three blocks (such as to go to a restaurant near the office with clients). You can change into your commuting shoes for longer treks or other more specialized situations, of course
  • don’t forget you can wear black with navy
  • take care of your shoes — scuffs, scraped leather, and more can be taken care of pretty quickly either by yourself or by a shoe professional — you can also replace heel tips and even the soles of your shoe with rubber portions to increase the comfort (here’s our post on how to make your shoes last longer if this is a big problem for you!)

Ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your most comfortable work heels? Are you Team Block Heel, Team Kitten Heel, or Team Stiletto? How long on average do your work heels last for you?

Before we get started, here are a few of the heels in our Hall of Fame category:


Pictured, row 1 (all under $100): one / two three
Pictured, row 2 ($99-$600): four / five / six

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The Hunt: Pencil Skirts for Work

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.

We haven’t done a hunt for pencil skirts in too long — what are your favorite pencil skirts for work these days, ladies? (Are you Team A-Line, Team Pencil, Team Dress, or Team Pants?) I’ve always been a fan of pencil skirts as a great structured basic — pair it with a low heel or sleek flat, pretty much any kind of top (blouse, fancy tee, pullover, cardigan) and a necklace or two and you’re good to go. If bare legs are OK at your office (know your office) then Jockey slipshorts or Spanx are great to wear beneath them — meanwhile check out our favorite tights for work as the weather gets colder. (We also have a Guide to Pantyhose, should you need them for interviews, very formal/big days, or if you just prefer pantyhose!) An important note on pencil skirts: don’t forget to cut the vents! Many pencil skirts come with a slit in the back, side, or front; this may be sewn shut with a loose little criss-crossed stitch.

These are some of the pencil skirts for work that we’re loving now — we’d love to hear your favorites!

Curious for older roundups of great pencil skirts for work? Here they are from 2016 and 2012

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The Best Work Bags for Interviews, Commutes, Your First Day of Work, and Beyond

best work bagsSure, 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.

What do you think are the best work bags, readers? How does your answer change if you’re looking for a great tote bag for an interview, your first day of work, business travel, and beyond? Who do you think makes for the best tote bags for work, interviews, and beyond? For today’s roundup of the best work bags I’m mostly featuring fun, happy prints and colors, but if you’re looking for a neutral, basic bag we’ve rounded up some great Hall of Famers below as well. As I’ve noted before, I think the best professional tote bags in general may be leather (more polished), a room for a laptop or possibly a legal-size notebook, and have intelligent details like feet, keyfob chains, interior pockets, and more. By contrast, whenever looking for a great tote bag for an interview (especially a day of interviews like with OCI) I’ve appreciated tote bags 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.  Some of the most neutral, timeless options if you’re looking for the best work bags include these, pictured below:best work bags of 2018!

 

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