The Best Wool Trousers for Women

The Best Wool Trousers for Womenicon2017 Update: We still think these are some awesome wool trousers for women — but sadly most are sold out at this point! Check out our latest roundup of the best warm women’s dress pants 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.

Wool trousers are a basic if you live in a cold climate — but sometimes it seems like it’s next to impossible to find a pair that is flattering in the stores.  I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites — I tend to prefer flat-fronted pants without cuffs, as you’ll notice.  Readers, which are your favorite wool trousers?  How many seasons, in general, do you find that they last?

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The Hunt: Comfortable Ankle Boots

Manolo Buckled Ankle BootieSure, 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’re far enough into winter now that you should have had time to pull out all of last year’s boots, as well as perhaps some from this year, and — if you’re like me, at least — you may be wondering, “Why do I not have any comfortable, simple boots?”  I thought I’d throw together a few selections of that utilitarian classic, the ankle boot.  No, they’ll never be runway material — but they’re perfect for a commute, a day on your feet, or just generally throwing on when you can’t be bothered with higher heels.  As I started writing, I realized that Endless.com is having a crazy sale that ends today — 25% off all purchases over $100, and 30% off purchases over $200 on bags and accessories — so I threw in Endless comparisons where I could.  Enjoy! (Pictured above: For those of you looking for a size 37 boot in the $750 range, note that Bergdorf Goodman has this pair of Manolo ankle booties on sale… had to share!)

Naturalizer - Instant (Black Leather) - FootwearIf simple, comfortable, and inexpensive black boots are what you’re looking for, these Naturalizer boots just might fit the bill — they’re only $109 at Zappos. (Note that Naturalizer has limited sizes on sale for $99, and Endless has limited sizes for $99.) Naturalizer – Instant (Black Leather) – Footwear
David Tate - Vera (Black Leather) - FootwearVery interesting — I’ve never heard of this brand before (David Tate), but this boot has more than 100 positive ratings on Zappos. They look like very walkable, comfortable shoes, and if anyone’s looking for a burgundy ankle boot, look no further… (They’re also available in brown.) All three colors are available for $119 at Zappos, while Endless has the black for $109 (plus 25% off today), and the brown for $76.96. David Tate – Vera (Black Leather) – Footwear
Clarks - Gallery Art (Black Nubuck) - FootwearI’m always a fan of Clarks shoes — they’re simple, comfortable, and generally classic. Note, though, that the stitching on these Gallery boots may make them a bit more casual.  They’re $139 at Zappos, but with the Endless sale they come down to $104.  (Note that both Zappos and Endlesshave the brown pair on sale for $111). Clarks – Gallery Art (Black Nubuck) – Footwear
BeautiFeel Women's Sophie BootI really like the brand BeautiFeel as far as comfortable shoes go — they tend to be more fashionable, but they’re built like sneakers on the inside. These suede boots (they also come in black leather) seem lovely. They’re $275.95, but with the 30% off they come down to $193. BeautiFeel Women’s Sophie Boot
Stuart Weitzman - Leisure (Black Suede) - FootwearThese Stuart Weitzmans look like nice, simple wedge boots — comfortable and just a wee bit edgy. They’re $262 at Zappos, but if you buy today on Endless they’re an extra 30% off, which brings them down to $225. Stuart Weitzman – Leisure (Black Suede) – Footwear
Arche Women's Muriz Ankle BootI’ve heard tell of Arche shoes for years but I hadn’t actually owned any myself until a crazy Ideeli sale earlier this year ($69 for $375 sandals, thankyouverymuch) — and just simple sandals were ridiculously comfortable. These boots look like the kind you’ll have for years: incredibly soft leather, the legendary Arche comfort, and a totally standard heel/toe. They’re $425 at Endless, but with the discount of 30% they come to just under $300. Nice. Arche Women’s Muriz Ankle Boot

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The Hunt: Shrunken Blazers and Sweater Blazers

sweater blazersSure, 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.

One of my favorite wardrobe staples is the shrunken blazer.  It can be a great way to keep an outfit sleek (such as by adding it to a sheath dress) or to make a more casual outfit, more professional (by adding it on top of, say, a hip-length tunic blouse) — it’s also a great look with most jeans.  Expensive ones are easy to find (such as, say, the one pictured above (Elizabeth and James ‘Elizabeth’ Shrunken Ponte Knit Blazer, available at Nordstrom for $395) — but for today’s “Hunt,” I thought I’d look for ones under $150… If you’ve recently purchased a shrunken blazer, please let us know in comments!

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The Hunt: The Purple Pump

Croc-embossed platforms

2017 Update: We still think these purple pumps are cute, but you may want to check out our latest roundup of  what to wear with wine-colored 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.

We often mention a purple pump as being a great solution to both the “what do I wear with navy” dilemma, as well as the “I’m bored to tears of my black shoes but don’t want people to think I’m a clown” woes.  But then again, finding a purple pump can be a tricky business — so we thought we’d round up a few for you in a range of prices.  Readers, did we miss any great purple pumps you’ve found recently?

 

Jessica Simpson - Jessica (Electric Purple) - FootwearWe’re not normally fans of Jessica Simpson shoes, but these are highly rated on Zappos, cute, and relatively inexpensive — $68.95 at Zappos. Available in purple patent (pictured), black, red, and a felt grey.  Jessica Simpson – Jessica (Electric Purple) – Footwear
iconThese pumps from brand Me Too are such a dark “violet” that you almost don’t even notice it — they’re also great for a woman who likes a more squared toe. They’re $88.95 at Nordstrom (available in violet (pictured), black, and pewter). Me Too ‘Pixy’ Pump
Sofft - Astoria (Violet Patent) - FootwearWe’re fans of Sofft generally (they’re part of our “most comfortable heels” roundup) and we like the fact that these have a slight point to the toe, as well as a heel height under 3″. They’re $104.95 at Zappos.   Sofft – Astoria (Violet Patent) – Footwear
Croc-embossed high heelsTalbots has some great-looking croc-embossed heels in a “dark rosette” — what’s particularly nice is that they have a 3.5″ heel (pictured), a kitten heel, and a platform heel (pictured at the very top) — all in the same dark purple stamped leather. (They also offer the shoes in a lovely light “Madison” blue, as well as a camel “Luggage,” brown, gray, and black.) The 3.5″ heels are $139 at Talbots.com (online only). Croc-embossed high heels
Moschino Cheap and Chic Women's Offline Patent PumpLove these gorgeous purple patent pumps from Moschino Cheap and Chic, marked 45% off at Endless — the purple strikes us as the perfect tone to provide a subtle pop of color with either navy, black, or gray trousers. Were $375, now $206.25 at Endless — — with a 25% off discount that applies at checkout, the price comes to around $155.  (Also available in a teal blue).  Moschino Cheap and Chic Women’s Offline Patent Pump
Claudia Ciuti Women's Afrik PumpThe texture in these shoes is a wonderful addition — the round toe is perfect. The price drops an additional 25% ($64.49) once you get to the final stage of checkout — was $469, marked to $257.95, comes to around $193 at checkout. Available at Endless. Claudia Ciuti Women’s Afrik Pump
Christian Louboutin Yotruche 70 python-effect pumps
iconLove. Ly. Even though we’re not quite sure what “python-effect pumps” are, we love these Christian Louboutin peep toes. They’re the classic 3″, and we like the silver heels and red leather soles. Were $1,030, now $566.50 at TheOutnet.com. Christian Louboutin Yotruche 70 python-effect pumps
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The Hunt: Wide Belts

CONTOUR STRETCH BELT 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.

The waist-cinching wide belt seems to be a new classic — it’s an easy way to add some shape to a dress, sweater, or more, and it can be a great way to express your personality and add a bit of an edge. It seems like there are a ton out there right now that are both professional as well as inexpensive. We thought we’d round up some that are under $100.

Fashion Focus black faux leather stretch buckle beltWe like that this belt is available in both black and purple — and the stretch portion of the belt ensures fit and comfort. Was $48, now $29 at Bluefly. Fashion Focus black faux leather stretch buckle belt
CONTOUR STRETCH BELTLove the look of this one — the round buckle, the stretch fit, the pebbled look of the faux leather — there’s something perfect about it.  It’s $39 at Express.  CONTOUR STRETCH BELT
Banana Republic Stretch and shine belt Although raters warn that this belt runs small, we love the wider-in-the-back, skinny-in-the-front take on the wide belt (although we imagine you’ve got to have a flat stomach to pull it off!).  It’s $49.50 at Banana Republic.  Banana Republic Stretch and shine belt
Black Toggle Belt by White House Black MarketThe toggle details on this White House/Black Market belt are interesting and add almost a horsey, Mulberry-inspired vibe to the belt. The belt is $58. Womens Black Toggle Belt by White House Black Market
Layfayette 148 New York Leather Obi BeltThis belt isn’t *quite* as wide as the others, but we like that it’s leather, and that it wraps with a tie closure.  (Gorgeous merino cowl neck sweater, also!)  It’s $98 at Neiman Marcus. Layfayette 148 New York Leather Obi Belt
Obi Leather BeltLove this Michael Stars belt, available in both black and cognac — the leather looks supple and soft, and the thin leather strap looks like it would be easy to knot.  It’s $98 at MichaelStars.com. Obi Leather Belt

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Readers, what belts have you bought lately?  Any favorites?

The Hunt: Colorful Raincoats

 Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Cotton and cashmere-blend twill trenchSure, 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.

Here in NYC, last week’s tornado-like weather has made us focus on the issues that really matter: namely, colorful, happy raincoats to battle a dreary day.  We tried our best to round up some professional-looking ones in a variety of prices.

Mossimo® Black: Contemporary Long Trench Coat - Plum PurpleThis is a happy purple coat that would work well for both fall and spring, we think. It’s $49.99 at Target (and is actually available in about 9 colors).  MOSSIMO Mossimo® Black: Contemporary Long Trench Coat – Plum Purple
MICHAEL Michael Kors dark yellow cotton-poly 3-button walker jacket Love the fun yellow and the wide lapel with this MICHAEL Michael Kors coat — was $190, now $103 at Bluefly. (Also available in black and khaki.) MICHAEL Michael Kors dark yellow cotton-poly 3-button walker jacket
Jane Post Duffle Coat Look how happy she looks — perhaps it’s because her Jane Post coat is on sale from $445 to $285. We like the bright red, as well as the hood, and the fact that it’s water repellant. Available for $285 at Neiman Marcus. Jane Post Duffle Coat
Anna Molinari Cotton trench coat
iconLimited sizes left in this fabulous red trench coat, but ‘cmon — it’s 75% off, so that makes sense. Like the simple tone-on-tone buttons, the full lining, and the bracelet length sleeves on this fabulous red coat by Anna Molinari. Was $1170, now $292.50 at The Outnet. Cotton trench coat
Kate Spade Sketchpad Ivy Raincoat Love this swingy trench from Kate Spade — the mustard color is exactly the right shade to cheer you up on a gray day.  Also, the cotton/silk blend seems luxurious.  It’s $525 at Kate Spade.  Sketchpad Ivy Raincoat
 Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Cotton and cashmere-blend twill trenchWeirdly enough, there were a number of great coats in the $950+ realm of things. For this roundup, we like this bright fuschia cotton and cashmere blend trench coat by Sonia by Sonia Rykiel — it’s such a fun pop of color, and we like the shiny buttons. It’s $940 at Net-a-Porter.com. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Cotton and cashmere-blend twill trench