Navigating a New York Winter with Style and Grace

How to Dress Professionally For a New York Winter | CorporetteReader B has some good questions about navigating a New York winter:

I work for a global financial firm and will be heading to Manhattan for a week-long business trip in mid-January out of our NY offices. As a lifelong Southern California Girl, I am totally clueless how to navigate the weather and still look professional?

I’ve seen your posts on individual aspects (footwear, coats, bring a pashmina, etc) but was hoping you might have an overall take on how to travel for work in a cold climate for the uninitiated, such as:

  • Will my Hunter wellies + warm socks be enough to get me from the hotel to the office to dinner?
  • Can I strut down the sidewalks in my kitten heel boots or will they get ruined?
  • Is my thin wool coat over my suit jacket enough or should I splurge on a down coat? (I noticed Overstock had some good looking coats and since this trip is a regular part of my new position, I don’t mind spending money on a few investment items.)
  • How do most people in NY handle the office to dinner? Do I need to tote any sort of change of clothes with me?

I’m interested to hear what the readers say on this one.  (Pictured: Slush, originally uploaded to Flickr by holly_northrop.) First, I would say this really depends on your trip.  If you’re going to be either a) working closely with senior executives from your firm or b) meeting clients, then I would axe the Hunter wellies unless they’re a basic black.  They’re fine for a commute to and from the office, but I wouldn’t want to be sitting around at dinner with VIPs while wearing them.  (I have a sad, sad story about wearing Uggs to dinner with my senior partner and a client, but we shall have to save that for another day.  But really, talk about huge regrets.)

As far as shoes go, the primary thing to look out for in NYC is the uneven streets and even some subway corridors — slush and rain can accumulate to make some ridiculously large puddles.  Wellies are great if you’re not paying attention, but with just a bit more care and attention you can avoid them entirely.  In fact, I would go so far to say that unless there is a blizzard expected (such as our recent Snowpocalypse) or it has been raining for days, you should just wear your regular boots.  I touched on some good brands and other waterproofing methods in this post a few months ago; at the very least I would recommend spraying your boots with a waterproofing agent before you leave. Kitten heel boots should be fine on the sidewalks — if you’re heading to a spot like SoHo, beware of cobblestone streets (they are not kind to shoes or to their wearer!).  If you’ve done a ton of walking and find your heels have worn unevenly, when you get home you may want to take them to the cobbler to get a new rubber heel put on the boots.  In fact, if you’re lucky you’ll be able to expense cabs to and from dinner, which will make a lot of these questions a moot point.

As far as coats go — to be honest, it really depends on the material of your coat (sometimes a thin wool/cashmere blend is just fine).  If you layer it with a wool scarf or wrap, a hat, and good gloves, you should be fine for all but the most blustry days.  I have historically been opposed to puffy coats (whether it was the movie Romancing the Stone or Working Girl, I’ll never know) but I must admit a friend just bought a fuchsia Land’s End puffy coat and looked adorable in it, so there’s that.  (They’re even on sale right now for $99.)  You may also want to check out my post on silk long johns — they are fabulous under pants suits.

As for dinners —  it depends on who you’re dining with and where you’re going.  For example, if you’re going on a date and want to change into something more alluring, I used to just swap an element of my outfit — change to higher heels, jeans, perhaps a lower top or more clingy sweater — rather than changing my entire outfit.  That said, for the vast majority of restaurants in New York, you can go wearing whatever you wore to work.  If you’re going to an extremely upscale place, you might want to call ahead when you get a free moment, and see if the hostess can give you some guidelines (e.g., jacket + tie for men might be a more formal place for you).  If you’ve got a charity ball, you can check out some of our other posts on that here or here.

Readers, what are your tips for the New York winter, specifically?


  1. sylviaburkina :

    Road Warriorette has several good posts on business travel in winter. I bought these boots based on her recommendation and love them.

  2. I agree that your wool coat should be good enough over your suit. If you wear a down coat over a suit you risk overheating/sweating. But, yes, hat/scarf/gloves will be key.

  3. Kat – the people demand to hear your Uggs story!

    To the questioner – since you’ll only be there a week and you say you’ll be making this trip regularly, I suggest you don’t buy anything new in advance of this trip. After you’ve made the first trip, then you’ll have a better idea of what you need to buy to be prepared for future trips. It’s New York City; if you really need something while you’re there, you can get it easily.

  4. One note on sidewalks in NY & heels.
    There is an art to navigating our sidewalks.
    Never step on cracks, or rather *in* them. Never walk on grates. Watch for cracks on subway stairs, too.
    Basically anything that can catch your heel & scrape it appears very frequently in NYC, and since you’ll be doing a lot more walking than usual (unless you cab it), this creates much more oportunity to scrape your heels & ruin your shoes. So, just, watch where you’re going :)
    FIY: because women tend to ruin so many shoes in NYC, there are cobblers everywhere & most of them will do quick (even while you wait) repairs.

    As for the coat, I don’t think you need a puffy coat. Weather can be downright mild. If you’re going to buy something for this trip, get a nice cashmere wrap. Something the size of a standard pashmina, but in toasty cashmere, will be a godsend. You can use it to wrap on the outside of your coat if need be. And, it will come in handy elsewhere (like your plane ride).
    Have a great trip!

    • One more thing to be said about walking on city streets in winter weather: the salt used to de-ice sidewalks will ruin nice shoes. I don’t live in New York, but if I know I’m walking anywhere where salted sidewalks might be a problem, I will wear boots, carry my shoes in my handbag and leave my boots in the cloakroom wherever I’m going. I’d rather wear frumpy boots for a few blocks than ruin my nice leather shoes because of salt.

      • I keep a “instant shoe shine” (actually made by Jos A Bank–I think it used to be my hubby’s) in my desk drawer, and it is small enough to fit in a all but the smallest purse. There’s no “shoe polish” associated with it, so there is no potential for mess–it just a buffer, really, and it is great for running over my heels or boots to remove salt or other “outside” marks and give my shoes a nice 2-second polish. It says you can use it on any color leather/vinyl. Might be worth picking one up for your trip.

        • Anon in NY :

          Also – your firm’s offices in NY may have an in-house cobbler or just a “guy” who makes the rounds and can take care of any emergency fixes. Ask a secretary or female colleague, its a pretty standard service.

          • Anonymous :

            I do not see the issue with puffy coats either. Many women wear northface long down coats, and I do not think twice about it. You will definitely need warm accessories– scarf, gloves and a hat or ear warmers. I personally prefer ear warmers, but a hat is great too. I would not plan on wearing your work shoes around. Wear either flat black boots or flats. In terms of work to night time options, dresses are great!

            Also, one more thing to be aware of is your bag. Some women in only use bags that will fully close in order to avoid any issues of items falling (or being taken) out of the bag. Also, for night time, many women carry a smaller clutch, wristlet, or something like that in order to not have to schlep the big work bag (with laptop, etc) around.

            Enjoy the city, it truly is one of the best places.

  5. Don’t forget about lotion and chapstick or lip balm of some sort–dry, cold air can really do a number on your skin and hair (which also means that you should choose a good hat to avoid hat head/static but also keep your ears warm!). I’ve noticed that my clothes tend to be a bit more static-y in the winter. I don’t think that should change what you bring, but it’s worth knowing in advance.

    • I absolutely agree with this. I was walking around NYC today and forgot my chapstick and I am paying the price for it now.

      My hair has been extra static-y since winter officially arrived. I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with that yet.

      • Someone on here once suggested hair spray for static-y hair. It didn’t work for me, but I’m pretty sure that has to do with my hair product idiocy. If it works for you, let me know!

        • Thanks for the advice. I’ll give a try and report back.

          • Spray hair spray directly on a brush, then run it through your hair. Or, spray a little on your hands to smooth down some of the static.

            Worst case scenario – I know people who rub Bounce dryer sheets on their heads. If you don’t mind smelling like laundry, I imagine it would work.

      • If you use a hair oil or serum, try smoothing a teensy bit on the top of your head, away from your roots, finger combing it through your hair so you don’t have greasy patches.

      • What Ru said. Or if you don’t have hair oil with you, put some hand lotion on your hands and rub it mostly, but not all of the way in. Then run your hands over your hair. It’s better to start with a small amount of lotion and then repeat if necessary.

      • Spray static guard on your hairbrush. Will get the static out of your hair. My mom taught me this as a kid…worksite a charm

    • I would also add, have a tissue or two in your coat pocket. I think most people unaccustomed to the cold get a drippy nose. Sorry to be so TMI but it has happened to me. Better a quick dab with the tissue outside the door than greeting your client or boss with a runny nose!

  6. If I lived in cold weather I would invest in boots by La Canadienne for the winter and save my stilettos for the summer. Then again, I don’t work in a particularly formal office — maybe these boots wouldn’t be okay in an East Coast business formal atmosphere?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ll second the La Canadienne brand – had a pair of knee-highs I wore almost every day all winter for three years – no salt stains, no obvious wear – amazing! Sort of like these

    • Corporate Tool :

      I have a great pair of La Canadienne boots that I wear in the office. They have enough styles that I think you can get away with it even in business formal (especially under pantsuits).

      • NYC Lawyer :

        Another YES for La Canadienne boots! I have the Ramona in both black and brown, and they’re great. Kitten heels means they’re reasonably dressy but still good for walking. And La Canadienne boots are water-proof, and warm without being bulky. Those Canadians know how to make good winter gear!

        • I am considering the Ramonas for an upcoming trip that will involve a LOT of walking (3-6 miles/day) — are they that comfortable, or is it a fool’s move to try anything but flats?

          • Corporate Tool :

            I’ve walked 4 miles in a day in my Canadiennes with no issue, and they are not flat (wedge heel, maybe 3 in), but they were pretty broken in.

      • Anon in NY :

        I swear by my La Canadienne boots for winters in NY! They look so much more polished and professional than Hunter Wellies when I’m commuting into the office, and the ones with a wedge heel have enough traction for snowy slippery days, and elevate me above the dreaded slush piles Kat mentions.

        • another NYC anon :

          Yes! to the La Canadienne boots, which I first saw recommended here. I have these, and despite the heel height (and I am most not a heel person), they are actually quite comfortable. The heel is wide enough to not get caught in any subway grate or sidewalk crack, and they work very well with pantsuits.

          The sole, unlike many other boots, is textured rubber, so it actually provides traction in the snow and ice. They are waterproof and lined in fleece, which means that when it is extremely cold out, my feet are often the only part of me which is toasty warm.

    • Alexandra :

      Definitely worthwhile to invest in La Canadienne! They are waterproof and warm, and stylish enough for work. All the female lawyers at my firm (in Toronto) wore La Canadienne during the fall and winter months

    • I’ve been coveting La Canadienne’s for a while, but wanted to ask, for those who wear them with pants: do you have a strategy for keeping the pants hem clean when walking post-snow? Is there sufficient room to tuck pants into the high boots?

  7. Those boots sound awesome! (memory foam insole?!) Note to self: look for good winter gear in cold places :)

  8. Kat’s hit the nail on the head – no need for a puffy coat, and please, wear the kitten heel boots instead of the wellies. You’ll almost certainly be taking taxis, and the sidewalks where any global financial firm is located will likely be shoveled quickly. Just make sure you wipe off your boots, or stop at one of the many shoeshine places (check train stations and hotels if you don’t see one) to get rid of the salt that might get deposited on them if it’s slushy.

  9. Anon in NY :

    New York finance types also tend to be much more formal than they were a few years ago, so I’d leave the Wellies for commuting only. Nice gloves, a warm scarf and a (stylish) hat are good bets. If your offices are down in the financial district you’ll be shocked at how cold and windy it gets down by the water. And the wind-tunnel effect in midtown is no joke either. That being said, very few, if any people wear super puffy down coats here. A good quality wool/cashmere blend should be fine.
    Leave the suede shoes at home – they’ll be ruined in the salt/ice/rain. And be sure that whatever shoes you bring you can walk for at least 10 blocks in – that’s standard “oh, lets just walk” distance here. Cabs can also be very difficult to get during evening rush hours, so you may have to walk more than you expected to. And don’t be afraid to bargain with the black cars idling by – they can be a lifesaver in bad weather when there are no cabs around!
    Dinners depend on the neighborhood and the context. Dinner with work colleagues in midtown? You’ll likely be in some steakhouse/expense account place and suits with a low heel are fine. Going out downtown or in Chelsea? You’ll want to wear something more fashion-y and definitely cuter shoes. You may be surprised at the number of women wearing heels and skirts in the winter – the younger women at my firm all wear skirts and tights in all but the most dire of weather situations. Also, if you’re more comfortable in skirts the fleece lined tights are amazing!

  10. Here’s what you need for a winter week in NYC based on lots of experience: a good warm wool coat (down is not such a hot idea, no pun intended), a pair of leather boots that are very comfortable for walking, a warm scarf, and warm gloves. Just like Chicago but not quite as cold and the snow removal is (usually) a little better. NYC is the greatest fun, but if you are cold you will not enjoy yourself. No hats!

    • Especially for a California girl – if you’re not going to wear a hat, I’d suggest one of those “infinity” scarves. They are big loops you can actually loop twice, so you leave one around your neck and pull one around your ears if you are really freezing! There’s nothing worse than having bright red, stinging ears for the first half hour of your day because you were too hip to cover your ears.

    • Why do you suggest not wearing a hat? I live in NYC and wear a structured wool hat a few times a week, similar to this: but with a small gold buckle detail instead of those crystal things. It keeps me a little warmer and I think it looks nice.

      • Yes, wear a hat! If you don’t want to wear a touk (sp?) — then the structured wool hat is a cute look — like a cloche. If you want to cover your ears, you can usually get a cloche with tying ribbons (added bonus: won’t fly away in the wind).

        • I wear cloches all the time, and adore them. They aren’t the best for keeping the ears warm, but I have long hair, so the combo of hair down+cloche works well.

          Though I do want to try the ear muffs I see people wearing all the time…

    • One of my friends has longish hair and she wears ear warmers (just google) and with her hair down you can’t even tell. Avoids the hat head look, and the static, but keeping your ears warm can make all the difference.

      • BigLaw Refugee :

        I do this too. My ears are very sensitive, so I wear the 360 degree, behind-the-head ear warmers a lot. I pull my hair over them so they’re not very noticeable, and they don’t ruin my hair or make it static-y.

        Also, if I think of it, I put a sheet of Bounce (unscented) IN my hat if I wear one. Helps to cut down on the static.

  11. Boston atty :

    I’m curious about all this anti-down coat sentiment. I wear one 90% of the winter in Boston and I didn’t think there was a big difference between finance/law types between NY and Boston. Am I deluding myself here? Been to NY plenty of times, but not usually for work I must say. I’m originally from a tropical climate so this might play into it, but I find that a wool coat + suit jacket leaves me cold most of the winter in Boston.

    • L from Oz :

      I’m not in the US, but at least 90% of people round here wear either down or some other technical fabric, and the wool people are either older or look perpetually cold. So do people simply not spend time outside? Or do those who’ve grown up in a cold climate (not me) not notice the cold much?

    • I think I see down coats a technical wear. I wouldn’t wear my Gortex or my hiking boots, so I won’t wear my down coat, either. A lot of people seem to feel differently, though.

      I think it might be personal comfort levels, though. I find my wool coats work fine down to -25C, but a friend from Taiwan wears her down coat around the house if the heat is below +20C

      • i wear a down coat around the house most of the year because im freezing all the time or two mohair cardigans under my ankle leagth down coat and thats in the day time at night i freez to death im so cold please help

    • I always wear my down coat too. I’m originally from Colorado. People who don’t dress properly for the cold look like fools to me (what the heck is with the advice not to wear a hat?). It’s not the most formal coat, but it’s not like I’m wearing a puffy kids’ down jacket, either. It’s knee-length and faux fur-trimmed. Perfectly reasonable for your average freezing cold commute. I break out my long wool coat for really formal events only, and short wool coats for warmer days.

    • I wear a down coat to work a lot in Chicago , but typically not over a suit or to client or more formal occasions.

    • I’ve lived in both cities, and New York usually has a milder winter than Boston, the recent Snowpocalyse blizzard being a notable exception. Down coats make more sense in a colder climate than New York. Also, New York seems more fashion-conscious to me, Boston a little more buttoned-down and practical; perhaps that is a part of it too?

    • I wore my down coat all the time in NYC (3 years, worked in heart of midtown) – I saw women in down coats all the time. I’m sub-tropical by nature, so there is no way I will go north of Washington DC w/o my down coats, sorry.

      • I wonder if the lack of down coats in NY has to do with the vast change in temperature between “outside” and “waiting on the subway platform ready to pass out from heat exhaustion.” I must admit, when I worked at the firm I cabbed to work most days, but since moving to Brooklyn I’m getting much more acquainted with the subway, and you really have to prepare for it with layers!!

  12. I am looking to buy a pair of boots… I am having a hard time finding what I want….

    I want something that I can wear with skirts, and pants. I want the boots to be knee length. I want a shorter heel height. I want black/leather preferrably. I would prefer to keep the cost to $150 or lower.

    I am having SUCH a hard time finding something online or in person. I don’t know what it is.


    • I tried the same thing, and couldn’t find real leather boots that came to my knee for less than $200. I think your price point might be too low for real leather.

      • I had been looking at these two for a while. I’m not sure it totally fits your lower heel height requirement but I thought that they might be extra comfortable based on the brands: (these are a little more price-y but I think I saw them more on sale elsewhere – maybe Nordstrom’s?)

        I eventually went with a cheaper option from DSW that I’m kinda regretting – after a full day the airport, my feet were protesting quite a lot.

      • Thanks EC!

        I am hesitant to spend that much. I haven’t worn boots before, and I am not sure how much wear I’ll get out of them. I could hate them and they’d spend a lot of time in my closet. Also, I live in the South, so there isn’t a whole lot of boot wearing weather as it is (maybe 6-8 weeks out of the year where it would be for real warmth purposes).

        I’ll think about upping the pricepoint.

        • Surprisingly, I had very good luck on Amazon looking for boots. I was looking for something similar and I finally found a bunch of options there.

          • thanks Ellen! I’ll check them out.

            However, I think that I actually found some on Talbots website I liked between $90-$120 :)

          • sorry! Eileen, not Ellen!

    • North Shore :

      Check out the Peter Kaiser boots on Amazon. Lovely — I bought two pairs, different styles. They fit my wimpy calves, too. I bought the suede ones and treated them with weather spray so I can wear them on messy streets.

      • Will do!

        I already ordered a pair from Talbots, on sale for $120. But I will definitely check them out.

        PS. What kind of weather spray do you use on your suede to protect it?

    • Surprisingly, I found my black leather dress boots with a 2 inch heel on the Victoria Secret website on sale for $120 a couple years ago. I didn’t expect them to last very long but I have been wearing them throughout the winter for 3 years and have just had to have the heel cap replaced. I love them!

      • Thanks! I already checked them out a little bit, but will look a little more dilligently.

        I just ordered a pair from Talbots for $120. Thanks for the suggestion though!

    • Have you already tried Zappos? If not, what about these?

      • I like those!

        I actually ended up ordering a pair from Talbots for about $120

    • anotheranon :

      I was looking for a pair with your same criteria, and ended up getting these from aerosoles:
      I dropped the leather requirement. Only one of aerosoles boots are leather, and they’re half fabric along the back. The salesperson also pointed out that the salt will ruin the leather and non leather is easier to take care of. Then again, if you’re in the south, you probably don’t need to worry about salt :)

      • Thanks AnotherAnon!

        I ended up ordering a pair from Talbots for $120. Thanks for the suggestion though!

    • Try Tsubos. There were a bunch in the recent Endless sale and you can also try and Zappos. You might end up a bit over the $150 price point if you can’t get them on sale, though.

    • I have a pair of cognac colored leather boots (knee height) from Bandolino that I bought on endless. I’ve had them for about three years now, and have held up — they were $120.

    • Here is a leather pair by Franco Sarto for $74:

  13. Sgb, I would troll Ruelala or Gilt or Shopittome to get something on sale.

    As a NY lawyer for a large firm, my winter wardrobe from the office contains a long gray wool coat, warm leather gloves, and a cashmere scarf. I don’t think you need Hunter boots for anything but the worst of conditions – Cat is right in that you can avoid most of the slush. I also wouldn’t wear them outside of commuting – I think wellies have a bit of a trendy vibe to them that doesn’t mix with our conservative office. Also, I feel like the key to the city is day to night – I’m a huge fan of cute or more provocative dresses with appropriate hemlines that I can wear under a conservative jacket during the day, & then take that off when I go to dinner or drinks with friends. I also keep makeup, higher heels, & the occasional accessory in my desk.

    • thanks A!

      I have signed up for shopittome, and I will sign up for the others. I just don’t know what brands are good to get.

      any suggestions?

  14. Not From NYC :

    My advice for footwear is to not take any shoes you are attached to, especially if you will be taking the subway. I have been in NYC many, many times and have never been in a subway station that didn’t have puddles of black oily water, stinking sewage, vomit, urine or unknown nastiness somewhere – usually right at the base of the subway stairs, so you have to walk through it to get where you’re going. Love NYC, love the people and the energy of the city. NYC subways are the filthiest things I have ever seen in my life (and in the course of many travels around the world, including to almost all the major cities of Europe and the Pacific Rim, and using public trains/transportation in almost all of them). And some of the streets – especially in Lower Manhattan – aren’t very spiffy either. So take that into consideration when you’re planning your footwear – I wouldn’t shell out a bunch of money for anything. You may end up tossing the shoes in the garbage before or after you get home, as I did after my first NYC trip.

    • Hm, yes, the streets can get nasty – but on the whole, it’s really not that bad. Take one pair of boots you can walk in and that doesn’t have stilettos so you don’t have to worry about them getting stuck in cracks. Then take a change of shoes for indoors. It doesn’t frequently get so cold here that you’ll need anything more special than that (for example, La Canadienne boots are nice to have, but you can certainly survive without them here). And the amount of damage you’re likely to do to your boots in a week is not that bad as long as you’re careful where you step.

    • Hmm, I agree that there are often puddles next to the stairs, but they are not so huge that you cannot jump over them. As for the other excreta you mentioned, if you are aware, there is no need for you to step in them. Maybe you have extremely good eyesight such that you can see what others cannot.

      The most difficult thing about downtown New York for women in heels is the grates — it requires a lot of balance to make it over them without putting any pressure on your heel and getting stuck! Did it almost every day last summer, because most male partners don’t notice when you’re walking to lunch that it is difficult to walk on grates for most women.

      I’ve never had to throw away a pair of shoes from living here — I imagine it would get very expensive to do that as a resident.

      • Haha, yes, throwing away shoes just because of walking in NYC streets would be verrry expensive. “Not from NYC”‘s comment reminded me of my friend from Canada who came to visit. I’d taken her around on NJTransit, LIRR and car so when we finally stepped on to the subway, she said she had to take a shower when she got home, no matter what, even though she’s typically not the germophobe type. It still cracks me up every time I think about it.

  15. It’ll depend on your personality & position. A friend of mine works at Deloitte and wears a funky sock monkey hat. It’s certainly an ice-breaker when she visits the NYC office!

    Another good black leather winter/waterproof boot (albeit flat heel) is the Merrell Spire ( I’ve worn it with a skirt to work (I work in publishing) in rain & snow and it’s fine for walking distances too since it’s Merrell.

    Lip balm, lotion, and layers are the holy trinity to surviving NYC winters.

  16. I don’t live in NY but I just got back and since I’m from a warm country, thought you might like to know that the cold was pretty manageable (except the snowstorm days) in general. Sweater, coat, scarf, gloves, hat/ear-warmers (loads of yuppie types seemed to have these) should be good enough. If you really feel cold, you can pop into a dept store and get a good coat with the post Xmas sales, I should think….

    Loads of people were in flat boots (looked like leather to me) that were professional looking but comfy.

  17. I would just have your financial company arrange to have a car assigned to you 18 hours / day for the work days, and on the non-work days, you can get by with a pair of fake UGGS, which I have paid only $24 @ Target.

    You should be careful not to wear any white outerwear, because the slush from the street and the cabs are sure to stain your coat.

    Also, you should always walk closer to the buildings than the curb. I taught my ex-boyfriend that, and if there was something that kicked up from the street, he was hit with it, not me. That also applies particularly on 59th street, where the horses wait between rides.

    Finally, you should consider doing something different while in NY City. Do somethings you can’t do in CA. For example, go ice skating @ Rockefeller Center or in the Park; or go on the Staten Island Ferry. That is free. There is always the chance you could find real romance on the ferry. My roommate met a guy from Estonia on the ferry, and they hooked up for a month before he had to return home. So good luck to you, and let us know how you make out!

    • It’s a pretty diva move to demand round-the-clock car service in a city with excellent public transportation and tons of taxis. It’d take a lot of chutzpah to make such a request unless you are very senior.

      Car service home when working late (after 8 or 9) is reasonable, but not a universal perk.

  18. I have been to NYC a zillion times and have never seen anything icky on the pavement in the subways. Granted, the subways are not glamorous like in Moscow. Have also never wrecked a pair of shoes in NYC. Once stepped in doggie poop on Broadway and had to clean it off shoe with a stick, but that could happen anywhere.

    I agree with A about what to wear. And I think Boston is quite different. For one thing you encounter a lot of wind in Boston, which is rarer in NYC. In Boston, I would not hesitate to wear down on a cold day. In Boston you might think your briefcase is going to blow away; not so in NYC.

    The last time I was in NYC in winter I was wearing a dark tweed coat that was hand-woven and made-to-measure for me (by a company in Nova Scotia), that was just about perfection.

  19. You’re kitten heel boots should be fine, though a flat pair of snow boots would probably be more comfortable for walking around in. The wool coat should be fine. As a SoCal girl who lived in NY for two years, the thing I had to learn to do was to just make peace with the cold. You can protect yourself from low temperatures with good coats/scarves/gloves/hats/ear muffs up to a certain point, but other than that you just have to know that you may still be cold and there’s nothing to be done about it. As long as your teeth haven’t started chattering, just take a deep breath and learn to appreciate the cold for being a different experience for you.

  20. Hmm…I think my advice will probably overlap with a lot of what is already here, but hopefully it’s not totally repetitive. I spent most of last winter traveling to NY for work, and it took me a while to get a routine.

    1) Coats: A down jacket is probably not necessary. Wool should be fine, although I definitely prefer a slightly thicker wool (actually, wool/cashmere blend is the best!). I always bring a large pashmina – I can wrap it around my shoulders under my coat when it’s colder, wear it as a scarf, or use it in a cold office. Fleece-lined leather gloves look nice and keep your hands warm. I always end up standing out on the tarmac at LGA for a couple of minutes waiting for my gate-checked luggage, and it can get windy! If you are arriving on a smaller plane (probably not since you are coming from the west coast?) don’t forget to bundle up before exiting the plane.

    2) Shoes: I typically wear a skirt or dress, with thick hose. For walking, I bought a pair of flat black leather knee-high boots. (Obviously you have to use your judgment here, and find a pair that both looks nice and is comfortable for walking.) I carry my pumps with me and change at the office. The mechanics of this can be tricky, but you can probably leave your boots in the office coat closet, or wherever you put your jacket. You might want to bring a thin cloth bag with you to put the walking shoes in. It is really not fun to be lagging behind the group when you’re walking, so as long as you can walk at a normal/quick pace in your boots, you should be good. Another poster above mentioned a dearth of cabs at busy hour, and that’s definitely true. You might end up walking to dinner or the office because it will take less time than waiting to find a cab.

    3) Dinner: In my experience, dinner is pretty much always work attire. Take off your suit jacket if you want, but otherwise no change required (you’ve already changed into your walking shoes by this point). My experience is based on dinners with co-workers, all of whom were also traveling. My point is that if you will be going out with people from the NY office who younger, you may want to think about a slight outfit change. I guess it just depends if it’s strictly a work function, or if it bleeds into social function range. Really, I would say that you should be fine to stay with your work clothes at the vast majority of places that you would eat dinner.

    Enjoy the trip!

  21. If you’re trying to avoid spending money, I would say go with what you have and see if it works. If it doesn’t, you know what to buy before your next trip to New York.

    I personally prefer wool (or leather) coats that are well-lined (usually with thisulate) over down coats. The look is sharper and more professional, they’re more comfortable because they’re less bulky, and they’re just as warm.

    I also prefer flat boots or ones with solid heels for walking in winter. I would avoid kitten heels like the plague. I might be a bit biased though, because I generally prefer flats or solid heels, even in pumps and sandals; I’m not really a kitten heel fan. But I would especially avoid them in bad weather.

    I wouldn’t wear suede boots, but leather ones that can be waterproofed should be sufficient as long as you avoid wading through puddles.

    Have fun in New York!

  22. Kat et all,

    Thank you so much for answering my question(s)! I’m actually leaving for this trip on Sunday so the timing couldn’t be better. All 71 comments have been dually noted and will be used to help sort out my packing this evening.

    On that note, I was looking forward to this trip as a reason to finally wear the Vince cashmere turtleneck sweater dress I’ve been hording for two years – the one that makes me sweat 2 minutes after putting it on in a room temp environment but is just. so. cute. that I bought it anyway. In thinking about it, I realized my offices will be just as tempaerature controlled in NYC as they are in LA, so I guess it will be an off-hours piece of clothing. What is the appropriate place to wear a sweater dress anyways?!

  23. sweater dress- wear it in a badly heated office, drafty theatre, waterfront restaurant with big drafty windows. FWIW, people in the city like wool (cashmere/alpaca) coats because they seem more formal, but in the ‘burbs, down is great because it is actually lighter weight and more practical… let us know how you make out in the storms. (More storms coming.)

  24. I’m making my first trip to NYC in exactly one week. I essentially want to be bold, stylish AND practical. The article and comments were all very helpful, so thank you to everyone who contributed!

  25. Hello, everything is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts,
    that’s actually fine, keep up writing.