This is a very specific question but what shoes do you wear during your commute when it’s cold out? I live in DC and eventually, it will get too cold for flats. Winter boots don’t seem appropriate unless there’s snow on the ground but I also don’t want to beat up a nice pair of riding boots on my commute (I walk one mile to work). If I am to wear boots, do I tuck my trouser legs into them?
Thank you greatly! MB
This is a topic that comes up every year. Commuting in inclement weather is not something you can understand until you’ve done it. And then, once you’ve done it, all you want are solutions to this problem.
I wear mostly dresses and skirts, so when I’m in D.C., I wear tall Wellingtons with Smartwool socks under Hunter boot socks. The only thing they’re not great for is ice, but usually, by the time it’s icy, I’m in my Sorels anyway.
If you are a pants-wearer, you can temporarily raise your hems with Style Snaps or Hem Clips. I’ve also seen women using these magnetic CityClips. In a pinch, you can tuck them in. The trouble is that your pant hems may get wrinkled, so keep a bottle of wrinkle release spray in your bag/desk.
Another option is to commute in jeans, arrive 5-minutes earlier than usual, and change at the office. I did that during the weeks after Snowpocalypse. It was the only way.
Can you recommend a hair deep conditioner that isn’t going to make my hair board flat and boring for days and days?
Thank you, Oklahoma
You want a hair mask. The only one I know of that doesn’t weight hair down is the Prenup Hair Spray Mask. You use it in shower (so have a comb handy), and it works amazingly well for a 1-minute mask. Use it once a week. Just don’t be surprised if the first time you coat your shower walls in conditioner.
I was just staffed on a 5-month project in Portland, and I’ve only ever lived in the south. I own exactly 0 lined pants, fleece lined tights, or actually warm professional coats and have no idea how to fit all of that bulk in a carry-on. I think my “winter” clothes can get me though the fall there, but I’m worried that I’ll freeze in January if I don’t get a few good pieces. I’m especially clueless about which professional shoes to wear in the snow. If you suddenly needed a 2-week business (no jeans) rotation in a cold climate, what would you buy?
First off, have your winter clothes mailed to your hotel when you get there. If you’re not going to need them, just buy the essentials and consider donating anything you won’t need.
Second, Portland is more wet than cold, though it snows there sometimes. You will likely not need lined pants unless you’re working outside a lot. Fleece-lined tights are a good idea. A pair (or two) of good-weight wool pants would also help.
Third, keep your clothes in one color family. Black works. Add grey, white, and other colors as needed, but keep the majority black. This will cut down on shoes and accessories you need to bring.
Lastly, as to the shoes, see the post above. A pair of good looking riding boots, like these Cole Haans, are versatile enough for most offices. If you must wear heels, try a high-heeled ankle boot sized up to accommodate socks. Also, wear your socks under your tights or they won’t help at all.
I have long hair and I wear it down most days but I often need to pull it back for a short period of time. I find that hair ties can ruin the curls that I work so hard on in the mornings. Can you recommend a hair clip or other solution that’s acceptable outside of washing my face in the bathroom?
Thank you, Jen
They look a smidge ridiculous, but I know a lot of thick, long haired people who swear by these InvisiBobble Ties. They look like an old-school phone cord from the 80s, but they say that they work without creasing the hair. If that’s not professional enough for you, these Ficcare clips can be used to secure several hairstyles.
I’ve been reading your blog for years. I’ve been commuting with some type of backpack for over a year now- I live in NYC, and it’s been life-changing. Can you recommend a few affordable, classy backpacks for the workplace? I obviously wear a nice bag for client meetings, but day-to-day, I’d like to have something nicer than a Jansport, and chicer than a Herschl, which everyone has here. Bonus points if you can find ones that have smart side pockets for keeping the cellphone handy!
THANK YOU! – Stacie Smack
My boyfriend carries the Tumi backpack. He grabbed it on eBay and swears it was worth the splurge. But if that’s not in your price range, there are still plenty of options.
Matt and Nat make a number of “cool” faux leather backpacks in the $150-range. I like the Katherine and the Brave. I also thought this Nine West Nova bag was so cool I might actually buy it (and it comes with a pocket on the side).