Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

It's freezing outside. Full-on, brrrr-cold freezing outside. Hey, when you're already facing temperatures in the teens in mid-December, you're allowed to be dramatic. In fact, preparation can be fun! Despite the fact that we moved to DC last winter during a blizzard, I stuck it out until spring with the one pair of (heeled, unsuitable-for-ice) boots that life in previously warmer climates required. Can you see where I'm going with this? By the time winter weather rolled around this year, I was ready for it. Enter my cold-weather footwear upgrades:

Cole Haan Air Chatham Rain Boots

I loooove my rain boots. I've already sloshed around yucky cold rain with them, just waiting for the day when they'll plow through snow and ice with ease. I adore the look of them, too - the tweed on top is perfectly me. Despite the fact that another pair of Cole Haans in this apartment inches us dangerously closer to being "That Cole Haan Couple," I love these things to pieces.

Frye Archie Hikers

I bought a pair of brown leather boots from JCrew when I went off to college in Boston years and years ago, and I wore those shoes out. I had them re-soled twice in ten years, that's how much I loved them. I finally (with tears!) gave up on them in Dallas and have been searching for replacements ever since. Enter Frye with these fantastic boots that somehow seem perfectly "me" and timeless all at once. 

Not-yet-purchased Furry Fabulous Boots

My next purchase in the warm and practical footwear category is going to be something furry and fabulous, for days as cold as today when there's also inches of snow and ice on the ground. Any of these would fit the bill fabulously, don't you think? And while we're at it (and as a nod to furry black or gray boots that might be out there)....

Eddie Bauer Slope Side Down Parka

...I think this parka would be fantastic on those bitter days when my pretty wool coats and scarves won't cut it.

Oh, how times change... at one point my delicate open-toed stilettos were my prized shoe possessions, but these days I'm prioritizing all things sturdy, waterproof, and decidedly un-shiny! Cold weather veterans out there (Chicago girls, I'm looking at you): any tips on looking cute and staying warm at the same time?


  1. Sorel is the best for snow. I have two pairs - one goes up to my knees and my feet actually sweat in them while standing in a foot of snow. Highly recommended.

  2. For boots- check that they are actually waterproof. Otherwise you will be in cute boots that are warm and toasty until you actually walk anywhere (might be speaking from experience). Baretrap boots are always recommended by Chicago girls. North face and Sorel are excellent.

    For parkas- those with belts will help with keeping the overstuffed feeling down. As does the thinsulate lined pretty jackets from Jcrew... I love my red wool (for days when ya need a bit of color) and black down parka from jcrew.

    Colorful scarves and hats. Warm and colorful mittens. Thin but warm layers for clothes. (nothing worse than a bulky sweater under a big down parka to make you feel like an overbundled kiddo) Smart wool socks.

  3. I may not seem like a winter boot expert living in Albuquerque, but remember, I lived in MN for six years. As these women already indicated make sure the boots are really waterproof. That's the draw of the Sorels, or the LL Bean boots-- that rubber foot might not make quite as cute a boot, but when the snow turns to slush, nothing else will keep your feet dry!

  4. Great tips, everyone, thanks! I actually love the old-school look of rubber-toed Sorels - and perhaps finally have the excuse to buy some :-).

  5. Being a Chicagoan, female, and fashionable, I will say two things:
    1. Slim layers work best. You don't have to worry about looking like Stay-Puff in the winter.

    2. The black Joan of Arctic boots save my life, year after year. It's seriously the best money I've spent on footwear, ever!

  6. While winters in Tucson require more of a 'heavy cardigan' than actual coat, I did survive two Vermont winters and had a few reliable items in my arsenal. First, whatever boot you wear will still be vulnerable against slippery ice. I would have busted my tailbone without my trusty YakTrax.
    Second, for coats and gloves - I like to make sure that the coat has an inner-wrist layer thingy (technical term) that can be tucked into the glove, and the glove also has two layers so the outer can layer over the coat - ensuring that no snow can enter.
    And final thoughts? Turtle fur, softest, warmest headbands ever (note: not actual turtle fur).

    And the above is why I no longer live in VT!

  7. a) I have those wellies! Hooray for tweed.

    b) I have no boot advice, but Stabilicers are fantastic for when the sidewalks turn to skating rinks.

  8. As a veteran of New England boarding school life, I swear by L.L. Bean's Maine Hunting boots. Totally preppy and they last forever. However, these are only cute in a white-person-going-to-Maine kind of way. Still on the hunt for stylish, cute and warm. For now, I just pile on the cashmere socks under my regular boots, and that seems to do the trick while tramping through Brooklyn.

    And lastly, I second the thin-layer thing. I use public transit and work in a glass office building, both of which present wardrobe challenges. I fare much better with thin merino sweaters and Three Dots or Petit Bateau ties than with chunky-knit cardigans.

    I also swear by wearing tights under EVERYTHING. Jeans not cutting it? Add a pair of tights. Pants not working? Tights. You don't need Patagonia's latest Capilene invention (although that too is a gift from the gods); just pull on an old pair of tights. Works wonders.

  9. These boots are gorgeous! You have a lovely blog.


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