Winter commuting uniform & footwear


Burberry wool toggle coat circa 2008 (similar from ASOS in camel or navy, or Mackage), Stuart Weitzman boots (current version starting in sz 4), DIY scarf, Goyard tote, J.Crew earmuffs

This has been my daily commuting uniform for the past few winters – wool coat, black boots, plus a pop of color if possible. This coat was one of my first purchases when I started working, and remains the heaviest and warmest coat I’ve ever tried on. It’s a size 2 regular, and the only alterations needed were sleeves and raising the belt loops.

For commuting footwear, basic black boots are the most versatile for my less-than-exciting winter work attire, which usually includes dark opaque tights or dark ankle pants. It does make wearing wider trousers tough, since the tucked-in pants look is rather pirate style. I used to have rubber boots that were worn almost daily (despite their unstable little stub heels), but have since been replaced by the options below:

boots all weather

 Stuart Weitzman boots (review)      Aquatalia weatherproof boots (review)    Hunter rubber boots (kids review)

I just realized that the only snow shown above is in the category intended for little to no snow. Ah well…mental disconnect aside, the “precipitation scale” above is what I use to decide on footwear each morning after checking the weather. All three of these styles are great for the cold – even though the Stuart Weitzman boots may be the thinnest, the close fit acts as a second skin and keeps sensitive kneecaps covered.

Rubber boots, as wonderfully waterproof as they are (and mighty toasty with the liner socks), feel the most clunky to me out of the three options and are therefore reserved for downpours or snowstorms. However, I’ve heard that Hunter’s newest foldable/packable boot is much more lightweight and comfortable, and perfect for travel. Good news for those with longer calves or very small feet – the packable ones are currently available in either women’s tall, or little kids up to a kids sz 3 (this = womens sz 34 or 4). As a short-calved, womens sz 5 wearer, I’ll have to wait for these to come out in big kids.

winterwear 1

J.Crew lady day coat, Aquatalia Drew boots, Given Goods tote c/o, H&M scarf, Burberry earmuffs

I reviewed these Aquatalia boots late last year, and have nothing but praise for the brand after 3 months of wear. Their line has the look of fashion boots but the functionality of “utility” ones. I’ve worn these through fairly heavy sleet, slush, and salted snow and they come out looking good as new (with the occasional damp wipe clean). I’ve only listed them under moderate precipitation because Aquatalia mentions their boots are “weatherproof,” but “zippers and fastenings are not protected against water penetration,” so I wouldn’t go around fully submerging them.

The style I’m wearing is currently sold out, but the Starry Weatherproof Boot option looks promising, especially for shorter legs given their 14 – 14.5″ listed shaft height. Amazon has more colors, sizes, and a lower price, which Nordstrom should be willing to match. Please note the Starry calf width is listed at Nordies to be 13.5″ around, but may actually be more narrow on smaller sizes. My Drew boots were listed as 13,” but measure closer to 12.5″ around on a size 5.5.


63 thoughts on “Winter commuting uniform & footwear

  • Reply Jean February 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Hi there – I have about a dozen pairs by the front door on a double rack and a number of pairs stored in an over-the-door hanging shoe compartment organizer. I can fit 1 pair of flats or heels into each baggie meant for one shoe, so have quite a few shoes stored away there that are easily visible and accessible. It does squish shoes a little bit though so I don't store any delicate shoes that way. Out of season shoes like sandals are packed away for the winter.

  • Reply Jean February 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Hi IH! Thank you so much for your kind words! I do agree that the SW boots wrinkle because they are soft, but I try to care for this by always stuffing them with a thick log of packing paper as soon as I take them off. I've heard it's important to keep them shaped especially at the ankles where they tend to flop over right away. As for leather, I only have a Cadillac leather conditioner which I also use for handbags, but I've only used it about once ever. I do take leather shoes to the cobbler for polishing and sole repairs, so perhaps you can get them cleaned and conditioned at a local cobbler?

  • Reply Jean February 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Haha, good eye! I did take part in their spring petites campaign : )

  • Reply Jean February 10, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Thank you I for your kind comment! I know business casual dressing can become stagnant, especially in financial services. Am happy to help provide outfit ideas : )

  • Reply Carolyn February 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I second (third??) the Kamik recommendation! They're really good quality boots – made in Canada and the sizing fits well for those with small feet! (I'm normally 5.5 but had to size up to 6) My only complaint is that they're a bit stiff so it feels a bit clunky. I'm eyeing the Hunter Tour in kids in hopes that they're easier to walk in, after reading your rec, Jean!

  • Reply Anonymous February 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Jean, Thanks so much for this very much needed post esp for crazy Boston winter conditions! Do you do anything special to care for/store them? I find it so difficult to keep the slush and especially the salt off of mines and have to regularly clean them with a warm cloth every time I take them off. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Reply Anonymous February 10, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Sure thing! When I get back (I'm on a business trip now), I will get the tape measure and will send you the measurements.

  • Reply Anonymous February 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Quick question: do I measure the shaft length from the heel? Just want to confirm so that I do this correctly…

  • Reply Anonymous February 16, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Hunter Tour Boot Measurements (all approximate):
    Shaft height: 14"
    Circumference: 14.5"

    Hope this helps!

  • Reply Maggie Adofo February 26, 2014 at 2:30 am

    The first look I love. 🙂

    Maggie A

  • Reply Anonymous March 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Jean – love your blog! I tried on the tour and found the shaft to be a hair too long on me (i'm 4'11"). I could probably still wear them but could definitely see them digging into my knees (front and back) over time. Luckily my awesome sales associate brought me the Tour in canvas which was PERFECT for me – it has a slim calf, has a shaft that is an inch to half an inch shorter than the regular tour and has a draw string top which keeps the boot in place. I highly recommend that you look into it!

  • Reply miss. d March 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    you are so amazing! i am inspired by your looks and i admire your outfits page by page.
    i hope you don' t take this as criticism, i would find it easier to look at your blog if links like 'old posts' and 'new posts' were under what you wrote, not have to scroll all the way trough comments. and also the section that i could comment in, could be just under the links, also above lots and lots of comments.
    i enjoy also your youtube videos, hope you begin to post again there since it's been a while. i loved that in your last videos your look was complemented by paintings, especially the fish.

  • Reply June 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    we have our own style, comfortable Boots are famous for Men and Women. For which you will not go to any other site. You can buy all different types of Boots which is your mind

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.