Winter commuting uniform & footwear

winterwear

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 I used to have rubber boots that were worn almost daily (despite their unstable little stub heels), but have since been replaced by the options below: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.

Leave a Comment

63 Comments

  1. Jean wrote:

    Good to hear! Thanks for sharing your review. Whenever you have a moment, would you mind sharing the shaft height and circumference measurement?

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  2. Jean wrote:

    I don't think it's for me personally, but it looks great on others. I've enjoyed the Budget Babe's reviews on Instagram!

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  3. Jean wrote:

    Hi there! Haha, I know the feeling of the growing alteration pile. I use the Brother basic stitch but my model is from well over a decade ago…they have very similar 6 or 10 stitch machines on Amazon for about $60!

    For belt loops, if I feel that the belt is noticeably lower than my natural waistline (and thus, less comfortable) and the coat is a piece you would wear frequently, I do think it's worth it to have a tailor move them up. For this coat, to move the loops the tailor had to go in between the lining and the outer material so it wasn't as simple as it may seem, but I was happy to have it done for a coat I've worn for ~ 5 years.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  4. Jean wrote:

    Hi Pauline – I have not, so I can't speak to whether they get soaked through

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  5. Jean wrote:

    Hello – I haven't needed them since my outdoor commute is very short, from home to subway and subway to work and the sidewalks/streets are usually plowed quickly. If I lived in conditions that don't really get cleared or if I had to walk longer outdoors, I would certainly consider getting those cute & warm looking Sorel boots.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  6. Jean wrote:

    Yes, I definitely switch at work also…I'm noticing now even the guys at the office do too! Not worth it to get work shoes slushy/salty.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  7. Jean wrote:

    Hi there – 1) yes I do change at work and I think it's typical for most city commuters to do so 2) I guess you just have to tuck it into a wider-opening boot, like rainboots! I save mine for drier weather. : )

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

    Those are so cute on Wendy! Glad they worked out for you too.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    Both – I keep a few pairs of neutral pumps at work as backups and bring heels in my bag.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

    Yes, I think those would be perfect for transition weather! Flat to low-heel ankle boots have been on my wishlist since Fall – just haven't found any that don't chafe at the ankles and have a narrow enough ankle opening.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  11. Jean wrote:

    So cute! Thanks for sharing : )

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  12. Jean wrote:

    Hi Emily, what about black ankle boots that blend into your tights? I see a lot of women wear those in a business casual or even formal environment and they seem easy enough to commute in. Or if you wear flats at the client, how about black leather or suede loafers with a traction sole?

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  13. Jean wrote:

    Thanks for the Kamik recommendation!

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  14. Jean wrote:

    Hi Katherine! I often bring snacks or lunch, and usually pack it in a plastic bag (or re-usable lunch bag) inside my purse for the day.

    Posted 2.10.14 Reply
  15. JuStAcEy wrote:

    Hey girl, so I'm browsing on Loft.com and go to the Petite section. Are you modeling for them? I swear the girl when you click "petites" is your twin!

    Posted 2.9.14 Reply
  16. those boots are adorable its what im looking for..thanks for posting

    Posted 2.9.14 Reply
  17. IH wrote:

    Hi Jean, I really love each and every of your outfits. I have stuart weitzman 5050 boots as well but found that it wrinkles easily and the tender leather is very hard to care. Maybe because I live in NYC and take subway to work so my boots get stepped on from time to time. Can you do a post on how to care for leather boots? Thank you! I have learned so much from you and would love to meet you in person next time you are in NYC!

    Posted 2.8.14 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean- how do you store your shoes? Ive amassed a small collection and have no idea how to store them away. Currently, I have underbed storage and keep a few season-appropriate pairs around the front door but it is quite an eyesore. how do you deal with this?

    Posted 2.8.14 Reply
  19. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean! I just purchased the Hunter Tour boots because I travel to New York a lot (I live in LA) and needed something for rainy/snowy/slushy days (I am tried of wet feet). I ordered down to a Size 5 (I usually wear Size 5 1/2) along with the Wellies and they fit perfectly and are so comfortable! They are not too tall on me (I am 5' tall) and have enough room to squish a pair of skinny jeans in them, and the best part is that they are packable with their own bag, so I can keep them in my luggage for my trips! I recommend them!

    Posted 2.8.14 Reply
  20. l wrote:

    I'm not petite but I love your blog and love your style which is so work appropriate. I work in a bank with a Business casual dress code, however one gets usually bored with the pants and shirt options. I love being inspired by your looks and shopping in my closet to recreate some of those options.

    Posted 2.8.14 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    Hello Jean, I've always been a silent reader and since reading your blog I now have a large pile of clothes waiting to be tailored. Keyword: waiting. I'd like to do the simple tailoring myself but haven't found the time nor sewing machine. If you have a recommendation, please share. 🙂
    Regarding coats, I've recently realized my coat belt loops would be better if they are one inch higher. Is this worth the effort? I see in your posts that you usually take them up 2-3 inches. Mine will still fit well but will bunch in the back a little when belted.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Are you interested at all in the Peter Pilotto X Target collection launch this Sunday?

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  23. Pauline wrote:

    Hi Jean – have you ever stepped (or stomped) into foot deep snow with your SW? Does snow/water get through the stretchy material (and thus resulting in wet legs + feet)?

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  24. Giovanna wrote:

    Fun guide!! Loving your first pair of boots!

    xx
    Giovanna
    http://www.HeyLoveBlog.com

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi there – have you ever considered getting actual snow boots (i.e. Sorel, etc)?

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  26. Love the boot guide 🙂

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  27. Super chic and classic coat! Fits you like a glove. And grey is the must have color which pairs with everything. I love your pop of yellow scarf. Just perfection!

    NEW POST:: CAMO and LACE

    http://www.eyelikefashion.com
    http://www.eyelikefashion.com
    http://www.eyelikefashion.com

    xoxo

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  28. Love all of those boots. I use my trusty Tory Burch rainboots for rainy days, Sorels for snowy days, and a variety of others for just plain cold days. I switch to pumps or booties at work – do you switch shoes? Thanks for the reviews.

    http://www.newmomandthecity.blogspot.com/

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    Some of us short women need large calf boots (runners, anyone?) and dont appreciate the look being called stumpy and frumpy.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  30. Way to be fashionable, warm, and dry! Do you change to heels once you get to work, or save your pumps and such for warmer weather? How do commuters in cold areas handle the bootcut/trouser pant look? Just tuck the wide pants into boots until they get to work? Or save them for dry weather? I live in CA and have never considered these matters. Love to see your new posts!

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  31. I do not recommend the Hunter fold-able boots AT ALL. While they are super soft and indeed easy to fold, the calf opening is incredibly big, making petite ladies look stumpy and frumpy. I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY suggest for everyone to try them on first before purchasing because the result is so inconsistent.

    theinternetandtheunicorn.blogspot.com

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  32. bluepolkadotpjs wrote:

    I'd recommend the Ralph lauren's black glossy rainboots that Wendy from Wendyslookbook shared several times for her rainy day outfits. I've got the children's version. It is stylish but also warm with the lining inside.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  33. Your coats are gorgeous! The green one is such a wonderful color. Nothing like a bright coat to brighten up these cold Boston snow days!
    Tia | http://www.bigcitytyro.com

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    so do you bring your heels in your bag? leave them at work?

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    I have and love the Kamik Heidi's – so sleek and simple http://www.amazon.com/Kamik-Womens-Heidi-Rain-Boot/dp/B0019WS9CY

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  36. Love all your boot recommendations! What about commuting in ankle boots during spring and early fall? I've found those are a good compromise when the weather is a touch too warm for a full knee-high boot.

    http://www.polishedpinstripes.com

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  37. I love also the mix of the posts!

    Since I discovered Hunters for me, I prefer it to wear rubber boots for long walks 🙂

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    http://www.dressedwithsoul.blogspot.de

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  38. jeannie wrote:
    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  39. Emily wrote:

    Hi Jean, I love those Aquatalia boots!

    Do you have any winter footwear suggestions for commuting to a client's office while still maintaining the business casual look? I've been braving below zero weather with flats because I'd feel weird/awkward changing shoes in a client's building lobby in case I run into them or even lugging in spare boots upon entering the client's office.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  40. Love very much the rubber boots! Would love to wear it with a slim jeans!
    Have a nice day and a nice week-end!

    xoxo

    Le monde des petites
    http://www.lemondedespetites.com/

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  41. Anonymous wrote:

    I recommend Kamik Olivia Rain boots (http://www.extrapetite.com/2014/02/winter-commuting-uniform-footwear.html)! I just got some from DSW on clearance for under $30. I had Hunter Tour boots for the last five years which I loved. I had a size 4. I liked how they looked and it is a Scottish brand that is well-known and reliable. I had to finally trade in for some new ones this year and needed something quick so without doing much research, I purchased the Kamik Olivia at DSW. I immediately noticed a difference in how snug and secure the ankle portion felt and the tractions are really effective (I have yet to slide on ice!). I had to go with a size 6 at my local store (I tend to wear size 5 with normal brands that do not offer sizes < 5.), but have not had problems with it being too big. I feel that the weight of the boots are similar and like the Kamik better since it feels more secure. I also feel that the design is more slender and less bulky than Hunters. So take home message would be that I never thought to shop around for something other than Hunters so I was surprised to end up with a cheaper but quality alternative. Anyway just some insight from my end! Good luck on finding the right pair of rubber boots! P.S. Great useful post considering the weather we've been getting!

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  42. Love your outerwear choices – streamlined, chic AND warm…so it is possible 🙂

    I hate feeling cold, so I've been wearing my Sorel-style snowboots and long puffy GAP coat – for me, nothing feels as warm as a puffy coat – though I do prefer the look of wool.

    Adorable ear muffs – they're an essential for me too 🙂

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  43. Tam wrote:

    I have a similar boot hierarchy–definitely a must in Colorado. I'd recommend the Hunter Regent boots for less-clunky rubber boots. I have the Regent Savoys, and they're a good height for shorter calves.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  44. EM wrote:

    I love your hair like that!! And the boots are adorable 🙂

    http://www.ericasedition.blogspot.com

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  45. Yay, functional and elegant fashion, just like so many (including me!) requested! I love that you responded to the comments to your posts over the past few weeks.

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  46. Your blog posts are always such a great mix of useful advice & style inspiration. Keep them coming!

    As someone that walks ~2 miles each day to / from work in San Francisco, flat boots (tall leather and combat style) have become absolutely essential in colder temperatures. I've found rubber boots to be unwieldy unless the boot fits you very, very well in the calf and foot.

    -Amy, reader since 2010 🙂

    Posted 2.7.14 Reply
  47. Beautiful looks! So very well put together!

    Nailah
    http://www.theofficearmoire.com

    Posted 2.6.14 Reply
  48. katherine wrote:

    These posts are so helpful! Question, if you bring lunch to work, do you put it in your bag/tote or separately?

    Posted 2.6.14 Reply
  49. Looking great Jean! I admire how you can stay so stylish in this crazy weather. I gave in this year and bought 'real' winter boots. Not the prettiest but my feet sure stay dry 😉

    Posted 2.6.14 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?