I live in the country fried middle of nowhere (North Central Texas). I moved here from a swamp (Caddo Lake).

I lived in Shreveport before that, and I could pretty much wear my fancy frivolous shoes all the time. But once I moved to the swamp, they weren't so practical. I had to force myself to wear my fancy frivolous shoes. It was hard and I gradually worked into more "stompy androgynous shoes" (as La Pedestrienne so famously called them recently LOL).

Now that I'm out here in the middle of nowhere, it's still dirty as can be, and often muddy considering all the rain Texas has had for the last year or two of rain bombs, interspersed with periods of dry dusty draught. I've started regaining an interest in fancier shoes. I've been wearing my platinum Vic Matie Loafers a lot more. It's hard, and it's heartbreaking when I think of what could happen to them if I let my guard down for even half a second out here.

But I once read a think-piece that talked about $30 candles and really stupidly expensive bottles of bubble bath and such. I've never forgotten the author saying to "burn the $30 candle". I spent the $30 on a candle, I might as well burn it and enjoy the smell, right? I had to start applying that to my shoes. I bought my shoes because I love them, I should wear them because otherwise is a waste of my money and my precious shoe closet space.

I actually once wore a pair of Manolo Blahnik sandals in a half dry, half river riverbed to do some fossil hunting and I did scuff them a little and I have never regretted it. I have one hell of a story to tell and that alone was worth it to me.

It's hard to start doing it, I won't deny that. I've been there, I know. I hope you can find a way to wear your fabulous shoes and boots more often, because you deserve to feel fabulous and the shoes deserve to be worn by someone who loves and appreciates them.

And maybe a good shoe repair guy can recommend some waterproofing similar to what DH used on his Redwing clumperhumper work boots. I use leather sealant spray on some of mine, and it actually even worked on some adorable floral fabric stiletto pumps I had when I lived in the swamp.

This is a really interesting analysis of last year's accomplishments and a great description of your goals for 2017. Dressing from the bottom (type of shoe needed for the weather/activity) makes a lot of sense to me. Reading all of the comments about snow, rain, slush, mud, and how they affect dressing kind of makes me glad I live in the desert (in winter - not so much in summer).

I know nothing about snow of course but I like Smittie's idea of buying the (waterproof) boots you like and having vibram soles attached to them. I have some Frye boots with vibram soles and they give excellent traction.
I enjoyed reading your style reflections and goals.

We've had 6 months worth of precipitation this past week - snow, rain, flood, and today more snow. Your sidewalk doesn't look too bad. We don't have sidewalks, and in over 20 years the city has only plowed our street once.

I have several pairs of Timberland boots. They're waterproof and have good traction, but aren't very warm. I have a grey pair and a dark blue pair!

I ordered a few pairs of warm winter hiking boots, including a pair of Merrell boots similar to yours. I wanted something more walkable and yet insulated for birding, which is like hiking, but with more standing around in the cold. I hope one of them works.

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Hi Suz --

Short and sweet from me, as others have already said it!

1) Take the boots back to the cobbler and pay for lug heels! Yes, it sucks but you'll wear them and be safe. Maybe they'll accept some responsibility ($)?

2) I can't recall if Pajar boots work for you, but since we're feet twins...this is the Natasha. I'm not sporty and wear dressier leather boots with traction in the pouring rain, but this )$#@ snow does not work with my style. These have gotten several compliments with skirts/pants and are almost sleek enough for me. I know there are others out there for you!

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Suz, your post is such a treat to read and contemplate. You have really come into you own fabulous style this past year and know just what works for you. Until reading this post I'd not realized that I have moved from avoiding drama in my clothing to loving it. My favorite pieces all are, for me, dramatic from the really furry vest to asymmetrical dresses and tops.
I also share your tendency to want to be on the dressy side. We are all looking forward to seeing where your 2017 goals take you.

I love your descriptors and your decision to go forward with bold and fun (as I will condense it). As long as you live where you live, your winter boot purchases should mostly be from the tried and true and hardy. The Aquatalias look excellent to me. Your sidewalks look frightening though!

Winter footwear woes are plaguing me too, Suz. I have been wearing the Remonte boots (pictured below) every day this week, but not feeling so fab. They are a yummy dark blue, and the grippy rubber soles mean I don't slip. They take my arch inserts, and accomodate my bunions. But I feel like the more natural foot shape (a cross between almond toe and rounded) is not stylish at all. And they have a 'wrinkle' for real! I feel like I've 'settled' of that they are 'just fab enough' maybe?

I've sprayed them repeatedly with waterproofing, and they are holding up nicely. I wipe them down from time to time with baby wipes. I keep a box in my closet just for wiping down shoes, purses, and gloves.

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I was going to suggest another thing (just be patient and wait the end of Winter and then trigger your creativity with your shoes) but then I read that your Winter lasts from December to Mid-April. Wow. That's a lot of Winter! At this point, Suz, there is only one thing to do: move to Italy.

Suz, As you well know, since we pretty much share climates until you move across the continent, I feel your pain about the slushy salty sidewalks! I have slowly, over many years, collected Aquatalias Arche, and Blondo's, and whatever other fashionable weatherproof shoes, boots and booties I can find. This year I found weatherproof wool sneakers made by Rag &Bone. It was a surprising find, but they are so comfy and of course very stylish and warm. I also found some flat navy fleece lined knee high Aquatalia boots. When I want something a bit more rugged looking, Bos Co. often has the lowest prices for waterproof, weather proof, but stylish boots.

I think Blondo is a Canadian company right? My experience with Blondo's has been the best of almost any fashionable winter boot. I am sincere when I say that I have worn them for years. They are warm. They stay dry. They wear like iron. Their soles are truly tough and maybe some are still made of vibram like my trustworthy hiking boots (perhaps that's not good for nature trails right? I think it helps on icy pavement.). I moved away from Blondo mostly because the calf size on them is too large for me and I am pickier about fit than I used to be. I make them work with leg warmers. Truthfully, I like the idea of having some boots that are large enough to fit my calves with leg warmers because when I wear my relatively expensive wool tights with tall boots, they snag on the interior near the zipper pulls regardless of whether they are covered with a flap or not. I do my best to seal them over with either tape or a bandaid, but it doesn't always work.

Wow! I didn't know I had all that in me this morning!

Great goals Suz! I am craving more red as well. I really would like to do more head to toe red like red pants and a red sweater. I get your winter boot struggle. Work at home'rs who love fashion all seem to struggle with having enough dress up opportunities. It seems to help a tad if you find winter boots that you love. I found a pair last year in Chicago and I am happy to wear therm but we don't have snow every day like you so I don't tire of them. I am trying to embrace a more casual vibe but I do love when I have an evening event to wear my nice booties! Spring will come and you'll be back out in those booties.

I love the way you outlined your accomplishments and goals. Very cohesive, just like your wardrobe! I also think you are one of the best on this blog at wearing what is truly you. I get so many ideas and inspirations. Keep them coming! I don't know if you had an overt goal to contribute GREATLY to YLF in 2016 but you certainly did, thanks for that too.

Also loving the discussion about winter boots, I've learned a lot already from this one posting. I'm another person in a snowy, icy climate and in recent memory I've always worn the clunky/stompy styles outdoors in winter, and changed into something else indoors. It worked well for my lifestyle and still does, mostly. Living in the 'burbs, any extensive walking I do outdoors is for exercise or otherwise sporty in feel. I have a driveway that is sloped, curved, gravel, and most of which gets no direct sun in winter and stays icy. (The house didn't originally have a driveway, and because of wetlands nearby etc this was the only possible place to put it). Even if we put our cars into the garage, which we do in deep winter, there is always some walking on that driveway and flat boots with anti-slip soles are the only safe option. I've even changed footwear in the car occasionally

I do find I want to wear nicer footwear overall than I used to so I do totally get your quandary, although I don't really have any suggestions. It' such a personal choice. I'll be watching with interest to see how you go forward.

And thanks StaysFit for the comments about Blondo boots...I haven't' know where to start on looking at better quality winter boots and your comments really help a lot.

Loved your analysis and agree new hair and updated footware is a very effective way to introduce even more drama in a well kept, updated wardrobe like you have had in the last few years-and hats off, you are a stylish lady, even in your slushy freezy winters!

Interesting analysis and goals. I love you descriptors, they seem really right for your style. I always enjoy your posts, I learn so much!

Here in Michigan I think we have similar winters to you, but I don't have to be out in them a lot. I work in an office and carry my shoes/boots and wear snow boots most of the time. If I have to stop in a store I don't look very good (very old snow boots, I have never thought of them as part of my wardrobe just as an essential piece of clothing). Such a shame not to be able to wear those gorgeous booties!

Wow, this thread got busy!

Thank you all for your very kind and helpful comments.

Robin, you’re right that Michigan winters are quite similar. We’re both on the Great Lakes. I think I’m living *as if* I worked in an office (with my pretty booties) and it’s the one area where fantasy life buying has defeated me. I guess it’s because a bootie and a boot look so similar in theory, ha! Oh well. I will either make the switch to more true boots vs. booties, or I will move.

Thank you, Lyn. You are always so sweet.

Chris, I am blushing. So glad if my posts have some usefulness. I didn’t make it a goal but I do enjoy my time on YLF and learn so much here. I completely agree that if a person lives in the “burbs” the needs are quite different. This is what it all comes down to — figuring out our specific needs, which is often more tricky than we imagine at the start. It seems so obvious (and then we go out and buy like crazy for the life we used to have, or the life we dream of having.) The devil is in the detail, not just in the clothes themselves, but in our needs. One person’s “walking on a snowy day” is quite different from another’s. One lives in a city that plows; one doesn’t have a sidewalk; one commutes by car, another by bus, etc.

Jeannie, head to toe red sounds so fun! I am not sure I would do it except in a dress, but never say never! I would do head to toe fuchsia in a blink, though, lol.

Staysfit, you are so right. It is important to build a boot wardrobe over time and this is something I have not done because I imagined I was doing it, by buying lots of booties, ha! Well, I do have a decent boot capsule by most people’s standards, but when you consider it compared to Alaskagirl’s…and I’m the one who has been telling her to buy all the boots she wants, since, like forever! Thank you for the recommendation of Blondos. I have trouble fitting some of their styles (too wide either in footbed or calf and sometimes too tall in the shaft) but that doesn’t mean all are going to be no good. I agree that their styles are great and for the price they do an absolutely amazing job.

Sisi — YES!! I am all for moving to Italy. Oh, how I wish!! And if I were being completely honest, winter actually lasts sometimes from end-October to end of April. Or at least that is the period when we get temperatures that an Italian would call winter. No leaves on trees. Can you imagine? How did all those Italian immigrants manage to make their homes in Toronto (and thereby brighten that city enormously with their creative and energetic contributions to the economy and culture and their delicious food and wine, bless the days they came.)

Carla, misery in this case loves company. If even you are finding it tough this year, I feel better. You are so smart, practical, and no-nonsense about this stuff. I think the thing is, in the last few years you have found some absolutely striking flats and low heeled shoes that add a lot to your outfit and now you are feeling the sorrow of a merely OK shoe. Sigh. In your case, you could change out at work, though, no? Even so, when you’re out on the streets, that is what you see when you look down at your feet…

Shevia, thank you and so true.

Joy, thank you so much — and yes! You are all about the drama! I think your hair, like mine, provides inherent drama, and it is almost as if you have to increase drama elsewhere to balance it. I love you best in dramatic outfits, whether they be quietly dramatic (like head to toe blush or dove grey) or strongly dramatic like a furry vest or red.

Vix, thanks for popping in. And yes — Pajar can work for me. I will check out the options. This is a good time of year to purchase snow boots. I was just hoping I wouldn’t have to, again….

Janet, I really hope the Merrells work. I am liking mine quite well. They are a bit loose in the heel for me so I’m trying to figure out how to deal with that. But on the whole they are warm, easy on / easy off, and provide some traction (better than my Uggs, which are great in snow but not ice).

Brooklyn, thank you. I agree it’s a good idea.

Bonnie, thanks, and yes, be glad you don’t live here!

Cynthia, you are brave to wear floral fabric shoes in a swamp! Wow. That is some pioneering spirit there. And Manolo Blanks for fossil hunting? I think you could write a great short story about that. But you’re right — sometimes the solution is simply to wear the darn things, and I swear if it were not downright dangerous I would do so more often — but I won’t risk my neck or back to a bad fall on the ice.

Emily K, I hate slush, too. Ugh. My city is bad for it. Fortunately we do have lovely (if short) summers.

Rachy, you’re right — the dressy booties are not warm enough for sure. I couldn’t bear it.

Angie, I’m counting the days. We still don’t have a firm decision on when, sad to say, but it will be within the next two years.

Smittie, I think that’s it. I just need more darn boots!! What are you wearing this year? You get less slush and more ice/ snow I think but otherwise it’s really similar.

Ledonna, thanks. I do believe our winters have a lot of similarity.

Shedev, I think I need to try more Sorel styles. The ones I tried didn’t fit. But never say never.

Sara, wow — so cute! (Love the dog jumping!) I didn’t know you ever got snow there!

Suz - Albuquerque is in a high desert. The average elevation is 5300 feet, similar to Denver. It's cold here in the winter, although not Canada cold. Normal winter highs are in the 40's (4-10 C) usually. We used to get more snow when I was younger. Now we get 1-2" a handful of times and it usually melts by the next day. Dang climate change. There's actually a small ski area (Sandia Peak) right above Albuquerque but it opens later and later every year and closes earlier.

Hi Suz!
What a great analysis, you are so good at thinking things through then articulating them... go figure ;-).

I love your descriptors, they are perfect for you. Would you believe I STILL have never narrowed down some for me?

And can I ever relate to your boot dilemma. Add to that, our winters are so vastly different from one year to the next.... so just when you think you have it figured out... wham.
I do work in an office, and can take booties and shoes in to change into, but I prefer not to. I carry enough as it is, and often attend meetings out of the office (which is when you want to look good) so it's just not practical. I find I wear my dressy boots, which are fine for walking to and from the car, and for short distances, but then I'm not equipped for going for a noon hour walk, for example. Which frustrates me, as I like to get out when I can. If I have an errand to do that does require walking, I have to really think about the weather forecast, what I'm doing, when it best fits in etc. Way too much work!

Nice looking tall practical boots... who would think that would be a HEWI in this country!!

Elizabeth -- "our winters are so vastly different from one year to the next.... so just when you think you have it figured out... wham"

That is so true of us here in the mid-Atlantic too! It was 70 yesterday and it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Crazy. A couple of years ago we had back-to-back 2-foot blizzards. The next year, almost no snow. We have such varying winters it's hard to know what will be useful from one year to the next.

I know, right?! And it's not just the footwear, when it's snowy, I wear skinny pants that I can tuck in, and when it's not, I can wear wider cuts, which then impacts the whole top situation.... no wonder I have so many items of clothing!

And don't get me started on the coats...

Elizabeth and Janet, that is so true. I hadn't even factored in the changeability. But last year, when I bought my tall Uggs -- I barely had occasion to wear the things. They'd have been perfect for the winter just before that. Meanwhile, this year, what I really need are Bogs with a liner and vibram sole or something. Oy.

Sara, thanks for that explanation -- makes sense! I hadn't realized you were high up, but now I get it!

You've done very well for yourself this year, Suz, in almost every category you discuss, and I'm sure you'll work out the Winter boot problem--so difficult for all of us. I asked myself as I read your analysis whether I could say the same, and the answer was clearly no. One reason for this is pretty simple: I just haven't liked ANY of the past year's fashion trends! Sleeveless coats, shoulderless tops, oddly asymmetrical dresses, oversized lapels, cut-outs in weird places, and cropped pants in Winter have left me (sometimes literally) cold. Maximalism was so wrong for me, I finally gave up the attempt and became a spectator. Some years, I guess, one just has to stay on the sidelines, conserve the best of one's wardrobe, and wait for more congenial trends to come along.

Great post...and I really enjoyed the tea that I had with it, at your suggestion. : ) Fantastic assessment and goal setting. I would be very interested to know how you are developing your strategy and your tactics for achieving your goals.

Regarding the shoes :


LOL !!! But with no physical violence. hahahahahaha...I do like the suggestions for more fashionable winter boots that will accommodate you better. It probably won't placate you completely but it is so much closer that what you have now.

: )

ETA Many years ago, I said to someone that I could NEVER have super expensive shoes, like Leboutin's or Chanel because I would need a wheelchair and someone to push it while I wore the shoes. They would NEVER touch the ground. LOL

Suz, what wise analysis.

For shoes, when you are out walking through the city, do you notice what other women are wearing? My guess is that you are more stylish than most. And that perhaps you are judging your outfits against an image in your head, instead of how everyone else is coping. And if you see something wonderful, that looks safe and stylish, and look like you can walk in them, ask.

I remember someone on YLF saying they got dressed up for date night at home. It sounds like such a fun idea, and at least then you could wear your booties.

This discussion about boots has me rethinking my latest consideration, reminding me that real boots don't have leather soles.

Suz, if that's Kingston, it looks like spring! I'm more used to what Lisa P sees outside of her office, requiring the heavy boots that make treading through snow miserable. I spent many years opting for typical running shoes over boots because I couldn't stand the weight of the boot pressing into the top of my foot as I walked. I completely relate to what you, Lisa, say about having to dress casually because of the footwear selection.

I think wearing nice boots indoors is a good idea in theory, but my pragmatic side wouldn't want to because why wear them out unnecessarily? Plus, I like being barefoot as often as possible. Then again, I don't have such a great selection. Maybe the solution is to invite friends over regularly for dinner, dessert, or beverages--that would be a great excuse to put on fancy footwear.

Gradfashionista and Barbara Diane -- it was me who "dresses up" for dinner at home and yes! I do wear my booties sometimes for that purpose. They don't wear out for that. And it is fun for me.

It does look like spring because we were in a thaw. What makes my weather difficult is the constant change between freeze and thaw. It was really warm two days ago (by our standards, I mean -- around 0C) and today is -14C. Snow is variable, too -- it goes from high snow banks like LisaP's to nothing in a few days at times -- and back again.

Tulle, so sorry you have not been happy with the trends and I hope something tickles your fancy in spring!

Very tentatively offering suggestions as I think you really have an eye for self packaging but..maybe during the worst months really commit to starting from the bottom up? And modify your dressy style in a compatible way? Silk and cashmere knit tops instead of silk blouses? Less structured jackets or edgier ones that will "go" with more rugged footwear?

Suz, I really enjoyed the way you structured your goals post here, starting with what you did well last year. It's such a powerful starting point, to acknowledge your strengths and go into the new year with a plan to build on them. I've always found your style truly inspirational, and I'd add to your strengths that you've cultivated a versatile closet and you have a beautiful sense of what's appropriate for a large set of varied life events.

On a whim, I did a Pinterest search for "polished snow boots outfit." Most of the results were ridiculous, with bare legs and above-knee skirts, but the more realistic ones had this in common: rather than trying to disguise the boots or dress to match their formality level, they embraced the contrast, pairing practical footwear with more polished accessories, structured toppers, and finished makeup. Perhaps, you could think about how that might work for you?

Such a thoughtful and cogent analysis! I love that you are aiming for drama and dressiness, with a nod to practicality. Sounds like a winning combination!