Tips for commuting on foot in a snowy city with a suit?
July 19, 2015 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving from a city with basically no annual snowfall to one which which averages 70+ inches per yer. My commute will be 15 minutes, walking. My attire at work on most days will be a men's business suit. I won't have my own office. Any tips from similarly situated individuals on how this can be done most easily and comfortably?
posted by ageispolis to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had the same situation a few years back, and I just walked to work as normal (with a coat as necessary based on the temperature). Sure, sometimes my pants got snow on them, but it was no big deal; I brushed it off when I got inside and let it dry. I did keep a spare suit at my office, though, just in case things got particularly splashy out.
posted by Etrigan at 9:15 AM on July 19, 2015

Dress like a film noir detective: hat, overcoat, galoshes (boots, if snow is too deep).
posted by Carol Anne at 9:25 AM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Canadian who walks to work all year round here. Salt (if it's used on the roads/sidewalks where you'll be) and slush, not snow itself, will be your biggest enemies. The salt will ruin your dress shoes, and the bottoms of your pant legs will be splattered with it by the time you get to the office.

Trenchcoat as an overcoat and consider investing in a pair of Neos.

They're just like a winter boot, but are available in a variety of heights and fit over dress shoes. They're pretty awesome.

That, or keep a pair of dress shoes at work if you can, and wear high winter boots that you can tuck your pant legs into to protect them en route.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:15 AM on July 19, 2015 [6 favorites]

Serious snowboots on your feet for the commute, plus a pair of slip-on dress shoes in your bag? (That's assuming you have a corner you can park your wet snowboots in for the duration of the workday (maybe wherever you're expected to leave your coat?))
posted by willbaude at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2015

When temps get cold, even before the snow flies, nighttime moisture can turn the sidewalk into an ice rink. Even after snow has been shoveled, that leftover 1/8 of an inch of snow can turn your commute into a doozy. You need YakTrax. They fit over most shoe-wear and will save you many painful slips- especially when you're dashing into work in a hurry!
posted by iiniisfree at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

In Maine, and for most in northern New England, snow & winter means a parka over the suit jacket, and warm, dry boots. You change into shoes at the office. If you want a fancier coat, get a wool coat or a raincoat with a zip in liner for warmth, the latter being quite useful for raingear in addition to cold. Sensible boots have no alternative in slush, ice, and snow. Perhaps a good backpack for carrying lunch and shoes for looking more professional than a plastic grocery bag.
posted by theora55 at 11:00 AM on July 19, 2015

1) Go for a long wool coat, one that goes to your knees. You would be surprised how chilled your legs can get. 2) It is very important to keep your feet dry. Invest in some tall rainboots that you can tuck your pant legs into. Pick out a pair that have some grip on the soles. Buy some quality wool socks. Wool is a top pick for survivalists for a reason; wool will continue to insulate even if wet. 3) Buy several scarves and layer them around your neck like this; put one on before you put the coat on, and then one or two after you put the coat on. This will insulate the back of your neck, and prevent a driving wind from getting snow down the back of your coat. 4) Get a hat that is thick enough to block the wind, and is large enough to pull down over your ears. 5) Buy some insulated mittens. "Driving gloves" look nice, but won't keep your hands very warm. If this is going to be a really cold climate, I recommend buying a pair of gloves that you can wear INSIDE the mittens.
posted by LilithSilver at 11:55 AM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

LilithSilver: "Go for a long wool coat, one that goes to your knees. You would be surprised how chilled your legs can get."

Your ass and thighs must be covered. THOSE ARE BIG WARM MUSCLES, DO NOT ALLOW THE EVIL WIND GODS TO STEAL YOUR BIG WARM MUSCLE HEAT. Makes a difference, for real. A lighter wool overcoat that goes to your knees will keep you warmer than a high-tech waist-length parka intended for Antarctic temperatures for a walk of that length.

A lot of suit-wearing professional men in the snowy midwest have grey/black overcoats but wear a bright cashmere scarf in robin's egg blue or cardinal red or whatever. It helps to have something cheery during the long, drab, grey winter. When you go to the department store and the men's section has a rainbow of screamingly bright scarves, that's on purpose. Pick a cheery one! (If you look at pictures of the official guests behind Obama at his second inauguration, the senators and representatives and so on, you can see lots and lots of men in dark wool overcoats and bright scarves -- dove grey, electric blue, cardinal red, robin's egg blue. Which apparently I have mentioned before!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:43 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Let your dress shoes, suit trousers and jackets live in the company coat room or closet -- there will be one in any office that has East Coast four-season weather. Wear your dress shirts and ties over jeans boots and under a nice big parka. Change pants and shoes when you get to work. Do this in the summer too when it will be 95 degrees and humid (substitute sneakers for boots, and ditch the parka!)
posted by MattD at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2015

Big coat, scarf, gloves, hat that covers the ears - if really cold, balaclava. Most of all, waterproof boots that you can tuck your pants into. Leave an extra pair of shoes, pants and socks (lots of socks!) at your office, for those really crappy slushy days when everything gets wet.
posted by Toddles at 3:51 PM on July 19, 2015

I leave a full set of work shoes at work (brown and black oxfords) and then change shoes when I get to the office in all seasons. Usually a long overcoat does fine for the pants, but I do keep a spare suit at the office just in case (and it comes in handy if I've gone casual but have a surprise client meeting).
posted by craven_morhead at 4:03 PM on July 19, 2015

Check your route to indoor places you can cut through like hotels, large office building lobbies, and department stores. In Toronto and Montreal we have an entire underground system specifically so people can travel between buildings without going outside. Perhaps the city you are moving to has something similair?
posted by saucysault at 7:54 PM on July 19, 2015

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