Where can I find a stylish winter boot?

My usual first-resort suggestion when it comes to cold-weather clothing ideas is simple: just look at the Sundance Film Festival.

Nowhere else have there been so many concentrated examples of people (or, frankly, people stylists) who have had to consider dressing stylishly for both the snow and the public eye, but in a recognizable way. Unlike red carpets for awards shows, Sundance includes celebrities dressing for the day and a casual setting. And there are so many different solutions for different ages, personalities and aesthetics to choose from!

Unfortunately, like many other January events, Sundance has gone virtual. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the snowshoe style is largely perennial. So while it’s not really possible to shop the look, you can shop for the inspiration by running a scan through previous years.

Indeed, there is not much difference between the footwear that was popular in 2012 and the footwear that was popular in 2020, which also means investing in a good pair of boots, which is simply a smart choice from a protective clothing point of view, is also a good one. choice from a style perspective. Ideally, this is a one-off shoe situation.

Historically, Sorel has been the dominant brand at Sundance. It even offers a winter wedge boot as part of the Joan of Arctic collection. But whichever brand you choose, the idea is to combine the necessary technical specifications (waterproof, insulated, with a non-slip sole, according to the experts at Lowa) with enough flair to make your boots not just a necessity, but an accessory.

Then you can go both ways.

Embrace the pure snowiness of the snow boot first and opt for a big puffer style that makes no apologies for its performance values. This may seem like an odd choice when you go in, but it has an ironic appeal that’s also a helpful conversation starter.

See, for example, the North Face ThermoBall Ankle Boot, which looks like you just put your foot into your pillow, or the Columbia Paninaro. Or the classic Moon Boot, which seems quite appropriate given our current obsession with space. (The company also just teamed up with Chloé, which speaks to the boot’s upward trend.)

Or, second, choose one with a thinner profile, more akin to a leather boot. Eddie Bauer offers waterproof, fleece-lined knee boots that hardly look like snow boots. dr. Martens has a Chelsea boot with a winter grip sole. And Kamik’s Rogue 10 has a fleece-meets festival vibe. After all, trends aren’t just for Coachella.

Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa answers a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send her anytime via e-mail or Twitter. Questions have been edited and compressed.