Please advise on attractive winter boots that can withstand the elements but yet look good in a fine restaurant or gathering. —Stacy, Needham

When it comes to cold-weather clothing ideas, I usually start with this: the Sundance Film Festival is what you should look at.

There aren’t many places where people (or, to be fair, their stylists) have had to think about how to dress stylishly for both the snow and public opinion, but in a way that is relatable. Sundance is different from award show red carpets in that celebrities dress casually for the day and in a relaxed setting. And there are so many options for people of different ages, personalities, and styles to choose from!

The sad thing is that Sundance, like many other January events, is now only on the internet. That’s bad news. The good news is that the style of snow boots isn’t very seasonal. There’s not a lot you can do about the look, but you can get a lot of ideas by looking back at previous years.

If you buy a good pair of boots that are smart from a protective-gear point of view, you also make a good style choice. There isn’t much difference between the footwear that was popular in 2012 and the footwear that was popular in 2020. This should be a one-and-done shoe situation.

As far back as history goes, Sorel has been the most popular brand at Sundance, hands down. It even has a wedge-heeled winter boot in its Joan of Arctic line. But no matter which brand you choose, the goal is to make your boots more than a necessity, but an accessory. Lowa’s experts say they should be waterproof, insulated, and have a non-slip sole.

That’s when you can choose one of two ways.

First, embrace the sheer snowiness of the snow boot. Then, choose a big puffer style that doesn’t hide how good it is at what it does. When you go inside, this might seem like an odd thing to do, but it has an ironic appeal that is also a good conversation starter.

Look at the North Face ThermoBall ankle boot, for example. It’s like your foot has just been shoved into your pillow. Or the Moon Boot, which, given our current obsession with space, seems like a good choice. A collaboration with Chloé also shows that the boot is becoming more and more fashionable.

Second, choose one with a slimmer shape, like what a leather boot would look like. Waterproof fleece-lined knee-high boots are on sale from Eddie Bauer. They don’t look like snow boots at all! In the winter, Dr. Martens makes a grip-soled Chelsea boot. And the Rogue 10 from Kamik has a fleece-meets-festival look to it, as well. It turns out that trends aren’t just for Coachella after all.