What to Wear While Walking Your Dog

Anyone who has a dog knows how much it can effect every aspect of your life. When I adopted my dog Doug, he brought a lot of changes (both good and not so good) into my life — but I didn't expect that he would change the way I dress. At first I had images in my head of all the cute dog walking outfits I would wear. That dream quickly disappeared within the first chaotic, stressful, sweaty week of owning Doug. For the rest of that summer I wore t-shirts and jeans, and then all winter I wore black leggings, black snow boots, and a giant black puffy coat. My main priority was comfort; and it's not like Doug cared about what I wore.

Now that I've had a dog for almost a year, however, a lot of the harder issues have been ironed out and I'm once again able to think about more trivial things like clothes. Nobody's saying you have to be dressed up for walking the dog, but if you live in a stylish area or just dangerously close to a few exes then it doesn't hurt to look put together. You don't have to sacrifice comfort to be stylish, or vice versa. All of the below outfits are suitable for every kind of dog walk. Plus, they only take a moment to put together but look miles better than pajamas.

Here are my Doug-approved outfits for...

1. Rainy dog walks.

We've officially moved from snow to rain, so a good rainy day uniform is a must. These Forever 21 jeggings look like skinny jeans but secretly offer the stretchy comfort of leggings so I wear them constantly. Between my hooded H&M parka and my dav Liverpool Rain Boots I don't have to worry about avoiding puddles or dripping awnings while I'm hurrying after Doug. And of course, a fun patterned scarf like this leopard print one from Forever 21 always adds a nice touch to any basic outfit.

2. Unbearably hot summer dog walks.

I can't wait until this becomes a regular occurrence. For now, I'm celebrating the occasional warm day with a very simple outfit that I can throw on before running out the door. Doug doesn't care about giving me enough time to get dressed. A silk camisole is the perfect feminine piece to offset ripped boyfriend jeans (these are Old Navy Skinny Boyfriend Jeans that I distressed myself) and chunky slip-on sandals. I found these Mossimo sandals at Target; they look like the suddenly resurfacing Birkenstocks but for a fraction of the price. Of course, lots of sunscreen is a must with this outfit.

3. Dog walks that involve more running than walking.

These are my least favorite kind (ugh, exercise) so it helps to have a cute outfit. My Old Navy cropped sweats and Forever 21 fast food tank are a lot more colorful and fun than regular black athletic wear. Of course I could never say no to black completely, so my Nikes and jacket help ground the look. I know most people would opt for a hoodie, but I don't own one. Instead I find this cotton moto jacket to be just as breathable while looking a little more put-together.

4. Walks to the dog park where your crush takes their dog.

What? I always wear red lipstick to the dog park. Seriously though, if you have a crush at the dog park you can dress up a little to look cute while still playing it cool. I find that a denim jacket and Converse sneakers help to tone down a pretty dress (and make the outfit more practical — no stilettos at the dog park, please). If your dress is secretly a romper/dress hybrid like this Zara one is, that's a huge plus since it means you won't have to worry about flashing everyone your dog-themed underwear while picking up poop.

5. Quick dog walks before going to work or on a date.

There is nothing better than an easy summer outfit that you don't have to think about. I basically live in this grey T-shirt dress and striped espadrille flats all summer. Sometimes, however, I need to take this outfit up a notch (and still be able to give Doug a quick walk before I leave).

All I have to do to be ready for work or a date is throw on a cropped trench coat and a statement necklace. If you must wear heels, opt for ankle booties with a low heel. They'll give some extra height but they're usually warmer and more comfortable than regular heels so you can still manage a dog walk in any weather.

Finally, don't forget the essentials: sunscreen, sunglasses, and poop bags. Oh, and the best accessory a girl can have: a dog.

Images: Josh Kirby