Thursday, February 18, 2010

Street fashion

Images from The Sartorialist

Getting dressed for work is pretty tricky--especially if you have a dress code at the office and you regularly take the jeep/bus/MRT/FX. Though my job doesn't require me to wear stockings and heels, I consider it a duty to look like I'm raring to get to work--and not like I can't wait to catch some zzz's.

This conviction is the result of that horrible experience of coming to work in rubber slippers (because they're comfy for commuting), and then finding out later that day that I was to attend a press event (cocktails) in Asian Hospital, and hopefully catch an interview with Lea Salonga (which didn't push through...thankfully). Since then, I've thought more about street fashion, which in this case can also be called: Clothes to Wear When Traveling from One End of the City to the Other without Looking Like a Tornado Victim or a Teleported Island Hopper at Any Point in Time.

Here are some points to remember when dressing for commuting and going to work:
  1. No slippers. It took me a potential interview with an international star to realize how inappropriate slippers are when worn for work. I think it's the "expensive rubber slipper trend" that initially made slippers "acceptable" in places other than the house and the beach. It got so common that one hotel put up a sign that said "No slippers allowed inside." No matter how expensive those things are they're still RUBBER CUTOUTS made for walking in sand.
  2. A good pair of closed walking shoes is a nice investment. I've noticed some women commuters wearing office uniforms (the pencil skirt kind) with stockings and slippers. While I understand how much discomfort commuting in one's office heels could be, I don't think donning the slippers is a better idea--after all, you're still in your uniform! There are nice comfy walking shoes that can complement that office uniform out of office hours. Go shopping!
  3. Mini-anythings are giant boo-boos! While fashion experts may hail short shorts, mini-skirts, spaghetti-halter tops and tiny tees as the "in" thing, the commuter is wise never to listen to such ridiculous people. Try climbing in a jeepney or hopping off a bus (or even stepping into a taxi) in one of those microscopic numbers and tell me if you didn't feel a trifle uncomfortable. Sure, it's hot out there, but you gotta remember that in a public vehicle you've got enough things to worry about (the fare, your bag, your phone, your limbs, your breathing space) that any piece of clothing that make you have to double-, triple-, quadruple-check yourself every time you change position makes you prime target for becoming a victim of snatching (not to mention the obvious). Besides, what would your boss say if you step in the office in that?
  4. Be a "coherent" dresser! It all comes to this, then. Deciding what to wear for the commute and for work is a matter of choosing pieces that are decent for the office and at the same time comfortable for the road (bringing extra items--like comfy shoes and an extra shirt--to satisfy the difference is simply a matter of foresight). Though different places require different "appropriate attire," it's still the wearer who decides what to don every day and in effect defines who she is. For example, if you're a neat person, that means you are neat wherever you go--at home, in the office, in the thick of the city. If you're one character in one place and a totally different one in the next... well, that's quite a tangle you've got yourself into! This is how coherence--or unity in lifestyle--is important: in all the fashion decisions you'll have to make daily, you are the constant; your personal modest and considerate choices are the pattern, the groundwork of the rules you follow on appropriate dressing. And the more you see how the way you dress affects the people around you, the smarter your choices will be--on the street or out of it.

Oh by the way, there will be a talk on "stylish dressing and hairstyling" next Saturday (Feb 27) to be given by Ms. Boots Estrada and Ms. Ester Ong! Here are the details:

From Head to Toe
Feb 27, 2010
Dining Hall 1 & 2, UA&P
2:00-2:15 Registration
2:15-3:30 Talk
Smart Casual
PhP 200
(For women ages 14-35)

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