Saturday, February 18, 2012

Commuter Fashion

This past month I've started taking the bus up to work in Salt Lake (for my Joseph Smith Papers Project internship). I live down in Orem, so it's about a 45-minute commute by car or 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus. I really didn't want to start taking the bus because I get carsick easily and I would have to wake up a lot earlier than I normally would. I catch a bus around 6 a.m. (deathly early), so I usually just listen to Pandora on my phone and rest my eyes—I can't fall asleep on planes or buses unless I get to lie down completely.

I have actually come to enjoy riding the bus, but I get annoyed when I sit next to someone that takes up all of my elbow space. I have this weird "sense" where I can predict who will sit next to me on the bus once the people start loading onto the bus—I'm four for four with my predictions this month. It's a fun game to play, but sometimes I'm too tired to play. I'm also a magnet for overweight men and girls that are my age to sit next to me. My guess as to why this happens is that (1) the overweight men enjoy sitting next to smaller people because they know they'll get more space—often honing in on my elbow and leg space, and (2) girls feel safer sitting next to me instead of having an overweight man take up all of their elbow/leg space and I probably seem normal (emphasis on probably).

However, I always end up sitting next to weirdos/annoying people or I end up being the weirdo. Let me explain.

The weirdos/annoying people that I have sat next to: the countless men who move in on my personal space (I call them "chicken wingers" because their elbows always end up in my ribs), the man that talked so close to my face that I thought he was going to kiss me, and the girl who asked me every stop if "this was my stop" (I think she thought I was just planning on not getting off at my stop until she asked me, like I wouldn't have stood up myself to get off—once she asked me if "that was my stop" after the bus had already pulled away. Why yes, I enjoy not getting off at the right stop so I don't have to make you move to let me out of my seat.).

Let me explain how I sometimes end up being the weirdo in these situations. Here is an example from Friday. Every morning there's a man who gets on the bus two stops after me who always has to check his facebook on his laptop. Once the bus gets on the highway, the lights turn off in the bus so people can rest/close their eyes. This guy always whips out his laptop with the screen to the brightest setting possible (even though it's not necessary since the bus is pitch dark at this time) and he checks his facebook, which has a white background so it makes it even brighter than most websites. I have sat diagonal behind this man twice. I could see the white light penetrating through my eyelids.

After that long intro to bright-computer-screen-guy, let me explain how he gives me anxiety every morning. Once we reach his stop, I start saying a prayer to myself and wishing and hoping that he will sit faraway from me—especially not next to me. On Friday, I breathed a sigh of relief when he sat in the front while I sat near the back. A nice older man (about 60s) sat next to me. I could do that—he wasn't even taking up any of my elbow space! We get on the highway. He whips out his laptop. Great! Luckily, he kept his MacBook Pro to a nice lower brightness setting. I then realized, "Hey, I'm not that tired today." I decided to be a weirdo/stalker and read what he was doing. I have this tendency to do that because I'm curious. I don't do it to friends so much, just random strangers. He gets on facebook. This is one cool old man. And then he checks his text messages and starts texting people. Whoever says that only young people are obsessed with electronics and social media is wrong.

Now I'm really getting nosy. I watch him look at How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You that someone posted on his newsfeed on facebook. I have seen that post before, and I think that it's funny. I look at him to see if he's going to crack a smile. Stone-faced. He then starts typing. I glance over. I see an "M" and an "e" randomly. I started to panic. No joke. I thought, "He's writing, 'Melissa, stop looking at this.'" I took a better look and I realized that he was writing the name of his cat, Mutsie. I guess I was just feeling guilty for spying. I still watch anyway. He continues to post about his cat's odd habits. I thought that he was just going to comment on this image on facebook, but instead he's putting it as his status. Maybe he's not as familiar with facebook as I thought. He then probably sensed that I was watching. He glanced over and I quickly looked out the window. I then decided to finally try to rest up. I then actually fell asleep ten minutes before my stop (MIRACLE!) and almost didn't get off the bus in time.

That's my commuter story for the month. I'm sure there will be more to come. As entertaining as commuting can be for me, it's a pain with dressing sensibly. It's not that sensible for me to wear my stilettos while waiting for the bus. I have started to wear more layers so I can stay warm enough while also waiting for the bus. What exactly is the best way to dress for the bus?

From this last month of commuting via the bus, I haven't noticed that big of a difference in what clothing I wear other than adding a few layers. Adding a cardigan is nice because you can take it on or off if you get cold or hot, and you can store it in your purse easily since they aren't too bulky. Wearing tights has also been a nice way to stay warm.

I feel that the accessories (shoes, bags, etc.) are what make a big difference. I came up with this list of some good commuter basics for spring

1. Merona Belted Long Trench Coat Wearing trench coats in the spring is a must. They work great with the rainy weather and still keep you warm or cool enough. I like a belted coat because I feel that it flatters your waist—it gives you a shape that otherwise gets lost in most other bulky coats. This coat received great reviews on Target (I always check reviews) and is only $49.99. It also comes in other colors such as red, khaki, and black.

2. Banana Republic Scotty Ballet Flat Walking to and from the bus or train stop can get really tiring (especially if you have to run to get there on time). Wearing flats can make it easier to get to and from places quickly and comfortably (if you have broken in the shoes first). These flats come with memory foam cushioning and are really cute. I'm really into the patent leather toe look for flats and boots. These shoes are on the pricier side ($98), but I've seen similar looks at TJ Maxx (Aerosoles) and H&M—you might compromise comfort if you go with a cheaper brand, though. If I had the money for these shoes, I would definitely get them!

3. Totes Mini Umbrella Cabbage Floral Chances are it's going to rain in the spring (or snow if you're in Utah). Waiting at the bus or train stop in the rain could be torture. This umbrella is so small and lightweight that it can fit easily in your purse. I have used the Totes Mini Umbrella (not this specific print, although I wish I did have this print) and it fulfills its purpose greatly. I have a history of breaking umbrellas, but I haven't broken this one yet. I haven't tried using it in heavy snow or high winds, though, so you might want to use a heavy-duty umbrella for that kind of weather if you have that weather in the spring. The specific print and color of this umbrella are perfect for spring and this umbrella is definitely more on the affordable side ($12.99).

4. Gap Colorblock Tote If you're commuting, you'll probably have a lot to carry around. This bag has the space to carry it all—which is why I'm such a big fan of big purses. This purse also comes with a shoulder strap which makes it nice if you don't feel like holding the straps with your hands. Another plus: the bottom of the bag is black so you don't have to worry about getting the bottom of the bag noticeably dirty. If you're worried about the handles getting dirty since they're white, try wrapping a colored scarf around the handle and gripping that instead of the handle itself. Price: $44.95.

5. Mossimo Pemota Chunky Heel Pump I love wearing heels. A lot. I would choose heels over flats any day. However, like I said before, most heels (especially stilettos) aren't the best option for waiting in line or running to the bus stop. However, a high-heel shoe with a chunky heel (or wedge) gives you a lot more support than other heels. If you have a hard time sacrificing high heels for a commute, then opt for a chunky or wedge heel. These specific heels are available in many colors (including a leopard print) and are only $29.99.

6. Dr. Scholl's Fast Foldable Flats If you can't even let go of those stiletto high heels for the commute, then change into them before you get into your work building. You can wear these flats during the commute and walking to and from the bus stop, then change into your desired shoes later. These flats fold up so you can put them in your purse without taking up a lot of space. They do not, however, give you a lot of support. They are quite thin, actually. They do serve their purpose well: a pair of back-up flats for a quick walk instead of clunking on the sidewalk in stilettos. Dr. Scholl's even sells some of their Fast Foldable Flats with a wristlet that you can put your flats in (probably more so for the girls who go clubbing and need a place to hold their flats). These sell for $12.99. If you want a cheaper option, just carry a lightweight pair of flats in your purse at all times during your commute.

As you can tell, I'm a big Target fan. Most of the time their quality is pretty good, their prices are great, and they have a quick turnover with merchandise (they always have things going on clearance and new things coming in). Since my husband is still in school, I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes, but I still want good quality. I hope to include in my future "lists" places that I actually shop at that have decent prices and quality.

I hope you enjoy my findings and tips!

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, I love that you included that the shoes come in leopard print. :) And I'm also way excited to go shopping with you. Hopefully you can help me get out of my boring old basics!