Commuting in Style: How I balance fashion, comfort and safety

8:30 PM

My good friend and blog sister Aisa declared last October 18, 2011 as the National Day of Events for bloggers. Of course, that pronouncement was one of her many benta jokes. However, we (her fellow bloggers) couldn’t agree more. 

I’m not sure what was so special about that particular date but for some reason, it was the same day when the following events were scheduled: MTV Exit Press Conference, Canon Pixma Launch, Freeway X Manansala Special Tribute, Multiply Shopping Party and MEGA’s Fashion Crew Grand Finale Event.

It’s pretty practical to just choose one event among the bunch but on the contrary, it is ideal to attend everything on the list. I can picture you guys reading this and asking in your heads the big WHY with me throwing back a “WHY NOT?” at you.

But before I continue with what I have to say, (this is me having a disclaimer now, haha) you would probably judge that I’m such a hypocrite whenever I would go on and tell you about how tiring it is to be present to almost every event that I get invited to. Honestly, going to events (almost every day) really wears me out.

But being a freelancer, jumping from one project to another, my schedule is pretty much unpredictable because I don’t do an eight-hour routine job. My socially mobile nature subconsciously drives me to go whenever my planner tells me I can pretty much squeeze it in.

My income as a free agent depends on how many projects I book (some months doing so great, and some doing just okay) and gracing events gives me an advantage that helps me network, meet people and build contacts. Most importantly, I personally believe that attending (as long as I’m free) is a form of “courtesy” to the brands and PR agencies who have given my blog opportunities and exposure that I’m truly thankful for.

Taking into mind all these reasons, I knew that I couldn’t just choose one. And so, I went with the latter three. Realistically speaking, I’m not paid to go to any of these events and so, it was a practical move to keep myself busy with work during the day and have some fun later in the evening.

For this event-hoping night, I admit, I was pretty conscious of what my outfit would be. Being a “fashion blogger” there’s a certain pressure to keep up with what everyone would probably be wearing just so I would somehow “blend in” (to stand out is another option) in a sea of fasyon people.

Cardigan Vivienne Westwood | Bodycon dress Closet Chic | Boots Shoe Etiquette
But unlike a good number of fashion bloggers who can wear basically anything because they have their own cars, a fashionista commuter like me has always been in a constant struggle deciding on what I really want to wear without the fear of getting mugged in the (let’s be honest) not-so-safe streets of Manila.

It is indeed a tough act to juggle fashion, safety and comfort altogether. But I get by because I’ve been commuting all my life (mostly riding jeepneys, buses, trycicyles and trains) and it has opened my eyes to all the social realities out there.

1. Safety Always Comes FIRST. 
No matter where you’re going or what the occasion is, safety should always be your priority. You can’t always have someone else to accompany you and even riding a taxi doesn’t guarantee security.

When I pick out an item in my closet, I keep in mind my chances of attracting attention – good and bad. If possible, I prefer to remain unnoticed during my whole commuting period. My paranoia starts kicking in when people stare at me. There’s no way for me to know what each person is thinking. Who knows, I could be a target (yikes).

P.S. If it will be too dangerous for you to commute to an evening event, then don't go. I'm sure the person who invited you would understand. 

2. Never Forget Your Flats
No matter how comfortable you say your heels or wedges are, I strongly suggest you give your feet much love and wear flats first.

Commuting requires you to be quick on your feet. You need to be on the look out when you cross the streets and most of all, be alert for any danger. In my experience, heels can slow down your pace and can keep you distracted especially when you start to feel pain or when all you can think about is how to walk on them without slipping or falling flat on your face.

With a pair of comfy flats, you'll be able to walk so much faster and move with ease when you do long walks and climb the stairs (when crossing foot bridges or overpass). Just make sure these are the lightweight ones or the roll-in flats that come in a convenient packaging.

Thena killer boots courtesy of Shoe Etiqutte
3. Don't Get Your Bling On Yet
Fashion isn't worth any danger and so I try to maintain a really low profile bordering on wanting to be invisible when I commute. I pack all my accessories in a kit and wear them before I get to be seen in the event. 

Chunky necklaces, stack of bangles, statement rings - all these give your outfits that pow, umpf, whatever x-factor you call it. Wearing all these during travel will (let's face it) draw unnecessary attention. There will be a lot of avenues for you to express your creativity in your style. The jeepney, or the bus, the train, or the sidewalk is not the place for it though.

Printed bangle from Tomato, Tiger ring from SM Accessories, the rest from F-STOP

4. Save Your Stylish Self for Later
Always prepare for two looks. Dress down as a random commoner on the way and when you get there, transform into the trendsetter that you really are. It’s not as difficult as it sounds like. When you do this, make sure these two looks comprise of almost the same pieces of your planned outfit. Transforming to the second look can be as simple as adding something or taking out a piece from your ensemble.

One of your options is to use a bigger bag that can house an extra top and/or a pair of shoes. Dress comfortably first and when you reach your destination, head first to the comfort room, change your top, slip on those heels and don't forget to retouch your make-up.

My usual trick when I commute is I put on a blazer or any kind of cover-up first, and then remove it afterwards. I always aim to look as plain (or covered) as I can. For that night, I got out of my house wearing this long mullet-style cardigan and used a belt to wrap it around my body to hide the sexy floral bodycon dress underneath.

Sexy floral bodycon dress courtesy of Closet Chic
I would have to stop here for now and save a few other tips for another entry. After realizing how long this entry has been, I've convinced myself that some of you are either bored or tired by now reading this lengthy article. Anyway, the next set of tips and tricks, I can share some other time but these four are on the top of my list.

Don't forget the order: safety, comfort, fashion. Thinking of your safety is not an option; it's a mind-set. I couldn't stress that any further. Ever since my older brother (at the age of 22) who went to a party with his friends, unexpectedly passed away a few years ago, I've never ever stopped thinking about how precious (and short) life is. I would never risk it for anything, especially if it's just fashion. 

Stay safe everyone!

P.S. I used to hate writing tips about any topic because I feel like people might judge me, thinking I'm pretending to know better than any one else. I don't, really. But if there's anything you appreciate or dissent about my blog entries, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail (

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  1. nabitin ako, word for word teh, binasa ko. very useful ang tips mo. thank you.

  2. well said Melai! I totally agree with you, with every word. I am a fashionista commuter too and I feel what you feel and I too experienced what you've experienced.

    I enjoy reading this post Melai and I am eyeing for the continuation of this post.

    PS: When you have this type of entry, nagigising ako after ko basahin hehe.I can relate kasi mostly on the topics you are discussing! :)

  3. Soooo true, sis! super practical but stylish mo talaga! <3

  4. This is really helpful Melai since I usually commute to school. :) Thank you!

  5. Well said Melai! Too bad I wasn't able to approach as I had to go home early. Would love to meet you in the future, being the awesome blogger that you are :)

  6. SUPER LOVE THIS POST MELAI. Kahit mahaba hindi nakakapagod basahin kasi you write very well plus ang useful ng tips. Hehe. <3

  7. a sensible entry. very realistic. :)

  8. BRAVO!
    hehe.. i can us those tips.. since i am a commuter and most of the time i go home late na..

    Thanks Melai for sharing this!


  9. Hi. This post really helps! Thanks. I'm looking forward to your other tips. It's good to hear form you. :)

  10. love the tips you shared! thank you so much! you so pretty! im a filipina as well. i live in houston texas :) so great to see another filipina blogger
    love kat

  11. Great post! You look great in that dress!

  12. great read! thanks for the tips! :)

  13. this is very helpful melai..i have a car with me to work always but may times na may topak ang car kaya biglang napapacommute..funny everything you listed ginagawa ko like baon ng flats and itago muna ang mga bongaang accessories..i agree its ok to be fashyon but safety and comfort always comes first :) love your dress and shoes btw :)

  14. yay to you melai!

    very well blogged. will definitely apply your fasyon tips to my daily commuter life. :)

  15. this is a very informative entry!!! :) will surely apply this one ofv these dayss

  16. it is really hard to find your own style! but thanks for your inspiration!!

  17. Super agree with everything you said, Melai! ☺ I didn't get tired reading this entry kasi relate na relate ako! Hihi and there was no dull moment in your blog anyway. :)

    Good to meet you yesterday!! More to come! ♥


  18. I super like this post. I commute too so I'll keep these tips in mind! I must agree with the "heels can slow down your pace" part. I once wore uncomfortable shoes while commuting and I ended up with my bag slashed at an overpass. because I got too focused on the pain in my feet :(

  19. @Ana: Thank you!

    @Apple: I appreciate that you've read everything! Makes me want to write more. Sorry bitin!

    @Denise: I'm glad to have that affirmation from you. I'm happy knowing that someone out there can really relate to me :)

    @Tee: Hi Nettie! Thank you. Glad that this post helps :) Yes I do commute to school din.

    @Phya: Would love to meet you some time too! Next time, if you see me around, don't hesitate to approach me :)

    @Jonessa: Thank you very much Jonessa! I know we can relate to each other! Miss shooting you :)

    @Kate: Thank you :)

    @Discover Joana: Salamat dear! Appreciate it :)

    @K: Thanks!! Yes, I'll try to give more tips on any topic that I might be of help :)

    @Laura: Thanks! This dress is from closet chic! :)

    @Francesca: Thank you! Happy to know you find the tips useful for you ^_^

    @iloveKrz: Nice to know na relate na relate ka. And yez you do these too! I'm sure a lot out there are like us :)

    @Ju cruz: Salamat! Yes apply mo ah, hope to see you blog about your commuting in style outfit! :)

    @Nomadic fashionista: Thank you soo much!

    @Check my fashion: Yez, super thanks!

    @Arnie: Aaaw. Even though it's long you don't find it tiring. I'm really happy knowing people read and find credit in something i took the time to write. :)

    @Claire: Thank you! Commuting should never stop us from wearing stylish outfits but siyempre, we have to be safe first. Yes don't commute in heels!

  20. Nice to finally meet you Melai! :) I never know you are a commuter! I am a commuter too! and I cannot be fasyon most of the time! I do take my flats with me, and just change to "heeled" shoes when attending events. I also wear a cardigan which I just take off when "walking down the red carpet" during events Hehe

  21. LOVE this post Melai. Easy to read and super helpful!

  22. i love this post melai! very practical and helpful tips! there will be times when commuting is the only way to travel and being safe (and modesty) is the number one concern :)

  23. love this post! all you said is true and very practical for any fashionista commuter!


  24. i'm a fashi0n c0mmuter myseLf and like y0u i d0n't want my 0utfit t0 get n0ticed by 0ther c0mmuters s0 as much as p0ssibLe I wear simple cl0thes. Mahilig talaga ak0 sa b00tz kaya "binaba0n" k0 na lang sila at naka-flats 0r slippers ak0 habang bumabyahe! hehehe...

    great tips Melai! keep writing m0re 0f it!

    siyanga pala,

    Please supp0rt 0ur bL0g by f0LL0wing us back @

    als0 c0nnect with us thru g00gLe

    Thank y0u! ϡ

  25. Hi Melai (haha, feels like I'msaying hi to myself)!

    my first time here in your blog.
    this post is very informative and helpful.
    i don't feel bored reading it, coz you write very well. I kinda feel bitin pa nga eh. =)

    by reading this post, I realized I should stop compromising my safety&comfort over fashion.
    Di pwedeng "tiis-ganda" palagi.

    I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your brother. =(

    More power to your blog and i'll check out the 2nd part.

    your newest follower,

  26. So true! It's such a challenge to dress up when commuting. We share the same problemo! XD

    :) Erika


I appreciate anything you have to say. Thanks for dropping by. It means so much to me. Love, Melai

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