Rock the Runway: Subway Style

As a newly instituted commuter, I downloaded a couple of games and ebooks for those bumpy mornings and nights. Yet I’ve found that the best form of distraction comes, not in the form of sleep or tweets, but in the form of clothing.

A sharp, 3-piece blue and grey plaid wool suit. Photo from http://redthreadsstyle.blogspot.com/

A sharp, 3-piece blue and grey plaid wool suit. Photo from http://redthreadsstyle.blogspot.com/

Every morning, the swarms of New York commuters inspire.

I always boxed men as having it easy in terms of how to dress, but male outfits are much more nuanced than I ever imagined. Besides the different kinds of patterns, buttons, jackets, materials, cuts, belts, buttons, there’s also the matter of shoes, socks, ties, and facial hair. Take plaid, for example; I had no idea plaid could mean so many different styles. On my daily commute, I’ve seen thin and thick stripes, white and pastels, complimentary colors, and clashing colors. Shirt and slacks are far from a dictated uniform.

It does seem that women are sometimes enclosed into their own uniform: the “Hillary Clinton pants” with a button down blouse and some sensible flats. But more often than not, textures, colors, shoe heels, hair, and nails all are unique. Just this morning, I saw four different white blouses - all made of different materials (lace, silk, a thick cotton, and a thin cotton), with different sleeve lengths and necklines. This doesn’t include the cute white eyelet lace dress that was on 9th to 23rd, or the loose draped dress that walked a block next to me after I got out of the station. I’ve seen so many different shoes that it could be an article in itself. Throw in the added twist of carrying “work shoes” in purses and the number of pieces to consider doubles. 

Hilary Clinton's signature power suit. Photo by www.forbes.com

Hilary Clinton's signature power suit. Photo by www.forbes.com

Learning from observation, I’ve come across a few fundamental lessons since I can’t wear the same shorts and t-shirt every day of the week (the ultimate outfit at school or at home). I have to accommodate the sweaty walking, freezing office, and whatever other activities that may happen after work. Dresses, something I strenuously avoided ten years ago, have become a godsend. Jewelry is more often than not defines an outfit. Closed-toe shoes have never been more preferable. 

As easy as it is to get lost in the protective bubble of my phone, it’s also incredible to watch the catwalk right next to me in the train, at the station, or on the street.