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A Fashion Girl’s Guide to Surviving Crazy Manila Commute

How do the well-dressed survive public transportation, a lack of Uber, or coding day?
A Fashion Girl’s Guide to Surviving Crazy Manila Commute
IMAGE Gab Gutierrez
ILLUSTRATOR Gab Gutierrez
How do the well-dressed survive public transportation, a lack of Uber, or coding day?

News of Uber’s temporary suspension on August 15, 2017 probably did not hit home until 6:00 am the next day. Sh*t hit the fan when you had to figure out an alternate way to get to your appointment, desk job or school. Perhaps those who have cars and are not number coded had it better en route but the same cannot be said about those who depend on the said riding app to get around town. Going Uber-less for 30 days means having to fight your way to get a Grab car if you’re lucky, flagging a dingy cab and dealing with a dingier cab driver, and exposing yourself to the elements by taking a trike, jeep, bus or train. Or worse, a combination of all.

Luckily, Uber resumed operations right before lunchtime—thanks to a motion for reconsideration filed with the LTFRB—and saved thousands of commuters from a transportation apocalypse of sorts. Along with Grab, Uber makes daily obstacles easier to hurdle: coding days, EDSA traffic and Skyway expansion, and unpredictable city weather.

[UPDATE, August 15, 2017 - 6:00pm: Uber's motion for reconsideration was denied; consequently, operations have been suspended until further notice.]

More specifically, the aforementioned riding apps are a godsend to fashion lovers and fashion insiders for reasons that span the significant and the superficial. Aside from the convenience of being driven around airconditioned, getting rid of parking chores, and arriving in style (depends of course on the type of car you booked), Grab and Uber are actually style enablers: ruffled tops and diaphanous fabrics that don’t crease when you sit seatbelt-free at the back. Eva Chen-like SOTDs, disco naps on the way to evening events, extended hair and makeup time on the road and looking and smelling fresh no matter what time of day.

Out of fear of losing Uber to transpo heaven last night, we put together these tips to make your commute as comfortable and stylish as possible. Sorted from easy-peasy to expert level, we eventually realized that with or without Uber, these are ideas we have been taking to heart as we navigate our crazy city in style. 

1. Shed your layers

We live in the doldrums and it only makes sense to move around in the least number of clothing. Corporate folks, neatly fold your blazers in a separate bag and just pile it on once you’re a few steps from the office. (You can also skip to tip #4.) Leather jacket fans and cardigan-wearing preppies, rethink the extra coverage if you’re treading walkways and underpasses. You’ll thank us later.

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2. Plan your hair, makeup, and wardrobe

Similar to mapping out your OOTDs so you repeat clothes as rarely as possible, keep away from thick fabrics, sweat magnets, and stain-prone items if you know you’re up for a tough commute on certain days. In the same way, decide on a fuss-free 'do and save that full face of makeup for the office powder room.

3. Take advantage of trends

Weather-friendly and convenient, boyish haircuts are big this year and statement tees and straight-cut cuffed denims have been happening for some time now. No time like the present!

4. Stock up at work

Whether you’re an assistant provided with an office locker or a boss with enough storage space, and if it’s not a big deal in your workspace, always have a fresh set of clothes and a bag of toiletries and makeup on standby. The reinforcement will get you by on days you commute, get rained on, and any last-minute function that requires that you look fresh.

5. Leverage your gym membership and laundromat

Now this requires clockwork and commitment: Step out of the house earlier than usual in your workout clothes, sweat it out in the gym (that’s hopefully just a few steps from where you work), and use shower and changing room. Not only do you end up being fit, you always arrive at the office fresh.

Another tricky and effective idea to consider: Schedule the pick-up of your freshly laundered and pressed clothes on your way to work on any commute day and wear them that day. It is crucial that your laundromat is located near your office—or your gym where there is a changing room. (Wink)

6. Live centrally

Daily budget and life savings permitting, take the pragmatic route and live where you spend most of your waking hours. That way, you get to save on transportation costs and spend more time living than commuting.

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