Commuting to New York, by any means, is challenging! Even the people who live in Manhattan cannot avoid the stress of transportation: constantly delayed subways, overcrowded train compartments, an often uncontrollable group of riders, filthy stations, etc.
According to the estimate from the 2013 Census, New York has a large population from nearby states that commute to and from the city every day for work or school,
“So many commuters pour into Manhattan from other boroughs and elsewhere that it doubles the island’s daily population from 1.6 million to 3.1 million.”
To commuters, fashion can be challenging. Even if you are a fashionista, keeping up with the latest fashion trends might be difficult because you are likely to walk much more than your fellow New Yorkers.
What Does Commuting Time or Distance Have to Do With Style Anyways?
Fashion is not the same for commuters because ‘comfort’ becomes a very important factor that needs to be included when deciding on an outfit. Commuters have to choose the right clothing and accessories as if they are going on a one-day trip to New York City, a place where walking ten blocks is normal.
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Considering that it takes twice as long for the commuters to go back and forth between home and work or school. Deciding what to wear requires a more precise and selective process than local New Yorkers.
Image credit: Citylab
Selecting clothing that works is actually not too bad. The tricky part comes in choosing suitable accessories- especially the shoes and bags! It isn’t difficult to spot the commuters who are waiting for their buses and trains at Penn Station or Port Authority in their work attires with their voluminous bags and sneakers.
It might seem obviously a little off the fashion scale with many people wearing formal clothes with athletic shoes and gym bags, but it’s an accurate representation of the style dilemma that commuters go through every single day.
This imbalance in an outfit can be perceived as a fashion faux pas. However, it’s actually just mirroring a commuter’s wardrobe choice. They were naturally compelled to prioritize convenience over style to make their daily trip to the city as less painful as possible.
My Personal Struggle
As a commuter myself, finding the perfect accessory is definitely difficult. After moving to New Jersey, I realized I had to choose either between style or practicality for shoes and bags.
Trying to fit into New York’s standard of stylish fashionista and meditating my commuter lifestyle seems to be almost an impossible to incorporate together. I had to find bags that I could carry all day without hurting my shoulders but still accommodate my laptop and notes. I also had to find shoes that can still work both day and night without burning my feet from walking between the subway stations and streets of Manhattan.
While many fashion brands promote New Yorker style, it’s hard to achieve the perfect fashion as a New York commuter. It’s shocking that such a dilemma isn’t embraced in fashion brands when it’s such a huge part of the New York culture.