As we’re about to move in our first real Studio (meaning, not a part of my home but a real separate place) (exciiiiiting!!!) (freaaakyyy!) I am wondering what it will do to my lifestyle.
How am I going to get there? A half hour walk, a ten minute bike ride or a 15 minute subway commute? A drive?
I wonder how these choices will affect my wardrobe. So, I decided I’d ask…
How does the way you commute affect the way you dress?
Delphine, my agent and friend in the photo, bikes:
From March 1st to December 1st I BIKE E-VE-RY-WHERE…
I have a black Linus, the Céline of bikes…and my best friend is my basket.
Shoes are not an issue at all, whatever the heel is, it’s actually easier to bike than walk in them… With the exception of the platform which I find a bit dangerous as I can’t feel the pedal.
The problem is the summer: humidity + effort is a killer.
That’s when the basket comes in, I can carry an extra t-shirt, deodorant, wipes… As well as a scarf/sweater/jacket, the AC in the office is so strong, we freeze all summer. And of course my gym clothes!
Come spring, the basket holds my hat/cap in case of rain (tried to ride with an umbrella like Wes, my husband, but that’s not for me) a jacket/trench coat and a cotton scarf.
The fall routine tends to be a little bit similar to the spring one, except I also have gloves, a headband (if my ears get cold it’s really, really tragic) a scarf or more accurately a mini blanket, and of course the gym bag!
Biking is really the best, and my favorite transportation in NYC, I really bike everywhere. I love it love it love it, but I had to revisit my wardrobe a bit and say goodbye to pencil skirts, long skirts (look awful on me anyway) and mini-mini skirts…
But I adapted and my leather and suede shorts became my summer staples, I invested in a few amazing summer pants and skirts with enough fabric I don’t feel naked while riding…
And then between December 1st and March 1st, it’s way too cold = no bike. I walk e-ve-ry-where and I am all about mini/pencil skirts with tights, and platform shoes.
Garance is the non-commuter:
Working from home is fantastic if you’re not a very private person, and you may have gotten the hint from… Well, my blog: I am not.
The lines between my morning coffee and my first step into work are very blurred. Actually, I start off a lot of my days in my PJs.
It’s because I do most of my creative work in these, have a sip of coffee, let the morning inspiration come to me and start writing. If I cut this with the whole “getting ready” ritual, pooof! the morning magic is gone. So I use my early mornings, from say 7:30 to 9, to do my personal work, and sometimes push it until 11, when it’s time to put my business girl cap on.
But even then, because I’m at home, the look is pretty easy unless I have very important meetings.
My team is so used to seing me in my grays that when on special days I open the doors to them all prepped and ready to go, they’re like: “Are you okay G?”
I have a large collection of pajamas, not silky Olivia Pope-y ones, more cozy (molleton), in all different shades of grays that I welcome my team with. I put a lot of attention into buying these – there is a real art to sweatpants. I guess I could say they are part of my style.
I know Karl Lagerfeld would say it’s a terrible disrespect to show up to others in this type of attire. I would answer that it’s one of the last “freelancer” (let’s be honest, I’m not a freelancer anymore) perks I’ve been hanging on to. I’m about to give that away though…
In December we’re getting a new office, a real one – but I already have figured out how I’m going to play it : I’ll work from home in the morning, in my dear pjs, and go to the office in the afternoon, walking, or biking. All dressed up.
I’m sure my team will miss, very much, seeing me in my grey (molleton) robe.
In L.A. they say you are what you drive. Which makes total sense to me as the driver of a vintage Jaguar convertible from the 60s. Sleek and slippery as a bar of soap, mahogany steering wheel, paint job the color of unsalted butter. Gorgeous, elegant, classic. It’s funny come to think of it, how the words you might use to describe my car are the VERY SAME words that basically define me. Ha ha! HahahaHAHAHAHAHA ha…ha…ha…hmmm. Okay, okay, fine…I drive a Prius.
A boring old Prius with 69,000 miles on the odometer, dinged up bumpers, and a decidedly un-mahoghany steering wheel. The only thing that distinguishes my Prius from the three zillion other Priuses driving around Los Angeles is the fact that it is exceptionally filthy. That and the bobble-head tiger which sits on the dashboard sagely nodding its proud tiger head while I race around town, driving from Century City to Burbank to Santa Monica, from the Hollywood Hills to Beverly Hills, going on meetings.
(I’m a TV writer and that’s what TV writers do — go on meetings. Sure, if you’re on a show you spend time in writers’ room eating Twizzlers from the Pleistocene era and okay, there’s the actual writing part of writing, where you sit alone for long, long periods of time moving only your eyeballs and the tips of your fingers. But a big hunk of my time is spent driving from meeting to meeting in my filthy Prius.)
Is this a classy way to commute? I would answer emphatically: yes!
I think it’s chic to arrive at some big important meeting in a dinged up filth-mobile. It’s insouciant — like Jane Birkin carrying a basket as a purse. But the messy car only really works if I look kind of elegant when I emerge. So for instance, I’m not going to be putting on mascara like some tacky vagabond when the valet opens the door (I apply it way earlier in the commute at red lights!!).
The same balance is key when it comes to dressing for a meeting. You definitely DO NOT want to look like you tried too hard (desperate, pathetic etc.) and yet ideally you shouldn’t be mistaken for an actual bum. Me, if I have to err on one side? I lean bum… but maybe throw on some Céline snakeskin heels and my Hermès watch with gold spikes. Something to reassure the executives they aren’t accidentally meeting with a homeless person.
Which is why commuting in a car is so genius. You have plenty of options at the ready to dress up or down any outfit as needed. In L.A. your car is basically your closet away from your closet.
Although mine is perhaps more of a sartorial compost heap. It is absolutely filled with clothes! There are bags full of things I’m taking to the tailor (someday), bags of holey jeans for the denim repair place, shoes with broken straps, boots in need of new soles, boxes of returns for Net-a-porter and La Garçonne, clothes for Goodwill, clothes I intend to sell at vintage shops, discarded coats from when the weather turned warm, flip-flops for when I get pedicures, heels I swapped out when my feet started to blister/bleed — borrowed clothes, forgotten clothes, clothes for day, for night, for meetings, for nights on the town, for impromptu costume parties… for pretty much any occasion imaginable.
So…am I what I drive? You know what, I would have to say yes. Because I’m ready for anything.
I thought I could add “walking to work” to the list of perks of moving in with my boyfriend, until I realized that my life has become a perpetual schlep.
A 20 minute walk is not very conducive to shoes with heels, shoes that rub your heels, or shoes that squeeze your toes which I had to learn the hard way (you thought your heels were ugly? I’m talking a good old fashioned blood bath in-transit). Now, if I have meetings or an event after work, I have to bring a change of shoes in my bag and wear comfortable flats to work. This requires that I carry a bag big enough to fit another pair of shoes at all times.
It’s also more challenging in the winter, when ballerinas or sandals won’t cut it.
Rain also adds some complications. No umbrella = disaster. There have been multiple times when it has poured, with no cabs in sight, and I have completely drenched through my white clothes that suddenly became see-through – maybe it made people on the way happy?
And in winter, layering is essential. Twenty minutes in the snow is cold. I usually try to wear 2-3 layers on top and have been known to put a pair of leggings on under my jeans. Scarves, hats and boots are no longer just optional if you don’t want to freeze.
Then there’s the fun part of showing up to the studio and continually stripping all day until your body reaches a normal temperature just in time to layer back up again to head home.
Alex takes the subway:
I live pretty far uptown so I bring my life along with me every morning because there is a 99% chance that if I go home after work, I won’t leave again (party pooper!). I have a select group of heels that I’m able to walk great distances in and can make it from day to night without losing a toe, but most of the time I pack a change of shoes. If I have any plans after work, I usually pack non-essentials into said canvas tote and carry a small handbag with me, leaving the tote and flats under my desk for the night.
So if I have multiple
dates social engagements in the week, I always end up having one day where I end up lugging home four tote bags full of flat shoes aka my weekly bag lady moment.
Taking the subway in the summer, I basically want to be naked (I mean not really, but kind of) because it is way too hot on that platform. You sweat your face off (literally) and then you enter a freezing, AC filled car and watch your sweat turn to icicles. You don’t really want to sit, especially in a shorter skirt or shorts or in anything white. So you stand, you drip, you freeze and then you are back out into the heat for the 6 block walk to the office.
In the winter, it’s a little bit of the opposite. I tend to avoid dressing like a yeti for as long as possible (I grew up in the Minnesota tundra, I can sport a bare ankle until at least mid-November) but eventually the time comes and I layer up. I throw on my wool coat, my wool socks, my Heattech and head to the subway. The platform temperature is pretty stable and then in all my layered glory, I enter the subway car and while it creeps down the west side, I want nothing more than to strip off every single layer on my body (again, here am I wanting to be naked on the subway). Upon exiting, I turn back into an icicle on my walk to the office.
I wouldn’t really trade my subway commute for anything (okay maybe for walking) but it’s easy, it’s quick (usually) and I spend most of my time listening to other people’s music thanks to their volume to the max headphones (finding all the latest hits) and wondering if that cute guy in the suit will write a missed connection (Do people still write missed connections? You know, those things on Craigslist where you write something like “To that cute girl in the Heattech on the subway, I’m sorry I didn’t propose.”) about me.
And where would I be without that fantasy?
Here are our morning and evening personal disasters!!! Which one would you pick? And which is your routine of choice?
PS: Thank you to Delphine Del Val and Rebecca Sinclair for sharing their commutes with us!