12 Things All Commuting City Girls Must Own

Trains are late, traffic is inevitable and weather can be obnoxious. Commuting to work can be a real drag but if you’re prepared, it can be less so. My mornings consist of a ride on a train, changing to the subway and walking up a hill so when things go awry (which, in the city, can be quite often) it is nice to have supplies on hand that put me in my happy place.

Because getting to work can be hard enough. (Photo credit.)

Keep reading to read & shop my travel essentials for getting to and from work!

#whatipacked. More here.

A chic carry-all

Your bag of choice needs to carry breakfast, lunch, and sometimes, dinner. It needs to hold all the things that prepare you for the headaches (both figurative & literal) and the other bumps and bruises you may acquire throughout the day. It might need to carry a change of shoes, clothes or enough supplies to spruce up your hair. I get that. For all of these reasons, I am a strong supporter of carrying a tote like the Longchamp seen above. It’s durable and spacious, comfortable and light. Any tote like this (but perhaps with more pockets) is a dream for getting to and from the office, Happy Hour or a meeting.

Blister band-aids

If you’re reading this, you’re probably all too familiar with the feeling of having bought a cute new pair of shoes you just can’t wait to wear, so you don’t and before they’re even broken in you have a horrendous blister that makes you need to walk like you’re part zombie. Here’s where blister band-aids come in. While you now have an unfortunate injury you’ll need to keep constantly moisturized until you can wear those beloved new shoes, at least these band-aids will keep germs out and your passion for cute shoes in.

Comfy flats

Speaking of cute new shoes, here goes it: If you’re the kind of lady who can stand on a delayed train, clutching the railing with bag over arm and phone in hand in heels, I commend you. (Also, do you give lessons?) If you’re not, chances are you’re a part of the club that likes to default on flats to the office whenever possible. My commute consists of a train ride to the subway and a two-stop subway ride to a five minute walk up a hill so comfortable shoes are a must. Some of my favorites include styles like:

Yosi Samra// Miss Grant// Gucci

Hair elastics

Especially in the summer months, my hair is up, down, in a bun and flying in my face. When I’m trying to escape the heat, having a chic hair tie on hand is so essential to my happiness and overall sanity. This new no-tear trend that seems to be sweeping hair “elastics” everywhere is something fully support. And what’s more, they’re even cute to stand alone on your wrist like some sweet color-coordinated fashion statement.

Headphones (with a built-in microphone)

There are days when you need to call your boss and say, “There’s an accident just be fore the exit. I’m going to be late but I’ll be there as soon as I can”. (No but actually, that’s all you ever have to say.) Sometimes you need to do that and then go back to your happy song because, let’s face it, commuting is hard enough. With headphones that include a built-in microphone, you can make all that happen and not miss a beat of feeling “Fancy“.

MBTA/ Metro card holder

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve lost my T card/ Charlie Card/ Metro pass. No really, I can’t because I lost count. Well, I used to. But every since I got a hand cell phone case that carries cards in the back (a la Kate Spade), I’ve been a much more responsible ( & stylish) commuter. Find your own favorite way to wear your card on your sleeve or in your wallet and you’ll never be stranded again!

Mints/ gum

There are days when another coffee before a meeting is absolutely crucial. For these times, having a quick mint or piece of gum to chew (and simultaneously calm any jitters) is a great treat. Orbit White in Bubblemint is my favorite but it is so refreshing while simultaneously brightening my smile. A gum that helps you with first impressions before you even arrive? Talk about perfection!

Your phone charger

My 9-to-5 has me glued to screens and it’s no different when it comes to my phone. Because of this, I try to do the right thing and let my battery run as low as possible before I recharge but sometimes, (see also: always) I need to be plugged in. Having a back-up charger is a pain which is why I recommend having a or portable plug-in for when an outlet is not an option.

Reading material

Commuting is a great time to force yourself to take a little break from technology. I have fallen in love with some of my favorite books on the way to work. For those who are attached to their screen, other good alternatives include: The Skimm, BuzzFeed & the CNN app.


Confession time: I’m really bad at breakfast. I know it’s the most important meal of the deal but just when I think I don’t have time or I’m not really hungry enough for a full meal, I realize that I’m wrong, hungry and lunch is way too far away. A good way to remedy this problem is a bar, or rather, a Barre Bar. I was introduced to these delicious things by my new fitness guru and and currently researching how to buy them in bulk.


I’m from New England where the weather can be unpredictable. During parts of the year, having an umbrella handy is sometimes a matter of life or death…for your hair. I like keeping a foldable one in my purse but they tend to not be as strong and with city wind tunnels can be too much to handle. For days with a high probability of precipitation, sometimes a different design is helpful.

Water bottle

Staying hydrated is the key to a happy, healthy you. Water has so many benefit aside from energizing muscles and helps your skin’s appearance and if you have to go to work, why not make your beverage of choice, do the same?

For more on my summer favorites, city fitness tipsbeauty tricks in the heat, follow me on Facebook, Foursquare & Instagram!

P.S. A City Girl’s Guide To Life was nominated for Best Fashion Blog in Boston. Care to support by voting?

xo, Vanessa

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.




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Vanessa M. Gatlin

-Blogger, dancer, fashionista -Self proclaimed "political junkie" with a strong interest in international affairs -2011 graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston

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