Grace Under Pressure

Denim02“When you long for a life without difficulties, remind yourself that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and that diamonds are made under pressure.”


This outfit here is one example of what I would consider an almost perfect work attire for the summer heat. I say “almost” and I will elaborate and explain further later in this blog post. Now the summer season is a tricky once for those who are in the corporate world for a number of reasons. One of them being- a three piece suit would hardly be acceptable unless you would risk suffering from a heat stroke. Also, the frumpy fabric usually used for business attire would be strained and wrinkled due to the hot and humid conditions and after a few hours of sitting behind a desk, one could almost guarantee wrinkled clothing. There more reasons I would be more than willing to give but let’s save those for another entry. After having been thrown to the workplace and experiencing corporate life during the hottest days- I have to say: Summertime when you’re working in the corporate world is hot, sticky and miserable. While of course, I’ve considered wearing next to nothing is a sure way to keep it cool… I am sure it would not be welcomed in the workplace and granted that I am in charge of various functions of our companies, I refuse to set a precedent on inappropriate office attire. So I’ve decided to come up with a few compromises and it is evident in this outfit.

With this ensemble, I chose lighter fabrics like cotton for my top and my trousers and linen for my blazer as these fabric choices are breathable and would not cause me to burn up under the collar. Of course, since the day I wore this was a more casual day, I allowed for my style to be relaxed without being to under-dressed or showing skin. Selecting the right type of material to work with can help greatly in keeping you cool despite the rising temperature. Summer is also a great time to add some casual pieces into the mix of your office outfits- in this case, I did it by wearing a denim shirt. Of course (and I have to emphasize this), the trick is to make sure not to go too casual or laid back. Always remember that (especially in the work setting), “the way we dress has a remarkable impact on the people we meet professionally or socially and greatly (sometimes crucially) affects how they treat us.”

Speaking of which, allow me to share with you another thing that greatly influences how we are perceived and that is: how well we manage to maintain grace under pressure. Earlier, I said this was the almost perfect outfit…”ALMOST” being the operative word and the reason for that is that as I was walking back to the office after lunch out in a restaurant a good four blocks from my building, my shoes gave up on me. I’m not talking about one of those Mentos moments where you can just chew some gum and magically make everything better again. This was no easy-fix for my situation as both of my shoes decided to fall apart and separate completely from the sole and I could not simply detach these now separate parts as the metal screw on the back of the shoe which held the heel made that impossible. So there I was, stuck wearing a pair of high heels which were gawking wide open with no chance of relief… (the streets of Makati are filthy by the way and there was no convenience store in site so I was basically in a lose-lose situation.)

Now usually, situations like these would bring me to the brink of tears. But surprisingly, I remained resilient and then I figured out a formula that made my 45 minute geisha walk/crawl back to the office bearable. It definitely was part of the stickiest, trickiest and most outrageous situations in my life. How was I able to handle it? This is where grace under pressure plays an important part.

To say I was in a socially and highly public awkward situation would be an understatement. But I decided to shake it off and muster enough courage to just keep walking… even if what I was doing would hardly constitute as actually walking. It was amateur pavement skating actually, sans the gracefulness. The silver lining to this dark cloud hovering was that I was with Celyn, my Executive Assistant and if you should know one thing about us- it is that- we can laugh about everything…and I do mean everything. And this situation was too priceless to pass off so we laughed all the four blocks away to our office building. Never mind that we were like insatiable hyenas but it made every difficult step I was making more bearable and almost fun. It’s good to have people who you can just be silly with during times like these because it turns a possibly mortifying experience into a memorable one just because you end up having so much fun laughing at how ridiculous it all is. The last thing I have to say is that in line with everything I mentioned, it is important to accept that nothing will ever go perfectly in life… no matter how you try to control the situations… you just can’t. Sometimes, the best we can do is let go of the wheel, enjoy the ride and realize that not every bump in the road necessitates a break down. Most of the time, we just have to deal.


Navy Blue Blazer: Bershka,  Lucrezia Bag: Givenchy, Denim Button Down Shirt: Mango, White Cotton Trousers: Zara, Shoes: *I refuse to mention the brand*, Accessories: Ever New
Photos by: Celyn

x, J