Monday, March 25, 2013

This t-shirt by Hermes, made from crocodile skin, is probably the most expensive t-shirt selling at US$91,500!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Second Season of Suits just resumed! A friend of mine passed on this meme and thought that it was a good follow up to my W.A.R. List. Hands down, Harvey Specter in Tom Ford scores a big win for me. Bespoke at its best!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 W.A.R. List (Part 2 -- Acquire)

If 2012 was the year of excessive behavior and extremes, 2013 is looking like the year of the return of elegance.  I guess it’s not really surprising because with the Philippines’ economic resurgence comes a little extra money to spend on life’s finer things.  So here goes the must-Acquires for 2013:

1. Culture comeback – 2013 will see the return of the appreciation for the Arts, even on mainstream media; starting off with the screen adaptation of Les Miserables. Modern classical singers, the likes of Andrea Bocceli and Josh Groban, are due to make their comebacks. As elegance makes it return, so too will events that will allow us to dress up a little – plays, art exhibits, orchestra concerts and possibly even operas. The Ayala Museum has a great line-up of activities for the year. Check them out!

2. Pocket Squares – Male elegance translates to being dapper. And, nothing says dapper more than a well-tailored suit accentuated by a pocket square. Sadly, a proper pocket square is hard to find in Manila. But, really, a pocket square is just a slightly bigger and fancier (in terms of fabric) handkerchief. So a good, well-ironed hanky, folded properly can do the trick. Make sure you tell your tailor that you intend on using pocket squares so he can construct your suit jacket’s breast pocket appropriately.

Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter of "Suits"
3. Peak lapel
– The notch lapel will still be the classic, fail-safe default for most suits. However, I think we will see the return of the more elegant peak lapel on suits for 2013. Suits with peak lapels are best paired with medium-width ties, which will also be making a comeback this year.

4. Stripes and Solids – Checks ruled 2012.  This year we will see more stripes and solids on dress shirts. Color-wise, 2013 moves from bright and strong hues to pastel and cool tones. On fabric, linen and other light fabrics will also make a big return.

5. French cuffs – Here’s another dapper staple. French cuffs no longer connote stiff and formal; and certainly does not mean you have to wear a tie. A well-tailored shirt with French cuffs says cultured, sophisticated and confident. The bonus is you get to wear cufflinks!

6. Color on shoes – A great way to make a subtle statement is to put a splash of color on your otherwise plain brown or black footwear.  Sebago’s line of colored boat shoes brings the iconic boat shoe to whole new level -- you can't just have one pair!  They can even personalize your laces for you.  I'm also a fan of Cole Haan’s LunarGrand line, which quickly went out of stock the minute it landed in Manila.  This must-have allows you to easily go from office to party without changing your footwear.

7. Lace ups --- Loafers ruled in 2012. This year, lace ups take center stage. Does this mean we can’t go sockless anymore? Not really. In fact, wearing lace-ups with no socks together with slim (not skinny) jeans or slacks with a 1-inch break gives the right stylish finish to your casual look.

8. Gold old fashioned books – Yes, the iPad and the Kindle make e-books more accessible and handy, but it really does not compare to a real book. When you use your tablet in public people will always think you’re just bored and playing games; even if you’re not. If anything, when you read a real book in public it always makes you look a little brighter than you really are. Just don’t be a poser and really read.

9. “Suits” the series -- This new legal drama series, with the remaining 6 episodes of season 2 resuming this January 2013, is not only addictingly entertaining it’s also a good reference for bespoke dressing. This is “The Practice” meets “Mad Men” meets “House”.

10.  Productive Optimism – This is an attitude we should all acquire for 2013, especially now that our   economy seems to be on an upswing.  Let’s cut the ball and chains of the past and focus our energies on moving forward and making it truly more fun in the Philippines!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 W.A.R. List (Part 1)

The year 2012, for me, was all about extremes and excesses.   It was the year of going overboard on a lot of things.   This year, I want to start my annual W.A.R. list differently with the Retire portion to help refresh our memories on 2012’s exaggerated retirables. 

1.     Gangnam Style – This doesn’t really need much explaining.  With over 1 billion views on YouTube, this was 2012’s top record-holder for excessive behavior; not only for number of YouTube views but quite possibly for number of times played in Christmas parties.  You know it’s bad when the kumbacheros who sing in Filipino restaurants already have this in their repertoire, together with the standards, “Besa Me Mucho” and “Unchained Melody”.

2.     Blaming the past Administration – Another thing we kept on hearing over and over and over again was how the present government couldn’t seem to move on with the task at hand without having to first lay the blame on the previous Administration.  I mean, I think we all get how bad and corrupt the old regime was already.  Can we now please just please focus on making hay while the sun shines in the Philippines?  “Tama na, sobra na, palitan na” ang theme ng mga speeches.

3.     Ultra-slim ties (below 2.5 inches) – There is a difference between a tie and a rope.  Once you can’t tell anymore, then that just means you’ve paid too much for leftover fabric.  For me, a tie should not be narrower than 2.5 inches on its widest part.  The ideal is 3 inches wide on the widest part.  2013, though, will see the return of the slightly wider 4-inch ties, thanks to “Suits” (more about this new TV show in the Acquire section).

     4.     Overly distressed (i.e. ripped) jeans – Distressed jeans are not the same as ripped.  Distressed, when done right, look downright cool.  But, there is simply no justification for buying brand new ones already ripped to the point of having massive holes and shredded portions. 

     5.     Prints & patterns – We saw some loud   prints and patterns on men’s shirts last 2012 and all I can say is that they were best kept on the runway.  No one can pull off a hound’s tooth printed dress shirt… no one! 

       6.     Oversized watches – Apart from the real risk of getting Carpal 
            Tunnel Syndrome, wearing these clocks (yes, not watches) on your wrist makes you look like
            a tailor or a seamstress who wear pin cushions on their wrists.  Not even James Bond, with all
            his gadgets, wore a watch that looked more like a sundial with a strap.

7.     Gold – Gold did make a brief comeback last 2012.  But, the reality is that this color has very select applications for men; mainly only for watches.  If you bought (and wore) gold jewelry last year, pawn them and use the money to buy an iPad Mini or the iPhone 5.  They’re more practical.

8.     Oversharing Twitter and Facebook were very active in 2012; especially as the world braced itself for the December Apocalypse.  For many, this meant using social networking to let everyone in on how they felt and what they did minute-by-minute.  Now that we all know that Mother Earth is going to be around for much longer, can we please chill and think before we post?

9.     Ryan Seacrest – That irritating grin, the wannabe-witty-but-often-not remarks, for being a poor Dick Clark substitute and (worst of all) for producing the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” reality show… 2013 television we could be better if we saw a little less of Ryan Seacrest both in front of and behind the camera.
10. The word “metrosexual” – Ryan Seacreast.  Enough said.

 Part 2, the Acquire portion, will follow soon. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Sebago Boat Shoes

Sebago recently came out with their new boat shoe collection, breathing a new level of coolness to the ubiquitous boat shoe. I got my pair (exactly the one pictured above) on Day 1 of their launch and I can't wear them enough. They're so versatile and adds just the right splash of color to liven up your outfit.

Just a small tip, if you're wearing these character shoes, fight the urge to be matchy-matchy with your belt. Pair them with a plain canvas belt (black, white or blue) for a streamlined look.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The 2012 W.A.R. List

Okay, so my W.A.R. list this year is very late. Sorry folks, things have just been busy. But, enough excuses. Let's get on with this... here it is, my 2012 W.A.R. List:


1. Pocket Squares - This little detail providesjust the right amount of highlight on your bespoke suit. Just remember not to be too matchy matchy with your tie and your pocket square so it doesnt' look like you're part of a wedding entourage; unless you really are.

2. Gray Suit - Gray is just as flexible as navy or black for suits; but not as commonly used. So, if you want to subtly standout in a see of black suits, try charcoal gray for a formal evening event or ash gray for a daytime or business affair.

3. Loafers - When boat shoes made their return last year could loafers be far behind? Best
worn without socks, loafers are back in a big way, pairing perfecty with the next must aquire...

4. Slim pants with the right length - Slim pants should not be worn too long. The right break for your slim pants is a maximum of 1 inch for those who must have them break over their shoes. However, for a more contemporary look, having the hem of your pants cut at ankle-length completes the slim silhouette.

5. Glasses/frames - This year, nerds and geeks rule -- just the look, at least. Trade your contacts for dark rimmed glasses to dress AND look smart.

6. Organic vegetables - I have personally experienced the difference when you eat (or juice) organic vegetables. My skin got a different, more youthful glow, I'm less sickly, and I just feel overall great! Make sure, though, that you really buy from a reputable organic source. Some claim to be "organic" but are actually not, in the strictest sense; they still use some form of "natural" pesticide. So make sure you know your farmer. I get mine from Mara's at the Legaspi weekend market.

7. Stevia sweeteners - In the spirit of going more natural, I discovered a good alternative to artificial sweeteners and other man-made sugar substitutes. Try this sugar substitute made from the stevia leaves extract. It's sweeter than sugar and has zero calories! And, as a bonus, it's 100% natural because it comes from the stevia plant, of the sunflower family. You can get some from your drugstore or some major supermarkets and is packed conveniently in single-dose sachets.

8. Slim shorts - Shorts can look and be tailored too. Time to ditch those baggy, calf-length shorts and get yourself some slim shorts that's cut just above the knee. Pair them with loafers or Sebago boat shoes, a slim sport shirt and you're rewady to go. Now, all you need is a yacht!

9. Erasable pens - This is another good and practical find... erasable pens by Pilot. And, since you can erase your mistakes, you also save on paper. Pretty cool! After Post-Its, I'd put this in my list of the best inventions ever!

10. Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine - No, this is not a sponsored entry. I'm just really hapy I got one because I'm really tired of spending close to P100 everytime I want good cup of coffee. Of course, I'd make one myself, but who has the time for that? With my new Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine I can make me my own gourmet cup of coffee for only P25 (which is how much each pod approximately costs) with a flip of a switch. Happiness!


1. Bow ties - If you're not a professional model, or at least look like one, spare us and save wearing a bow tie for when you need to be in a tux. Like the fedora, wearing a bow tie
on casual shirts is best left on the pages of a fashion magazine.

2. Diagonal striped shirts - No one comes out a winner with diagonal stripes. If you're thin, you will look thinner. If you're on the big side, it will expand your build even more. For stripes on polo shirts, stay vertical.

3. Thick wallets - They'll not only deform your pants, doctors agree that thick wallets are the silent contributors to back pains. If you haven't realized it yet, sitting with a thick wallet in your back pocket means your posture is uneven. And, since you're most likely sitting for long periods of the day, everyday, you can already guess the toll on your spine. So, do yourself a favor, use a money clip.

4. Colored contacts - God colored our eyes to best fit how we look. (Pure) Asians do not have blue eyes! Unless you're part of the Twilight cast, there is no substitute for clear contacts.
Oh and while we're at it, tinted perscription lenses ... not cool.

5. Logo belts - Nothing spells noveau riche better than those belts with logo buckles... You know, that famous H buckle or, the ever-popular gold L and V buckle with matching logolized straps! Leave the logolized leatherware with your wife or girlfriend. Real gentlemen wear only their own initials.

6. Socks - Now, don't start throwing away your socks just yet... What I just wanted to say here is that going sockless is back; yes, even for casual evening dinners. This only works if you're wearing
slim pants or shorts though.

7. The Kardashians - Someone pull the plug on their reality show already, please!

8. Pants that are too long - You know you're old when you wear your pants too long. That means they bunch up on top of your shoes, looking like you shrank or that you borrowed your pants from someone taller. Your pants should break no more than an inch from the top of your shoes. Jeans are the exception.

9. Wearing flip flops - Unless you're beach or resort bound (or live in Singapore), resist stepping out of the house in your flip flops. The everyday-is-summer look has passed and we're thankfully going back to sensible dressing. Opt for boat shoes, leather sandals, loafers or sneakers for casual occasions.

10. Trucker's cap - one (pseudo) word -- jejemon.

Have a great year ahead!