Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sport Coat vs. Suit Jacket

Q: “This is something that’s always confused me… What’s the difference between a sport coat and a suit jacket? Oh and by the way, how do I get a tailored suit from your shop?”
- Jonathan, New Manila

A: The main difference is that suit jackets come with matching pants while a sport coats (or blazers) are designed and created to be worn independently. I can understand your confusion because a lot of designers’ men’s lines are showcasing “suit separates” to improve the versatility and wearability of their couture. Dark colored, two-button, single-breasted suit jackets (e.g. navy blue or black) are safe to wear as a blazer paired with jeans. I’d be more careful with mismatching pin-striped suits; in fact, it’s best not to. Other suit jackets that can be passed off as sport coats are those made of corduroy, plaid and tweeds. When an office dress code says “sport coat”, that just means you don’t have to wear a suit with matching jacket and pants. E-mail me and let’s talk about making a suit for you.


Q: “I am an iPod junkie; I listen to it even at work. My problem is where to put it. My phone already occupies one of my pants’ pockets. If I put it on the other pocket, my pants already bulk up. Right now, I end up putting it on the table or just holding it when I’m on the move. Any ideas? ”
- Marco, Pasig City

A: Thomas Pink, makers of bespoke dress shirts, offers an ingenious solution to your problem. They’ve come out with a limited tie collection that includes a hidden pocket at the back for the ubiquitous iPod. Although, while I give them props for this innovation, I can’t help but think of how uncomfortable it must be to have something constantly tugging on your neck. I haven’t been able to find this locally so the best place to check it out is through the Thomas Pink site: Personally, I find that my shirt’s breast pocket works just fine for small gadgets.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Male Indulgences

For the longest time, a big buckle belt has always been on my To Buy list; the perfect accessory for low-rise, boot cut pair of jeans. While there are many out there, I was looking for a belt with a less Brokeback-looking buckle. I was overjoyed when I finally found one. But, is a 2.5-inch wide strip of genuine Italian leather with a big matte silver frame buckle worth almost P 4,000? Hell yeah! This was my most recent indulgence. My search was over.

Did I feel guilty with my purchase? Not the least bit. I believe that, once in a while, we have to reward ourselves with life’s little luxuries. After all, money is useless until it is spent. So here’s my Top 10 list of what I think every guy should indulge on when it comes to style and grooming:

1. Italian Leather Shoes
This is where quality comes with a real price tag. While it may set you back anywhere from P 7,000 to P 25,000, a pair of real Italian leather shoes completes any outfit perfectly. What you are paying for are style and durability. Forget about comfort. I don’t think commuters are part of Mr. Ferragamo’s target market.

2. Custom Tailored Dress Shirts
If you still haven’t discovered the pleasure of wearing a dress shirt (a.k.a. long-sleeved polo) that’s constructed to the unique contours of your body, you’re totally missing out. Oh, and the added benefit – a trim silhouette from being able to tuck your shirt in without the sloppy, blousy effect.

3. Custom Tailored Suit
Any self-respecting man needs to have a bespoke suit in his clothing arsenal. Sure, an Armani will always be an Armani. But, what I’m talking about is a perfectly tailored suit that hugs your shoulders and gives you a slimmer more streamlined look. Keep in mind that most designer suits are made for Caucasian body proportions. Since Asians are generally shorter and more slender, the chances of a suit will be too large is higher when you buy off the rack. So, go out and find yourself a tailor. There’s no substitute!

4. Piña Barong Tagalog
A piña barong has a way of making anyone who wears it look like a respectable, self-made man. Don’t ask me why; that’s its magic. You don’t have to be a groom to own one. Leave the jusi barongs to students.

5. Dress Watch
I asked some women what they notice first when they check out how a guy dresses and the #1 answer – their watch. Women have a natural radar for bling, so this comes as no surprise. Personally, I find leather strap watches more stylish than those with metal bracelets. I’ve had my eye on Bulgari’s Assioma for some time now; just a little more skipped lunches …

6. Sign Pen
Do, this… borrow a Mont Blanc pen from a friend and sign your name with it. Feel the way your hand glides effortlessly on the paper and discover that your signature can actually look like it’s from someone who makes important decisions.

7. Razor
You’re probably surprised to find such a mundane item like a shaving razor in this list, but I have gotten a lot of questions about achieving the perfect shave; and there’s no better place to start. A lot of guys scrimp on their razors thinking that anything with a blade will do. Wrong! Get yourself the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo and understand what I’m talking about.

8. Skin Care Products
What do Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have in common? They’re all over 40 and they look a lot younger than a most of us! The secret –- a regular skin care regimen. Exfoliate and moisturize! L’Oreal’s Vita Lift makes sure that I don’t go to my high school reunion looking like one of my former teachers.

9. Underwear
I often hear guys ask why anyone would spend so much on underwear when no one sees it anyway. I think those that think this way miss the whole point of wearing underwear. Underwear is both functional and sensual and no other brand understands that more than Calvin Klein; the only brand worth exposing when wearing low-rise jeans.

10. Jeans
The #2 things women check out in guys after watches – our ass (although I have a feeling this is really #1)! And, nothing showcases this “asset” more than a pair of perfect-fitting jeans. Visit Ino Caluza and get yourself a pair of custom-made Viktor jeans that shows off your booty!