Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Angst

Okay, so the overall average temperature dropped slightly from 27C to maybe 24C -- that does not make it winter!

Why then are all of a sudden people walking around the streets of Manila wearing scarves, fedoras and, yes, gloves; looking like it's 12C out there?? Okay, maybe it's forgivable if you just came from Simbang Gabi, but during the day, at 24-25C? Either you're on your way to a costume party or you're under the weather, but otherwise, please... get real!

For those who wrote or contacted me wanting to have a suit made in a rush, I'm sorry to have declined your request, but I would rather pass up on potential business than compromise the quality of what Sarto has come to be known for. Anyway, there are a lot of shops out there who will willingly manufacture a suit in less than the 3 weeks I need to make a bespoke suit.

If you're going to have clothes made this Season, remember to tell your tailor to put maybe a 1/2 inch allowance around your stomach area, waist and hips. The holiday weight tends to linger on until maybe about early February -- unless, of course, you are the conscientious type who will hit the gym right after. I know most of us aren't ;-)

Here's to a great Chirstmas and a healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Perfect Gift

If you're still clueless with what to give the men in your life this Season, how about tailored clothes?

E-mail us at sartomanila@gmail.com to inquire about gift certificates for:

1. bespoke suits
2. dress shirts
3. trousers

Sorry for not updating the blog people, work's been ... well ... work! :-)

Have a meaningful and joyful Christmas celebration!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wash & Wear

Q: "I'd like to ask if it's hygienic to re-wear the same pants for work the following day? I'm asking because I did it for most of my internship since I don't have enough pants to rotate for the rest of the week. So I tended to wear the same pants for two consecutive days."

----- CK (via e-mail)

A: If your pants are made from wool and are lined, these are likely dry-clean only pants; therefore, it is not advisable to wash them frequently. Dry-cleaning pants frequently will lead to fabric thinning, fraying and causes those spots that are shiny (from the extreme heat of the cleaner's pressing).

However, if your pants are made from polyester or rayon blend, then these are safe for ordinary machine washing and do not need to be dry-cleaned.

I'm assuming you work in an air-conditioned office and are mostly indoors. So, you would not be exposed to a lot of dust and dirt anyway. Which means, you really only need to wash your pants maybe 2x/week for machine washable pants, and once a month for dry-clean only pants.

If you soil or stain your pants, spot-cleaning is typically recommended. For tips on how to treat several common stains, visit the Tide website at www.tide.com.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farewell to a Great Woman

Last week, the Philippines lost one of its great leaders, former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino.
We post a yellow ribbon as a sign of our gratitude to the Woman who brought back democracy to a nation raveged by 20 years of dictatorship.
Thank you, President Cory.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To Set An Appoinment

For those of you who have been asking about how to get in touch with me for your custom tailoring needs, please e-mail me at sartomanila@gmail.com. In your e-mail, please state your full name and include a contact number (preferrably a cellphone number).


Monday, July 13, 2009


Q: What belt can I wear when I wear sneakers? Does it have to match the color of my sneakers?
-- Tomas, Pasig City

A: I find that military belts work best when pairing with sneakers. No, you don’t have to match colors like what is typically prescribed when wearing leather shoes. That’s because wearing sneakers is obviously more casual and therefore the traditional pairing rules can be relaxed as well. Your military belt’s color can match your pants, your shirt or any dominant color in your overall outfit. If you’re still unsure, then ditch the belt altogether. That’ll work too.

Color Me Big

Q: I’m a big guy. I know that black is a good color for someone my size to give me some slimming effect. I can’t have everything in black though. What colors are good for a hefty man like me?
-- Louie, Taguig City

A: I’d hate for you to look like you’re always going to a funeral. Big men like you can and should wear some color; though, you should favor darker or deeper shades like eggplant purple, navy blue, brown, etc. What you need to avoid are pastel or pale colors. On top of color, your shirts’ patterns can also help make people think you’ve skipped a snack. Stock up on vertical striped shirts. It makes the eyes focus on length instead of width. If you’re thinking of wearing checkered shirts, stay away from those with big checkered patterns. Aside from making you look like you stole the table cloth of the Italian restaurant you just had lunch at, the big squares will just emphasize and not hide your man curves.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nature Knows Best

I read a lifestyle writer in a major broadsheet telling men that colored jeans are the IT thing and that men should not be afraid to wear them. I couldn’t disagree more.

I mean, I know a lot of the big-name designers are reviving colored jeans on their runways, but doesn’t mean we should all start looking like members of Menudo. For those of you not old enough to know who they are, Menudo launched Ricky Martin’s career. Think Latino Backstreet Boys in the 80’s.

My point here is that men’s and women’s fashion and style should not crossover to the each other. The difference is necessary to ironically create fashion harmony between both genders.

A good way to think about this is to look at nature. If you think in terms of plants, I like to think of men as leafy plants; those with no brightly colored flowers, but where the accents come from leaves with varying shades of the same color family (not necessarily green).

These plants do not call out attention but they hold their own in terms of how they complete a landscape. They provide the backdrop for the stars of the garden – those plants with brightly colored flowers – women.

We men have to accept our role as our girlfriend’s or wife’s perfect fashion accessory. We shouldn’t dress to call attention to ourselves, but rather to help bring out the beauty of the women around us.

For me, the best example of this principle in action is how Ashton Kutcher dresses when he’s with his (cougar) wife, Demi Moore. If you Google images of this couple you will find that, in the pictures that they are together, Demi is the clear standout; husband Ashton is careful to pick the right outfit to help make sure this is achieved while managing look good and stylish on his own.

Often, men who dress like they are the “flowers’, do get the attention they crave for, but not necessarily the right kind. How do you avoid this? Well, stay away from loud and busy prints and avoid bright colors.

Don’t get me wrong… I am not against wearing color per se. In fact, I’m all for expanding your shirt selection to items that are not blue, white, black or gray. However, the thing to remember is to stick to hues that are more subdued. For instance, it is perfectly fine to wear a pink shirt, but fuchsia is a whole different story.

If you want to try something different for your pants, do not experiment with color. Stick with the trusted shades of blue, black, gray, and brown; white, for me, is even a hit-or-miss kind of color for pants. Rather, look at pattern (e.g. plaid, pinstriped, etc.) and/or fabric (e.g. linen, corduroy, etc.).

Now if you’re trying out for, say, American Idol, and know deep in your heart that you can’t sing and that the only way you will get some air time is to stand out in the crowd, then by all means, be a freaking bouquet!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Okay, so I haven't posted anything for over a month now. Sorry for that folks, I was travelling here and there, and mostly trying to earn a living through my day job. The tailoring business is a hobby, you see. It's a profitable one, but it won't send my kids to school; not yet, at least.

I'm going to be posting my updates soon and I promise to answer most of the questions that have flooded my inbox.

Just a quick one... to all those still wearing fedoras, please, please, please spare us. You want to know why what's-his-name-who-was-saved-by-the-judges got booted out of American Idol recently -- FEDORA!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Your True Collar

Q: Hi. What can you say about the trend last year of guys simply putting up their collar? I
think it is a little absurd.
--- Richie (via Blog Comment)

A: Last year saw the return of the preppy look -- arglyes, boat shoes, loafers, going sockless and yes, raised collars. As in most styles, the preppy look does not fit everyone. To pull this off, you have to belieavably look like you belong to an exclusive country club or play golf regularly.

On the practical side, raising your collar if you are a golfer helps prevent burns on your nape, which is often the part of your body that most forget to put sunblock on.

If you're planning to try this out, remember that you can only also really do this with a sport shirt, not a polo dress shirt. I hope I don't need to explain this. If you're asking why, one word -- Dracula.

This look is also more appropriate for day time casual because it can appear that you came from a game of tennis or golf and that just forgot to put your collar down.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Those Freakin Bumps!

Q: Do you ever get those lumps on the shoulders of your shirt when they are hung for a long time? How do I get rid of those?

-- Jondy, Taguig

A: I call them “hanger bumps” and they’re one of my pet peeves. The thing with hanger bumps is that they’re very preventable. The first thing you need to do is to get rid of all your wire hangers and those that have sharp corners. Use only wooden or plastic hangers that have rounded extended shoulders like the one pictured.

Next, instruct whoever irons your clothes to fold sport shirts and only hang polo shirts or dress shirts. Sport shirts are more prone to hanger bumps because they are made from softer cotton blends that tend conform to the shape of the wearer and also your hanger.
Now, for your shirts already with hanger bumps, while wearing them, damp (not soak) the bumps evenly with warm water. The warm water and your natural body heat will make the bumps disappear or be significantly minimized within 15-20 minutes.


My apologies to those who follow my blog if I was not able to update for a long time. Things got a litte hectic in the office. I have some time now so let me pick-up some of the questions that have been sent my way while I was on the road:

Q: Is there a rule about wearing a white t-shirt under one’s polo? I’m about to start work and I don’t know if I should be wearing one or not.
-- Rick, Quezon City

A: I personally do not have the habit of wearing an undershirt mainly because it makes me feel uncomfortably warm and I do not sweat a lot. I can think of the following reasons where an undershirt is appropriate.

One is that if you are a heavy sweater, then you cannot escape this practice. There is nothing more disgusting than seeing an archipelago of sweat puddles forming on someone’s dress shirt. Aside from it looking despicably untidy, it carries with it some hygiene concerns. This is the surest way not to get promoted, believe me.

Another reason you would want to wear an undershirt is if your office has an overly efficient air conditioner that makes you feel like you’re somewhere in Siberia all the time. And, while some parts of our body shrink when it is cold, our nipples tend to be inordinately attentive. That can be distracting during meetings.
If you’re going to wear an undershirt, though, the only rule is to ensure it is not visible, especially if you’re wearing short sleeved polo shirts. I would recommend those V-necked (sleeveless) muscle shirts (otherwise known as an A-shirt). These can be flexibly worn with long or short sleeved polo shirts and allows you to keep the first button of your shirt open without showing the undershirt.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time for W.A.R.

Another year has gone. Time to come to our senses and get rid of things we thought made us look cool and fashionable but did just the opposite. And, time to start investing our hard-earned money on things that are timeless and classically stylish.

It's a new year and it's time once again for W.A.R. -- my annual What to Acquire and Retire list.


1. French Cuffed Dress Shirts – These shirts, for me, are the ultimate in gentleman style. It’s the easiest way to get an instant upgrade. Not a lot of guys realize that this seemingly formal dress shirt can also be worn as smart or business casual with no tie and, yes, even paired you’re your favorite pair of jeans.

2. Cufflinks – When you stock up on French Cuff Shirts, you will obviously need at least a couple of cufflinks to match. Men have very few accessory options and cufflinks are one of them. It’s a nice detail to accentuate a crisp shirt paired with tailored flat front pants. Whether you’re conservative or edgy, there’s a pair of cufflinks that suits your personality.

3. Dress Watch – Another must-have accessory for the discriminating achiever is a good dress watch. Your watch is probably the best indicator of your status in life. As you become more successful and have a little more extra cash to spare, upgrade your timepiece to something you can actually pawn to bail you out when you find yourself in debt later on in life.

4. Tailored Shirts – For those of you who haven’t realized it yet, the era of wearing loose and frumpy shirts went away with pleated pants (which were the only types of pants that could tuck them in). You don’t have to be skinny to get tailored shirts. All you need is, well, a tailor. What sets tailored shirts apart from off-the-rack versions is that way it conforms to your specific body type, giving you the right silhouette and fit. Tailored shirts tuck in perfectly, without the blousy effect.

5. Corduroy Jacket – Celebrate the New Year and kick up your style a notch by adding another layer to your party wardrobe – a corduroy jacket. It’s a versatile piece that’s best worn with jeans or khakis. Choose a chocolate or dark brown color with fine to medium cords.

6. Dress Socks – Beef up your inventory of dress socks so you won’t ever have to wear sports socks with your slacks. If you’re still one of those who wear white sports socks with your office attire, get used to your salary, you’re not moving up for a while.


1. Tie bar – I know, I know all the foreign men’s magazines are showing people wearing tie bars or tie clips with their slim ties, but honestly, have you ever seen anyone where this and not think, “What government office does he work at?” Sorry, this just doesn’t work the way they used to back in the 60’s. Peace!

2. Baller I.D.s – Enough of Lance Armstrong wannabes already. We have to bid goodbye to baller I.D.s the way we successfully snipped those pesky friendship bracelets off our wrists (and ankles). Besides, have you smelled your baller I.D. at the end of a long day? Nasty!

3. Fedoras – And pretty much all types head gear that’s not worn for sports, environmental protection reasons (i.e. extremely cold or hot weather) or as part of a period costume. Again, just because you see it being worn by your Hollywood idol or on the pages of foreign magazines, doesn’t mean you can pull it off. In the case of fedoras, it’s just plain T.H. (trying hard)!

4. Gold Buckle Belts – Nothing says “I’m old and outdated” better than wearing a gold buckle belt. It doesn’t matter if it’s branded and cost you an equivalent of a pair of shoes, when you wear one, you might as well clip a pager on it. Platinum is the new gold. Even the credit card companies know this.

I hope you all had an enjoyable and meaningful long holiday. Heard in the news, there'll be more of those this 2009. Happy New Year!