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.