Last Christmas I got an awesome present from my folks: gingham pillow cases and chambray sheets from MUJI! I love both fabrics so I was thrilled to receive them. They don’t come with any thread counts but they’re soft and look great that you’ll want to linger in bed a little longer each morning.
At the start of 2011 I made a list of resolutions. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know what I’ve hit so I’ll talk about what I’ve missed.
My personal finances are in a bad shape because of all the spending. I admit writing about style and grooming is quite costly. It’s really hard to reign in spending when you constantly edit your wardrobe and go on a shopping trip or two. I wish I didn’t buy an iMac and camera this year but those are tools I use daily and will need to keep this blog moving forward.
Although I did not start exercising I was able to lose weight using a combination of walking, trimming down my food intake and eating healthier food (I’ve been eating Korean food quite often). I have about ten more pounds to lose and I hope I will be able to do it within the first three months of 2012.
I did not go to any new country in 2011 but I’ve already booked my ticket for Seoul, South Korea in November 2012. Seoul has a lot to offer in terms of menswear and I’m very excited to write about what they have to offer. I don’t expect to buy a lot of clothing (cold season and the fit is very slim) so I’ll be focusing on accessories and shoes.
I still have not added artwork to the walls of my pad so I hope to do that in the new year. I’m slowly changing things inside my pad in terms of how I store/organize my stuff and that’s more of a priority than decorating the walls.
The year 2011 was all about learning and discovery. I learned more about tailoring and how it affects the end product down to the smallest detail. I discovered that I prefer discreet luxe products over those from big name luxury brands. I learned that menswear isn’t all about suits and that I could dress up by using sport coats and occasionally wearing a tie. I discovered that having a colorful wardrobe is fun!
For 2012 I have a few things up my sleeve. I will blog more frequently beyond my comfort zone of two posts a week hopefully without sacrificing quality. To do this I’ll be expanding the content of the blog to feature people other than myself. One of the things I’m looking forward to doing is street style and style profiles of different men (and perhaps women into menswear).
I’m thinking of adding a regular feature/column but I’m not sure what it will be about yet. I will definitely be having more posts on how to wear different types of clothing and what one needs to achieve certain looks.
I’m very excited about 2012 and hope you are too! Happy New Year!
For the longest time I’ve been using my iPhone 3GS and my girlfriend’s Panasonic Lumix GF1 to take photos for this blog. Two weeks ago I decided to invest in a camera: the Fujifilm X10. I chose this camera because I did not want to lug around a heavy dSLR and did not care about the flexibility of changing lenses. All I wanted was a great-looking camera that took equally great photos and I got just that. It was not difficult deciding to buy this camera with all the great reviews it had garnered online but I have to say the price tag is not for everyone at PHP 29,800 from Henry’s Camera and Photo Supply. Continue Reading
It’s Christmas time once again and I know I’ll be asked by women out there what to get their men for the holidays in terms of clothing. I am generally not in favor of a woman dictating a man’s dress as the best dressed men are traditionally outfitted by other men: tailors. But it is inevitable that women will gift men so I have put together this simple guide to ensure that my fellow men will be well-dressed. I’ll keep it practical and accessible by setting the ceiling price at PHP 5,000 per item from brands that men won’t be embarrassed to reveal. If you are a man reading this I would highly suggest sending this to your significant other, mother, sister, or any woman you know who will be giving gifts to men.
The dress shirt is the foundation of any man’s wardrobe. It’s dress status means that they should be made of fine, lightweight, non-synthetic fabric. These characteristics allow the body to breathe and will be comfortable even in hot weather. Every man looks good in white and blue shirts so they are the safest choice. If you think your man is confident enough to pull it off try lighter shades of purple like mauve and pink. All these colors will look great when paired with grey or navy suits, sport coats and trousers.
Where To Buy
– Massimo Dutti
– Banana Republic
The off-duty gentleman likes to look a little tough but still dressed up. It’s also a chance to wear more colors than what the workplace allows. Choose plaid, gingham or thin cotton twill (think U.S. army uniform) in various colors. He can roll up the sleeves and unbutton the top to look extra casual. Resist the urge to buy another pique shirt and give him a style upgrade. If you must give him a tee, make sure it’s one with nautical stripes.
Where To Buy
It is my belief that dress pants should be tailored so I’ll leave that out and instead focus on suggesting trousers that will compliment casual shirts. A good place to start are basic chinos in khaki or grey. If your man is a little more suave, go for olive or dark brown. Raw jeans (not those pre-distressed jeans in weird washes) are a great way to look casually dressed up and transition effortlessly from day to night. Choose trousers that sit on the natural waist (right below the belly button), fit slim (not tight) down the leg and hemmed properly so that they sit right on top of shoes.
Where To Buy
– Banana Republic (Basic Chinos)
– GAP (1969 Collection)
– Dockers (Alpha Collection)
Shoes define and set the tone of a look so much attention should be paid to them. I’ve decided to not separate them into two sections of dress and casual as the brands I’ll be recommending usually have both.
If your man has a lot of black dress trousers go with black shoes otherwise choose brown shoes (go well with navy and grey trousers). I should note that loafers are not dress shoes — they are casual shoes that look dressy but nonetheless are still casual.
For casual wear, boat shoes seem to be “in” lately so I do recommend them for their comfort and relaxed styling that’s perfect for our tropical weather. Desert or chukka boots are also great options if you feel your man can pull it off. Explore different options like suede and nubuck to set him apart from everyone else.
Where To Buy
A woman wants her man’s skin to look good, feel soft and smell nice. Naturally they turn to giving grooming products as men are generally allergic to visiting dermatologists and would rather resort to raiding their other half’s medicine cabinet for some quick fixes.
Shaving creams, aftershave colognes and perfumes always make great gifts but can backfire if he does not like the scent or fit his body chemistry. Acca Kappa has a fantastic shave set with a badger brush, a lathering dish, a handle for razor catridges and a stand all for PHP 4,950. That’s hard to beat considering many brushes alone sell for over PHP 2,500. Acca Kappa also has a great line of combs any man would be proud to own.
For moisturizers, cleansers, sunblocks and treatments that aren’t full of harmful chemicals I would recommend VMV Hypoallergenics and Leyende. They are not overly girly brands so it’s safe for men to admit. Also check out what Beauty Bar has to offer as they have a good selection of products for men including the Australian organics brand Rituelle.
Where To Buy
– Rustan’s Department Store
– VMV Hypoallergenics
– Beauty Bar
– Crabtree and Evelyn
Small Goods – Neckties, Wallets, Belts, Handkerchiefs, Socks
Neckties are the last thing a woman should give a man. Most men don’t wear a tie and if they do it must be because they really have to which is just a few times in their lifetime. If you really must give one make sure it’s navy with wide diagonal stripes or fine patterns. Keep the width of the necktie around 3 inches so it works with almost any shirt or jacket.
I give the same advice for shoes when buying wallets and belts – choose brown as it is very suave and versatile. Brown will also develop a nice patina over time. For wallets choose something slimmer and smaller as a big wallet will be prone to being stuffed with items that will eventually cause back pains. For belts keep in mind that the wider they are the more casual they become.
For handkerchiefs you can’t go wrong with plain white ones made of the finest cotton. Simple patterns in blue and white are also good alternatives.
Socks should generally be in the same color of the trousers being worn. The Philippines is a tropical country so avoid giving thick socks or those with a high amount of synthetic fiber.
Where To Buy
– Massimo Dutti
– Marks & Spencer (skip the neckties here)
– Rustan’s Department Store
Make sure everything fits well — not tight or loose. Think of buying these items as pieces that will last for years. If you feel your man can’t wear a certain pattern or color maybe you need to push him a little bit. Avoid giving items in black as we are a tropical country with a lot of sunshine.
I hope this short guide has been useful. If you need recommendations for a certain budget or personality feel free to email me. Enjoy the hunt!
Air travel isn’t what it used to be. Pilots no longer wear jackets. Stewardesses are now called flight attendants and have added men to their once female-only ranks. The space between seats have gotten smaller. And travelers are dressing down more than ever. Before the era of low cost carriers traveling was an elegant affair.
These days people wear anything on a flight. You’ll see everything from shorts, slippers, pajamas to track pants. While they are deemed comfortable by the majority they are also inelegant and not suited for the sometimes harsh air conditioning and limited space. So how does one dress in a comfortable yet elegant way for a flight? Continue Reading
A colleague told me the other day, “I don’t know whether what you’re wearing is formal or informal.” At that time I was wearing a pale blue shirt, navy blue pants, butterscotch belt and shoes. The look was very Italian. I pondered on his statement for some time and decided to write about it.Traditionally, when one says formal it meant the likes of black tie. In the Philippines, when you are in a dress shirt and dress pants you are considered fairly dressed up. Sometimes people describe me as wearing ‘formal’ attire even though I am not formally dressed. And I have noticed that most Filipinos consider all black waist down the most ‘formal’. I was wearing a butterscotch belt and shoes so I didn’t exactly look ‘formal’ hence the quip from my colleague. I believe business dress should not be conservative or boring. Black might be widely accepted but it is a color that looks drab in a country where there is sufficient amount of sunshine and is meant to be used in dressier, more formal occasions. One should not look too serious about his work that his colleagues and clients will regard him in such a manner. Being dressed up for work says you are serious about what you do. But when you wear other colors and express yourself it also says you’re not all work and no play.
My go-to color for dress pants has been black ever since I graduated from college and started working back in 2008. After three years of wearing the somber color I have finally stopped wearing black dress pants to the office.
I have replaced them with two pairs of navy blue and a pair of grey trousers. All three have a tailored fit and are flat front. For the grey one I opted to add 1⅝ inch cuffs. They all sit right on top of the shoe to avoid fabric bunching up and to show off the shoes I wear. And the butterscotch shoes I purchased a few weeks back look great with both colors.
That’s another new year’s resolution gladly accomplished.
I finally bought a domain for this blog (bespokemanblog.com) after months of procrastinating and deciding what to get. I didn’t exactly get the domain name I wanted but this will do. Now I can finally have my personal cards made. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks.
Not so long ago I went fabric shopping in Binondo and picked up some denim to make into a pair of jeans. In its raw state the fabric was quite stiff, very dark and thin compared to typical denim. Prior to purchasing the seller told me that the fabric would shrink and even showed me a sample of what it would look like after washing. I thought to myself that I do not plan to wash it for some time and that how it looked after washing was because they washed it too much.
I picked up my new pair of jeans last week. The fit was great after I had the width of the legs altered (starting above the knee all the way down). The alteration added about half an inch allowing my legs to move and my knees to bend. I wore them and noticed that the indigo bleeding was too much so I decided to have them washed. I purposely did not turn it inside out to allow the indigo to be washed away.
I got back my pair of jeans in a sad state. A lot of the indigo was removed making the fabric very soft. The look of the fabric became uneven as the indigo was not evenly washed away. It also shrunk in all areas shortening the overall length by about an inch, half an inch less in around the legs and the waist. I believe the shrinking was because of both the washing and drying process. At this point I can declare that this pair of jeans is no longer wearable.
I’m a little disappointed at the outcome of my first pair of bespoke jeans. I chose a fabric that was different from typical denim and took the risk without full knowledge of what it would be like if washed and dryed by commercial laundry services. Going bespoke is a learning process and I learned my lesson: follow the advice of fabric sellers. And I’ll be staying clear of other denim fabrics from now on.