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Monthly Archives: May 2011

For The Love of Suede (Cole Haan)

Some might think it as odd, but I like going down to my shoe closet just to take a peek inside and to make sure that my “investments” are well-preserved.  Every so often, I take them out for a cleaning (yes, even those that I have not used in a while).  One by one, I unwrap their protective cloth or paper cover, give them a once-over to make sure that no molds have grown (in Manila weather this is a must), and, depending on the material used for their construction, proceed to wipe, dust, buff or brush them.  They are then lovingly and securely re-wrapped for storage.

It might seem a bit on the anal side, but when dealing with shoes that cost more than a month’s salary for most people this kind of care is needed.  Indeed, it has been worth the effort.  Take these brown suede Cole Haan lace-ups as an example.  I bought this pair on a trip to Carmel, California back in 1999.  Yes, that was 12 years ago.  Yet, they look like they’ve been out of the box for only a couple of weeks.

The design is eye catching as it is slim and very contemporary.  Wearing it is a pleasure as the leather is soft and pliable.  The best part of the entire experience is when I run my hand softly against it to feel the luxurious suede nap.  I imagine a cobbler carefully selecting only the best hides for this handmade shoe and hoping that its future owner will have as much pride in wearing it as he had in making it.

Quality really is timeless.

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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Shimmering Sack (Tod’s)

It was after the last show and we were walking toward the parking lot when we were drawn toward a store with very bright lights (much like insects drawn to a bug zapper).  The store was under renovation, but that didn’t stop us from mindlessly staring at the very bright interior.

I remembered that we set our things down on a bench without anyone watching them so I turned to check.  I’ve always admired the Tod’s tote in the photo, but it was just shimmering in the glow of the bright lights.  That conjured images of films I’ve seen set in the 70’s like “Carlito’s Way” or “Studio 54” where disco was in and the mirror ball would intermittently shine small cubes of light on the dance floor to reveal the glitter and glam of the crowd.

A survey of some of the present fashion trends would reveal that, indeed, some elements of the 70’s are back.  I have noticed some stylish women in very sexy jumpsuits on a night out in the town and women wearing very nice tops in psychedelic prints and oh, so tight jeans with subtle flares.  This Tote, with its ample storage capacity, light construction and metallic finish will be perfect to complete the look.

Ladies, it’s time to bring out those platform shoes.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The One Watch (Rolex)

It was 1989, dusk was approaching.  We were on the Star Ferry crossing over from Hong Kong to Kowloon.  The MTR would have been quicker but the rush hour crush was just too much to take.  Finally on the other side, we sliced our way through the huge Harbour City shopping complex and down onto Peking Road.  As we exited onto Nathan Road, known to the world as the “Golden Mile”, horns were blaring from the most number of Rolls Royces stuck in traffic I have ever seen.  After a moment’s hesitation, we crossed over to the other side and ducked into a basement arcade.

Sounds like the opening sequence to a spy thriller, but it isn’t.  It’s actually a pre-teen Me, being dragged around all over Hong Kong by my mother who was on a quest to buy a Rolex Submariner for my father.  Yes, we could have purchased the watch from any of the authorized dealers in the territory, but, it was the thrill of the hunt, and the store we were headed for provided the best deals in all of Hong Kong.

That first of several watches is the same one half-buried in the sand in the photograph.  My father handed it down to me back in university (probably as a reward for not getting kicked-out), and it has been the only watch I have owned since.  It is a classic.  The all steel construction ensures that it is robust.  Its double lock metal bracelet secures the watch to the wrist in all conditions and the white on black design of the watch face and the bezel is understated.  Not only does it look good worn with casual attire, this piece of steel peeking from under one’s shirt cuffs will get quiet looks of approval from those who know its true value.

If there is just one watch a man can own, this is it.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Colorful Staple (Paul Smith)

Shopping in Bangkok is an exciting experience.  The high-end malls and street side markets offer a plethora of choices.  People are everywhere and getting caught up in a crowd is not unheard of.  It did get tiring though and after a while we decided to catch a movie to cool off.

I’ve been told that the world standard for the temperature in a movie theatre is 21 degrees Celcius.  In tropical and humid climates, this is welcomed with open arms.  But, after baking in 35 degree mid-afternoon heat, a 14 degree sudden drop in temperature will be enough to give anyone hypothermia (women in tank-tops, cut-offs and flip-flops most of all).

Lest I dissapoint the regular male readers of this blog, I will not advocate nor encourage these women to wear more clothing.  Instead, I propose that they always carry scarves that will easily fit in their summer bags or act as an accent belt around their exposed mid-sections.

A scarf that would be just right for this kind of use is this iconic cotton Swirl Scarf from Paul Smith.  The multiple colors and the pattern of the scarf make it a good complement to many casual/summer outfits.  It is playful without losing its upscale appeal.  Its size is generous and the material used is light and soft against the skin.  Swaddling yourself in it makes you feel protected by a loved one’s embrace.

Excellent choice for a movie date.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Sleek (Salvatore Ferragamo)

I have a confession to make…  I like shoes.  I mean, I really like shoes.  This is not unheard of among males, but to actually confess it is something different.  It’s liberating to say the least.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I don’t have hundreds of pairs.  I just have a “few”.  And, it’s not an addiction because I do control myself.  I can go into a store and just browse the displays.  After a few minutes, I walk out.  The problem begins a couple of weeks later when I walk back in the same store and “browse” the same pairs.  At this point, I am hooked and the only way I pull myself out of the store is to think about all the bills I have to pay for.  This goes on for a number of times and after every “extraction”, I congratulate myself and give myself a pat on the back for having such discipline and self-control.

Then, one day, it just happens.  I walk into the same store, ready to do the “browse” and step-out routine as always, but it just feels different.  I can sense something is amiss.  I quickly turn to step out of the store, but it is too late.  The force exerted by the Salvatore Ferragamo boutique is too strong to resist.  With my weakened resolve, I am pulled back in.

The salespeople, sensing a kill, er, a sale, put on their best smiles and begin plying me with the most beautiful pairs of shoes they have.  Next thing I know, I am walking out of the store with 2 to 3 pairs of ridiculously expensive dress shoes that I will get to wear once or twice a year, thereby increasing my personal debt by several notches and helping Citibank hasten its way back to profitability.

One of those shoes is the pair in the photo.  It is called the “Amedeo” and it is just superb.  The design is clean and sleek.  The leather used is soft enough to be comfortable.  It also has a strap that adjusts to keep the fit snug and helps to maintain its slim profile.  Two things, though, stand out when viewing this shoe.  First is the hand-stitching, which must have been done by santa’s elves.  Second, and for me, the more important thing, is the absolutely marvelous smell of the calf-skin leather.

Recommended for male shoe addicts.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Exquisite (Prada)

We regular guys are usually one-dimensional about things, their uses and the way they should look – like the edge of a kitchen counter which is perfect for popping open a bottle of beer (what else should it be used for?).  When it comes to bags we consider the utility before anything else.  What will it be used for?  Is it big enough for the task?  Will it withstand continuous and daily usage?  After being satisfied with the answers to the previous questions, that is the time when we consider the aesthetic aspect of the bag.

The way a bag looks should not take anything away from its utility.  Metal components should be limited to the locking mechanism.  Material used should be strong, lightweight and should wear nicely over the years.  It should be resistant to scratches and it should not catch on sharp objects.

It’s clear then that the Prada Tote in the photo would repulse me, but, surprisingly, I actually like it.  Called the “Portafoglio” in the color “Nero”, it is exquisite.  There are too many metal bits.  The leather is soft and supple.  Plus, the Shar Pei like design will easily catch on anything.  It is like a beautiful woman fully decked out in her jewelry and dressed to the nines.  We all know that men can’t get enough of that.

I have to say that every woman should have this bag.

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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Utility and Looks (G.H. Bass & Co.)

Try to remember the coolest characters in movies and you’d see that they all wore belts.  Knights had leather belts tied around their waists to secure their swords.  Cowboys drew their six-shooters from holsters secured to their belts.  Quentin Tarantino’s protagonists would tuck their guns into their belts.  Heck, even Batman had a really cool utility belt!

Anyway…  Though the previous paragraph may have no relation whatsoever to what may follow, the point is that belts are prized both for utility and looks.

The belt pictured here from G.H. Bass & Co. is one such item.  The brasswear of this belt is beautiful in its simplicity and robustness.  The high-quality leather is thick and tough.  Combined, the brasswear and leather give this belt a down-to-earth elegance that is difficult to match.  When wearing it, the size reassures me that it will always stay secure around the waist.  More importantly, it works well combined with a variety of outfits such as khaki shorts and leather sandals, denim jeans and cowboy boots, or even khaki pants and casual loafers.

This belt is quite a versatile accessory.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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