Tag Archives: Fashion

Magnificent (Magnanni)

 For those people who have read my previous posts, they would know that I have this thing for shoes.  Dress shoes.  The kind that guys like me who have shunned the corporate world don’t have any practical use for.  Yes, we may, on occassion, have the need to slip our feet into handmade leather loafers.  But, since these occassions are quite few and far between, a couple of pairs would be sufficient.


As if a woman would be satisfied with just a couple of bags…

Anyway, I was aimlessly walking around the mall one day, enjoying its cool, airconditioned confines.  As it was an aimless wandering, I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going.  When I was just about done with my Chai Tea Latte, I looked around for a rubbish bin to dispose of my cup.  I asked a person in uniform for some help and realized that the uniform looked familiar.  Taking stock of my surroundings, it dawned on me that my wanderings have taken me into the men’s department of Rustan’s Makati…  Again…

Emotions of guilt and joy swept through me.  Or was it joy first and then guilt?  Joyful guilt?  Guiltful joy?  Whatever…  A plausible excuse must be found to placate my wife’s growing irritation at my increasing clothing bill.  But, wait!  I have not done anything wrong!  It was not my fault that I am back in Rustan’s!  My feet brought me here!  Yes!  My feet!  I had nothing do to with it, so there.

Satisfied that I have not done anything wrong, I finally glanced down at the magnificent pair of Magnanni shoes I have been cradling in my hands while I was undergoing my mental discourse.  Called the “Belton”, its exquisite brown sheen, delicate buckle, hand-sewn leather and the combination leather sole for the forefoot and rubber sole for the heel made me think about the movie Ocean’s Thirteen and how it was able to tastefully blend laid back elegance, impeccable style (care of world-renowned Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue), and careless wealth.

As much as I loved to imagine myself putting on a bespoke shirt, a light linen suit, slipping into these Magnanni shoes and getting into a Maserati Quattroporte (I am a family man, after all), reality must step in.  For the meantime, the shoes must be put back into its display stand and I must walk back to the parking garage, get into my vintage 4×4 and drive home.

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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


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James Bondish… (Hackett)

 Ever since the time I decided to eschew the corporate life, I have been waking up with a smile on my face.  No more rush hour traffic.  No more long days.  And, I think more importantly, no more restrictive dress code.  My suits have been relegated to the back of my closet to make space for my casual, but otherwise, smart daily wear.

Of course, I’m not saying that I now look like a slob.  I still do appreciate clothes that are stylish and well-made.  It’s just that, rather than conveying a message of competition and assertion, I would like to think that the way I dress now conveys warmth and acceptance.  I think…

I do still work.  And, because of the nature of my profession (which I am trying to keep a secret), I still have meetings scheduled throughout the work week.  The difference is, the meetings are now more relaxed and informal.  Much like a meeting between friends.

Anyway, my more casual work wardrobe needed a little spiffing up.  Visa suggested that I shop around for a light sport coat that can be used for daytime appointments and not so formal evening functions.  Mastercard readily agreed.  And so, for the nth time, my credit cards find themselves in the men’s department of Rustan’s Makati trying to jump out of my wallet.

Being a regular guy, I made a mental map of the selling area and chose a route to follow.  After about half an hour, I was on my way to an elevated portion when I spied a blue jacket, which is pictured here, by Hackett of London that was left hanging in one of the fitting rooms.  It caught my eye because it was the first time I had seen something like it.  After ensuring that the room was empty, I entered to get closer to the item.  Maybe it was the yellow lighting in the room, I don’t know?  Called a “Blue Delave”, its soft blue color and luxuriously light linen fabric reminded me of the ocean, an immaculate shore line, and an ice-cold Daiquiri with those little umbrellas.  Or, maybe I’ve just been watching too many James Bond movies…

It wasn’t much of a fight, really.  I knew that this was the jacket I’ve been looking for.  It looks good.  It will go with the clothes I already have and it’s perfect for the tropics.  This is one time I gladly handed over my existence to the sales person and signed on the dotted line.

Now…  What to tell the wife…

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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Hooligan (BMW)

It was a rainy saturday morning.  I had just dropped-off my wife at her appointment and told her that I would take a quick trip to the local car show.  Of course, knowing how obsessed I am with cars, she thought I was making a joke, gave a gentle laugh, and waved me off.

As I merrily drove along the wet roads, I thought about how the timing could not be better.  Because of the monsoon rains and the fact that I would be arriving at such an odd hour, it meant that parking would not be a problem, the crowd would be thin and I could linger around each display as long as I like.  When I got there, it was as I thought it would be…  A slice of motoring heaven.

Inside the exhibition hall the automotive works of art were gleaming in the light.  It was an amazing sight.  Standing by the entrance, I surveyed the layout of the show and decided that the best route was to go in a counter-clockwise direction before slicing across each of the aisles (there is a method to fully appreciate these annual exhibits).

My decision to take the route was immediately rewarded by the presence of this silver 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo (Please pardon the electrical cables.  There was a bikini clad model standing there but she was blocking the car so I asked her to move).  It is beautiful.  Yes, there were more exotic and rarer cars on display such as an angry 1976 Lancia Stratos, a very sublime 1956 Mercedes Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”, an extremely elegant 1966 Ferrari 330 GT, a rare 1967 Toyota 2000 GT, and a playful Porsche 356C.  But, for some reason, it was the BMW that I was drawn to.

This car is cool.  The silver paintwork is immaculate.  The BBS wheel and tire combo nestled inside the fender flares gives off such a macho vibe.  The black leather interior is well-made and the livery gives the car that extra dash of color.  It is like a bespoke, slim cut, Paul Smith suit.  I imagine myself in the car, driving at a reasonably quick clip, up and down the winding back roads of Subic.  Or, if I want to be a hooligan about it, blasting full-throttle down McKinley Road at 2am and having so much fun that I turn around and have a go in the other direction.

I want to own this car so much that it makes my insides hurt.

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Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


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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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