menswear manila

Third World Style

Preppy (Part 2)

If you were to just pick one top and one bottom that epitomizes prep style, An OCBD and khakis are the “go-to” looks.

From that foundation you can switch and amp up colors and still retain the preppy look. Keep in mind if you’r wearing a loud or bold piece, make sure the other pieces are muted to balance your ensemble.

ensemble gth 3


If solids aren’t your thing, you can also go for prep patterns like gingham and plaid (or check). Like I said in part 1, the smaller the check the more flattering.


A short-sleeved shirt is more suitable for hotter climates. To avoid looking geeky, make sure the fit is is right; not too baggy (with flared or long sleeves) or tight (sausage fit). One way to look cool and offset the dweebiness is to roll up the sleeves.

As far as tucking in the shirt, I personally leans more towards yes, if you’re wearing pants. If you’re wearing shorts, and are in a more relaxed atmosphere, untucked and slightly disheveled is fine.

ocbd with shorts

Worked in the 60’s, still works today. (From Take Ivy)

Polos are also the obvious substitute when going for comfy and cool. Traditional colors like white, navy and light blue are the usual standards. So as to not look too basic and boring, you can experiment with bolder, un-played out colors like pink or aqua.

ensemble 3

Roll up the pants for extra style points.

Shorts have traditionally remained pretty basic and solid, with loud and pastel colors being acceptable. Plaid or madras have also been part of prep. Personally, a trend that I’ve been liking is the embroidered pattern. Not too ostentatious, but just a minor detail(s) that catches the eye and makes it distinctive.


If ever you need to dress up – for a debut, wedding, corporate event, etc. – it’s pretty simple to build on what you already have-prep-wise: Just add a jacket/blazer and tie. Navy is the most prevalent; for cool points, go for white or gold buttons. As far as pants, in addition to chinos, you can also go for dress grey. For ties, knit solids are ok, but repp (or stripe) is quintessential prep. Think American, or British, boarding school uniform.

blazer n tie


Preppy Wear (part 1)


Classic Ivy League Prep Style

One of the styles I admire is prep style. Though parts and pieces of it originated earlier, it bloomed and gained recognition as a menswear fashion movement in American ivy league schools in the 60’s. It was mostly worn by affluent whites, but has since been appropriated by many cultures and sub groups.

modern black prep

“Black Ivy” style (l), and prep inspired modern (r)

I would describe it as classical clothes that tend to be a bit dressed up and formal – button-front shirts, slacks, polos – but worn and styled in a way that is casual and laid back (a bit wrinkled, not too fussy and rigid).


One of the more popular purveyors of the style is the Kennedy clan, specifically former President John F. Kennedy, his siblings, and (in modern times) his son, JFK jr. Something about the way he/they carried himself/themselves – confident, nonchalant – appealed to many men, making them into style icons that remain influential up until today.

So how can that be applied locally? Here are some picks:

When you say “preppy,” it usually denotes two things – the OCBD and khaki pants, the former in light or sky blue, and the latter in beige. However, it’s sort of difficult to pull off locally without looking like a schoolboy, as it is the school uniform of students from Ateneo de Manila.


Want to look like this (l), but end up looking like that (r)

So, as to not look like a schoolboy, find variety and twist on the classics to differentiate yourself. Instead of solid light blue, why not blue stripes, or a gingham pattern? Instead of khaki pants, try olive or navy instead.


Subtly different

Sweaters and blazers aren’t really appropriate for most causal, hot-weather circumstances. However, when indoors or somewhere cold, one of my go-to pieces is a cardigan – not as formal as a blazer, but is able to dress and class up a polo or even a tee.


Navy goes with anything, maroon for some pop

Accessories and footwear – most guys don’t usually wear a tie, so to add some pop of detail that draws the eye, how about a multi-stripe belt? Another way to add tasteful color is a watch with a colored NATO strap (also a prep staple).


For shoes, the usual mainstays are loafers, boat shoes and clean, simple sneakers. Interchangeable with any ensemble and will never go out of style.


Will come back in part 2 with other suggested ensembles…

The “Going Out” or “Club” shirt

Aaaand…we’re back!

untucked-dress-shirt Mens Black Shirts Fashion Stylish Fitted Casual Trendy Designer Luxury Mens Shirts-

When going out at night, most guys in the last few years (although it’s subsiding) wear a collared, button front shirt, usually with a pattern and shiny fabric. Not the best look. Esquire recently put out alternatives to the “club” or “going out” shirt, but it strangely included lots of outerwear meant for outdoor or colder climates – leather and bomber jackets, plus sweaters. Not exactly the type of clothes guys don in the oftentimes sweltering indoors when dancing or standing by the bar.

Thought I’d put my two cents in with several affordable, alternative options that are actually, well, shirts:

Oxford ShirtAn oxford button own collar shirt paired with jeans and a vintage belt is a classic look that’s just as great-looking now on most guys (whether thin-built or husky). The main thing with most of these looks, is to have the shirt tucked in to look more neat and put together.




Mandarin Collar Oxford Shirt


Want to stand out a bit? Instead of pointed, try a band collar for a twist on the OCBD.








MEN BROADCLOTH PRINTED LONG SLEEVE SHIRTMost “going out” shirts have patterns and lines that stand out (not necessarily in a good way). If you must wear a collared shirt with more “pop,” go for a subtle print like a pin dot. The cool thing is that from far away, it looks basic. Upon closer inspection (like a lady coming in close) is something that’s distinct, but still tasteful.




Men's Slim-Fit Patterned ShirtsFor hotter weather, or when it’s too hot indoors, wear a plaid shirt with a flattering print. The best option is to choose a small check pattern. Again, tuck in the shirt and roll up the sleeves for a clean, but not dweeby, look.






vintage denim shirt

Many guys also want to avoid looking like they just came from the office.  For a rougher, rugged look that packs a bit more thickness, go for a classic denim western shirt. Pro Tip: Don’t go for a double denim look with jeans. Instead, opt for a slim pant in navy, khaki or olive. Note: Also works as an outer layer with a plain white or grey tee.





Chambray Button-Down ShirtAnother “classic” look that will never go out of style is the chambray workshirt. With many affordable brands having their own version, however, the style maybe a bit too ubiquitous, so careful of getting a “twinsies” look with someone else.







Men's Colorblock Pocket TeesSome guys want to avoid button shirts altogether and just dress in a casual tee. To avoid looking sloppy, instead of a typical print or graphic or logo, go for a bold color block tee to grab some attention (and guaranteed compliments).





Men's Slim-Fit Classic ShirtsSick of the constant blue color? (Yeah, yeah I know…) Personally, I’m not into bold colors, but if you want to stray from the norm, but not in a “what the hell is he wearing?” way, go for a classic pattern, like gingham, but with a a different hue, like purple.





sleeve polo shirtA popular staple between a tee and a button front shirt is the polo – comfy as a tee, but the collar gives it a touch of class. There are your traditional, basic one-color polos, but for style points, rock one with cool piping in the collar and sleeves.





sleeve polo shirt 2Another similar style from Zara, this time a bit bolder and thicker.







00058574-01For something different and modern, check out this number. What happens when you combine a polo with a henley? Pretty cool, with its band collar, plus athletic coloring and details.







Ribbed-Hem ShirtAnother interesting piece from Forever 21. Collared button front, raglan/baseball short sleeve design, plus a colorful strip of hem on the bottom so as not to look ordinary and plain. Just fashion forward enough without looking too “out there.” That’s the way you want to stand out from the crowd.





* Brands included in this post include Uniqlo, Forever 21, Old Navy, Zara, and AEO, so they should be available locally.

For Fun: Questionairre

Saw this article on profiling this dude. Had a questionairre at the end; thought I’d take it myself (for fun!). Here goes…

My style in three words (or less!)

Classic, Preppy, Accessible


From Gant’s “Team Americano” Campaign

My first “fashion” memory (a favorite outfit from childhood, your mom taking you back-to-school shopping, etc)

In 5th grade, wearing my dad’s denim shearling jacket to school (yep, it was a bit oversized), and getting complimented on it by a teacher. I then thought I might be dressing too mature. Also, in 8th grade, wearing “ranger-style” J.Crew boots and getting complemented on it by some classmates (still remember a girl’s line: “You look hood.”)


Pretty close to the shoes I had.

Party outfit go-to

Hot weather: Short-sleeved linen button-shirt navy; blue rinsed jeans; bass weejuns (sockless). Cooler temp: Denim shirt, navy chinos, Clarks besswax boots.

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Favorite “splurge” clothing brand

Don’t really believe in “splurging,” but if I had to spend a lot of money on something, it’ll probably be Alden shoes, or a Barbour jacket.

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Favorite “steal” clothing brand

Hard to find quality clothing for cheap, but I’d say the prices of Uniqlo when they go on sale are really good.

A man’s personal style is important because… 

…it’s an immediate representation of the type of person he is to the outside world.

On the Way: Shawl Collar Cardigans!

Saw this on the “New Arrivals” page on Uniqlo’s U.S. website, which means (fingers crossed), it’s only a matter of time before it hits these shores.


The Navy’s a classic look…


…but the upturned collar on the Grey is a nice detail.

Yes, shawl collar cardigans! Sure, it’s not practical in Manila – although it’s handy in air conditioned places – but I missed out on it the first time around (again, thinking of it’s impracticability), and regretted it ever since. Bottom-line, it’s nice to have it on standby, ’cause a) you never know when you’ll have a sudden trip abroad (and it’s oh-so-comfortable and stylish planewear); and b) it is a classic, some might say essential, menswear staple.

As I’ve examined in the past:

daniel_craig_jeans_brown_belt Venice-Cardigan Paul-Newman-A-Life-in-Pictures-11 4995102397_c1bd04d1e5_z

“Blue’s” Clues

Lame title, sorry. Moving on… looking back at the last several posts, or the blog in general, I realize I tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to one particular shade of hue. But take a look at this year’s recent Pitti Uomo, a.k.a., the world’s premiere menswear summit, where designers show off their latest wares for the upcoming seasons and the #menswear set go peacock and be seen:


As GQ states, it’s this year’s color. But then again, it never really went away. Blue – in its many different shades, from dark navy to light wash, is one of the more versatile colors in any guiys wardrobe, regardless of season or lifestyle. In the Philippines, it’s the default jeans color; as stated in a previous post, any given afternoon in most urban sprawls, you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of denim.

Personally, just to mix it up and break away from the crowd, instead of jeans, I’d instead rock a navy blue chino,  paired with a chambray shirt to give the usual denim look a role-reversal.


But don’t get it twisted, just because it seems ubiquitous and GQ-approved, doesn’t mean that it validates it for me. I’ll still wear blue regardless.

And anyway, it’s not even my favorite color. If you were to ask me point-blank, I’d answer: Grey.

“Equivalency” Continued

Since I had fun doing the “local equivalent” post, thought I’d do another one…


Just want to emphasize (though no one’s asked), that this isn’t a critique of‘s taste or wardrobe. As a matter of fact, just the opposite. Sites like his and other men’s blogs are there to inspire people like myself, to find their own particular style and develop it.

Hopefully, in the end, I can vary and take (successful) risks with my own style, which I admit can be a bit too same-y and dull at times. So, big ups to these guys.

From his May wardrobe recap:

(* Didn’t bother including the hat – just not my taste, sorry. Would rather wear sunglasses if it’s bright out.)

Day 1

Day 1 – Easily translatable (and a personal favorite) look – chambray shirt with beige khakis. To vary it a bit, and to cater to the weather, I went with a short-sleeve version. You can go a step further and pair it with chino shorts and boat shoes, to give it a casual-hot-weather look, but I think pants and suede brogues is solid (and works well both indoors or outdoors). With the suede, it might be difficult to pull off in oftentimes rainy weather, so just be careful (and research the weather forecast).

Day 2

Day 2 – Kind of a Bourne Identity look. Pretty badass, but a bomber jacket might be a bit too hot. For rainy weather, or whenever a light jacket is needed, I would opt instead for a classic Harrington. Same outline, but a bit lighter  (thickness-wise), and with the plaid lining, more stylish. (Shoes are from great local brand Flying Dutchman, by the way).

Day 3

Day 3 – A look that I think is meant for a wedding(?) or formal day occasion – meaning something dressed-up but cool (breezy) at the same time. To that end, a lighter blue linen blazer is appropriate but not as flamboyant or attention-grabbing as the pink; coupled with a crisp white shirt (buttoned-collar but not oxford cloth). To top (or bottom) things off, and so as not to use the default beige chino or khaki, go with a light grey formal trouser instead.

Day 4aDay 4 – This kinda works, although even with his striped polo, it still looks a bit pale. My philosophy is if you’re gonna go with a light piece, the other one should contrast more (although dark-on-dark pieces tend to work better together, I think). Instead of a thick stripe polo, a light-blue striped polo (with tiny, not thick lines) sets it apart from a typical light blue solid. Again, as not to always go for khaki or chino, I chose a lighter grey chino.

Day 5

Day 5 – Definitely a translatable look – plaid shirt, jeans and suede shoes. Except for the darkened jeans, an almost-exact translation, which means this look can pretty much work just as well here as there.

Day 6

Day 6 – Just like the original, with a slight tonal change in pants and a grey jacket. Thought I’d mix it up a bit chambray shirt-wise, this time with a long-sleeved number, as that’s more appropriate with a jacket. The whole look is more formal; it suits, say, a fancy dinner or a gallery opening. If you want to dress down a bit, forgo the blazer and go with a grey cardigan instead.

Day 7

Day 7 – Hm, that jacket’s just a bit too kooky and not-too-successful a style move (see what I mean about risks?), at least for me. If I were to go out of my comfort zone a bit, and try to wear a statement piece, it would still be grounded in something basic. Like say, a textured or striped cardigan. Not the typical style cardigan, due to its unique, distinct detailing. Also went with a different denim shirt so as not go all chambray all the time (like khakis).

Day 8

Day 8 – Again, not going for the pink blazer. On the other hand, a burgundy cardigan is a sorta similar, but more solid piece – not as ubiquitous as the typical navy or grey shade; but just like those two, goes well with just about anything, without looking too flamboyant or outre. Overall, a bit too basic a look, but what the hey, let’s wrap this up!