Top Picks: Old Navy
* First disclaimer: Haven’t stepped into the store, just perused the website. Before I get labeled as getting ahead of myself, let me just say that it’s partly wishful thinking. Although many local branches of international brands frequently hold back on certain items (looking at you, Clarks), it would be great if they included most, if not all the following listed pieces. Just trying to remain positive.
** Second disclaimer: Yeah, it’s a bit…well, blue, but that’s just a coincidence. Looking through each “section,” and picking out the my personal preferences, it wasn’t until they were all lined up that I realized it was looking a bit of monochromatic. On the plus side, these items make good foundation pieces that will go with most, if not everything in your closet. Mix and match, experiment, and have fun, knowing that there is at least one (or two) solid-dependable pieces to anchor your look.
Last March 22 Gap’s littler, more affordable brother Old Navy opened in local shores (with another branch to come next weekend). Looking through the website (positive, people), I picked out a few cool, memorable items that would look cool and feel comfortable on most guys. One should keep in mind is Old Navy is strictly casual, laid back wear (formal wear is relegated to biggest brother Banana Republic) – good for the weekends, or after work, or for folks with relaxed office uniform rules. So without further adieu…
1. Denim Jacket – The OFW staple – you’re sure to spot a dude (or three) donning this on a plane to keep out the cold. And why not? It’s classic (Levi’s Trucker jacket for some history), rugged and easy to pull on or off. Most local guys habitually tend to favor the double denim look, wearing both jacket and jeans, in what some critics and style mavens label the “Canadian Tuxedo.” Not wrong exactly, but a bit lazy. Instead, pair the denim with grey slacks or cotton chinos, with a Henley or OCBD underneath, and maybe Bass Weejuns to create a rugged, preppy look that ups the style quotient. (Hey, utilizing all the items in our Essentials list!) Plus, denim’s a solid alternative to hooded sweatshirts for folks working the late shift in chill-controlled environments such as call centers.
2. Chambray Boat Shoes – Probably a long shot in terms of it arriving to local shores (they usually leave out the cool items – we’ll see), this is a unique and welcome spin to the ubiquitous casual footwear staple. Like peanut butter-and-jelly, the concept takes two classic styles, the boat shoe and chambray fabric (akin to the old-timey factory workshirt), and combines them to form a cool, on-trend, concoction. Though passable with jeans, these particular joints work even better with shorts or chinos for a relaxed, weekend look. Perfect for a walk in the park on sunny days. Speaking of shorts…
3. Nautical Twill Shorts – These actually make an ideal pairing with said shoes. The solid blue is, well, solid, but the nautical patterns add an enticing bit of visual pop to a potentially stale, bland look. A word of warning: If you’re going to wear a pattern – whether on the top or bottom – it’s best to keep the other pieces in your ensemble plain; better to call attention to such a fantastic detail, and not create a “busy,” fussy look.
4. Navy Chinos – Not much more needs to be said – a great alternative color to khaki or beige, and if you’re sick of wearing jeans, but still want to keep that dark, blue look, these are the way to go. Further proof that navy chinos work? If you don’t take my word for it, look at this man. Yes, with a pair of chinos, you’re already halfway to looking like him and, eventually, being him. Truth.
5. OCBD Short Sleeved Shirt – Yes, we like to repeat ourselves here, but hear me out: While an OCBD long-sleeved shirt is considered a cornerstone in any man’s closet, here in the Philippines, those sleeves can feel constricting. Rolling them up sometimes isn’t enough (and even concentrates the heat and sweat to the elbow area). Better to go into short-sleeve mode to weather the heat. Some might counter with a, “Why not just wear a polo?” Well, buttons look smarter and more put-together. Some criticism may stem from the short-sleeved, button-down’s “dweeb” and nerd connotations – evoking a high school geek’s stuffy, uniform-like look, complete with pocket protector. This is more the case in America (specifically American 80s teen comedies) than the reality of Philippine life. Actually, short-sleeved, button-downs can look and feel cool, but as usual, keep the fit trim (not tight, not tight), and unbuttoning the top and (maybe) second button to give it a more relaxed, carefree look.
Edit: Just came back from the store – away from the weekend crowds – and what do you know? Four out of five ain’t bad! All the pieces above were available, except one (Although they had denim jackets, it was of the dark, rather than medium, wash that was displayed). Seeing some clothes up close and personal, here’s a few more late-addition picks that would be good to include. And best of all, they’re not all blue.
Board Shorts – One thing Old Navy’s got over many brands and shops is its wide selection of swim and athletic wear. While solids are acceptable, prints and patterns are currently trendy. Available in many colors, this particular floral look will make the wearer look fashionable but at the same time very much beach appropriate.
Boat Shoes – While the Chambray was featured, sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. This shoe’s really attractive light tan hue will make you look good with almost all casual, relaxed looks.
Denim Lace-ups – These sneakers make a cool alternative to the boat shoe. Some may want to avoid the “double-denim” look with jeans (unless it’s a different shade, color or wash). Instead, wear beige pants or shorts to give your look a more defining contrast.
Henley Tees – Another cool alternative, this time to traditional tees or polo shirts (they’re the in-between). These look thick and tough enough to take a beating, and while there is traditional white (best to avoid the camiso chino look), go for blue (sick of it yet?), or the dark, charcoal grey.
Sweatshirt – Once in a while, you want a certain piece of clothing to pop. While not a typical fan of jumpers, the classic sweatshirt (raglan, v-patch at the collar) will never go out of style, and the look has since evolved from strictly athletic wear (the patch is for sweat) to becoming acceptable with anything, even underneath suits and blazers. This particular color is bold, but not too loud, and makes a nice accompaniment to dark jeans or navy chinos.