Pinoy Men’s Essentials: The Rest
The following are the more “unavoidable” items – whether they be practical, default pieces needed for everyday life in the Philippines, or considered by most fashion pundits as mandatory, or, in the case of undergarments, don’t necessitate style per se.
Shorts – It would be remiss and idiotic not to include this hot weather staple. To be blunt, most guys just don’t look good with their legs exposed, whether they be ultra pale or dark and hairy. Plus, shorts aren’t practical or allowed for most working environments – whether one’s in construction or in an office. They’re best for ultra-casual, weekend wear, or quick on-the-go moments, whether it be beach, resort, or an afternoon at the mall or park. The ubiquitous trend that still doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon is the baggy cargo variety (camouflage optional), which almost all style-conscious guys look frown upon with a strict no-no. The usual, recommended option is the tan or beige version khaki pant, but (personal opinion/observation) they tend to look a bit “dad”-like; strictly for old-to-middle-aged men (usually coupled with a golf polo, grey socks pulled up and leather sneakers). A cool trend these days is simple patterns, such as boats, anchors, or larger-scale designs, like floral or camouflage all of which provide a nice visual touch. Another fresh take, not for everyone though, is pastels or “hot” solid colors – powder blues, nantucket reds, bright oranges. If you’re gonna wear shorts, roll the hem up for some style points. Keep the footwear simple – boat shoes or canvas sneakers, preferably sans or no-show socks to downplay the “geezer” factor. For the top, a t-shirt can look a bit under-dressed and unkempt; try instead a (light) polo or untucked OCBD shirt (rolled, long-sleeves or short) to look more put-together and fresh.
Blazer – in most menswear circles, it’s considered the cornerstone and “must-have” of any sensible wardrobe, but, for the most part, that sentiment doesn’t apply here. Blame it on the general shift in comfort over propriety and the relaxing of formal office culture. Guys used to dress to the nines in suits the 50’s and 60’s (think Sinatra and The Rat Pack), then gradually devolved into a stripped down, t-shirt-and-jeans look. Blazers (as well as suits) aren’t as common as they once were, unless you’re a high-positioned office executive or bank manager. However, it still has its uses for the regular guy – like a formal occasion (such as a daughter or female relative’s debut or anniversary) when you want an alternative to the barong tagalog. The default color is navy, due to its basic versatility, but to add a fresh spin, forgo the typical, padded wool material for something made of cooler fabric, like cotton or linen. As always, keep in mind of fit – It should sit snug on the shoulders, with darting towards the waist area (for a trimmer silhouette), plus sleeve lengths that show some cuff, as well properly covering your backside (i.e., ass).
Ties – Again, unless your in a business or formal setting, ties aren’t necessary for most. Even “opening night”-style events, most wouldn’t flinch at a causal, tie-less look. Having said that, it’s good to have one or two ties in your arsenal, just in case. For a solid (navy, black), a knit model adds some nice texture. If you want some color(s), pick a tasteful pattern and design (repp ties are a solid prep staple); don’t be afraid to add some brightness, but don’t let it be too loud as to clash with the rest of your outfit.
Belts – A trend that’s been growing in some circles is that idea of “belt as the new tie,” which actually is more appropriate in our mostly-tie-less culture. Especially if one wears plain, grey (or khaki) pants or dark blue jeans, coupled with a solid color polo or shirt, a colored, or patterned, belt can inject a dash of personality to break up a monochromatic look. Try out different materials (such as canvas), styles, colors, patterns and textures (like solid or webbed), and see what works best with your outfit.
When it comes to traditional or formal wear (i.e., dress pants), the usual mantra is “brown shoes-brown belt, black shoes-black belt.” Plus, avoid wide, beat-up vintage-style belts, and go for a sleeker, thinner model for such events.
Underwear and Socks – The former shouldn’t even be seen, so you want to keep it subtle. Boxer briefs are the “in” thing, but in hot temperature, briefs feel more comfortable. In case of the dreaded bent-over, ass crack position (sometimes unavoidable), best to go with a dark color (black, navy, dark grey) so as not to call too much attention. Avoid white (icky stains and discolorations), as well as loud colors and patterns.
As for socks, this is the time you can go (just a bit) crazy. Instead of the typical white athletic or thin black variety, try a pattern (dots, stripes) or contrasting colors (pink, lavender), to add some pop. Just make sure the rest of your outfit is muted in tone.
Eyewear – Nothing says stylish and cool as a pair of sunglasses. It’s the perfect finishing touch to most outfits, and necessary on glaring, sunny days. Try to stay away from trendy sunglasses (colored or large frames), and put on iconic styles like wayfarers, tortoiseshell, and aviators for a cool, classic look.