menswear manila

Third World Style

Something Different

Ok, let’s do something different. Having been inspired by many menswear blogs for a couple of years now, I’ve often complained that many of theses sites are too cold weather-centric, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because – duh – many of these writer-cum-fashionistas come from Northeast region of the U.S., thus the emphasis (and unabashed love) of layering. (I saw one street style pic of a guy wearing two denim shirts on top of one another.)

But… what about elsewhere, namely hot-weather climates like ours? We can’t all wear jackets and rock the sprezzatura look in our laid-back, casual, third world environment, right? So, for fun, let’s try to find an equivalency to some of these looks. Take for example, these looks from the pretty cool site…


All pretty great, but we can’t all wear multiple layers, jackets, hats, etc. We gotta keep things simple and stripped-down. Some of these looks can be easily translatable to our environment, but some, not so much. Let’s break it down, one look at a time…

Day 1 – Business – The jacket-less banker look. Can look a bit too stuffy when working a casual business environment. But if you vary it a bit and strip it to its basics, it can look cool and breezy, while still being polished and professional.

Day1aDay 2 – Business Casual – Again, multiple layers – a shirt, sweater and a jacket – can lead to overheating (especially if you plan on going outdoors). So, let’s stake it down a notch. And though this look may skew towards the more casual side of business-casual, a cardigan will add a touch of class, while keeping you warm from the chilly air-conditioning.

Day 2b

Day 3 – Nightime(?) – This looks like a look for a night out, specifically in the heat of summer or a warm weather evening, so actually, his look would suit just fine. But with shorter sleeves on a linen shirt? Stylish and especially comfortable if you’re going bar-hopping.

Day 3bDay 4 – “Edgy Business” – Leather would definitely be too hot, but what about denim? A somewhat “dweeby” look (short-sleeve OCBD shirt and navy slacks) can suddenly transform to somewhat “badass” with just one addition.

Edgy business 3

Day 5 – Vacation – Ah, here we go, something that can easily be translated, with no changes necessary. But what if we add a bit more color, plus up the “nautical” aspect of the look?

Vacation look

Day 6 – Business – Hm, another business look. kinda similar to day 1’s look – right down to the vest. So, how’s about an alternate suggestion for the professional class? The denim shirt ups your style game a quotient, while still retaining a work-appropriate outline.

Business 2

Day 7 – Winter – Here’s were it gets dicey. Snow? Definitely none around these parts. But rain? Rivers of it pouring down during monsoon season. You want to be prepared, and at the same time put-together when you finally reach your workplace (and not a dripping mess). In case you’re wondering, the scarf/stole isn’t to keep you warm, but as an additional guard from the elements, as well as wipe away any excess water.

Wet weather

Day 8 – Weekend – Didn’t change much (if anything), right down to the always-great Clarks boots. Shortened the sleeves a bit on the henley, but that’s about it. A testament to a timeless casual look.

Day 8



“Outdoor Concert” Look

One of the websites I frequently check out is – great if you’re looking for a menswear site that specializes, for the most part, in looking for great deals in many e-tail sites. Once in a while, besides the occasional review, they also put out a recommended outfit ensemble. Recently, they put together a selection for attending an outdoor concert.


And while it’s not bad, per se, it looks, well, a bit average. Starting from the top,  Polos are of course classic, but with the trend nowadays towards slim and close-fitting, they can be a bit constricting and clingy, especially, if you’re going to be sweating and moving around. Moving on to the shorts – yeah, they’re pretty acceptable and solid, but just a tad too basic and simple. Last but not least, boat shoes, while a men’s fashion staple, are not exactly ideal if you’re gonna be walking around in grass and, perhaps (depending on the weather), mud. In addition, while it is important to remain hydrated, the tech-look of the wearable water bottle can throw your whole look off.

Scouring my fave sites, I decided to select some alternative looks that are fashionable, comfortable and appropriate for the setting. Keep in mind this is for an event that doesn’t require strenuous or rigorous activity (such as rock-climbing or hiking) – just a cool, laid-back day at the concert or fair.

shirtsTops – As far as shirting, short-sleeved button-downs in chambray or linen are a cool choice, both in terms of looks and comfort. Many fear the “nerd”-ish connotations, but if you keep it a bit loose loose (unbuttoning the two top buttons, or if you’re more adventurous, three), untucked, and roll up the sleeves, you’ll look fresh and on-point. If solids look a bit staid and boring, go for a gingham pattern.

shortsShorts – Solid-colored shorts in basic colors (khaki, grey, navy) are fine, but a trend that doesn’t seem to get enough attention is embroidered shorts. They add just enough of a subtle statement to make them stand out from typical shorts. Cargo shorts, on the other hand, have been on the way out in recent years, but like cargo pants, if you can get something that’s slim and hits on or above-the-knee, with pockets that don’t protrude, then sure, why not?

sneakersShoes – Yeah, best avoid leather when you’re planning to traverse dirt ground. Canvas is a good better, and if you’re too subdued-looking in the shirt and shorts department, try a colorful pattern like camo or bandana. The key is to keep the whole ensemble balanced.

nato strapsWristwear – Another way to add color, while at the same time keeping cool temperature-wise, is with NATO straps. We’re familiar with the typical stripes, but some foreign boutique brands are stretching out  to include different colors and patterns – Camo? Floral? Paisely? Micro dot? Nice. Alas, they’re not available in the Philippines. Maybe some local seller can distribute them locally?

socksSocks – Since you’re going to be walking around the whole day, it’s a good idea to wear socks to absorb the sweat and stink. Might want to avoid ankle socks so as not to look like a dweeb or gym rat. No show or low-cut is your best bet. On the chance that you take your feet out, why not be a bit playful and go for stripes?

Shades – Should be mandatory every time you hear “outdoor.”square wayfarers 2



bottledwaterWater bottle – For guys not wanting to carry a bag, (or in case you do and want to bring an extra shirt or whatever), as far as keeping hydrated, go the handheld route. It might be a mild inconvenience, but adding unsightly bulk can be even more restricting for guys that want to look stylish. Better idea – if you’re with a female friend, ask her to put it in her bag or purse.

What to Pack: Holy Week

Yep, it’s past, so this article’s a bit late, BUT perhaps you regretted not bringing the right type of clothes this time around, and want to make up for it next year. Or if that’s too far ahead into the future, the next vacation. Keeping that in mind, plus the shift the last couple of days into hellacious hot weather, let’s look at some of the clothes you should keep mindful of for that extended vacation period.

Summer ShortsShorts – Like, duh, you’re gonna to need at least one pair, though two would be ideal, especially if you’re gong to a resort, beach or other hot weather climate (you’re not gonna wanna wear the same one every day, right?). Prints and patterns such as floral or are fine for one, but for the other, go for a subdued solid in navy, grey or khaki. Cargo shorts are also good for added style, but stay away from the fashionably-past-its-due-date long and baggy look.

Vacation T-ShirtsT-Shirts – Kind of a free-for-all, meaning whatever design or print is fine, just as long as it’s not too loud or an eyesore. Stripes are a cant-miss style staple, since they evoke that nautical, preppy aesthetic. As far as fit, slim is not always the way to go; it can be a bit restrictive and uncomfortable, especially in the heat and humidity. What’s trendy these days is a looser, but not baggy, fit, with a thinner fabric, such as linen, that hangs off the body well enough to accommodate the cool breeze.

polosPolos – If you’re going to enjoy the nightlife (i.e., bars), and need something that’s dressed up but doesn’t go overboard in terms of comfort, (in other words, no long-sleeved OCBDs) polos are (and will always be) the  way to go. They’re also good for the daytime, but perhaps the next option might be better…

Men's Slim-Fit Chambray Shirts

Short-Sleeve Button Shirts – This is exactly the thing to put on, whether a) you want to look stylish just walking or chilling about, or b) need something to put on after a light swim. With the latter, it’s the convenience of the buttons which make it a comfortable option to put on compared to a typical shirt or polo (especially when you’re still a bit wet). Many options and colors are available, with the Hawaiian shirt currently making a comeback. Again, a linen fabric hits that nice, cool spot.


MEN Linen Cotton Relaxed Trousers

Pants – Stay away from thick, rough jeans (except perhaps when you’re travelling to and from the airport, or doing an outdoor activity). Light cotton or linen is the comfy fabric to be aware of, while light colors such as beige, or better still, white (for that “high-class, Riviera” look) is the on-trend, cool tone.





Men's Color-Block Hybrid-Waist Board ShortsSwimwear – The designs for most board shorts are fine; you can even get a bit wild with bold, obnoxious colors (floral). Like the regular shorts, it’s time to retire the big, baggy shorts that extends towards the ankle. One that hits on the knee or slightly above (or if you’re adventurous and have the body, on the thigh) is flattering to most body types


Beach OuterwearOuterwear – There will be times when the weather will get a bit chilly. In an ultra-causal setting, this is perhaps the only time a hooded sweatshirt will be acceptable. Also on-point is a marine parka, with it’s harder, stiffer texture. Want to be best-dressed on the beach? A cardigan, of course, will up your style quotient, but don’t be stupid and wear wool; go for light cotton or something sweat-style.

Footwear – Sandals or flip-flops, a.k.a., tsinelas are acceptable, but like the hooded sweatshirt, strictly on the beach or resort area please. If you’re going around the nearby towns or rougher terrain, sneakers are the way to go if you’re going to walk around more. Maybe forgo the big, bulky hi-tops; running shoes, slip-ons and canvas models are stripped-down and sleeker.


MWM Picks: Shawl Cardigan

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:


Exhibit C:


Does anything more need to be said? What the hell, let’s do it anyway. The shawl collar cardigan is considered by many to be the height of both style and comfort. It’s formal construction – characterized by  the collar and knit-based fabric is one of the great, timeless combinations in menswear.

As portrayed in films, the look appeared to be favored by old, Ivy-league, professor-types working off-duty in their offices at night by the fire. A bit musty and stuffy. But looking at it worn by the classic male stars (Newman, McQueen) of yesteryear (and current style maven Craig), it simply exudes a relaxed and cool masculinity. It’s probably the most versatile of outwear: you can wear this with a buttoned down shirt to dress your look down oh-so-very-slightly, as well as pair it with a t-shirt and jeans to look classy, but still rugged.

Sweat Shawl Collar Cardigan uniqlo-black-men-heavy-gauge-shawl-collar-cardigan-product-1-2444824-424893791_large_flex men-heavy-gauge-shawl-collar-cardigan-z

Even in this hot weather (which feels like it’s about to get hotter), there’s always a situation that calls for minor outerwear, such as an evening at the movies in a cold theater, or, if you’re not sure how dressy to be in certain formal situations, it strikes a nice balance (with a dress shirt and tie) between relaxed and dressed-up. Not advisable for rainy season, as water can ruin the traditional wool fabric. A “sweat” cardigan is also a nice alternative to the hooded sweatshirt. Same fabric, different type/model.

Also, the look is more suited for 20-somethings and above; not really for the young, teen set. if you’re young, go for a regular, collar-less cardigan, in a bold color, or color-blocked or striped to look fresh.


Off-duty Bond

Flipping Through: GQ April 2014 (Part 2)

We’ll be digging into the meat-and-potatoes of the magazine, i.e., the spreads (and more ads). Won’t be posting all the picks or choices, because that would be, hehe, illegal, but just focus on the highlights (sprinkled with some opinion and/or criticism) of stuff local guys should be mindful of when purchasing or laying out their outfits.

0000107Page 106, Sperry ad – a bit boring, a bit basic, a bit safe – but nail the fits, and it works.

0000109Page 109, Jack Spade ad – same deal; though a little slouchy and dweeby, it’s still very much acceptable and dressed-up. Just arch your back and exude some confidence.



0000119Page 118, Dockers ad – Two cool looks. On the left – Light chambray, white jeans, dark chukkas – all great, but lose the tie ; something’s just off about wearing a tie without a jacket. To the right – a bit more trendy, with a striped shirt, casual blazer and cranberry pants – maybe try something more muted with the latter, like burgundy. These two are great outfits that work for the mid-to-above level salaryman (fittingly apt for chilling out or taking a meeting at a local Starbucks, Coffee Bean, et. al.)

0000130Page 129, Target Ad – A  cool outfit that I’ve actually seen many young, stylish 20-somethings rock on the weekend (consider it the Bonifacio High Street look, ready for the street style camera) – unbuttoned denim, khaki/chinos, navy canvas sneaks – all classics, not bad, can’t go wrong.



0000133Page 132, Target Ad (2) – A nice variation on the polo and slacks (or jeans look). Instead of the traditional blue/white/grey color combos, go green. The main thing Mr. Reddick does in this pic is nail the fit of the polo, especially in the shoulder, bicep area. Take note, guys, next time you buy one – a fitted polo makes most beefy guys look cut.

0000134Page 133, Target Ad (3) – Same thing with Mr. Williams, this time with the polo tucked in. The patterned shirt is distinct and eye-attracting, while the subdued grey pants and cool crossbones(!) belt balance things out nicely.




Page 155 – GQ 100, i.e., the “Style Bible” –  Here we go, GQ’s on-trend picks for the season…

0000157Page 156 – “The mark of true personal style is finding a few few things that work for you and sticking to them.” Sound familiar? Meanwhile, re: the pants on the left – The top two might work for some more adventurous, fashion-forward, dandy-types, but the light grey on the bottom can work for almost anyone. To be safe (and as an alternate to the ubiquitous black trouser), go grey.

0000158Page 157, “Discover the Un-douchey Logo” – Strictly for the teen and young 20-something set; if you’re looking for a more mature, more refined, more classic style it’s probably best to stay away from ugly prints and logos (unless a specific situation makes it appropriate). Instead, look at the bottom of the page at the stripes for inspiration, if you want some graphical pop in your tees. Big color blocking is fashionable and on-trend nowadays, but stripes is the more traditional route to play with such patterns.


0000160Page 159, “Subversive Prep” – Love the look – navy slacks, NB sneakers, button shirt and tie in light colors all hit my sweet spots – but, sigh, the jacket might be impractical for many.

0000163161-167, “Remix Your Wardrobe” – Most of these outfits would be suitable in tropical climates like ours; at least in terms of type: short-sleeved shirts, shorts, sockless shoes. However, some of the patterns may be a bit too loud or ostentatious. If that’s what you’re going for, and if it fits with the Style Rules, go for it. Again, not for everyone, but don’t be afraid to try, or get out of the box once in a while.


0000170169, “Tribe of One: Leonardo DiCaprio” – Ah, the played-out baggy cargo short. Leo makes it work and pulls the hotties because he’s Leo-freakin-DiCaprio. Since you’re not, you have to work harder, style-wise. On the left: If blazers would somehow become popular again in mainstream wear, a linen fabric would be the most bearable in this heat.

0000177171-176, “Dress Like a Tough Bastard” – A lot of guys can, and want to pull off the “bad boy” look (many girls squee for it); all-black, a bit greasy. Even better if you have the body, hair (both facial and body) and swagger. Again (and again), it should always be about fit – slim jeans, a slimming shirt, and just the right type and amount of accessories (like chains and other hardware). Attitude and confidence helps, too.


Flipping Through: GQ April 2014 (Part 1)

A recurring criticism in previous posts is how most media relating to men’s style – specifically blogs and magazines – tend to favor those living in cool-to-cold, dry weather climates (usually in cosmopolitan cities), as well as being moderately successful financially, i.e., well-off. Many of the spreads, advertisements and pieces of advice featured in said mags and blogs don’t necessarily apply to  most regular guys, especially those living in underdeveloped areas like Manila.

To that end, I thought I’d flip through some of major men’s monthly publications (GQ, Details, Esquire), pick out the most relateable-looking outfits, try to make sense of some of the trends, and figure out a way to make certain looks work for many Pinoy guys living the day-to-day grind.

00001 Cover Page, featuring musician/artist Pharrel (“Get Lucky,” “Blurred Lines”) – An interesting blue, two-tone. sweater-pants combo. Great beat-up Converses (if you’re doing it, best to pair with some crisp, clean accompaniments like Mr. Williams, so as to avoid looking sloppy). The pants have a nice, pastel hue, but the yellow shirt doesn’t quite work. A plaid, or more subtle color would work better if you’re going for stylish but subdued.

00002Page 1, Polo/Ralph Lauren ad – Summer prep staple; patterned shorts, bengal stripe shirt, repp tie and jacket/blazer. Subtract the jacket and tie, get shorts with a more muted color (navy, beige), and you have a cool, comfy look.

00005Page 4, Another Polo ad – featuring nantucket red pants, the same(?) bengal shirt, but this time with a navy cardigan and blackwatch/tartan jacket. Jacket’s not practical (good dark-ish color, but too attention-calling) in the hot weather, and the nantucket may be a bit too bright and ostentatious for some. Instead, a darker, burgundy color might work.

000024Page 24, “Style Made Simple” ad for – These are the classics – Chambray shirt, grey sweatshirt, dark blue vintage Levi’s, white canvas sneakers, light brown brogues – that would make a fantastic foundation to any stylish wardrobe.000032

Page 32, Table of Contents – Another Pharrel look, fresh-looking and skewing closer to young; striped long-sleeved t-shirt, rolled-up jeans, pastel boat shoes. Variations on these pieces would work (the chambray boat shoe from Old Navy would make an improved substitute) for many guys. Minus the big hat, of course.

000050Page 49, Express Ad – A “go-to” look for many guys due to its “mix-and-match-what-I-already-have” aesthetic – jeans, plaid shirt, grey blazer – though many fail miserably in pulling it off. The trick is to nail the fit, keeping the jacket and jeans slim (with little-to-no break on the hem, or rolled-up).

000055Page 54, “Manual: GQ Endorses” – Double-breasted blazer? Pass (classic but not suitable for many). Instead, focus on the clothes underneath (counterclockwise from top): grey sweatshirt (for cold weather/environment), lighter wash jeans; dress shirt, beige pants, killer loafers; striped naval shirt, white pants (though sorta not practical, go beige/khaki instead).


000056Page 55 and 60 – GQ’s Menswear Winners Contest – pointed out that in the magazine’s annual “Best Menswear Designers” list of nominees, only one of them was wearing a suit, which, in turn, may be pointing towards a shift in menswear and the concept of “dressing well.”  That is, dressing well doesn’t have to mean wearing suits at all. Which is good news for the rest of us that don’t even wear a blazer most of the time. Does this mean sweatpants will be acceptable out-of-the-house wear? Well, it depends on the situation, but for intents and purposes, the classics still rule.

000057Page 56, Tommy Hilfiger Ad – Interesting looks that don’t quite work; between the bright colors, pattern mixing, and multiple layers (on a beach?). Instead, take one or two elements from each, tone it down slightly, and you’ll have some decent, presentable ensembles000064.

Page 63, Ad – The double-breasted blazer and shorts look, (though kudos to the blue/grey coloring), simply isn’t practical for most. Subtract the blazer, lose the tie, unbutton the shirt – now you have a smart, chic casual look that would work on the sidelines or bar area of a resort.

000068Page 67, “Big Decision – What to Wear on Your Wedding Day” – One of the best looks in the issue for its simplicity. A linen/denim shirt with rolled-up short sleeves, coupled with navy slacks/ chinos (and for a wedding, at that)? Yeah, stylish and simple.

000094Page 93, Big Star Ad – Purple t-shirt, brown/khaki jeans, tough, rugged boots, denim jacket with rolled-up sleeves – pretty good. You can also switch the boots to canvas sneakers/slip-ons with a distinct texture or pattern to raise the style quotient of the look (and not make it so simple and solid-y).


000096Page 95, Nautica Ad – Patterned shorts – For the beach, forgo the long, solid color board shorts in the usual black, tan or olive, and reach for a trimmer, more fitted style that makes you look taller (i.e., with a hem on or above the knees) and flatters your overall silhouette.



Halfway there! Part 2 will cover the rest of the issue.

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.

Uniqlo Floral Linen Cotton ShortsShorts – 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.

Linen slim fit blazerBlazer – 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.

Men's Reversible Webbed-Canvas BeltsBelts – 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.

COTTON BOXER BRIEFSUnderwear 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.


bueller sunnies


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.