July 17, 2014
I like color now. I liked color back in high school, when color was all I had by means of freedom in the way I could dress, when shape, texture, and layers were just nowhere to be found within my reach. Though I maintain that men look best in neutrals, happiness trumps all, and this flirtation I am having with color, a challenge to break away from the ease of all-black, makes me smile about fashion again. I had this summer suit made by my tailor in a stiff Japanese linen, somewhat inspired by what elderly gentlemen wore while practicing Tai Chi around my school back in the late 90s. It is a familiar silhouette: the top is the same collarless round-neck shirt I’ve had made in many fabrics, and the pants are shaped just like all my perfect slim trousers. When I like something, I dive into it heart first, and though I swim with caution, I let it consume me, head-to-toe.
red linen summer suit of my own design, Lanvin sandals
colorful soles on my Lanvin sandals
June 24, 2014
This time, I landed in Paris without a list of off-the-beaten-path restaurants, bars, and boutiques to check out—I had no plans, let alone a shopping list; I explored the city under my feet. “I’d love to live in Paris for a year,” was something I would always say with great fervor, tempered with fear. By now, I’d gone on quite a number of dates with Paris, and with familiarity, and my guard down, I love the city even more. I took long lunches, and played favorites with restaurants; took my time at boutiques, and made friends with sales associates. I also visited Versailles for the first time, and not just because Kimye. I had a grand time in Paris, and I hope to spend more time there. Friends– my Paris photo diary, in digital and film.
Assembly New York t-shirt, Yohji Yamamoto jacket
Yohji Yamamoto jacket and pants, Issey Miyake shirt
Serge Lutens boutique
fresh off the plane
Yohji Yamamoto jacket and pants, Kennington Hawaiian shirt
around the corner from Hermes
Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses, you’re my favorite restaurant
June 10, 2014
A while back, I had commissioned the lovely gentlemen at Moustache Hong Kong to make me a smoking jacket out of this vintage deadstock brocade, but I am only recently getting to appreciate what a remarkable piece it is. When it arrived, it was beautiful–don’t get me wrong–but I had first envisioned it as a high-low piece, something sparkly that I could wear with sneakers and a ratty t-shirt as a wear-anywhere jacket somewhere in between fall and spring. But it was stiff, and the fabric a little too sharp for everyday; it didn’t work for my intended purpose and so in my closet, it slept. Little did I know that all it needed was a little respect: I was going to attend an event with people in the menswear-y, tailor-y variety, and I needed a nice new sport jacket. I put this baby on, double-belted, with a crisp white shirt, black trousers, and smoking slippers, and boy did it sing.
Moustache Hong Kong smoking jacket, Uniqlo shirt, tailor-made trousers, Minelli suede smoking slippers
middle finger ring in mesh and brilliant-cut diamonds and pinky ring in tapered baguettes by Lanero, green resin ring by Norbu Bijoux
blog initials in collegiate letters
May 24, 2014
Sam, or Samantha Lee is a film director and a graduate student at RMIT Melbourne. Wes Anderson, Alexa Chung, and Jenna Lyons are her inspirations, and she describes her style as organic and personal, with whatever feeling she has at the moment transcending into her work. I decided to have Sam be the first woman I photograph in this series of style portraits because I found in her a kindred spirit. She told me about years of her early life feeling compelled to wear what was typically expected of her, frilly dresses and skirts, and how menswear just feels right. Like Sam, I’ve spent years of trying to conform to the expected, but as I grow older, and closer to my truth, I realize the power of clothing–how common interests in very specific styles of clothing can bring people of similar philosophies together, how people in other parts of the world can run the risk of public lashings and imprisonment for wearing things differently, how something seemingly superficial can speak volumes on what is going on inside–and I wear what I want. When asked to describe how wearing menswear makes her feel, she quotes a line from Vampire Weekend’s Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa that goes: “Is your bed made? Is your sweater on? Do you wanna fuck? Like you know I do.”
custom suit by Ziggy Savella, Acne top, Vans shoes
Banana Republic jacket, Acne top, Gap pants, Converse shoes
burgundy suit by Ziggy Savella, Topshop boots
Stradivarius jacket, Uniqlo shirt, Dr. Martens shoes
shot at EDSA Beverage Design Studio
make-up by Sari Campos
May 18, 2014
As in any love affair, my relationship with menswear goes through phases of smooth sailing, sparks of passion, and some dark times. I will tell you this much: this winter, I didn’t really see anything in store that shook me up or caused me to think about the way in dress in a completely different way. Call it disillusionment–a lover’s quarrel if you may–but the spring air has caused my mind to clear up now and it’s okay. In times of uncertainty, I gaze at two things I’ve loved from the start: sleek, handsome tailoring, and subtly kooky pieces. I’ve been wearing my suits everywhere from work, to cocktail hour, to Foodtown, and these clever pieces by one of my all time favorites Miharayasuhiro make me smile, and springtime, I feel fine.
lapel-less suit of my own design, Alexander Wang t-shirt, Miharayasuhiro shoes
with Miharayasuhiro trompe l’oeil coat
a spring coat statement by Miharayasuhiro
These heavier round-toe lace-ups are my shoe shape of choice to wear with suiting nowadays. The 8-balls on the heel are just the icing on this scrumptious leather cake.
photographs by Alex Atkins
April 8, 2014
You are probably aware of my affinity for signet rings—I wear them in threes, paved with diamonds, and etched with bow ties. But this is one I’ve never seen before: Stephen Einhorn makes a signet with a slight swelling in the ring shank that can be engraved or set with a stone. It is a beautiful, substantially weighty piece that I’ve been wearing with my grandfather’s old steel and gold and diamond watch these past few days. It is an article of classic men’s jewelry that anchors my bedazzled watch, and many other things, with the warm gleam of silver.
double signet ring in silver by Stephen Einhorn
The ridges on the side are a little touch of the organic; nature is the designer’s most favorite inspiration.
The lovely folks at Stephen Einhorn put together a video that tells the story of their atelier and shows the making of a very special ring. Check it out here.
March 28, 2014
I flew to Hong Kong for a weekend—my old stomping grounds, the style metropolis for Southeast Asian dwellers. It no longer inspires me the way it used to; the days of aspiring to look like a Granvile Road kid with spiky brown hair, grunge-pop clothes, sneakers, and a monogram bag are a thing of my pre-dandy past. But what has replaced that is a sense of wonder for the aggressively progressive China and how that and old Hong Kong influence us today. On a side note, I highly urge you to visit the outlets in Ap Lei Chau (not pictured): Prada, Lane Crawford, Joyce Boutique, and I.T. Trust that there will be something there for everyone.
“suit” of my own design in a pale blue palm-print fabric, COS t-shirt, Vans shoes
PoHo, Hong Kong
she: Reformation, me: Oakley sunglasses, vintage shawl, Issey Miyake shirt, Cotton On pajama pants, Vans shoes
tapestry shell top of my own design, Damir Doma pants, Birkenstocks
March 4, 2014
Andrew Chipman is one of my favorite men’s fashion bloggers, and a DJ in Winnipeg, Canada. His blog, Pull Teeth and The Dandy Project were on the forefront of a little DIY movement in menswear a few years ago. He lists the Internet, his peers, and his friends as inspirations. A little while ago, Andrew came to New York to visit, and we had quite an interesting chat about the current state of blogging. He says, “It’s a little sad, but it’s interesting to watch people take the tools they’ve acquired through blogging and apply them to other things. I think now is a time to adapt and to explore other things, but not to completely give up.” Blogging five years from now will not be the way it was five years ago, but I do believe that the consumption of media generated by users deemed as trusted influencers, fashion bloggers, if you may, isn’t going away. For old time’s sake, my friends, here’s a collection of photos of a blogger, taken by this blogger—long shots, detail shots, and beauty shots, all on the street—fashion-blogger style.
Andrew Chipman of Pull Teeth in a Raf Simons t-shirt, Cheap Monday jeans, Vans sneakers, and wholesale rings from eBay
brass rings from eBay
a thrifted Fox Racing long sleeve jersey, dollar store beanie, Y-3 culottes, Vans sneakers
Proudrace t-shirt, thrifted bomber jacket, DIY-shortened vintage leather shorts, thrifted leggings, Timberland boots, dollar store hat
black nubuck Timberland boots
Cheap Monday sunglasses, Miharayasuhiro trompe l’oeil coat, Uniqlo thermal and jeans, Vans sneakers
Kurt Cobain bug-eyed glasses by Cheap Monday
Miharayasuhiro trompe l’oeil jacquard spring coat
February 27, 2014
My fascination with makeup for men began sometime after David Bowie and Adam Ant started experimenting with eyeliner and lipstick and before Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford launched their own man makeup lines. I’ve experimented with makeup quite a bit myself: green eyebrows, stickers on my face, metallic eyeliner, but what got me interested the most was the idea of no makeup makeup. No makeup makeup is the almost deceptively subtle, careful application of makeup to gently highlight certain facial features and conceal flaws to appear as if one’s face was naturally that perfect. Perhaps what discourages most men from wearing makeup is the fear of looking too feminine and done-up, but one thing to note is that the transformative qualities of makeup can go any direction: done right, makeup can make men look more masculine. Today I share with you an expanded version of my man makeup regimen, a collection of techniques I’ve picked up online, from talented makeup artists who have groomed me, and from hanging out at Sephora a little too often, modeled by my dear friend Elliott.
Start with a fresh face, cleansed and toned. Makeup looks best on healthy skin.
I like to start with a silicone-based primer; it does a lot in terms of minimizing pores and fine lines, it gives a silky finish to your complexion, and controls shine. I don’t always wear it, but when I do, it makes a difference.
Rub a couple of pumps of primer on to your hands, and apply evenly to the entire face.
For all of you guys who still get breakouts post-adolescence, I strongly recommend Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage concealer, with the matching brush. Each palette comes in two tones that you can blend to perfectly match the skin tone in a specific area on your face. It doesn’t rub off easily, and it doesn’t need powder to set.
Apply concealer on blemishes, a little bit under the eyes and around the nose to minimize redness. For relatively blemish-free skin, I recommend concealing before applying bb cream/foundation for a more seamless complexion tone, and for skin with relatively more blemishes, flip the order so you can concentrate on spot-concealing more carefully.
Of all the BB creams I’ve tried, Smashbox has the freshest, sheer finish, that I think works best for men.
Apply a thin layer all over the face, blending well with your fingers down the neck, sides of your face, and forehead.
The next step is optional, but is a great way of emphasizing your eyes without looking like that punk-rock kid in high school who worked at Hot Topic. I like the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette because it is a collection of neutral browns and beiges, all matte, some of which you can use as eyeliner, as a shadow to smoke out your eyes if you feel like it, or to use for contouring.
Take some dark taupe eyeshadow on an angled brush, dust off the excess on the back of your hand, and gently massage it in to the upper waterline. It makes a subtle, but noticeable difference.
I personally like to wear mascara; on my downward-facing, relatively short lashes, it does wonders at making my eyes seem more open and alert. Men with full, long lashes might be better off just curling them, or using a thin coat on the ends. I like Maybelline’s One by One mascara: it’s thin, easy to apply, and highly realistic.
Fuller, darker brows can really impart a handsome masculinity to the face. This works great for men with sparse eyebrows, or even sparse mustaches. I love Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Wiz: it’s a skinny retractable pencil that goes on quite faintly, and comes with a brush for blending it in, resulting in brows that are very natural and never drawn-on.
Fill in your brows with short, light strokes mimicking the direction of your brow hairs. Fill in the gaps, and if you must, extend at the base and the tips, but try not to go too far.
Blend in vigorously with the brush, blurring out any pencil lines.
As a quicker alternative to an eyebrow pencil, tinted eyebrow gel works to darken and thicken the brows as well as point them in the right direction. I like to use them both for full effect.
Brush upward on the base, sweeping out and down as you approach the tip.
Nude lipstick is another cosmetic that can make one look more manly. In the same way brightly-colored lips enhance the femininity of a woman, de-saturating the lips can have a masculinizing effect on the face. Today we’re using a combination of clear lip balm and nude lipstick, but lip balm+sheer color lip stick combos in nude such as Clinique’s Chubby Stick in Heaping Hazelnut or Whole Lotta Honey work just as well.
Finding the right nude lipstick for your skin tone and lip tone is tricky. I’ve found that lipsticks with peachy undertones work well for fairer, Caucasian skin, and those with brown-beige undertones work great for darker Asian skin. Find one that makes your lips look like a desaturated version of themselves, but not dead.
Always blot on a tissue after.
Go out into the world, a perfectly made-up man, looking like you haven’t got a stitch of makeup on.
products used (clockwise from top left): Bare Minerals Prime Time foundation primer, Smashbox BB cream, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage brush, Sephora angled brush, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Ebony, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in Espresso, Maybelline One by One mascara in black waterproof, MAC lipstick in Velvet Teddy, Caudalie Lip Balm, and Urban Decay Naked Basics eyeshadow palette
February 24, 2014
I keep coming back to Manila, as the song goes, and not just because it’s where I’m from. Every time I’m there, I see my notoriously unprogressive hometown flickering with inspiration, new talent, and wonderful things to do. It is catching up with the rest of the world in art, music, and in this Internet-only age, well, all the cool kids dress just as cute as their counterparts around the world. I often get asked what it’s like back there, and it is indeed Crazytown–a place best explored with a trusted local, food is cheap and good, gems can be found all over the cacophonously slow-moving city, and it’s a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong, should the shopping disappoint. But the people–impossibly talented, pleasant, and naturally beautiful, we Filipinos, well, we are just fucking awesome.
Orange is not the new black.
the Greenhills cellphone bazaar
Reformation and black-tie vintage Yohji Yamamoto
society sea-princess Tessa Prieto-Valdes
a backwards men’s pajama concoction on the inimitable Jo Ann Bitagcol
Rajo, Ruffa, and other masked menaces
“Signs of the Times,” a piece made of cut-out newsprint, at architect Sarah Canlas’ abode
“One Day I’ll Be Everything,” by Mich Dulce
sheer shirt of my own design, Damir Doma pants, Birkenstocks, Givenchy clutch
fiesta at Black Market
Kimono from EPCOT Center, AG Jeans, Nike Air Max sneakers
To a Queens-themed party we threw, I came as the Queens Botanical Garden and she came as Fran Fine. Little did we know, they wore the same print.
Anna and Diego
talented new designer Carl Jan Cruz in the most beautiful light pique top–to be worn with silver shorts in the summer
stylist Patrick Galang can dance
patron of the props