December 25, 2013


I am in love with my new yoga bag!
Hand crafted by the remarkable  Yakan artisans of Zamboanga and Basilan in Southern Philippines, Yakang Yaka yoga bags are stylish, unique and neo-ethnic, with designs patterned after the bunga-sama or the local python; kenna-kenna, patterned after a fish; dawen-dawen, after the leaf of a vine; pene mata-mata, after the shape of an eye and the kabang buddi, diamonds.
“Almost every Yakan fabric can be described as unique since the finished materials are not identical. Usually taking weeks to one month to finish a meter, differences are seen in the pattern, design and the distribution of colors,” said Kelly Marian Murga Mortensen, the advocate  behind Yakang Yaka.
Available in a wide selection of striking prints and colors, these yoga bags are the perfect addition to any yoga gear!

And guess what,  these bags are quickly becoming a fixture. Lesley Dimson, a yogi from Pulse Yoga was spotted carrying one.

December 18, 2013


Vintage Rolex watches are hotter than ever. More and more collectors find themselves drawn to the more subdued luster of that older steel. For some, no doubt, it is a nostalgia thing. Forty-something’s grew up reading National Geographic ads for Rolex models that are now considered vintage. They grew up watching –and still watch—classic movies and TV shows where the heroes often wore some model of now-vintage Rolex. The younger set watches the same stuff on Hulu and Netflix today. Bill Cosby and Robert Culp wore Rolex GMT-Masters on the classic 1960s TV show, I Spy.  Tom Selleck wore the same watch on the popular 1980s TV show, Magnum, P.I.

It has become fashionable in recent years to collect and to be seen wearing vintage Rolex. Celebrities too, are seemingly going for vintage in a big way. Singer John Mayer is a vintage Rolex Daytona junkie and is said to have a world-class collection. He even writes for an online watch collector site occasionally. Actor Orlando Bloom is also said to be a major collector of vintage Rolexes. One concern for collectors is whether to buy restored or non-restored, completely original watches. Rolex expert Jeffrey Hess expert estimates 80-perecnt of Rolexes made before the 1980s have had one or more parts replaced as part of a Rolex repair or service at some time in their past. The completely original watches are more desirable and valuable, but a good restored piece can make a great every day wearer, too.

An article in the UK’s online Guardian newspaper reported that more and more people were now turning to the older watches, “their dull patina considered a sign of class.” For many celebrities who can literally afford any watch in the world, the attraction of owning something made of unobtanium is real. When you can have anything you want, you tend to want something you can’t: hence the appeal of items no longer in production.

Vintage watches are increasingly seen as stylish pieces of history you can wear on your wrist. They also combine the appeal of historical curio with the masculine aura associated with the celluloid heroes of yore. Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner in the early James Bond films and Paul Newman and Steve McQueen are so associated with vintage Rolex that collectors have named specific models after them. It’s not just for the guys, either. With the increasing popularity of the “I’m wearing my boyfriend’s watch” look, more ladies are wearing men’s watches than ever before. Jennifer Anniston collects and wears vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe.

Finally, there is one more thing vintage has going for it. You can buy a Picasso or Vermeer if sufficiently well-heeled and hang it on your office or living room wall, but you can’t take it into that high-powered meeting where the watch on your wrist can go. This helps make the vintage watch one of the most appealing collectibles of all. It goes everywhere you do, and as such is a very personal possession. For more and more watch lovers, when it comes time to have a R
olex service, the watch being serviced is likely to be a vintage one.

November 28, 2013


26 more days! Yes, 26!  All the good intentions in the world mean nothing when Christmas ticks around and you realize you don’t have a gift for your best friend and parents who has everything, or your picky sister who thinks having 10 cable knit pullovers from J. Crew isn’t enough. Control those cold sweats and don’t panic – many shops now trade for longer hours at Christmas time (hello, you have 4 more additional hours until midnight!) and online sites like eBay, Net-A-Porter, Porter and One Kings Lane promise swift delivery for online purchases. But if you’ve left it too late and can’t wait for additional 3 days until delivery or 10 days (my case since I’m in the Philippines), then head to the nearest mall and start shopping.

I have compiled nine gifts you can buy, that won’t so much look as if they were an afterthought.
A gift with a conscience, the Clever Canvas Tote from Love Brand & Co. is perfect for those who want to give in more ways than one during the festive period.
Candles from W17 in fig, pear, cognac.
A finely crafted piece of furniture from E. Murio. Trust me, it’s perfect for a friend who’s nesting and looking for an accent piece for his/her home.
Ground rules - hand knotted, hand tufted rugs by Inigo Elizalde for Tai Ping
Get him fitted! Bespoke basics from Ascot Chang. Enough said.
One for the little one at little bean sprout. 
Holiday diffusers from Daphne - a divine scent is always appreciated.
And yes, basic matter – you can’t go wrong with classic nylite canvas in white from Tretorn

November 25, 2013


I have finally learned my lesson! Washing every day with branded shampoos from the US has done more harm than good to my hair. In fact, I sometimes end up looking like Angela Davis (think, frizzy big dry hair)!
Thank god I didn’t need to overhaul my entire routine – I still lather and rinse like most of us do, but of course, with Davines Purifying Shampoo. This bottle of wonder cleanses and purifies your scalp with a hint of dandelion – it’s perfect! Seriously, I don’t mind paying $28 for a small bottle that smells like heaven.

November 12, 2013


(Waxed cotton Barbour jackets and pique from Fred Perry are available at  Cockney Rebel Fashion, 43-45 Bridge Place, Worksop, Notts, S80 1DT)
REWIND: After spending 8 days in the south to visit my mom who is currently undergoing dialysis and a side trip to the family mango, durian and purple mangosteen orchard, I noticed I didn’t pack much, only bringing with me 3 trusty pique shirts out of almost 17, 3 pairs of shorts and a pair of khaki trousers in cotton twill.  People who know me well know I only wear my pique shirts to the beach, the farmers market or during casual weekends usually paired with shorts and loafers and never during cocktails. But again…

PAUSE:  Rummaging through my old closet

FAST FORWARD: A month before the year ends, I have come up with a few easy steps to increase (clueless guys) your closet’s productivity. Start with these smart multitaskers that easily create a slew of distinctive looks.
(Oxfords, knit tie and pullovers. Photos from Close up and Private)

Scratch the matchy-matchy. Yes, loosen up your rules and watch your wardrobe horizons expand. A knitted tie paired with an oxford shirt don’t seem like the typical office combo (as opposed to the silk ties you’re used to and wrinkle-free shirts), but with the right fiti and the right accessory (think tan leather belts), they look pulled together.

(A huge selection of waxed cotton Barbour jackets are available at  Cockney Rebel Fashion, 43-45 Bridge Place, Worksop, Notts, S80 1DT)
Hello November! Layer unexpectedly – bring out your cashmere pullovers. Invest – a black or gray pullover may go with everything in your closet, but it reads “dullsville.” Meanwhile, a red one (or lime, navy and purple) single-handedly adds pop to whatever you wear even if it doesn’t coordinate exactly. Keep it all cohesive with the right pair of brogues in either black or tan.
Just because it shields you from the elements doesn’t mean it has to be elemental!  Cleverly conceal your wrinkled (unironed haha) shirt sleeves with the best fitting waxed cotton barbour jacket. Paired with the right slim (not skinny – there’s a difference!) trousers and the right bag ( Filson, Jack Spade, etc.), the look doesn’t become cookie-cutter but still sleep and sophisticated.
(Pique from Fred Perry are available at  Cockney Rebel Fashion, 43-45 Bridge Place, Worksop, Notts, S80 1DT)
Finally, make your outfit last past 5 o’clock. Relax a little and pullout your trusty pique from Fred Perry. With shirts cut like a dream, whyi not? Perfectly-cut pique shirts from subculture brand, Fred Perry, paired with the right tailored blazer, a great pair of dark jeans, canvas sneaks or loafers = timeless!  A staple among the mods in the 60’s, the best thing about Fred Perry is the fabric - they do not stretch nor shrink. In fact, I still have a couple from my dad’s closet in navy, white and black.
Dressing well and looking good isn’t rocket science. Now, impress me.

October 29, 2013


I’m currently out for the week (my first since May last year) to visit my mom who’s been on dialysis for 3 weeks now. 
(Trousers and pink oxford shirt from Ralph Lauren, Green tote from J. Crew and my reliable penny loafers.)
Rewind: I get that there’s a science to packing light, but I think it’s getting a bit over the top when Pythagoras starts giving you specific instructions on how to properly pack your basics. And no, please don’t fold my delicates!  Time for 15 minutes of ardha sarvangasana.

October 01, 2013


Diego Montes Iglesias, the genius behind Los Maldito Mocasines
They say every man looks good in a suit, but some guys still manage to look better than others. When duty calls, always rise to the occasion with a few casual basics, dress them up and yes, look like a million bucks.
It is true that the smallest of touches leaves the biggest impressions.

Sprezzatura  - perfecting the slightly imperfect, Diego Montes Iglesias, the genius behind Los Maldito Mocasines, embraces color and wears his navy and linen blazers with original detailing like second skin and have a damn good time doing it, may it be double breasted or single button.
Talk about swag, you just got to love a man who is confident!

September 25, 2013


As I write this, I’m actually pinching myself due to a cancelled trip to attend the First Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Exhibition ( Watches & Wonders ) in Hong Kong . On a brighter note, I did Art Basel a few months back  - that should shut me up.
Speaking about watches, It’s time to get a grip on the most important accessory in a man’s wardrobe, which btw isn’t your trusty Velcro military watch you have had since high school.
Aside from that perfect mother of pearl cufflinks I got from mi abuelito, for most men, a watch is the only accessory they get to invest in, so why not make it an exceptional timepiece? Seriously, it is better to have one great watch than several cheap ones in plastic.

“When you rest your hands on a conference table, a refined watch makes a big statement.” – Jim Moore, Creative Director at GQ
Imagine wearing a sports watch to a gala or pairing a vintage robot-like digital watch in chrome with your bespoke navy suit from Sid Mashburn – disaster!

For many men, building the perfect wardrobe is like a dumb blonde putting together a puzzle – no, it isn’t! Contrary to what a lot of men think, building the right wardrobe is like following the yellow brick road to emerald city or tasting a rainbow.

With my daily choice of wardrobe, I have always preferred my watches to be as precise and understated as my suits and pressed shirts – thin, simple, sleek yet strong with either black or brown leather strap for work and ribbon in traditional prep for the weekend.

Still clueless?
David M Robinson, a premier retailer of fine jewelry and watches has everything you need from those drool worthy Patek to your classic and timeless Rolex. Take a peek! 

September 20, 2013


“Style is knowing who you are and what works for you” - Frank Muytjens

Spot on!  I have always been a big fan of Frank Muytjens, J. Crew’s menswear design genius. Like him, I like to keep things understated with a hint of heritage. I like old things like mi padre and mi abuelito’s old classics – the usual gingham, plaid and oxford.  
(Uniform dressing at the luxury carpet factory- Navy trousers, micro check shirt from Steven Alan and my trusty loafers. To get my look, see image below)

Mad for plaid? When was I never? Despite being a huge trend last year, the perfect pattern still matter. Like your favorite basic white dress shirt, the plaid shirt is an anchor for every man’s wardrobe, complimenting your trusty blazer may it be navy or khakisolid pullovers and yes, chinos on weekends; seriously, choose wisely – there’s too much of it right now.

A couple of my closet staples in plaid are from J. Crew, Club Monaco, Orvis, Ralph Lauren and Steven Alan. Oh, the joy of plaid paired with chinos, bare ankles, red socks, penny loafers, boat shoes and wingtips –  please stop me from drooling.

September 06, 2013


After rummaging my closet over the weekend, I have discovered a few that deserved a second chance hence, out of the charity bin. 
Aside from a couple of old bespoke shirts from Bowen Co., I’ve also discovered a few lace-ups like these old pair of oxfords in burgundy from Calzoleria Toscana. ‘Lavorate a mano’ or hand made to a degree, these pair never hurt my feet and yes, they smell buttery great! 

September 01, 2013


My Head Is A Jungle  by Wankelmut & Emma Louise on repeat -  After years of searching for the right shaving brush, I finally found the right one from Parker, thanks to my friend Chad.
Yes, using a shaving brush is the first step to improving a man’s shave and not a generic supermarket hair conditioner and if you have never used a brush during shaving, trust me, you are in for a treat!
For someone who shaves daily, having the best bristles may it be pure badger, boar or synthetic, help prepare the beard allowing a smoother, closer shave with any type of razor.

I have always been pretty traditional just like mi abuelito. Honestly, proper shaving has become a lost art. Try asking today’s average male and you bet, most don’t even have a clue about the fine art of traditional wet shave that our fathers and grandfathers used to take part in.

To top it all off, I am in love with Parker’s sandlewood and shea butter shaving soap! It contains premium natural ingredients resulting to a cool and comfortable shave that soften and conditions your skin – baby soft! Next on my list: Eucalyptus! And oh, the lather generated from the bar is rich, thick and lasting – truly orgasmic! Look mom, I’m clean!

To order, check out Old Fashioned Man. Remember, real man aren't disposable.

August 29, 2013


Having a few months off from an emotional roller coaster has been really good (less social events, soirees, mid-week sessions at my usual watering hole and more me time at home with my schnauzer), Typhoon Trami-triggered heavy monsoon rains shutting down my city, flooding almost all streets, braving muddy Luneta Park at the million people march in Luneta, a protest in the Philippines calling for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund caused by the Priority Development Assistance Fund Scam -  I feel refreshed and inspired again.   
(New shirts and new fabrics - if classy girls wear pearls, real men play with prints! Where's Kiel James Patrick when I need him?)

My ghost months were just as hard as choosing whether I’d wear my gingham Ralph Lauren Yarmouth  shirt in pink or my blue plaid Thomas Masonfor J Crew shirt to work. Do you know what's completely brilliantly awesome? I have been painting again on weekends – oh, the joy, the exultation! 

I'm picking myself up again from where I left off. New shirts, wardrobe makeover, a few new pairs of lace-ups and loafers in suede and leather and yes, new fabrics for my couch and new coral printed pillows from the
Rockwell Bazaar over the weekend. Think Jonathan Adler with a pinch of Martha Stewart (hahaha!)Currently watching: Night Train to Lisbon (Jeremy Iron, why on Earth do you remind me of someone else!).

August 16, 2013


(Stick with the basics and use the sky as inspiration)
Tastemaker and legendary award winning American actor, film director, producer, and screenwriter, George Clooney on the right summer aesthetic and the perfect balance between modern and classic.
Looking good is not rocket science - If only people get the fit right, every style looks neat and refined.

August 15, 2013


Finding a great gift for the Metro-Man in your life can be a challenge. There was a time that giving your special man a power tool would light up his day, but times have changed and that cordless drill just won't cut it anymore. So what is one to get your partner or dad for that special occasion? We have assembled some fashionable gift ideas that will satisfy just about any upwardly mobile man. Take a look at this list, you can't go wrong with any one of these items.

A nice shirt just isn't complete without a set of cufflinks. They come in some fantastic designs and colors to match your man's mood, tastes, and interests. Is your man a cardsharp?  Put an ace up his sleeve with a set of aces cufflinks or how about a roulette wheel for that high roller. 

There are even styles to suit the sports fan with hockey rinks, soccer pitches, and knock out boxing gloves. 
(Two of my favorite in anchor and sail boat. Sweet!)

They really set off a nice designer shirt and make an excellent gift idea.  view more cufflinks

Not necessarily a fashion statement so much as a health statement, the e-cigarette is the latest trend to either help your man kick the habit or reduce his risk of disease from the chemical laced tobacco cigarettes he has now. 
The e-cigarette contains no harmful chemicals and emits no smoke so it is safe and easy to use anywhere. Learn more about electronic cigarettes

Designer Shirt
Men can always use a nice, well fitting designer shirt for dressing up for a night on the town or simply going to the office. You will have to do some snooping if you don't know his size. They are sold by neck size so finding the correct one is important. They come in some great styles and colors to suit any taste. Grab a couple of different colors, they will be appreciated.

Fashion Tie
Do you remember as a kid, buying a mundane, cheap tie for your dad for father's day or his birthday? It probably had a cartoon character on it didn't it? 
Well, ties are still in style these days but are much more attractive than they used to be. There are lots of great styles and colors available that can accent a nice suit and take it to the next fashion level.

Stylish Socks
They are still around but have come a long way from the 6 pairs sold in a plastic package for 5.99 at the local discount store. 
Now you can get some great looking, designer socks that are boxed and ready for gift giving. It is hard to go wrong when picking out a size as they usually come in 2 size ranges. Match them to a tie and a set of cufflinks and you have a great gift package put together. 

August 02, 2013


It's been a bit quiet around here the last couple weeks. Yes, I have been busy with long afternoon meetings and weekly briefings which have been eating up my hours and with only Saturdays for me to catch up with sleep, I’m seriously starting to look like a bloated zombie in a knit preppy tie.
While on my way to work earlier, I realized I haven’t rewarded myself with anything for my closet except for a pair of Nantucket red trousers, this month’s issue of Monocle (bedside read of course) and a knit tie in navy and red which dad got me as a “thank god you have turned scrooge” gift (HAHAHA!!!). 

I make no judgment - I envy the blonde kid outside my building all swish in his blue oxford shirt, seersucker shorts and hair neatly combed with his empty lunchbox – damnit, I need a new set of shirts and a pair of brogues in black ASAP.
I’ll be flying out again soon and my mind’s boggling fast. Should I splurge on my birthday this weekend or save up, wait for a few days and splurge upon touchdown?  Ugh, it's really a mystery why people just don't filter out what they don't find worthwhile. Contrary to what a lot of people think, turning off the noise is not easy.
I must shut up and pray for a long weekend soon to recuperate from all these and a decent Sunday for me to spend a happy non-working birthday – I totally deserve one!

July 19, 2013


The modest, green front and well curated 600 square feet menswear wonderland, The Men's Shop by Club Monaco along St. Francis Yard in Wan Chai, Hong Kong is what I call “my little piece of heaven.” 
Baskets filled with knickknacks from the East Coast, red bandanas, recycled notes, racks filled with chinos in red, green, navy and khaki – think Americana! And oh, they have a good selection of bags from Filson *drool*.

While items go for around HKD1,500 to HKD 3,000, it’s worth getting drained financially. Get your plastic handy and some extra cash just in case. Next stop, Moustache.

July 11, 2013


The old Bank of Italy building along Montgomery St. in San Fran is a menswear oasis in a sea of hipsters all headed to Dolores Park  (spotting a hipster is like spotting a blue sky haha).
People don’t go to work in San Fran; they follow their passion and yes, dressing well is one of them.

A haven for nattily dressed locals (ok, gentlemen) and in addition to such hard to find labels such as the classic Italian staple, Luciano Barbera and the king of all luxury plaid, Peter Millar, Wingtip also stocks all manner of accoutrements from carved-horn shaving kits to bespoke belts. 
Not only can you shop at Wingtip, guests can also smoke cigars, taste wine and even practice their golf swings. Not bad, eh!   
Thank god my VISA wont expire anytime soon.

July 09, 2013


It’s all about confidence – high five to that! Many are mentally confined to simply wearing either navy, gray, black and khaki trousers - liven up your wardrobe with basic Nantucket reds.
I rarely see anyone wear them here (rarely meaning, only my friend Leif-Erik ). Like trousers in lilac, powder blue, salmon and canary yellow, red trousers are literally a staple piece in most stylish mens' wardrobe and definitely not a trend) and it’s appealing to see just how put together one can get when they just give it a shot. Note to self, they should be cut slim not skinny and never baggy. And oh, I like mine with a quarter to zero break – I just can’t stand looking sloppy
(Myself in J. Press trousers and plaid shirt from McNeal at Fonsies 60's birthday. I can't be a hippie, i will always be preppy haha)
Looking for one? There’s always Ralph Lauren, J. Press, Club Monaco and Murray’s Toggery Shop.

July 05, 2013


When in the eternal city, skip the finest saltimbocca, salumi and pizza, instead, hit Via Dei Banchi Nuovi, Rome’s yellow brick road to emerald cityWonderfool!
Think bespoke Italian suits, artisanal personal care products, classic men’s accessories and yes, a full range of spa treatments at your disposal.
Much of the Italian wardrobe color palette is relatively subdued – a mix of high and low, the basics like cotton and linen trousers in khaki, pink with a hint of strong color pop like red and green, leaving an impressive statement. They’ve got it all! 

Hold on, there also is a traditional barbershop inside in case you’re itching for a cut for that last minute dinner with la bella.
(Photos from the Standard Edition and Michele Angelini)
And who said we can’t have a little bit of me time? Think again!

June 24, 2013


Good friends, bunnies and unicorns were part  of the beautiful set in lilac, pink, lime and lavender who came out to celebrate the Bag Hag’s 25th (she claims) birthday at the Vanilla Cupcake Bakery.

Imagine Lilly Pulitzer, Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren in wonderland. Alice definitely was in Mary Katranzou