Monday, October 31, 2011

Say Hello to Segnatempo

If you love timepieces, the sort to wear everyday, but special enough to make a statement, then Segnatempo in Greenbelt is the store for you. This specialty retailer houses watches from Nixon, Movado, Burberry, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, just to name a few.

I got a glimpse of some of their pieces in store, and this is the one I am most excited about, the Nixon 5130! Sort of like the 42-20 which I blogged about almost a year ago. So ladies, if you want a big badass gold watch, this here is the answer! ;)

Then of course there's the Nixon Matte Black/Surplus collection which is totally military inspired. I can actually see myself wearing this too. 

For fans of the Bell&Ross Aviation Collection, the Volta, Nixon's first solar charged watch has sorta the same square face and rugged aesthetic. If a stainless steel band is preferred, then the Riot should be right.

The Time Teller P is a fun and very affordable line from Nixon - whether you like bright and juicy colors or classic blacks and navy, there's a color that's right for you. I think this will also make a cool kiddie watch.

Here are some more watch lines to discover in store. Great idea to give as gifts as well!

Marc by Marc Jacobs - for a younger sister or a favorite niece

Burberry - for a Burberry-crazed friend

Michael Kors - for yourself, since it's a great everyday watch.

Mondaine - as the official Swiss Railways Watch, it spreads out 58 seconds over a minute, which supposedly makes you 2 seconds ahead of time, "therefore always on time" as Wikipedia puts it. Guess this makes it a great gift to a dad, brother, boyfriend or husband, so that they're always reliable and on time.

Movado - for your mom or mom-in-law

To browse a varied selection of well-priced luxury timepieces, visit:

Ground Floor
Greenbelt Makati
Tel: +632 728 6442

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daley at Catalogue63

I have been meaning to share Daley with you (I actually discovered them in Catalogue63 a few months back), but good thing I waited a bit, because now they have this button down sleeveless slinky shirt in a gorgeous shade of camel.

I just love how they drape so nicely, it just has an effortless ease to it. Very T by Alexander Wang. The best part of these shirts? They are so well priced! Prices start at Php650 for tanks and tees and go up to Php850 for the button front shirt.

Daley was started by Marga Nazareno and Andrew Villanueva and you'll learn more about them soon! In the meantime, get to know Daley shirts, available at the Daley boutique in Catalogue63!

Deux Yeux

Deux Yeux, roughly meaning “two eyes”, refers to Kristine Dee and Paul Syjuco's latest collections for Firma. Inspired by court jewels, the jewelry artists' modern take on royal jewels are decadent yet still wearable.

I have seen some of the pieces and they are indeed a sight to behold! Will share photos soon =)

As with their last collection, pieces from Deux Yeux are produced applying the principles of renewable luxury. Using reclaimed precious metals and forming them into these newly inspired pieces.

Deux Yeux’s launch will be on November 11, 2011 at Firma Greenbelt 3, Friday, at 6pm. Co-presented by Ayala Malls, Moet & Chandon and L’Oreal Paris Philippines.

Discount Coupon from PLUM

To kick start your Christmas shopping for great outfits, all MFO readers get 15% off when you shop at PLUM! 

Just LIKE PLUM Manila in Facebook from now until November 15, 2011, print this coupon below and present it when you shop at PLUM 50th Avenue in Robinson's Galleria! Just LIKE, PRINT, SHOP! So easy!

To get an idea of the dresses in store, click HERE! Happy shopping!

Marketing to Kids

Mommies in Manila with kids 1-12 years old! 

Can we help out these students from DLSU with their online survey? It's for their thesis and every response would be much appreciated! It will only take 3-5 minutes =)

Answer the survey, HERE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

H&M x The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

H&M has collaborated with Trish Summerville, the costume designer for one of the year’s most eagerly awaited films 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo', to create an urban-themed capsule features leather jackets and trousers, torn jeans and slouchy hoodies all in industrial shades of black, grey, worn white or dark red.

The collection will be available from December 17 at H&M in Singapore. The collection will also debut at famed Parisian boutique Colette on November 28.

More Looks to Love

From J.Crew:

punchy citrus colors. chambray shirt. pencil skirt. camel. loafers. round toe pumps.

round toe pumps in bright colors. duffel coat. striped shirt. colored trousers.

loafers. neutrals with a burst of color.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas Comes Early


15 winners stand to win any of the 6 prizes:

First Prize – one 13" Cambridge Satchel. A classic satchel design handmade in the UK using the finest quality English leather.

Second Prize – a Php3000 gift certificate for a pair of Michael Antonio shoes. Michael Antonio is the brand of affordable, fast-fashion footwear that offers the ultimate shoe value for fashion-conscious women around the world. Frequently worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and featured on runways at New York, Miami, and Los Angeles Fashion Weeks, and in the pages of Elle, Glamour, Lucky, and Essence, Michael Antonio's sexy, modern, and edgy designs are a fashion favorite.

Third PrizeSSI Purple Card. Shop at any of Store Specialists specialty boutiques, ranging from Anne Klein to Zara.

Fourth PrizeThe Spa Gift Certificate. Get a luxurious spa treatment in any one of the convenient The Spa locations.

Fifth PrizeNail Spa Gift Certificate

10 Consolation Prizes – 250 peso Starbucks gift certificates

In an effort to grow the community and help future brides make informed decisions when it comes to vendor selection, Bridetastic is running "Share to Win", and will be giving away fun prizes which makes it all the more fun to collect quality reviews from former brides.

Here's how to join:

•Create an account with Bridetastic and write at least 2 vendor reviews. Remember, you can use your Facebook login credentials to create an account. If you cannot find your vendor in our directory, simply add them by going to

•Like Bridetastic on Facebook:

•Go to the Bridetastic Vendors page ( and click on the Like button or Tweet button.

If you clicked on the Facebook like button, write the following comment and share the link on Bridetastic's wall so we know: " To my friends who are planning to get married, check out reviews of my wedding vendors. I'm 'username'! ”

If you clicked on the Tweet button, write the following: "To my friends who are planning to get married, check out reviews of my wedding vendors. I'm 'username'! Follow @Bridetastic_PH too. ”

Contest will start on 10/25 and end of 11/25. Winners will be announced on 11/28.

The top 15 reviews will be selected by the Bridetastic Team. The selection will be determined by the quality of reviews.

The more reviews you enter, the more chances of winning! Remember, you can win more than 1 prize!

* Maximum of 2 prizes per reviewer.

For more details, check out's Contest Page! For updates, LIKE Bridetastic Philippines on Facebook.

A Rainbow of Prada Baroque Sunnies

More colors of Prada Minimal Baroque sunnies have already arrived and will be released at Adora and LS Pascual Rockwell by NOVEMBER 4! Take your pick from these babies:

More details, HERE!

Design Your Own Suelas on AVA

AVA and Suelas have partnered to do the first crowdsourced shoe collection in the Philippines!

Featuring an exclusive collection of genuine sea snake leather, AVA gives you the chance to vote which colors are eventually produced by Suelas.

People can vote their favorite styles and the top 4 winners will get produced when the line launches in December. Voting can be done on AVA's Facebook page or in

Plus, people can pre-order too, at a cool 30% OFF! Pre-orders are limited and ends today, Wednesday. AVA members who bought a pair will receive their shoes on or before November 25. And even better, you get a chance to pre-order the color of the flats you like. So regardless of the voting results, members can buy whichever colors they want to own.

Vote now! Be an AVA member at

Make sure to check out the rest of the Great Flats Sale this October. Prepare for your shopping spree this Christmas season with a fresh stash of comfy flats! Brands featured this October are Anthology, Suelas, Jeffrey Campbell and Report Footwear.

Outfit Inspiration: Printed Pants

Brush Dot City Block trousers from Madewell

Ami Floral pant from Girl by Band of Outsiders via La Garconne

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bridetastic is Fantastic

When I was preparing for my own wedding, I honestly didn't know where to start. I knew that the church and the reception venue were the two most important things to start with. Because those are the two main anchors of celebrating a wedding. But when it came to the rest, like the photographer/videographer, make-up artist, designer, florist, wedding organizer, how does one sift through all the possible choices?

In my case, I went the word of mouth route and asked family and friends to recommend suppliers that they have worked with and liked in terms of output and rapport. I figured, if a lot of them are saying nice things about their supplier, then they must be providing great service. And you know what, this tactic worked. Except for our photographer Nelwin Uy, who we chose solely based on the fact that we liked his photos and he was charging reasonably, we went with tried & trusted suppliers. The result was a seamless, no kidding, a seamless wedding. No horror stories, everything went according to plan. Everybody had a great time. It was amazing. And I am not saying that because it was my own wedding, but because, it really happened without a hitch.

So this is why I am excited to share with you my friends Cathy & Jon Lim's wedding website,!

Cathy & Jon have been our friends for a long time, in fact Dada has known Jon since they were little kids. Like us, they were based in the US when they were preparing for a wedding in the Philippines. Let me tell you, their wedding was gorgeous and so tastefully done. I really admired Cathy & Jon for pulling it off, because I knew it could be a challenge planning a wedding by remote control while abroad.

Cathy shares, "Before going home in mid 2007 to meet up with potential vendors for my September 2008 wedding, I joined the most popular online bridal community in the hopes that I could learn the ropes from current and past brides. To this day, I consider this to be one of the most invaluable resources in my wedding preparation process. The camaraderie that I felt with my fellow brides made an otherwise tedious process fun and exciting. As with all things however, I felt that the site could be improved to make it a much more efficient tool for brides."

And the improvement she thought of was a review process for vendors, in the spirit of Yelp, a website where users submit their recommendations and reviews, in order to "help people find great local businesses".

So more than just a wedding website where brides can converge and get tips and ideas from fellow brides, Bridetastic has the powerful tool of sharing and learning from various user reviews and recommendations on wedding suppliers, which by experience, I know is the best way to gauge a supplier's reliability. Wedding vendors stand to gain from this too, since they can build a reputation online even without having their own website.

I don't know if it's a girl thing, but 3 years since our wedding, I still get a high about weddings, and looking at wedding gowns, photos and videos. So upon the invitation of Cathy & Jon, I joined their site and posted reviews as well, because I had a pleasant wedding planning experience and I thought a lot of brides could get some use out of those. I think you should sign up and join too, so that you may teach or learn from others too! Look for me there, I'm cd_mfo!

Past, present and future brides and wedding suppliers! To join the Bridetastic community, visit

Secrets of French Girls

While reading Dead Fleurette, a blog that I have a strong affinity with because I can relate to her on so many levels, I came across this article she posted on French girl style. Written by Ellen Wallace for Cosmopolitan in August 1982, it is still relevant today, proof that French girl style is truly timeless. It is quite a long read, but highly insightful (highlights by Dead Fleurette).

Secrets of French Girls by Ellen Wallace

Oui…Parisians always manage to look fantastique — even in “les blue jeans.” Jet with us then to cafe-lined boulevards and learn about French fashion flair!

The one thing they don’t tell you in travel brochures about Paris is the first thing every visitor notices: People stare. They stare at you; they stare at everybody. And everybody stares back.

My first taste of this phenomenon terrified me. I was wearing an overloaded backpack and a wrinkled black dress, which I had slept in on the train. My mascara was mostly on my cheeks. I wanted desperately to be inconspicuous, but there they were, all those terrible suave-looking Frenchmen I had heard about, staring right at me. I wanted to melt into the sidewalk!

There was also no way to avoid noticing something else: Those French girls look better than we do. Of course, the mysterious allure of the French woman is nothing new. She has been the target of love, lust, and intrigue in hundreds of books and films. Remember Gigi, that innocent heartbreaker? And Edith Piaf, the enigmatic, real-life heroine who stunned the world with her gutsy love songs? Not to mention the quasi-Parisiennes — protagonists of a dozen American novels who left home frumpy and meek, only to return from Paris a year later ravishing and self-assured. After devouring those stories, I could never quite give up the notion that a few months in France and — voila! — I would be magically transformed.

Alas, at the end of a year in Paris, I still looked moderately frumpy. In the interest of self-improvement — or maybe survival — I set out to determine why those French girls look so special. There must be a secret, I told myself, and I was going to discover it. The first step seemed obvious: Observe. So I settled down for the evening in what struck me as a good spot, the Cafe Select on Boulevard Montparnasse. Before long, three French women sat down next to me. Thinking I had found my first victims, I eagerly pulled out my note pad.

Unfortunately, my analysis wasn’t terribly enlightening. The women all looked pretty and sophisticated in a carefree, natural way. They had on clothes my American friends might wear: denim skirts, nice shirts with pullovers, and low-heeled shoes. There was nothing overtly French about their features and coloring, yet they looked Parisian to the core. Why? The only distinctive things I noticed were that two wore bright narrow belts over their sweaters, something most Americans — waistline conscious — would hesitate to do, and all three had perfect hair.

I was puzzled. None of them was doing anything an American friend might not try, but somehow the total look wasn’t the same. So, a few nights later, I decided to proceed to step two: Ask the French. This tack proved more successful, although I could see the Parisiennes were wondering why I was asking such elementary questions.

Pascale, in her thirties, helps manage a restaurant on one of the large tourist boats that run up the Seine. She has lived in the Far East and traveled widely, so I was certain she could explain why French women are more chic than others.

“Bof!” she declared while sniffing a vat of spaghetti sauce in her kitchen. (This is one of those untranslatable French words that let you know you have just said something absurd.) I was startled. “French women are not chic! Oh, yes, there are some chic women — there are always some — but most? … bof! In my father’s generation, women always had to be dressed up and looking their best, but that’s changing. Women now are working, we don’t have as much time to worry about our appearance.”

Yet, I demanded, isn’t it true that Parisians wearing pants look better than women elsewhere in pants? Pascale wiped her hands on the large chef’s apron that covered her oversize khaki shirt jacket and black cotton pants. I noticed that she had on flat, well-made black shoes. Simple, neat.

It turned out we had a semantics problem: “Oui, if that’s what you mean by chic. Elegance is different than chic; elegance has to do with money, with leisure time, with upbringing, and education. The chic woman looks natural, not dressed up. Chic is not a matter of money. Chic means that, from head to toe, there is a sense of proportion.” And she suddenly reproportioned her sauce with a splash of white wine.

When I see American women dressed up,” Pascale continued, “I can see they’ve made an effort. Costumes and clothes have always been more important in France than in America — perhaps it’s historical influence of artists here. In order to develop a sense of what looks natural, which proportions are right, one must make an effort each day — not just occasionally. Here we are told, from the time we’re small, what looks right, what doesn’t. Our mothers tell us; magazines tell us; friends tell us.”

More specifically, what does a French mother tell her daughter? “She discusses colors. The basics — black, white, navy, burgundy, and beige — are the foundation of an outfit. Black is especially good because you can wear whatever you want with it. American women tend to mix too many colors, which is distracting, not chic. I’ve also noticed that they often wear trendy shoes, rather than investing in classic, well-made styles.

“In France, we’re also taught to know our own figures and to transform faults into assets. I know one large woman who has an equally generous personality — her wardrobe reflects her personality and size. Above all, you must be at ease in your clothes; a woman who is plump usually can’t wear tight things. On the other hand, there aren’t rigid rules, just guidelines. A woman with large breasts is often told not to wear raglan sleeves, but if the shirt is cut well, sometimes this sort of sleeve can flatter her.”

One of the earliest lessons a French girl learns is to invest well in her clothes. “Chic is knowing how to buy something that will last,” Pascale told me. “My basics must last for at least five, and often ten or fifteen, years. By basics, I mean clothes that I can wear from morning through the night. Maybe in the evening I’ll add a special necklace and bracelet, or a dressy belt — the accessories make the difference.”

Two other French women, Guillemette and Marie-Laure, took up where Pascale left off, remembering how they learned to dress. The night we met, Marie-Laure was wearing white pants, a lacy white blouse, black-and-white belt, white shoes, white net stockings, and gold jewelry. Somehow, she had managed to avoid looking overdone. Guillemette, as always, had made up her eyes and mouth perfectly, but subtly. Her long hair was neatly pulled to one side and braided.

“When I was little,” said Guillemette, “my mother used to help me set out my clothes every night before school. She would say, ‘Yes, that looks good together,’ or ‘No, you can’t wear that color with this one — marry your colors well.’ “

Marie-Laure nodded. “The mother’s influence is very important to a French girl’s developing a sense of style. I remember one time I wanted to buy a turquoise dress and my mother refused, saying it was a bad color. We are taught to be discreet, subtle in our choice of color. There is nothing wrong with bright color, but it has to be worn delicately — it shouldn’t shout at you.

They agreed with Pascale that French women are less chic than they once were but attributed this fact to the cost of clothes in France today. “Italian women are the chic ones now,” said Guillemette, whose in-laws live in Italy. “Chic is a matter of how you put yourself together, and here even the smallest pieces of clothing costs so much. A really nice skirt or jacket by a designer — even prêt a porter — is extremely expensive. That’s why the young are always running around in jeans, clogs, and Indian clothes!”

I was beginning to feel confused. True, not every woman on the streets of Paris looks terrific (some of the worst dyed hair in the world can be found here), but enough of them do to make the rest of us take notice. Aren’t French women, in fact, more chic? I checked with Judy Fayard, a Life magazine assistance editor and former Women’s Wear Daily reporter, who has been watching the Paris fashion scene for almost ten years.

“In general, they are more chic,” she assured me. “Awareness of style is all around them because Paris has been the fashion capital for so long. There is exposure to what designers are doing, and it penetrates down to the woman in the street faster here than anywhere.

“French women are also much more aware of themselves than your average American. They take better care of their bodies. It isn’t just a question of weight. Here, even women of modest means visit the beauty salon regularly — to have their legs depilated or to tan or have their nails done. They always have their hair cut well, and I don’t think this is because they have better haircutters, but because Parisians go more often. They have the same attitude toward their bodies and clothes as they have toward food. They are willing to spend their money on it.”

Judy feels that there are three basic differences between French and American women. “French women are more self-confident in general, and this carries over into dressing. They are willing to experiment — say, to roll up the sleeves of a silk shirt and wear it with jeans or stick a gold belt on jeans. I can’t think of any American woman who would do that until she had seen it in a magazine.

“Second, the French are basically conservative but without the sense of practicality that Americans have. Most American women are too practical to buy a wardrobe of different stockings to accessorize their basic clothes.”

The greatest difference, she noted, is that looking nice has become a habit for French women. “At 9:00 A.M. at the corner market, I’m the only one with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup. American women either get dressed up — and when they do, you know they’re dressed up — or they simply ‘throw something on.’ There’s no such phrase in French! French women simply don’t go around looking sloppy.”

Judy also pointed out that one can still get better-cut clothes in Paris — even non-designer garments mimic the flattering lines of more expensive wear. French women still try, she added, to buy at least one nice — undoubtedly expensive — dress or suit and use accessories (a cheap belt, scarf, or pin) to alter it during the course of frequent wearings.

Although the French buy outfits just as American women do, they tend to skillfully mix the separate pieces and not wear the matched ensemble as often. “They seem to have a practiced eye for proportion — when the hem goes up, the shoe goes down,” Judy said. “It must be training. If you see good stuff around you often enough, you start to imitate it.”

Looking around might have helped those fictional heroines who went home chic, but they also must have had plenty of francs. This season, a decent pair of shoes in Paris costs at least $60; really nice pairs run from $80 to $150.

A British woman who has made Paris home for four years explained that the price of clothes affects how you wear them. “You can buy cheap French clothes, but they give out right away,” Evelyn said. “So you have no real choice but to spend more initially, knowing it will cost less in the long run. French women never keep their good clothes in the closet. They don’t wear clothes they don’t like in order to ‘save’ their favorite things for special occasions — they simply can’t afford to!

“Two years ago I bought a pair of St. Laurent pants on sale,” Evelyn continued. “Even then, they cost a bundle but I knew I could wear them for years. This winter I had them altered so the legs would be more in style; otherwise, they would hang in the closet. That’s what you have to do with your clothes here — make them last.” Evelyn pointed out that within a block of her apartment, there are three alteration shops, doing lively business. Nearby shoe-repair stores are also thriving. Women who buy expensive shoes often take them to the shop immediately to have protective layers put on the soles, so the leather will last longer.

Maite Turgonet, a Parisian journalist who covers the fashion world, concurred that French women are less chic than they once were. By this time, however, I was beginning to understand that what we consider chic is something the French take for granted as a basic starting point. For them, chic is something beyond that! So, for starters, I asked her what a Parisian would consider the key to simply looking nice.

“French women avoid clothes that are shocking,” she said. “We have a strong sense of not wanting to appear ridiculous. Even in the craziest French fashions, there is always a classical base; clothes must be cut well."

“Here a woman tries to be subtle,” she continued. “In New York, women seem to need to prove they are aware of fashion. The really fundamental rule is always be neat. You should be clean, your clothes ironed, your shoes polished. Then you must know and accept yourself; don’t try to hide your faults — that will only make you uncomfortable because you will be fighting what you are. American women often seem to be striving for some norm. If you’re short, there is no point in wearing high heels just to make yourself look taller.”

And if that’s the key to looking nice, then what elusive quality constitutes chic? What makes a classy woman stand out?

“Personality. Self-confidence. A French woman dresses for herself, tries above all to please herself in the way she looks — because she must, if she’s going to please others.

Pascale had made a similar comment. “Chic is not a question of beauty or shape or age. It’s developing a self-identity, which you reflect in the way you dress. The sensuality of such a woman is subtle.”

Maite added that French women do not dress for men. “French women don’t dress to be sexy. Of course we do dress to seduce — that’s different from trying to ‘catch’ a man by wearing flamboyant clothes. The basic attitude is different. A French woman never feels she’s offering herself. There’s never a sense of surrender, but an attitude of ‘I belong to me’.”

A few nights later, I brought the subject up again, at a dinner party. I was surprised to note that the men were as interested as the women. Since roles are more vaguely defined in France, men are free to talk finance and fashion.

“French women never try to look younger than their age,” said a businessman named Patrick. “A woman of seventy can be more interesting than one of twenty. And they never try to fill a stereotype; each woman tries to find her own style.”

“Here, there’s an emphasis on imagination and creativity,” added Claude, a banker. “In the United States, you can buy anything in any color, but in France the market is smaller, so designers have to decide that this year they’ll sell red — they can’t afford to manufacture small quantities in lots of different colors Given that, French people must use imagination just to differentiate themselves.”

Odile, a translator, agreed. “a French woman tries to wear something that brings out her individual personality. If you see an American woman who is considered chic, she’s usually sun tanned, has long legs, is blond, and sportif — but looks just like everybody else who is this sort of chic!”

Another guest, Isabelle, had just come back from a vacation in Palm Beach. “In Florida everyone wears shorts and T-shirts during the day, then at night they dress up to seduce. In France, seduction is an all-day affair, part of your look, not just your clothes. It isn’t something you turn on and off.

I asked Isabelle if she had noticed that American women look at themselves more self-consciously. She thought a minute. “Actually,” she said slowly, “they don’t seem to examine themselves critically very often.” The others, most of whom have visited the States at least once, found that American women seemed a bit puritanical and shy about their bodies. A French woman, for example, is more relaxed about discussing or touching her breasts in public, if, say, conversing with a friend about the cut of a new bathing suit.

More to the point, French women frequently stop to check their appearance in mirrors — and without the self-consciousness that we have. This might be partly because there are more mirrors in Paris (in cafes, in the subway, on storefronts). These self-assessments don’t seem to stem from vanity, however, but from an honest desire to avoid sloppiness.

My conversations with chic Parisian weren’t completely theoretical, though. I did glean a few specific tips, just the sort of advice that made all the difference to those frumpy, fictional heroines:

~ If you need a basic addition to your wardrobe — such as a winter coat or suit — spend as much as you can afford on it and do without something else. Consider the new item an investment, just as you would a new car — you’ll probably spend as much time in it. If it’s still wearable in five years, you will have saved money in the long run.

~ Basic, conservative colors are sensible and attractive; but don’t forget to add accessories. Brighten up a navy, tailored skirt and white blouse by draping a pretty wool plaid scarf around your shoulders.

~ Don’t be afraid of a touch of frivolity — little pop elephant pins, plastic banana-shaped earrings, or hats (but no feathers or loud ribbons, please!) Wear very few other accessories with these in order not to clutter.

~ The focal point of an outfit need not be one of the large pieces. If you’ve splurged on a gorgeous pair of shoes that flatter your legs, draw attention to your feet by downplaying the rest of your clothes. You have a nice waistline and a pretty gold belt? Wear it with black pants and a black sweater — forget the old rule that gold and silver are just for dressing up.

~ When window shopping, try to envision clothing as more than what it was designed to be. One Parisian visiting New York for the first time saw a pair of boys’ black-and-white, ankle-high basketball shoes, and she decided that they would make great casual boots. She wears dark cotton pants tucked into them — très chic!

~ If you’re a few pounds overweight, don’t try to hide under loose, shapeless clothes. Fitted pants and dresses that are well cut will be more flattering and make excess weight less noticeable.

~ Avoid pastels, except as accessories. They flatter no one.

I’m pleased to report these practical tips helped me considerably — in fact, I might even approximate one of those rags-to-ravishing heroines on my next trip home! I returned to the Cafe Select with another formerly frumpy American. We spent an hour just watching women walk by. It was pleasant because too many Parisian women look great, though they may not think they’re as chic as they once were; nevertheless, they are often well dressed, wearing tastefully coordinated colors and flattering makeup and hair styles. Even more striking, most of them have an aura of self-assurance, which we Americans rarely possess. For whatever reason, we often seem dissatisfied with ourselves. We keep looking for that elusive outfit that will somehow change everything. French women do it the other way — first, they learn to appreciate their looks, then they decorate the package. When we left the cafe, we passed an art-supply shop with a mirror in the window. An attractive woman of about forty-five paused before it to check her lipstick. Just as we reached her, a man passed and whispered, “You’re beautiful!” She laughed pleasantly and walked off. I got the feeling that — without conceit — she knew exactly what he meant.

And The Winner of The Cole Vintage Giveaway is....

CARMELA M! She writes,

"I've fallen in love with Cole Vintage late last year when I purchased a pair of tan caged heels. Since then, I never leave TriNoma without checking out the new items from Cole Vintage. I love their shoes (They have the best tan oxfords!) and it's what I usually buy from the store. I'm also planning to buy a teal satchel 'cos aside from its chic design, it is also very affordable!"

Please expect an email from me Carmela so we can coordinate on how you may claim your prize!

Thanks again to everyone who joined our styling contest and thanks to Cole Vintage for sponsoring this giveaway! Enjoy your new outfit Carmela! =)

Color Coordinated

Berry: Gingersnaps top from Aunt Ingrid, Baby Gap jeans, Salt-water sandals
Me: shirt from Uniqlo, Topshop trousers, adult Salt-Water sandals, FEED bag

Berry dresses herself now, she chooses her own outfits. And she wears them on her own, she refuses to let us help dress her up. She reminds me of Henry Kravis, the private equity guy who made his niche in leveraged buyouts. In an interview he shares that his mom's recollection of him as a kid was that he wanted to tie his shoes when he didn't even know how to tie his shoes. But he had to do it himself.

That's Berry. But her motor skills are so refined now that she can even put a belt on or buckle her sandals by herself. Very independent.

Anyway, just wanted to share with you our Sunday outfit. I actually took my cue from Berry when I saw that her red sandals looked cute with her blue top. Berry is my icon. Incidentally, I just had to also say I love my Salt-Water sandals. Its been raining here everyday and they're the perfect pair to wear because I don't have to worry about my sandals getting wet. My friends here in Singapore, like Janie, Sara and Vicky all love their Salt-Waters too! I really think these sandals are a winner.

UPDATE: Will keep you posted on which stores to buy adult Salt-Water sandals in Singapore! For now you may email to place an order! =)

PS - Thanks to all the readers who left comments in my "controversial" post. I have read and published each and every one's. I really appreciate all the support and I am sorry if I have disappointed some of you. It is not in my character to be arrogant or mayabang, and if I came across as such, my fault lies in not being able to write my thoughts out well and explain it within context as my words have been subject to misinterpretation. Well, hopefully I get to meet some of you to know me well enough that I am not like that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

BusinessWorld High Life Oct-Nov 2011

Judith Juntilla, editor at BusinessWorld High Life, recently asked me to come up with a round-up of luxury clothing brands for their "Wearable Wealth" section of the October-November 2011 issue. I tried to cover the history, essence and signature looks of 14 well-renowned brands in short 150 word paragraphs. Accompanying the write-ups are illustrations by Wilford Almoro. It's a light and easy read, and maybe nice to keep around, for reference.

BusinessWorld is in available in National Bookstore and Powerbooks. Or check the paper out at work when you get back on Monday ;)

In Defense of Longchamp

Don't get me wrong. I own one, everyone in my family owns one, all my friends own one. So I don't have anything against those who own one, because that's also me right there.

Look, it's a great travel bag! I would strongly recommend that you have one in your bag closet because it folds nicely, is waterproof and roomy. So let me put this in context. What I am bothered about is the way some people act like its a most precious thing. Holding it gingerly, sometimes with an affected air. So conscious about it. And this applies not only to Longchamp, but to any bag. Admit it, there's always one girl in your school or office who acts like this.

There is a difference between taking care of your belongings and being exagg about it. There are those who need to have a special seat for their bag, and that's fine, but my friends and I have seen it many times, women who wait for you to look at their bag, because it's a designer bag. Expecting you to be envious about it. That's who I am referring to. The ones who forged their identity to a bag.

Thank you to those who have pointed out that you use Longchamp as pang harabas, as a diaper bag or as a bag to stuff all your essentials, a walang keme bag. That's the spirit! That's the way it is supposed to be, used, abused and loved to bits.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My friend Kat has this official but fun gig of spotting and featuring online stores who accept SMART Money as a form of payment.

So if you own an online store and you accept SMART Money, you may want to say hello and comment on her blog, Kat Dy Finds, so she gets to "spotcheck" all your interesting products. Who knows, it could be "spotted"!

For online sellers who haven't signed up for the service, SMART is inviting online sellers to sign up and join the ShopSpotting Promo.

According to Kat, judges will choose their favorite online store to win the grand prize of P50,000 to be credited to their SMART Money account. Sounds like a great deal. That's enough to buy more stocks, or work on your website.

Filipina Sense of Fashion

A few days ago, an anonymous reader left a comment saying that my style was plain jane, and that I get over hyped for my fashion sense. That my blog title didn't suit me at all. Which made me think. How does one get taken seriously as a fashion blogger in the Philippines. Do I have to dress like this?

I have never met these girls, and they do look sweet and adorable in the Asian fashion kind of way. However, these looks work if you are in your teens or twenties. All that color, layering, cheap (read: synthetic) fabrics, lots of make-up, tons of piled on accessories, sky high heels. When you are young, the sky's the limit.

But I do think most Filipinas need to learn more about real fashion and personal style. It's just become too formulaic. They all think, the crazier the look is, the more it is "fasyon" - a term I hate, along with the skin-crawling "fashionista" which is so 1995 if you ask me. They wear everything all together, and if "carry" then voila, fashionista.

Oh! And don't Filipinas just love Longchamp? I don't get it. Maybe because it's the closest thing to a an acceptable "designer" bag if you don't have the budget for one. Little did I know when I first wrote about Longchamps in 2007, that it would become so ubiquitous in Manila! My friends and I especially don't get how some women are so conscious about designer bags, when they do have one. The way they hold it by the crook of their arm, and treat it so precious as if it were their own child. It has to be effortless you know, it has to be you carying the bag and not the bag carrying you. I can't remember who said it, but she said something like "True luxury is beating up an expensive handbag". Which is true in a sense, because you can afford to replace it anyway. And don't get me started with women who wear crazy ass heels but look like they are wobbling when walking. If you're gonna do it, do it like Daphne Guinness!

I can go on and on, but I'd rather we look at "fashion icons" outside the Philippines and tell me if there's something they all know, that "fashionable" Filipinas don't.

US: Here's The Row's Ashley Olsen, who has made a name for herself in industry making luxe basics that women want to wear, never mind the insane price tag. Then there's socialite Olivia Palermo, who does artful layering, but with a restraint that is so impeccably chic.

France: French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt wears the most basic pieces but everything is perfectly slouchy, perfectly tailored, and perfectly fitting. Even the way she semi-untucks a shirt is an art in itself. Then there's the scruffy chic Lou Doillon who can wear anything, but loves well-worn jeans and her mother Jane Birkin's beat-up Chuck Taylors (I think I read that in Vogue)
UK: Alexa Chung. She styles herself well, is a muse to many, and has probably made a small fortune designing for collaborations with Mulberry & Madewell. Kate Moss, who said, "clothes go in and out of fashion, but that's not style. Style has to be classic." knows what she's talking about. She has an appreciation for fit, fabric and tailoring, and when put together, that's effortless style.

Take a close look at these set of icons and then go to our local versions. There is a whale of a difference in terms of style and aesthetics but that is what resonates and gains a following in our country.  It could be cultural, I don't know. I haven't really dissected it.

Can you help me make sense of this?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Perfect Peter Pan Collar

My friend Naomi has been looking for a top with a Peter Pan collar for the longest time. She has been scouring the shops but still has turned up with nada. I want one too, but I haven't searched the way Naomi has, with.a.passion.

I used to have a cute one, when I was in my 20s. It was a cream polka dot top with delicate puff sleeves and a black Peter Pan collar that I would wear with a pleated black skirt that I bought at a uniform store in MBK in Bangkok for the equivalent of Php300. I wore it with Yulo Manila round toe pumps, which I bought from my grad school roommate Jaraiza. Her sister, the designer Kristel Yulo, used to make shoes then. That outfit was one of my favorite "office casual" looks at the time. But oh yes, that top, Peter Pan collar and polka dots, so right on trend for now!

But no use looking for that, it would just look to young and I would feel a bit silly wearing the same outfit now.

A few days ago, over hot chocolate and macarons at Antoinette in Mandarin Gallery with my SIL Leslie and I, Naomi spotted a group of middle-aged ladies beside our table. Of the five, two were wearing similar short sleeved knit tops, one in black, the other in red, both with crisp white Peter Pan collars.

"Tin, that's the perfect Peter Pan collar!" Naomi said. And she couldn't resist pointing the ladies out to me. As they all stood up to leave, I didn't see any collars, only a parade of crocodile Birkins that grazed our gaze. "Tin, look!" Naomi said again. 

And then, I saw. There they were, perfectly rounded, just the right size and width, and it came across as totally classic. Totally age appropriate. The knit top was the perfect backdrop for it.

We wondered where they bought those, and made a mental note, filing each detail in memory - sleeve length, length of top, colors, that perfect Peter Pan collar.

A few days later, I serendipitously found them. A black knit top with the perfect Peter Pan collar hanging in front of me, in all its glory. It almost felt like there was a spotlight shining on it, saying, "Here I am! Buy me!"

Too bad it was inside Louis Vuitton Island Maison in Marina Bay Sands. The crocodile Birkins should have been a clue aka "You won't find that in Topshop".

I called Naomi, to share the news. Good news = "I found it!". Bad news = "It's not within our budget capabilities!" I felt her excitement rise up and then crash.

The search is still on.
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