The Happening: Happy New Year!

I couldn't decide if you set off fireworks in your barangays or popped some champagne in your swanky villas, so I just posted a fair compromise to describe your New Year shebang. Whatever your mode of celebration though, may 2010 be a year of utter awesomeness for you and yours! On my end, I promise to bring you a lot more of the good stuff this year. At least, I'll do my absolute bestest!

Happy Brand Spankin' New Year!

The Rundown: Styles's Best of 2009

Wow, the last day of the decade is here. What a ride's it been indeed! To cap off the wonderful year the blog has had, I'd like to give my last review of the year's finest. This time, let's shine the spotlight on the looks I loved which I managed to share with all of you. Admittedly, there were a lot more that were left undocumented. That's why part of my resolutions list is to give a whole lot more for you next year! That's a friggin' Styles I Love promise!

  • Doctor's Orders: Dr. Gerard Henson was the first look I featured. With his fine casual choices, what an inauguration it was.
  • All About Attitude: Kiko Escora's look was fine for what it was (with the Rick Owens sneaks and all), but it was his cool swagger that put the whole thing together.
  • Without Even Trying: When I grow up, I want to be like Rodney Picar. The man's effortless preppy look highlighted by his embroidered pants was pure genius.
  • Fantastic Basic: Spike Acosta's basics, along with his knack of making bargains look a lot more valuable, proves you don't have to complicate or spend to look good.
  • Menswear Maven: Designer Joey Samson's jersey pants was quite the looker. I'm still on the search for a similar pair, even to this day.

The Rundown: The Item's Best of 2009

As the year winds down, here I am again with yet another review of my best of 2009. Now, we go to my most blogged about category: "The Item". You know what, it's easy to scour the internets and the malls for stuff I love, thus, the sheer volume of posts, but here's the best of the best that I saw this year. It's a mish-mash of big money and affordable items, proving great finds were aplenty in '09! Sure hope 2010 is equally as amazing!

  • The Shoes: The product of Kanye West's collabo with Louis Vuitton was all I expected it to be and more. I got to try them on too and it felt oh so good!
  • The Camera: The folks at Ricoh really want me to leave my Nikon D60 behind. If their GXR is every bit as awesome as advertised, they may just have me converted.
  • The Belt: Paul Smith's weaved number is the best of the year, bar none. Too bad they don't have it in the Greenbelt and Shangri-La boutiques.
  • The Bag: Who knew men could be into that eco-chic movement too? Vic Barba's Ayala Mall sponsored totes prove that we fellas can also help nature with flair.
  • The Shorts: The year marked the return of shorter shorts for men. It hasn't quite caught on, but these Topman offerings sure make for a great argument.
  • The Shirt: Because of the charming pattern and great fit, there hasn't been a more used shirt in my wardrobe than these Joey Samson x Human tees.

The Rundown: The Guide's Best of 2009

To close this wonderful year of ze blog's birth, I'd like to take a look back at the best of whatever seeming nonsense I wrote in the past year. First up, "The Guides" I've given to all men who'd like to know better. Admittedly, I may not be qualified to give such tips, but take a gander at 'em and see if you'll agree. In the end, it's up to you anyways if you'll follow them or not. All I'll do is keep churning 'em out in the hopes that I've made just one dude dress a little bit better!

  • Kamuning Customs: Proof that a little money and whole lotta guidelines can get you the items you've always wanted right at the heart of QC.
  • My Ten Essentials: It's been done to death by men's magazines everywhere, but I'd like to give my own take on this matter of national interest.
  • Rollin' Along: How to make the best of what's truly been the go-to pants presentation of the last two years.
  • Swimwear Shimmy: You think you know, but you have no idea. In my opinion, the best look one could ever have while baring what you can during those summer trips.
  • Bow Tie Brigade: Don't you think it's damn time you learned how to tie one all by your lonesome? Do this, and you can finally fill that "achieved something great" void in '09!

The Happening: Camping Out for Kicks

Ever the sneakerhead at heart, I was excited to hear that Nike was going to re-release my favorite Jordans of all time, the Jordan 11s, at its Bonifacio High Street branch last December 23. Only 50 pairs were released, so to no one's surprise, all them Jordan lovers lined up to get a piece of the what's widely regarded as the most popular pair the brand's ever released. Some even camped out as early as 2 days before the release. Crazy talk, I say, even for one who has a love for throwback kicks! But if you gotta have 'em, you gotta have 'em as I always say.

The Jordan 11 Ultra Limited "Space Jams"

And the iron men who slept on the pavement to get 'em

The Happening: Greenhills "Overruns"

My family and I went to Greenhills to watch Avatar in 3D (so-so movie by me) some days before Christmas. To kill the 1-hour waiting time, we decided to go around the tiangges in Greenhills to see if there were great finds to be had. As expected, LV monogram bags, replica Nikes, and fake Adidas Philippine flag track jackets were aplenty, but amidst all these were some pleasantly amusing "overruns" (whatever that means).

One stall stood out because of the taste level of their class A selections. They offered "Paul Smiths", "Fred Perrys", "Marc Jacobs", and even "Raf Simons". I hate to use this phrase, but in all fairness to them, they did fakes right. I'm not going to be one to buy from them, though. The quality is definitely not there and as I've said, it's really the saving up and the sacrifices that make owning them name brands worth it. That said, still a step-up for all stall suppliers everywhere.

These fake Marc Jacobs x Vans slip-ons were quite tempting

As were these "Paul Smith" kicks, but in the end, I passed

The Art: Lady Gaga's Christmas Tree

Lady Gaga shares in the festivities and proves that she's not one to ignore the most joyous season of the year. Granted that she gave her own Gaga twist to it, but who gives a shiz? It adds yet another dimension to this wonderful occasion of merriment and warm feelings. Naughty or nice, it don't matter! Open those gifts up with reckless abandon and remember I wouldn't mind getting some next year! From my family to yours, Merry Merry Christmas, bitches!

The Item: Artwork Canvas Boat Shoes

I know, I know. You've had it up to here with boat shoes on the blog, but pardon yet another entry. These babies from Artwork are just too damn good not to mention. Quite unexpected for a brand known for their graphic shirts too, but what a first try with footwear. The shoes are very reminiscent of Vans Zapato Del Barcos and with a low, low price of P1,050, there's really no going wrong with 'em. Never too late for me to receive it as a Christmas present, I say!

I'm still deciding whether to get the gray or black number

The Store: My Top Five for 2009

When it comes to shopping, I'd like to think that I'm a committed man. When I find a store I love which has the fit, quality, and designs I like, I'm going to back to that store again and again. Yeah, I'll still try some new brands, but my favorites will always have my attention above all. That said, I'd like to share my favorite stores of 2009. I may not have shopped extensively in some, but on those countless window shopping sessions, they were certainly at the top of my list.

Theodore's: The now-closed-but-soon-to-open-in-an-undisclosed-location store had sweet brands like Opening Ceremony, Swear, and Common Projects. Need I say more? It was a mecca to those who longed for great international offerings and a haven for those who couldn't normally afford them during their massive giveaway sales. Can't wait for the re-opening!

5cm: Uniformity be damned. This store, if anything, presents pieces that are fresh and unlike anything we've seen before in the local men's retail industry. Cropped jackets, fusion kicks, great tees: now this is how you do innovative without looking tacky. With another store recently opening in Mall of Asia, I only see great things to come for this Hong Kong bred label.

Trilogy: You gotta know we were getting something awesome when the Herreras and Steve Aoki tied up. And that we did, with the opening of a dope concept store that offered favorites like Generic Surplus, Adidas Originals by Originals, and inCase laptop regalia. More than a retail space which had clothes, books, and music, though, it was also a fine restaurant where you could stay on end, enjoying that heavenly chocnut ice cream as well as other culinary concoctions.

Gap: Whould've thunk it? There was a point in my life where I said I will never buy Gap, but look at me now, visiting their store in irritating regularity. Undoubtedly, Creative Director Patrick Robinson had a lot to do with it. He's turned Gap into something baduy and made it the go-to for everything basic from khakis to oxfords to plain shirts. Truly a 180 that has me pleasantly amazed to this very day.

Fred Perry Laurel Shop: Well, well, well. What a surprise. If you've been reading my blog regularly, you'll notice that I mention the Laurel brand quite a lot. Why is that? Well, apart from their classic pieces like the unbeatable twin-tipped shirt and their plimsolls and Coxsons that come in so many variations, Fred Perry is a brand that I feel has struck the balance of tradition and innovation (with all their designer collaborations). Every visit, I find something new that I like, and I go there so much that the staff probably knows me already. As if you already didn't know, my favorite store of 2009, hands down.

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 11)

Topman's not really known for their basics, but what the hell. These gray and blue oxford button-downs are enough to make anyone's Christmas. Nothing notably different 'ere except for the black buttons (which are a fine touch, I say), but why fix something that definitely ain't broken? The threads are fresh out the box so pick 'em up now before your size runs out!

Topman's interpretation of a true must-have

The Happening: Analog Camera Heaven

Simply put, my girlfriend and I died and ended up in analog camera heaven last night at Cubao X. We were just on our way out when we stumbled upon this table of what looked to be antiques (think SLRs without the d), which were being sold at considerably cheap prices. Granted they were old and needed some work, but every single piece on those tables worked. I was utterly blown away. There was just something so charming about going back to doing things the old school way. Man, they even had vintage polaroids, and you know how much I love those!

The evolution of cameras told all in one table

So many cameras, so little money!

Try catching the folks of Vedic Nation tomorrow from 1pm to 7pm at the Expo. Otherwise, hit up their site. You won't regret it, I swear. If not for the appreciation of old school photography, then do it for those cameras which are sure real nice to look at!

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 10)

If you were to ask me what shoe defined 2009, I'd definitely say boat shoes hands down. The nautical favorites have made quite the comeback this year, and with several brands still trying to ride on the bandwagon, there are no signs of the movement slowing down any time soon. With all the choices, I say trust no one but the OGs though. Sperry and Sebago have been in the boaties game the longest and truth be told, no one still does it better.

Just look at these new arrivals at the Sebago store and tell me I'm lying. With a brand new generation finding out the charm of boat shoes for themselves, the brand has taken it upon themselves to freshen up their classic Docksiders with some snazzy colored laces. I know I'm loving the look. And trust me, with all the abuse my
off-white Sperry Topsiders have taken in 2009, it's a welcome alternative that will finally give said pair all the rest it deserves.

A minor detail making a major difference

I'm loving the sweet red on black pair the most

The Art: Burberry Art of the Trench

The final straw to what has been years of wanting to get my own trench coat was seeing this post on the Sartorialist some weeks back. Well, here's a video of the man himself talking about his own love of trenches, as well as a convincing stream of shots as to why it truly is one of the most flattering pieces to have. How I wish we could we them in regularity though!

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 9)

While by no means a new idea (saw it in The Laurel Shop months ago), this printed collared tee from Bleach Catastrophe still seems pretty sweet. If anything, it gives people a viable alternative to those god awful tribal prints on collared shirts that some local brands can't stop making. A bit more expensive, yes, but you are paying for taste after all.

It ain't all about HMGs at the Bleach shop

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 8)

Zara's been making beautiful shoes for a minute now, and as we've all come to expect from the Spanish brand, they've done it again. I've talked about so many oxford sneaker hybrids before, I know, but I just never get tired of singing praises to well made ones like these. Faded leather, perfect shape, minimalistic color, comfortable as hell, there's really nothing more you could ask for. Another great one from Zara, but then again, you already knew that.

I love the color selection and the faded detail

I would have loved gray soles as well, but no biggie

The Art: My Top Songs for 2009

Part of my annual December rituals has been compiling what have been my favorite songs for the year, songs that I've played over and over again, memorized and bobbed my head to mercilessly, yet I still can't get enough of. This year, I'd like to share said list with you all. You will see that I am quite the hip-hop fan, but what can I say? I just love them beats!

The Newcomer: Drake - Best I Ever Had

The Collab:
Kid Cudi (Ft. Kanye West, Common) - Make Her Say

The Anthem:
Jay-Z (Ft. Alicia Keys) - Empire State of Mind

The Pump-up: Kanye West (Ft. Young Jeezy) - Amazing

The Diva: Beyonce - Sweet Dreams

The Women: The Rated R Superstar

My, my, my. Somebody's definitely grown. Staying true to her latest album's name, Rihanna gave 2009 a Rated R closing by burning up the pages of the January edition of GQ. The past year's been pretty rough on Riri, but judging from these pictures, I'm confident that she'll definitely bounce back. Can't say the same about C.Breezy though. Just look at these pictures, man. Stupidest mistake of the year, bar none.

Photos courtesy of GQ

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 7)

The practicality and ruggedness of canvas aside, one bag that I've always wanted for those short out-of-towns would be a leather weekender. One in caramel would spell perfection, and though I've come across a lot in my time, nothing seemed as fair to the wallet as this number from Black Label Homme. A timeless no nonsense design which exudes quality from a mile away, it's the perfect companion for all those random vacays I'm definitely not planning for 2010.

The definition of non-flashy flashiness

The Item: Saizen Outlined Laces

Remember those Springfield canvas boat shoes I was raving about recently? What I loved most about that pair were the sweet laces that came along with them. Well, after a trip to the awesomeness that is Saizen (which received much love here and here), I scored the very same handsome laces which I could now use as I see fit. I imagine that it would look great on the red plimsolls I have as well as my all-white Vans Sk8 His. Admittedly, though, I think 85 buck's a bit too much for shoestrings. No regrets, however, not for this!

One of the many great finds at Saizen!

The Item: Adidas World Federation Jerseys

I'll be straight with you: I'm not really a follower of futbol. I will be the first to say, however, that their players are the most well dressed among any sport. Probably has a lot to do with the game being centered in Europe.

Anyhow, unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably heard that futbol's greatest spectable, the World Cup, will find its way to South Africa in 2010. In celebration of this once-every-four-years event, Adidas has once again partnered with the Cup and designed jerseys that will match the players' sartorial success off the field.
With a story behind every shirt for each country, some even finding inspiration from throwback threads, Adidas' 2010 World Cup jerseys are a truly fine addition to the festivities.

Want a piece of the action, you ask? Well, head on over to select Adidas outlets and take a gander at their World Cup zones that feature the latest in Federation football fashion today! For every P3,500 worth or futbol related purchases, they'll even give you a free World Cup mini ball. Sweet right? The folks at Adidas were kind enough to send over an authentic South African authentic jersey and I must say, based on the unis alone, I gotta start paying attention.

The beautifully drawn ads for the Cup's official threads

The dope packaging of the authentic host country jersey

Even more awesome inside. I love it!

The Happening: The 2010 Color of the Year

Goodbye Mimosa, we hardly knew ye. With the turn of another year comes yet another Pantone-heralded color of the year: drum roll please...turquoise! How they go about selecting is beyond me, but no complaints 'ere. It's a great color to use as accents or pop and with the influence this announcement has on the industry, you won't have any problem getting your piece of this bastard child of blue and green soon.

About time men sported something in this shade

Picture courtesy of Pantone

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 6)

In part I-lost-count-already of why I love Fred Perry are these beautiful Trenton Shoes. Plimsoll style shoes which are pretty to look at? Check. But wait till you touch 'em. A mixture of leather on the cap and tongue a nubuck body will have you caressing them all day. Yet another winner from the Laurel shop, but did you really expect anything less from one of my favorite brands for 2009?

The combination of two fine materials had me at first look

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 5)

Known for those thick rubber watches that have made its way to inspired tiangge owners' stalls (the mark of true success, I'd say), the Japanese dudes over at odm have managed to release yet another set of awesome timepieces. This time, instead of wearing your watches on your wrist, they want you to actually dangle it around your neck instead.

Featuring a dog tag inspired design which is none but loved by this writer, as well as a futuristic EL backlight that tells the time, date, or both in dancing intervals, it's a great way to start telling time in a whole new decade. Never mind if Greenhills will probably have it in a month or two, something this sweet will never be totally duplicated. Yours now for around P6,500 over at the odm stall in SM Megamall.

I'm pretty sure Kanye will love this. I know I do!

The Guide: Pulling Off a Pullover

Do you feel the chill? December's here, gents, and it's that time of the year when we can actually pull off layered looks without sweating bullets or buckets (in the morning and evening at least). Among the options, my most recommendable would have to be the slim pullover sweater.

It's as classic as classic can be, but unfortunately, despite its mainstay appeal, a lot of us still manage to make what should be a dressed up look downright sloppy. So here, as an early Christmas gift to you all, I will give my personal preferences about wearing pullovers. Some, I will admit, are very nitpicky, but with all the pictures that will be taken this holiday season, you better make sure you look damn good in one. Really simple, just read on, bruh.

1. Undershirt Requirement
Sweaters were made to be layered for a reason. Surprisingly though, I still spot some chaps who think wearing a sweater on its own is okay. It is not, my friends, because if I wanted to see your man nipples poking through cashmere or merino, I would specifically ask for it. And believe me, I will not.

2. The Right Collar
If you've decided to heed my previous advice and wear something underneath your sweater, stay clear of shirts with hard business-y collars. Not only will you look rather stiff on a holiday, but you're also going to have that unavoidable 70s spread collar look at one point or another. I say let your guard down and go for soft collared polos. Ones with button-down options look best and by the way, collared pique polos are not advisable.

3. The Proper Fit
Because you're going to be wearing something underneath (hopefully a shirt with a soft button-down collar), I would suggest that you get a size you can comfortable breathe in. Slim is nice but you should get a sweater than doesn't make the buttons of your shirt underneath pop out. Allow for some room because as you very well know, Christmas is a time of good eatin' and you gotta have all the help you can get in concealing that belly!

4. Pulling Up Sweater Sleeves
One of the things I just don't get is why men pull sweater sleeves up above their elbows. I mean, if you were going to do that, why wear a long-sleeved sweater in the first place? If you can't resist the urge, though, consider the forearm your limit. The sleeves will still stretch, yes, but not to the destructive extent of pulling them past your elbows in regularity.

5. The Depth of the V
V-necks are a common sight on pullovers and although many look very flattering, some brands have managed to take it just a bit too far (hello F&H, et. al.). How low should one go? Well, I'd say the level of the dude's neckline below. It shows the right amount of undershirt but doesn't go as far as expose his bulging cleavage. Okay, that won't really be a problem, but a sweater's supposed to cover you up. Let it serve it's purpose and keep you warm in what is really the closest thing we will ever have to winter!

Photos courtesy of J.Crew

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 4)

One of the takeaways I got from a Christmas party I attended last Saturday (aside from the full belly and great stories) was my realization of how truly awesome polaroid cameras are. My friend Hub had the Fujifilm Instax 210 equipped and there was just something so charming about how this chunky number did things the old way.

From seeing the picture pop out to watching it unfold before your eyes, it was really quite the sight in this age of digital dependence. And the picture quality was great too. The only downside is that the "film" costs about P495 for 10 shots, but if you're down with it, head on to Landmark's Fujifilm branch and get the last piece before I do! They're absolutely perfect for all them Christmas memories you'll be making in all those parties and awkward reunions ahead!

The Instax 210 brings you back to the good 'ole days

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 3)

Nowadays, it seems as though everyone and their momma are making boat shoes. Some are classic like Sperry's, some are sporty like Generic Surplus', and some are just atrocious like...let's not go there. Anyhow, you can now add Springfield to that large list of boat shoe makers. Not bad too for a first try with the charming outlined laces. It's a little variation, yes, but it's really details like this which make a pair stand out among a sea of shoes that look all so similar.

The lace outline gives these canvas boaties a fresher look

The Item: The Clear Shoe Box Project

I love shoes. Over the years, I've been buying pair upon pair, but the problem with me is that I don't really have a proper place to put them all. I mean, I have a rack, but my babies cannot but gather dust in those enclosed spaces. I tried putting them in their boxes, but the resulting display was none too pleasing to the eye.

That's where The Clear Shoe Box Project makes a difference. Made of crystal clear PVC plastic, it gave me that right balance of storage and display I've been looking for all along. Not only does it prevent dust and molds (with its little air vents at the sides), it also makes your shoes look a lot more precious with its museum case feel. The fact that you can see your shoes at one glance saves time too. No more checking shoe boxes ever again!

It comes in two sizes: regular (11.5" x 6.5") and large (13.5" x 8.5") so no matter what size or style of shoe, The Project's got you covered! The regular ones go for a measly P90 each and the large ones will cost you a very reasonable P120. Small prices to pay, I'd say, for finally giving your shoes the wonderful homes they damn sure well deserve!

Regular sized boxes for plimsolls, slip-ons and what not

The boxes are durable and can be stacked up to 10 levels high

Large boxes for those high-cut sneaks and boots

The Clear Shoe Box Project

The Clear Shoe Box Project personally delivers in the following areas: Katipunan, Tomas Morato, Ortigas, Greenhills, and Makati. Special arrangements can also be made!

The Rundown

  • Time is Golden: Another awesome and affordable watch from Casio that takes the old saying quite literally. {Cholo Dela Vega}
  • Weekend Brunch: Sumptuous breakfast options to fight your Saturday night hangover. {Urbanity}
  • Another Day, Another Sale: Status Mag's latest Yardsale is shaping up to be a must-visit with brands like Dean and Trent setting up shop. {Project Manila}
  • Penny for your Thought: Penny loafers with actual pennies in the slots, just as god intended. {The Dandy Project}

The Item: What I Want for Christmas (Part 2)

If you've been following ze blog, you'll know that I've long been on the search for handsome yet relatively affordable black cap toe oxfords. You know the drill: rounded toe, never pointy, never square and not too slim too. After months of frustration, it seems as though the search is finally over, thanks in large part to these sweet Aldo Oxfords. The shape's exactly what I'm looking for and if not for the not-really-cheap price of P4995, these babies would've found a new home in a heartbeat. Had it reserved though, just in case. Mine until Thursday!

Finally! I haven't had black office shoe options for the longest time!