The Icon: John Lloyd Cruz

I started "The Icon" category in the blog to showcase those who I believe have great personal style. Up to now, however, I have been featuring only international personalities, as I really cannot pinpoint anyone locally who jumps out as a true icon to me.

Well, folks, the search is over. John Lloyd Cruz is the first ever Filipino in "The Icon." Yup, you read that right, Matinee Idol John Lloyd friggin' Cruz. To tell you the truth, I've actually been considering him for quite some time now. The only thing stopping me was a lack of pictures that proves he is who I say he is. After much research and abuse of Google, though, I've come up with a set that I'm confident in.

What I really like about JLC's (can I call him that?) look is that it doesn't scream, "I try too hard." He just has this effortless feel to him that makes his wardrobe choices look so natural, so, well, him. I actually bumped into him in New York last year in Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue. All I can say is, damn, the man has fine taste. While I was merely window shopping, JLC was actually really shopping, which says a lot. He knows how to spend his acting money on quality pieces, but unlike many local celebrities, he doesn't flaunt the brands he wears. He just looks damn good in them.

A man with that trait certainly deserves to be called an "Icon" in my book anyday. Congratulations, JLC, for being the first Filipino on the list. As your prize, I'm going to see "You Changed My Life" with my girlfriend tomorrow. Your acting may or may not suck there, but I'll be looking out for your style choices more than anything else. Keep it up, young man.

Casual cool at Shangri-La Mall

That friggin awesome!

This shot may be amateurish, but the Fred Perry polo is definitely not

An example of how long-sleeved polos should fit

JLC rocked bowties even before they were "back." Well done, sir.

Photos courtesy of, Manila Style, and Metro Society.

The Guide: Playing with Color

It's been awfully hot and humid these past few days - all signs pointing to the changing of seasons. Yes, summer's slowly creeping up on us and in what is possibly our equivalent to the western world's spring, the emergence of colors too are sure to follow.

That is why it is the perfect time to embrace your inner canvas and start injecting some hues into your boring neutral ensembles. Some questions, however, arise: How exactly do you do that? How much color is too much?

You see, I absolutely love colors. And it is my firm belief that it is not about how many colors you wear, but how you wear them. The general rule I follow is to maintain a balance between neutral and bright hues. Think khaki above-the-knee shorts and an emerald green collared shirt, think red shorts and a plain white shirt, think plain blue shirt, basic denim, and red shoes...oh, you get the drift.

Big colorful pieces too much for you, though? Baby steps, my friend. Try accessories. I already wrote about colored socks in one of my posts, but in addition to this, you can try colored canvas belts, fun watches, statement shoes, and even bright bags. Just make sure to pick colors that are complimentary when combining. Trust me, you won't look like a clown that way.

The countdown to summer has begun, gentlemen. Ready your colorful garb and try not to be too serious. Because as you may or may not know, it is only with a sense of humor can you truly pull off wearing neon colors with flair.

Too hot to pull it off here, but a truly great example of color play

Kanye West uses color better than anyone, period

Pharrell comes in a close second (i.e. that belt: damn!)

Pay attention to the accessories, quite masterful yes?

Photos courtesy of GQ and Welldressed.

The Item: The Basic T

Quick Poll: How many of you have this problem of taking too long to find the perfect outfit? That's right, just what I thought.

Fret not, though, for I too will admit to this. So many times, I've put together an outfit and was ready to go only to glance at myself at a mirror on the way out and say, "Hmmm. That's not right." That's when the grueling process of mixing and matching starts anew until I am fully satisfied.

Needless to say, this practice of mine has caused much tardiness in my time. And in an effort to eliminate this undesirable side of me, I've found a simple solution to this problem. Listening to the lesson my wise English teacher passed on to me (Keep it Simple, Stupid!), I bought a bunch of basic monochrome t-shirts and made them my signature.

The great thing about plain colored Ts is that they go with absolutely anything. Their solid canvass can provide the perfect base for any accessorizing you may or may not want to do. For me, though, I prefer to keep it as simple as possible: Solid shirt, well-cut pants, simple sneakers, and a belt. That's the minimalistic chic look I adhere to as my casual uniform.

Just make sure though that the fit of the basic T is just right: not too tight, not too loose. The cut of the sleeves too should cut across the bicep area and the length should stop just below the belt line (just like how Steve McQueen does it). Worry not, a lot of labels already make the plains I just described. So go ahead and save yourself some time and excuses. In this case, the hardest of questions indeed has the simplest of answers.

Steve McQueen: Style Icon

The Topman Crewneck

The Gap Crew Neck

Photos courtesy of GQ, Topman, and Gap.

The Weekly Roundup: Top Fall Colors, New York Menswear Coverage, The Lego Phone, and More!

  • Hypebeast gives us the Top Colors of Fall, as decided by the fashionable minds of designers all over the world. Sorry folks, no devil red this time.
  • Europe's done, now it's New York's turn. Peep the full coverage of the Menswear Collections over at Men.Style.
  • Esquire gives tips on how to wear jewelry like a man. The gist: when it comes to bling, it's not about size at all.
  • For all the D.I.Y. men in the world, Guardian presents a step-by-step guide to tranforming a vintage shirt into a modern style shirt, a tailoring lesson taught by none other than Paul Smith himself.
  • What do you get when you put together Alcatel and Lego? Uber Gizmo gives us a preview of the utter awesomeness that is the Alcatel Lego Cellphone. Damn!

The Guide: The Pants Length I Can Believe In

My absolute biggest style pet peeve are bunched up pants bottoms. I'm not really sure why they annoy me. They just really do. Maybe it's the sloppiness of the look. Maybe it's the fact that the person wearing them just doesn't give a damn. Or maybe it's that having a tailor cut off the excess fabric for P40 is apparently too darn expensive. Whatever the reason, there's just no excuse for this tomfoolery.

Unacceptable: Both the pants length AND the shoes!

In my book, pants (especially slacks) have to have one slight break MAX. Something more and even the most well put together looks are ruined. Plain and simple, it looks childish, both in form and connotations. And in this world we call men's style, we all have to grow up some time. So cut off those extra long pants, gentlemen, or fold them up (it is a trend after all). Whatever you do, just don't bunch them up and drag them on the dirt alongside your sloppy sense of style.

The Perfect Pants Length (For Me)

The Happening: The Best (Not to Mention Most Stylish) Grammys Perfomance Ever!

All my favorite rappers (T.I., Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z, and Kanyeezy) tore the Grammy stage up together with a very pregnant M.I.A to perform the oft-played-in-my-car song "Swagger Like Us." True to the song, they came out stylin' and profilin' in well-fitted suits and bowties and in black and white picture no less. Truly the highlight of the night for me and yes, as the song says, "no one has swagger like these four guys!"

The Weekly Roundup: Another "Damn!" Collab, Pantone Kicks, Nerdy Glasses, and More!

  • You don't have to know how to read Japanese to appreciate the awesomeness of this Fred Perry and Raf Simons loafer collaboration at Honeyee. Good God almighty!
  • Hot off the heels of my post on basic sneakers, Pantone partners with California brand Seavees to bring a colorful take on these footwear essentials.
  • Kanye's blog brings us The North Face collaboration with Taylor design that produced some colorful downvests. Too bad you can never wear them here in the tropics...
  • Over at Hypebeast, a specially designed Air Force 1 for the NBA All Star Game is featured. Oddly, it can also double as a Philippine themed Nike Sneak. Nice.
  • Bring on your full on nerd swag with these beauties from Tamio Ido Optical Frames.

The Item: Basic Sneakers

One thing I've noticed every time I go out is the massive number of kids wearing chunky high-top sneakers. Whether they be Nike Dunks, Supra Skytops, or whatever sneakerhead favorite, I exaggerrate not when I say they are literally everywhere these days. This is not a bad thing per se, being an admitted Nike Dunk fan myself, but recently (probably due to aging), I've found that I gravitate more towards what I'd like to call basic sneakers.

Basic sneakers for me are defined by their minimalistic designs and their simplistic cut. The brand that most defines it is Keds. While regarded by many as boring, I think that these shoes have a silent appeal to them. Unlike chunky high-tops, they highlight the shape of your feet in the same way a well fitted shirt flatters your torso. They feel comfortable as hell too and the fact that they go with just about anything (shorts, jeans, khakis, corduroy, slacks, you name it!) adds to their status as one of the most practical and stylish shoes in existence.

The Original: The Ked's Champion

From Fred Perry

My Recent Rave: Topman Plimsolls

My Red Statement Shoes ($12 from H&M)

The Icon: LeBron James

Many people have lauded Michael Jordan for being the quintessential GQ Man. I, however, am not impressed. Looking at the sartorial choices that MJ has donned lately, I believe that he has been off his style a long shot. Oversized suits, ill-fitting shirts, baggy pleated pants? People, Air Jordan's eye for style is aging along with his body, so stop it.

I'd rather focus my attention on the style statements of His Airness' primary challenger to the title of greatest ever. He is known as many things to basketball fans: The King, LBJ23, but to me he is a Style Icon. Watching his style evolve over the years from gangster rapper to refined gentleman has been a magical thing. It seems as though the NBA Dress Code did do something good after all: It brought out the inner fashionisto in Lebron and he has never looked better.

He has graced the cover of high fashion magazines Vogue and GQ thus far and he is showing no signs of slowing down his tight swag anytime soon. Goodness gracious, now that is how the greatest ever should dress. Take notes, Michael.

The GQ February 2009 Cover

In Ralph Lauren Purple Label (Damn!)

Fit is Everything

The King wears purple

Photos courtesy of GQ.

The Item: Colored Socks

Over the years, I've noticed that men in general have become more comfortable with color. More and more, I see them on the streets wearing brightly hued ties, exaggerated shoes, and even funky eyewear. What doesn't get as much attention though (especially here) are socks, which is rather unfortunate.

Unknown to many, simply playing with the color of one's socks makes an outfit look fresh and interesting. Case in point: Right now, I am wearing a white short-sleeved polo, charcoal gray slacks, and my cream colored Sperry Top-Siders. Now add to that the yellow socks I'm also sporting. Ridiculous? To some, definitely. But to me, it makes my otherwise boring outfit feel new and youthful; a type of rebeliousness too, in a way, to the black socks that have become uniforms in our office.

This expression of "fuck the rules" and the added aesthetic appeal makes wearing colored socks a mainstay in my repertoire. If you agree, then head on to Celio. They have nice colored and patterned ones that not only look great, they feel great too.

Red socks look amazing with just about any color!

The shoes and pants are nice, but what do you notice first?

Photos courtesy of GQ and Men's Flair.

The Weekly Roundup: The Make Out Ad, Sick Seiko Watches, The Best of Paris and Milan, and More

  • British brand Aquascutum gets a bunch of heterosexual models and lets them have at each other over at Kempt. Nice.
  • The Sartorialist gives his best shots of the Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks at Men.Style.
  • Hypebeast showcases the 2009 Spring/Summer releases from my favorite brand in the world, Band of Outsiders.
  • Kanye's Blog brings us Vibe Magazine's latest cover featuring Keisha Cole. As you will see, the editing and layouting is friggin' awesome.