The Guide: Trusting the Classics

An essential video from Close Up and Private’s Sergei Sviatchenko. My sentiments exactly.

The Item: Eastpak x K. Van Assche Backpack

One thing you should know about me is that I'm a value shopper. Yeah, I occasionally dabble in more expensive brands, but by and large, I'm a cheapskate at heart. That's why I was thrilled to see this backpack designed by Dior Homme Creative Director Kris Van Assche for Eastpak. For a fraction of the price of this handsome Dior Homme bag, I can now get a Van Assche piece that was made even better with the functionality of Eastpak. Plus, I'm getting tired lugging just totes around anyways. I think this purchase may just be what the doctor ordered. Yes, a justification.

What first attracted me to the bag was the rich caramel color

But then, the back - an interplay of parachute, canvas, and leather that sealed the deal.

Details like this detachable keychain are aplenty. It even has a detachable laptop case inside!

The Item: Bape x Mark McNairy Brogues

The king of collabs is back at it, y'all! After mashing up with Doc Martens a few months back to make some sick saddle shoes, Bape has now turned to Mark McNairy to bring us these killer longwing brogues. One look and you'll see both sides are represented quite well - Bape with its penchance for camo and McNasty with his sturdy suede construction and red brick sole. It would have made for a great first McNairy pair for me, but with the steep S$719 (around P24K) price tag, I've no choice but to sit this one out. Still, can't hurt to visit it every once in a while though!

I love shoes like this that mesh street and sophistication seamlessly.

It's even tastier up close. If only the price wasn't as jacked up, Mark!

The Item: uniform experiment Watch Strap

You remember the J.Crew x Timex military watch I bought a few months back? What I loved most about it was the versatility it offered because of its changeable strap. Well, I just fulfilled its potential a tad bit with this new band I bought from Japanese brand uniform experiment. Originally intended for the brand's collaboration with Benrus, I think it looks just as dashing with my J.Crew version. The red, white, and blue stripes gives a sportier look than the olive one I had and at a sale price of only S$35, frankly, I'm quite tempted to take a close look at the other colors too.

Yes - red, white, and blue again. What can I say, my favorite color combination!

The Women: Anne Curtis' in Rogue Magazine

Yeah, she's been on the cover before, but is anybody really complaining? The lovely Anne Curtis is back and - for some unfair reason - even better in this month's Rogue. Man, if there's one mag I wish we had here, it's this. Such fine taste in style and as you can clearly see below, women.

Some things never change. Left, July 2008. Right, October 2011.

The Item: Andy Warhol x Incase Accessories

Of all the countries in the world, I don't think anyone can top Singapore when it comes to iPhone penetration. Kids, teens, working class folk, hell, even grandma's playing with one, making it hardly the spectacle here. That's why choosing the right accessory is crucial if you're looking to differentiate yours from all the rest. If I may suggest, do check out these Incase x Andy Warhol cases at A Curious Teepee. A far cry from your basic protective shells, these limited edition pieces feature two iconic works from one of the most celebrated artists of all time. Yet another collaborative gem from Incase which brings pop art and protection together in one product!

The window display at A Curious Teepee, the exclusive distributors of the cases

The pop art camo is my first choice. S$79 but well worth it in my estimation.

The banana's a sweet alternative too. I think it'll blend well with my white phone!

The Item: Doc Martens Brogues + Saddles

The folks at Doc Martens just don't stop, do they? I've had numerous posts about the brand ever since I got here, but I just can't help but adding more. How can I, sir, when they're putting out bad ass classics like these brogues and saddles shoes, which put together all my favorite things? Chocolate brown leather and tan canvas paired on the upper, a chunky silhouette, and tough guy soles with a red-brick finish to boot! What I love most about Docs, though, is that they won't cost you and arm and a leg for their awesome designs. Yeah, each is S$209 a pop, but compared to similar shoes which have even less 'tude than these, I'd pick Docs every single time!

The wait for the perfect saddle shoe has ended! Oh, and those brogues ain't bad too!

The Happening: The Future is Now!

I haven't gone bananas for sneakers for a long time, but damn, this teaser for the Back-to-the-Future-popularized Nike Mags is insane! It's not so much the design of the shoe that has me riled up (they're a bit for the youngins), it's the entire concept of having something dreamed up in a 1980s sci-fi flick and actually making it reality! Rumor has it that Nike recently applied for patents for powered shoelaces - a trademark of the supposed 2015 McFly shoes. If they make it happen tomorrow (the day of the big reveal), then great scott, Doc, I say the future is upon us!

The Item: Cheap Woven Bracelets (Part 2)

Woven bracelets have grown even more popular since I first wrote about them. I tried getting more here in Singapore, but the ones I found were either insanely priced or suspect in quality. That's why on a recent trip to Manila, I decided to load up again at my favorite wrist accessory shop, the Bead Shop stall at Rockwell Power Plant. I was going to get more monochromatic ones like last time, but I was told of a new service they do - you could choose 3 colors of string and they'll weave it for you for no extra charge! Ever the sucker, I obliged by going for my fave red, white and blue trio and mixed it up with a green-black-yellow number for good measure. To be quite honest, it's simple (cheap) pleasures like this that make me miss Manila even more!

Both bracelets for just P150? Now that's a damn bargain!

The Art: Singapore's Night Voyage Festival

How did you guys spend your Friday night? Drinking, dancing, partying? Well, my friends and I did something a little offbeat - we went to go experience art! As part of Singapore's Night Voyage Festival, the city's finest museums were open till 2AM to host exhibits, installations, and even a quirky bazaar. I must say, not a bad way to end one of the most draining weeks ever. After being bombarded by numbers non-stop, my eyes finally got the visual treats they so rightfully deserve!

Dark room with some eerie visuals and a barely lit turntable section

Here, you can listen to several sensations amplified as the DJ spins.

Giant balloons at the Singapore Art Museum

Real-life space invaders vs. a little kid. Who you got?

Museum hallways filling up as the night goes deeper.

Vintage polaroids on sale from S$100 to S$200! Not a bad buy!

The Item: Head Porter Tanker Backpacks

Ever since I migrated to Singapore, I've only been home to Manila once - a short and unplanned overnight stay after our trip to Hong Kong that left much to be desired. Despite the briefness of it all, I managed to cram a lot of things in - meals out with my family, a haircut at Bruno's, a dinner date with my girlfriend, and oh, a little bit of catching up on the retail scene in the motherland too!

Dropped by Rockwell before I left to check out Univers, Homme et Femme's massive flagship at Rockwell One. In terms of offerings, the store simply has no peers and I don't just mean locally! Case in point, these Head Porter Tanker Backpacks which were nowhere in sight in Hong Kong. Man, if you're 24 like me and want to bring a backpack to work, this is exactly what it should look like - simple but with a not-so-subtle hint of cool. It's been three weeks since my visit and I'm still thinking about them. Definitely deserves a second look when I head back home soon!

Given my current military obsession, this is definitely the one I'm eyeing!

No trash-talking on the gray one, though. For all the minimalists out there.

I love the little pouch on the strap! Perfect for phones, wallets, and oft-misplaced MRT cards!

The Happening: A Quick, Important Query

I was browsing through some shirts at Ralph Lauren recently and I saw this. Still too stunned to make any quips, so just a simple question: where exactly in the Philippines do they make 'em and for the love of god, can someone give me a damn map? Sheesh, right under our noses too!

No, seriously. Please give me the damn map!

The Item: New Watch Alerts (Timex + Casio)

If there's one aspect of my wardrobe that needs beefing up, it's most definitely the watch department. For the longest time, this amazing Timex Nylon Camper was the only option I had. As awesome as it was, it just couldn't hold the fort on its own anymore, especially when the outfit for the day was more earth-toned, rendering its all-black attack misplaced. So I went on a quest to find some fairly priced running buddies for it that would suffice for any and all color occasions.

Let Jay-Z have his Hublots and Rollies, I'm more than fine with these!

My first purchase was this all-gold
Casio number. After resisting for so long to get one because of its massive popularity, I finally pulled the trigger and gave in to what I truly wanted since the very beginning. No calculators on the face here, folks, I'm in it for the interesting juxtaposition of all-gold decadence with a price point that pokes fun at the supposed extravagance of it all (S$30 / P1,000). Just like every classic Casio, value-for-money was the name of the game!

I got a good discount on it too! Bought it from a friend's shop here!

The second timepiece I got was something I thought was unattainable. As mentioned here, the only reason I bought the Timex Campers was because I couldn't get a Timex x J.Crew military field watch. Well, the stars aligned - I saved up enough and my cousin was arriving from the US - so I finally got it! No going wrong with this one right here - black, brown, whatever - it works. You can even change the strap up, making this already universal watch even more versatile!

The nylon strap's a bit long, so I just gave it that sweet tuck to remedy!

The Item: Sperry x Jeffrey NY Boat Shoes

About a year ago, Pharrell Williams declared that boat shoes were over. To his point, it was the exact same time when everyone and their mama started sporting 'em, shooting up demand and forcing most every brand to make their own uninspired versions. The mass acceptance actually hit me so hard that I stopped wearing my beloved off-white Sperrys altogether, so hard that it would take something quite drastic to get me back to my old boat shoe-wearing ways.

Well, after a yearlong wait, I found just the thing during our recent trip to Hong Kong. Spotted in the very same Lane Crawford where I got my Band of Outsiders Sperrys last year were these sweet collaborative boat shoes from (who else) Sperry for Jeffrey New York. It was the lone item I bought during the trip, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Green all over, tasty suede on the upper, barrel-tied laces making for slip-on wearing - these were absolutely perfect! If Pharrell thought that boat shoes were dead, then this, my friends, is a damn resurrection!

Love the fact that such a preppy item can also carry a lot of street swag

I'm usually wary of buying suede shoes, but this was a no-brainer!

Here they are in action inside the ultra-efficient MRTs of Singapore

Style I Love: Khakis + Tasseled Weejuns

Every man should have a go-to combo that he knows will look good every single time. You know, that one reliable pairing that you can just grab and go especially in times when you wake up late and need to rush out to catch a meeting (so detailed, it may have actually happened). Well, to me, that combination's made up of khakis and my trusty Bass Weejuns. It just feels so right together, right up there with bread and butter, bacon and eggs, Michael and Scottie, oh you get the drift. So iconic it deserves its own pseudo-spotlight; it's a combination that truly stands the test of time.

Khaki Pants (Gap), Tasseled Weejuns Loafers (Bass)

The Guide: My Personal Travel Essentials

Whether it be in Singapore or Manila, there seems to be a tourist uniform that men always follow. Yes, I'm talking about the raggedy shirt, baggy cargos, and flip-flop ensemble. While it may be most comfortable to go around in, one may find oneself at a disadvantage while sporting them. The world of no-shoes, no-pants, no-service still exists after all, and even beyond that, wouldn't you want to look good in all those pictures you're going to take? That's why I wanted to share my travel essentials for my trip to Hong Kong. No, I don't plan on dressing to the nines, but I don't want to go out looking like I just stepped out of my living room either. A middle-ground, I'd say.

So what's inside my diminutive suitcase? 1. Navy collared shirt (Lacoste) for those swankier malls. 2. Yellow V-neck (Gap) for those walk-in-the-sun tourist attraction days. 3. White oxford shirt (Uniqlo) for that fancy dinner date. 4. White logo shirt (Comme Des Garcons Play) for those artful, hipster-y places. 5. Striped shirts in navy and green (Uniqlo) for some harbour front strolls. 6. Tailored khaki shorts (plain + simple) to match with number 2. 7. Blue cardigan (Topman) when mall shopping gives you the chills. 8. Tortoise-shell Clubmasters (Ray-Ban) for every single day (sunlight optional). 9. Navy jeans (Muji) for everything else on this list. 10. Bag? You know it!

I think I'll be okay with these. As for shoes, that's in another post!

The Item: Pedro Bright Suede Boots

Have to admit, I've never been a fan of Pedro shoes. Sometimes they produce decent enough pairs, but more often than not, they throw out pointy, square-toed stinkers which do not have a place on this blog. But as with everything, I am first to give credit where it's due. I was going around Ion the other day when these babies caught my eye. Playful candy-colored suede mid-rise shoes, red-brick soles, and a S$73 price tag too - not bad, not bad at all. Too soon to say though if it's the start of a design resurgence, but you have my attention, Pedro. Your move.

The yellow one's the keeper, but I'd go for the green and orange too.

Style I Love: Showstopping on Orchard Rd.

How do you stand out from a sea of people on a busy street? Simple, by looking as dapper as this dude. Check it out: White button-down, navy blazer, skinny chinos, gray socks, and a black mid-rise boot. Classic with an edge. Sartorial with a hint of swagger. I could go on and on. How he could pull it off in this heat is beyond me, but god bless you, sir. It's people like you who balance out the flood of flip-flops and tank tops that seem to be so popular with tourists nowadays.

Best I've seen on the streets of Singapore thus far. Wish I wasn't in much of a rush!

The Item: Porter x Pointer Canvas Tote

I've always dreamt of owning a Head Porter bag. More than LV, more than Prada, this is the brand I told myself I'd buy when I made myself some money. Funny thing though: I thought it would take me years before I get one (always wanted those expensive 3-way tanker bags), but as it turned out, I didn't have to wait that long. I bumped into this very reasonable Porter x Pointer canvas tote at Rockstar in Orchard Cineleisure and boom, daddy's home. If you wonder why it looks so familiar, the colors were based on one of Pointer's classic shoes which I wrote about here. My first Porter and a limited edition collaboration too? Man, I must've done something right.

First look: Ah, the navy and khaki combination always gets me.

A view from the top. Gotta love that classic orange lining. Very truly Porter!

How it looks when stuffed. I love how the function matches the form!

The Item: The Essential Muji Jeans

Ever since I started the so-called corporate life, I've been very blessed to work in offices that don't have a strict banker's dress code. In my past workplace, the guideline was smart casual, so it was rolled-up khakis, button-downs, and loafers all-day, everyday. When I moved here to Singapore, my new office was way more liberated. After a week of the same preppy ensembles as in Manila, I took a look around and decided that damn, I think I should get more jeans.

When I scoured my closet, I only had 2 pairs to show for: a faded 90s shade and an all-black incarnation - a travesty especially since I don't even have the most crucial colors in stock. So I rushed to Muji to remedy my denim depression. I copped the two basic colors I missed - the classic All-American blue jeans and the most versatile of all - a deep navy number that looks as good with sneakers as they do with leather lace-ups. I've already broken them in quite nicely and I'm proud to report that I'm smoothly adjusting to this looser dress code, or is a lack thereof?

My two new acquisitions in the middle! Appreciate the awesomeness, Muji!

The Art: "Watch the Throne" Documentary

The hype for Kanye West and Jay-Z's joint album "Watch the Throne" just got bigger. In this short documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the thought process and preps in making this dream LP a reality. My favorite parts? How Jay-Z gushed over Kanye's evolution from producer to game-changing artist, watching Hov rap acapella then later on hearing the verse with beats wrapped around it, and yes, that damn Russell Crowe cameo. The bar's been set real high for this one, folks. But knowing these two, they rarely leave us disappointed.

The Item: Happy Birthday Bargains

Much like everyone, I enjoy celebrating birthdays. No, not because I'm growing a year older, but because it's that time of the year where I get an excuse to shop for myself and not feel guilty about it the next day. This year though, since I already got an awesome gift from my girlfriend, I decided to tone it down a bit. Yes, I bought two items, but both were on sale. Doesn't mean I settled though. Essential shirt, check! Classic blazer, you bet! Despite not being as extravagant as I expected, I still managed to give myself a happy birthday without exactly breaking bank.

A navy blue number from shirting icon Lacoste at 50%? Sold!

A striped charcoal gray blazer from the +J Uniqlo line at half-price? I'm game!

Style I Love: Curled Up Collar Suprise

Ever since I discovered oxford shirts, I've always gone for button-down collars for all my shirts. I button them religiously too, as I love the way simple mechanism keeps the collar standing firm, avoiding that god-awful 70s flat spread. That is, of course, until today. A strange thing happened with my oxford shirt's collar this morning just before I was about to button it up. I looked in the mirror and there it was: gloriously curled, all by itself. I don't know if it was the way I ironed it, but whatever it is, methinks I have to do it again. The sheer irony of something looking undone and yet more sophisticated than it should be amuses a man of simple joys like me to no end.

Looks like a fine grown moustache for the neck, doesn't it?

The Item: Sifr "Suresh" Suede Slip-ons

Another day, another new discovery here in good 'ole Singapore. While international brands are usually the name of the game up in here, I'm now very proud to share with you an Asian (read: not Japanese) brand that I can really get behind. The brand's called Sifr and if you must know nothing else about them, they make some gosh-darn beautiful shoes. Sturdy leather soles, a quilted suede upper - I thought these slippers were made in Europe! But surprise, surprise - they're not; they're made in Jakarta by skilled artisans who've been making shoes for over 3 generations now. It was an unexpected twist to the usual quality shoe script. A welcome surprise, to be honest, and hopefully the first of many local brands I'll feature here from here on out.

Sifr's artisans know what's up. I can easily imagine these on a tasteful Italian man!

The Item: The Hipper Gucci Loafer

Quick question: What do you do when you already sell one of the most iconic shoes of all time? Do you tamper with the design that made it famous? Or do you just rest on your laurels and keep on making that money? Well, sir, Gucci didn't make a name for itself by just sitting around! Home to the incomparable Gucci loafers, they updated their best-sellers by adding some bulk and much needed contrast. No longer with its timid sole, the new models sport a chunkier brown leather sole that stands out the same way those trademark horsebit details do. Definitely out of my league now, but it sure is wonderful to watch such a heralded piece get even much better.

The navy blue leather upper is a great touch too. My favorite Gucci loafers ever!

The Store: Supermama on Seah St.

What I love about Singapore is that there's no limit to the shopping surprises they have here. All you have to do is look, explore, and submit yourself to getting lost. Yup, because that's exactly how I found this lovely store called Supermama. I was just aimlessly walking around the Raffles Hotel area one night and I saw this sign pointing to an upstairs retail store. Intrigued, I went up to have my mind blown a few steps after. Tucked away in this old building along Seah St. was an-all Japanese goods store that would make every design lover's heart melt.

They had shirts, school supplies (brass pencil cases!), and even cutlery, but what stood out most to me were the bags. For one, they're the only store in Singapore to carry the Siwa bags designed by Naoto Fukasawa for paper company Onao. Imagine this: your tote, backpack, and laptop sleeve having an exterior made up of a brown paper bag, only it's tear-resistant and approximately 100 times more awesome. Clearly, these alone make the trip to the store worth it, but for a store as well-curated as this, every item whole-heartedly deserves your go-see!

This camel Siwa hold-all is my fave item from the store. Oh, those crumples!

The Siwa bag also comes in a white backpack model and red laptop sleeve!

My kind of school supplies. Those wooden rulers are the shiznit!

What the store lacks in size, it more than makes up for in offerings!

The Item: Uniqlo Skinny Cargo Pants

You know what I haven't done in a while? Yeah, update the blog, I know. But another thing that I've refrained from doing is wear skinny pants. With my weight gain in full swing, I've found it just more practical to switch to regular straight-legged varieties (as chronicled here). But you know what, Uniqlo had a sale recently on their skinny cargo pants from S$70 to S$40 and I just had to try it on. My goodness, their skinny cargos don't only fit well, they're damn comfortable too! Made of stretch satin material but with the look and charm of chinos, I can move whichever way I want now without any discomfort. It took a big sale to do it, but I'm in love again with an old flame!

More grown up than skinny jeans, but I've missed the same slim sensation!

The Item: Fred Perry Singapore Finds

Different country, same old Fred Perry love. It's sad that I don't get to see some dear friends from the Fred Perry shops in Manila anymore, but every I step in an outlet here, I'm reminded why we came together in the first place. Awesome shirts, awesome shoes, and that's really how simple it is! I love this faded collared shirt as its a fresh departure from the classic twin-tipped shirts that Fred made famous. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up, y'know? As for the shoes, oh, it's the definition of a clean, classic sneaker. The interplay of leather and canvas is always a winner, as will these be with all your outfits given the versatile navy blue base!

I'm just a sucker for faded shirts done well. Remember this archaic post, boys?

I have so many sneakers already, but surely there's some room for these!

The Item: Cheap Woven Bracelets

My bracelet collection has been growing uncontrollably in recent months. I even shared a checkpoint post with you guys at one point to show how crowded it's turning out to be, and despite that, it's expanded even more. I think I know why too. It's 'cause I always get attracted to these cheap ass bracelets you can get from any random tiangge stall. I seem to like how they juxtaposition with the more tailored pieces I often wear, giving me that little figurative fray. Unsure of where I'll get it here in Singapore, I loaded up before I left from a stall I found in PowerPlant. From the stack below, I picked the red and navy blue numbers which have become mainstays on my wrists since then. Not bad for P40 a piece! I think I'll grab some more when I come home!

When choosing your own cheapo bracelet, I suggest you go for solid colors first

Oh, will you look at that. Yeezy's got 'em on too, at the CFDA too, no less!

Photo courtesy of GQ