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!