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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Art of Wardrobe Building

 (photo via deadfleurette.com)

Personal style is a much neglected topic in this blog. That is why I have decided to devote more posts to it. You see, while I do tend to ramble on about stuff that I want, the fact of the matter is, I manage a very small wardrobe. Ok, fine, small is relative, but believe me when I say, all my clothes fit in 2 small cabinets.

I do not have a walk-in closet, and if I did, I would have trouble filling it. 

Simply put, my philosophy when it comes to shopping is very Parisian or shall I say Parisienne, ala "A Guide to Elegance".

"One of the most striking differences between a well-dressed American and a well-dressed Parisienne is in the size of their respective wardrobes. The American would probably be astonished by the very limited number of garments hanging from the Frenchwoman's closet, but she would also be bound to observe that each one is of excellent quality, expensive perhaps by American standards, and perfectly adapted to the life that the Frenchwoman leads...Americans are often shocked by the high prices in the Paris shops, and they wonder how a young career girl, who earns half the salary of her American counterpart can afford to carry an alligator handbag and to wear a suit from the Balmain boutique. The answer is that she buys very few garments; her goal is to possess a single perfect ensemble for each of the different occasions in her life, rather than a wide choice of clothes to suit her every passing mood."   

Growing up, I had a very limited shopping budget, which I found to be well, limiting. But on the bright side of things, it eventually trained me to think all purchases through. I only buy what I love. I buy things that last. Now that I can afford to splurge at times, I do not settle for second best. I would rather have one classic piece or wait until I can buy the item I really want, than spend on ten trendy or "pwede na" items I would end up giving away.

When I was in college, I was worried about repeating outfits and thought it necessary to buy a lot of cheap stuff. Looking back, while I did have a some great buys, I wish I just spent my allowance wisely on pieces I can use up to now. Such as my first "designer bag", a Burberry satchel I bought for £60 (which was a lot for a 19 year old me at the time) at the Burberry factory outlet in East London, and a pair of Patrick Cox loafers. In fairness, the bag is still alive up to now. The Patrick Cox loafers, I have given those away years ago. While the leather and construction was great, the style wasn't timeless enough. Lesson learned? If you're gonna spend on quality, then make sure it's going to be a classic that can withstand the test of time. Otherwise, its not a good buy.

Sure, the drawback to having a small wardrobe is I tend to repeat items a lot. I have a pretty uniform look. But everything is in a style that works for me and my lifestyle. I can dress up in five minutes, because everything in my closet is true to my style and they all work together. And because I value fit, proportion and quality materials, even if I keep on wearing the same items, they will never look tired.

In this age and time where people seem to be obsessed about acquiring, hunting for deals, substituting and other fleeting fancies, I think the focus should be on building the perfect wardrobe. On a collection that "tells the story of your life". On quality, not quantity.

Watch out for more posts on this subject. If there is one thing I would like for all of you dear readers to learn from this blog, it would be a mind towards thoughtful consumption.

Current/Elliott x Marni

This collaboration is old news, in fact, Marni in Hilton Shopping Gallery had a couple of Current/Elliott x Marni pieces on sale last month. But hey, there's this saying:


I have four pairs of Current/Elliotts on rotation and since I don't have the budget for a pair of novelty denims, I will make do with what I have and figure out a way to capture this look. 

I have an elastic J.Crew belt that looks exactly like the ones in the photo. Check!

I like the socks and high heeled clogs look, but since our weather is tropical, maybe it will work with light colored socks and my Chloe wedges, just to get that chunky look. Now if only I managed to snag those Marni flatforms on sale last season, ugh!

Any graphic tee will do, it doesn't have to be Marni. 

But oh, how nice if I could invest in a quirky Marni neckpiece. Just to pay homage to a look I've decided to steal.

Jockey Giveaway Winners


And the winners are...

 Congratulations, ladies!!!

Please wait for the email from Jockey Philippines, so you'll know when to pick up your prize. Enjoy shopping for your Jockeys!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Samantha Sotto in Singapore


In Singapore this Sunday? Come to Sam's book signing event, 2 pm at Prologue, ION Orchard! 

Feel free to bring your family and friends! =)

Mongha


Just when I thought I was done with oxfords, I found another style to get obsessed about - monk straps, specifically, double monk straps.

My friends, these three up above, these are no mens shoes. They are monk straps specifically made for the ladies, hence our title Mongha, heehee. 

Discovered these at net-a-porter and I like the Ralph Lauren and Burberry ones the best. The style is still very masculine, but made with feminine proportions in mind. My cup of tea.

Anyhoo, here is some bit of information about monk straps, courtesy of Esquire's The Handbook of Style, which in my opinion, is a must buy for the guy in your life. It's filled with chockfull of background stories and tips, that will hopefully educate your man about style:


The Hallmark: A buckle-and-strap closure that replaces traditional eyelets and laces.

Variations: Navy suede and the quirkier two-strap model.

Wear it with: A serious worsted suit - and almost any other style of suit or tailored trouser. Of course, the rules are different for us girls, we can wear these monk straps with anything! 

Wear it to: Work and play - it's a true chameleon.

Wear it at your own risk: On very formal occasions

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Shoptalk Interview



Thanks Neva of Manila Mommy for spotting this!

Dear readers, here I am talking about the baby-safe, baby friendly products we brought in. Now you know how I talk, heehee!

MFO Shoe Series: Trina Villanueva, Los Angeles


I know, I know, it has been awhile since I've updated my shoe series. I feel bad whenever you guys tell me how much you love the series, then here I am not religiously doing it as I should. Eeeee! Zo zorry! But I promise to make up for it!

Today, I would like you to meet my sister Trina, who is a banker by day, and Bacardi by night. Just kidding. She's a beach bum/snow bunny on the weekends, which is doable if you live in California. Unlike me, she's the outdoorsy type. She may have a bit of the bohemian spirit in her, yet she's quite the practical shopper, scouring discount retailers and always shopping for the best deals.


While she does invest on Loeffler Randall boots, most of the shoes in her closet are sturdy, reasonably priced and are guaranteed classics. But of course, she also makes room for a couple of unconventional choices.

Work days: Pumps in all shades of neutral, from Cole Haan, Nine West, Bandolino


Weekends: Superga, TOMS and Asics

How many pairs of shoes do you own? 

30+ right now and except for 1 pair they're all less than 3yrs old. I had to throw away old faves whenever I move houses so I try not to get attached.

What's your shoe size?

US 7.5, 8, 8.5

Which pairs are your favorites? 

That's tough. but, My fave is easily my Diesel Aynis (top row, second from left).


Top 2 would be the Ivy by Loeffler Randall (top row, 1st on left).


Loved it so much that I got the over the knee Riley as well.


If you could only wear one pair of shoes, which one would it be?

Ok, when it comes to wearing just 1 shoe, well it all depends on the purpose... Like for work, I like my Cole Haan Air peep toe pumps. I have a bunch of office shoes but I always go to this one.


I used to love my Cole Haan Air Violet wingtips but it's hot in LA and I like my feet to breathe! Now if I weren't working, I'm happy with any of my flip-flops.


What are your favorite shoe brands? 

Loeffler Randall is an easy fave, Cole Haan Air for work, DVF has some really comfy stilettos in buttery kid leather, I guess I don't pay attention to the brands so much. I browse based on looks then I decide based on comfort then lastly price. But comfort is my priority and I've noticed most expensive shoes are worth their price.

What's in your shoe lust list? 

Hmmm, Chanel flats would be nice as they're so comfy. I've always loved the collections at Chloe. I suppose a Stavros Melissinos haute sandals should be in every girl's closet

Where do you buy shoes?

Online!!! I hate to pay full price so i do wait for sales at department stores. I also love the outlets, Nordstrom Rack, DSW, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Off Fifth, even Marshalls or TJ Maxx! I really love collections featured at Anthropologie and Madewell.

Quirky types: Biviel shoes spotted in an Anthropologie catalog, Zara TRF lace up mary janes

What's that one shoe you can't bear to give away or throw out? 

My plum Diesel Aynis. That colour was exclusive to London and I always get compliments on it. I used to wear a lot of black so it perks my wardrobe a little. But the reason why I can't throw it out is because we have a long history. I bought it at the Covent Garden flagship store to cheer myself up and I wore it everywhere. I have memories of hitting the London tube alarm then having to walk from Covent Garden to Russell Square in it because of the bomb scare; walking the snowy streets in SoHo in NY looking for another pair of winter boots; dancing at Orchard Towers with my friend Camille in Singapore; walking up and down the hills of San Francisco with my husband Jun... I just have so many fun travel memories with it. It has lots of character. I'm sure you can relate how shoes can transform a person...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mustela bébé


My Darlings, I just wanted to share with all of you that Mustela, Berry's go to brand for skincare, has been available in Manila for a few months now. You may have come across these products in Rustan's or in one for their stalls, and I urge you to give it a try. I first came across Mustela when my friend Sarj said I should add it to my baby registry. A 60 year old French skincare brand with 4 different ranges (including 9 Months, Dermo-Pediatrics & Sun Protection) and widely used by moms and babies in Europe, I like that it is hypoallergenic, paraben and phthalate free and has a delicate delicate smell unlike other baby products. I also think it has played a huge role in taking care of Berry's sensitive skin.

I remember when Berry was a newborn and I was so clueless. I would bathe her twice a day, in warm water, not realizing that it was drying out her skin. She broke out with eczema and it was so bad I felt like crying looking at her. At the time, I did not realize that baby skin was a whole lot more sensitive than I thought. Here's how Mustela illustrates it:

So, I drastically changed her bathing routine, giving her a bath only once a day, using Mustela's Foam shampoo and Dermo-cleansing, but this time in tepid water. Then I would give her a rubdown of olive oil after. In less than a month, her eczema cleared up and her skin was as soft as a baby's should be.


Thankfully, diaper rash was never a problem with us. I swear Berry has never had a diaper rash ever. Our nurse in the hospital recommended that we not use baby wipes  on our newborn for diaper changes because of the chemicals, so instead, we did it the old fashioned way with cotton balls, but soaked in water or PhysiObebe (which incidentally, is so mild it doubles as a great makeup remover according to Tammy Tancinco of Mustela Philippines)

From the very first diaper change, I also religiously applied Mustela Vitamin Barrier cream every time Berry had to change her nappy. When she was born till the time she turned one, I only had to use a tube of the Vitamin Barrier cream. It's worth it because you only apply so little and it goes a long way.

I do switch Mustela with Kiehl's Baby, but Mustela almost always wins out when it's time to replenish. I continue to buy it because I just can't risk it. I have thought of switching to Johnson's now that Berry is bigger, and besides, it is a lot cheaper. But whenever I take a sniff of it, I find the smell too strong now, all I can think of is chemicals. I know strange, I grew up using Johnson's so it should be fine, but Mustela is just so much milder and more natural.

I swear by Mustela that I would enthusiastically recommend it to expecting moms, and moms with new babies. Actually, a set of Mustela bébé products make a great baby shower or christening gift too! Baby bath products are a practical yet still thoughtful present that a mom will cherish forever. I always remember our friends Apoorv & Chinmayee whenever I use Mustela, and our cousins Henry & Brenda when I use Baby Kiehls's.

Especially if your baby has sensitive skin like Berry's, I am saving you time and telling you now, you don't have to try any other brand, just stick to Mustela, and you're baby's skin will be better than fine.

Look for Mustela at:
Ayala Trinoma 1st Level ( beside Cafe Mary Grace )
Robinson's Manila 1st Level Midtown Wing ( beside Topshop )
Pure Beauty 2nd Floor Serendra
All Rustan's department stores
Glorietta 4, 3rd Level (in front of Gourdo's and Play & Display)

Soon to open:
Shangrila Mall, Level 4, in front of Mothercare- Oct 15, 2011
Megamall A, 2nd Level, in front of Esprit- Nov 1, 2011
All Landmark Department Stores- 1st week of October 2011

MUSTELA HOTLINE:
0917-8959988
Email: mustelaphilippines@yahoo.com
Website: www.mustela.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

E. Murio Furniture & Accessories Sale


If you're nesting, looking for an accent piece for your home, or you simply just want to invest in exceptional furniture, calendar the E. Murio Sale happening on:

Friday, September 23, 2011 from 1 to 6 pm
Saturday,  September 24, 2011 from 9 am to 6 pm 

Venue: Urdaneta Hall, 26 Urdaneta Avenue, Urdaneta Village, Makati City

E. Murio is a furniture workshop that designs and manufactures fine furniture, built-in cabinetry, specialty floor and wall coverings, and home accessories.

The company specializes in natural materials such as tropical woods, fiber and grass weaves, rattan, and bamboo, while also working with iron, veneers, brass, leather, bone, and plastic weaves.

E.Murio's designs are rooted on classic pieces, and now venturing into more modern, ambiguous forms using traditional techniques. 

E. Murio's design philosophy, according to designer Trisha de Borja-Samson is about furniture transcending mere function. "We like to think of our work as intimate architecture for the body and for our lives that inhabit them - where a medicine cabinet can hold pills, or a series of mundane objects, or a collection of items that connect to our dreams." 


Here are a few of the select pieces included in the sale, judging from these alone, I think it is worth a visit!




Blog Giveaway: Sabatino Tartufi Truffle Salt from Truffles & More


If you have always wanted a little something extra in your every day dishes, all it takes is a pinch of truffle salt to make it more decadent.

What's better than indulging in a bit of luxury, is getting your hands on your very own bottle of Sabatino Tartufi truffle salt from Truffles & More and MFO!

We will be raffling off one bottle of Sabatino Tartufi Truffle Salt, to stock in your pantry. How to get it there? Here's how:

1. Like the Truffles & More Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/trufflesandmore

2. Follow @Truffles_Manila on Twitter

3. Leave a comment or email me at manilafashionobserver@gmail.com and tell me where you want to use your bottle of truffle salt (Subject: Truffles & More Giveaway). Make sure to leave your contact info!

So easy! Last day for entries is on October 4, 2011. Winner will be announced within the 1st week of October.

Vestito Opens at The Ramp at Crossings, Shangri-la


If you liked Plum, you will like Vestito as much. Vestito is the dressier version of Plum, which makes it perfect for career women who want to double up on style - whether it be a workday or a weekend.


"Working in the corporate world, it was a struggle to find a dress that I can wear on both a weekday and a weekend that was within my budget. I couldn't find dresses with classic and clean silhouettes that could take me from the office to the occasional dress-up lunches and dinners." shared Angela Operana-Batoon of Vestito.

And with that, she decided to make her own dresses. With the encouragement of friends and colleagues who all loved her designs, she decided to venture out with her own line of clothes, with a mind to make it perfect for both work and play.


While she has separates as well, dresses are VESTITO's specialty. "I have always liked wearing a dress to work simply because to me it’s the easiest! It’s just one piece of clothing, I throw in bold accessories, a YSL bag and shoes to match and I’m off to work. When I change my shoes to ballet flats or nice metallic sandals, then I’m all set for Saturday brunch. It’s a great solution when you have a shopping budget to work with." Angela explained.


Vestito dresses are simple yet chic, and all it takes is a change of accessories and the dress gets a whole new look.

"It’s frustrating when you have to prioritize; do I buy a chic weekend dress, an office appropriate get up or something dressier for my special night outs? I hope with this line, fewer women will have to worry about these sorts of problems.” Angela stressed.



Vestito is available at The Ramp at Crossings, Shangri-la. Price points range from Php1,100 to Php3,500.

For updates on Vestito, LIKE their Facebook Page.

Looks I Love


It has been a while since I checked out J.Crew. I have been trying to avoid it because I really have way too many things now, there's no justification to it. But I figured, it's fall now so there really shouldn't be anything there I can use, except browse for inspirational looks.

And I was not disappointed. Here are my faves:

From L to R: (1) I can recreate this look with what I have in my closet, while the Play CdG cardigan will still be on my wishlist. (2) That yellow skirt is amazing and those leopard slippers! (3) Simple, chic, with a leathery twist!

From L to R: (1) Love the nude + red combo. I really need nude pumps in my wardrobe. (2) That cape, I want one! (3) Grey and blue varsity colors = a look that is sporty yet ultra-feminine!

Now if only Singapore had sweater weather!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunnies Sale at SM Mall of Asia

Planning to splurge on sunnies? Don't buy yet!

Wait for the Lobby Sale at SM Mall of Asia (Main Mall) happening on September 16 – 18, 2011! Brands included in the sale are D&G, Dolce&Gabbana, Guess & Ray-Ban!


Discounts also apply on luxury brands like Burberry, Ferragamo, Prada, and Versace, which are outside the lobby sale area.  Check them out at the Ground Floor, Branded Accessories section of SM department store, Mall of Asia!

Oh, and for those purchasing Guess eyewear, you get a free tote bag for your purchase!

The Moleskine Traveling Collection

My Moleskine reporter notebook is a fixture in my bag. I whip it out when an idea pops in my head, when I am interviewing someone for an article, when I am taking down notes for a potential story, or when I am drawing up a wishlist. Toni, my friend Sarj's hubby calls it my "Inspector notebook" and I like how official it feels when whip it out my bag and slip off the elastic.


These days, Moleskine has gone beyond notebooks, planners and travel guidebooks. They recently came out with a collection of travel bags, writing instruments and reading accessories, which are all seriously well-designed, in keeping with Moleskine tradition.

The Travelling Collection has everything the modern nomad would need.

"The Messenger Bag is a robust over-the-shoulder urban carryall. The durable and versatile Tote Bag is made with water-repellent materials and a molded base for added stability; while the stylish Utility Bag features several external and internal pockets with zippers for flexible, secure storage.

Chic and compact, the Reporter Bag closely reflects the character of the Moleskine notebook right down to the elastic closure; the Backpack, on the other hand, incorporates adjustable, removable shoulder straps and a molded base to allow the bag to stand when it’s set down. Multipurpose Cases (you can choose from four different sizes) offer storage pouches fitted with Velcro at the rear to keep them attached to the bag lining. Finally, Moleskine Laptop Cases are fitted with stretch fabric, velour lining and light padding to safeguard digital creativity."

Don't forget to check out the Reading and Writing Collections, for a vast array of tools that will make reading & writing more enjoyable. The new Moleskine collections are available at National Book Store Greenbelt, Power Plant Mall, SM Mall of Asia and Trinoma.

For the full 2011 collection and prices, LIKE the National Bookstore page on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Giveaway: Shanghai Surprize

It's the Second week of September and I have a Special Surprize giveaway for you Sweethearts...

Herewith please find, the Sassy, Slithering, Snake-tastic Shanghai in python!


Take note that Shanghais have a deliberately mismatched design. Big python scales on your right foot, smaller, cuter?! scales on your left. Why so? Maybe because it's hard to decide which one looks nicer, so with this, you get the best of both worlds?


Actually, your guess is as good as mine! If you want to win a Python Shanghai, leave a comment and answer the question:
  
Why do you think these Python Shanghais are mismatched?

Don't forget to:
1) Like Anthology Shoes on Facebook +  MFO on Facebook

2) Follow @AnthologyShoes + myself @cd_mfo on Twitter
For extra brownie points, share with us how you would style your Shanghai on Miss-Match* (To create looks on Miss-Match, sign-up and register, it's free!) and email a screencap to manilafashionobserver@gmail.com


The person with the most interesting answer gets 10 points. If you create a look with the python Shanghais, you automatically get 5 points. So whoever comes up with the most points, wins a pair of python Shanghais!

Deadline for entries is on September 28, 2011. Sssssaaali na!


*Note: Miss-Match styling portion of this contest was coordinated with the LabRats.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barça Fever

From Shibuya, let's go to *cue beauty contestant shout out here* Barcelonaaaaa!


If you're not the oxfords wearing type, and can't take any more of oxfords this and oxfords that from me, ok I will shut up for now and will tell you more about Anthology's first loafers, called Barcelona.

Shut up MFO, loafers? 

No, you, shut up! 

Hehehe, just kidding. 

Yes, we're talking loafers here, babies! Here's a beige one in kid leather, with contrast cushioned leather insoles...


...and the suede and patent version you've seen above. Both come with an Anthology rubber sole:


It's Php 3,995 a pair and the perfect piece to wear with dresses, rolled up denims and shorts, especially when you feel like channeling Alexa Chung.

So, quit loafing about and get it HERE! To reserve or inquire call 0917 89 ANTHO (26846) or email info@anthologyshoes.com

Hasta la vista, precious pesos. Hold-up na ito!

アンソロジー


Hay Anthology! No thanks to you, this Brogues & Oxfords Obsession? It just never ends. Look at what Anthology came up with this time. The Shibuya in all its two tone, colorful gum sole glory.


Nice no? Here's one more to make your heart ache. The Shibuya in midnight blue kid suede with a, can I say ugh!, heart wrenchingly adorbs green gum sole!


I have a black & white cap toe oxford from Rag & Bone but I still want the Shibuya in black & white. And since I also don't have dark blue brogues, with colorful contrast soles, I think I want that too. So hard to choose! I swear, these Shibuyas will make your wallet want to commit harakiri!

Available for Php4,595 and exclusively at Anthem Greenbelt 5 and Anthem Rockwell. To reserve or inquire call 0917 89 ANTHO (26846) or email info@anthologyshoes.com

Ano, harakiri, este, hala bira na ba?!
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