the clothes don’t make the man

I don’t really have a personal style. Or if I do, it changes and it’s never constant.

I was never really into fashion. I’ve always found myself more comfortable being comfortable and while I totally understand that what you wear is the first impression anyone ever has of you — the medium is the message, after all — but I think that you give me just five minutes and I think I can express myself better with what I say than how I look.

I love this sign

I love this sign

As the youngest in the family, I grew up wearing hand me downs from all my older siblings. And it was fine with me. As long as all necessary body parts were covered, I was cool with that. I also had this thing where I didn’t like being given special treatment because of how I looked, because people thought I was a cute child and all, so I turned away from it. I never really bothered to make myself look good, trying to focus on my more inherent traits.

When I hit college, I was wearing a lot of oversized clothes, hand me downs from my brothers who were all much bigger than me in size and shape. I was comfortable. I never followed trends and always dressed how I felt. I was so comfortable in my tie-dyed pants that I wore it regularly evoking a sort of beatnik, hippie look. When I graduated, a few friends took over my wardrobe and taught me to dress up and I learned the finer arts of power dressing and wearing what actually looked good on me. After so many years of being invisible and wanting people to take me for who I was inside, my ego wanted to look good and look like how I felt inside or dreamt I could be.

For the better part of my early twenties, I started dressing better, no longer taking my brother’s clothes and preferring clothes that fit me better. I could get away with a lot more because I had a very strange body type. I was small but have a big skeletal structure so even if I wasn’t fit, I looked fit.

When my social climber days ended in the mid-2000s, I decided to give it up and became a workhorse. I was in television production and the more basic the clothing, the better. I needed work clothes and I adjusted again. I was making a lot of money then so I could afford to switch from work clothes to my night out pieces and that was fine too.

Then some huge shift happened to me in 2007/2008. It got boring. I had begun to mature and to think of these things as superficial and shallow. I could appreciate clothes and fashion for their quality and what they represented, but I became more pragmatic and practical. I also turned nationalistic and started dressing in basic tees — white, black, and grey — and jeans. I also started buying a lot of local products to help push the Philippine fashion industry and because their sizes fit me very well. I liked a lot of stuff from Bench and Folded & Hung but lately, I’ve started to really love the shorts that Penshoppe has been putting out and everything from Oxygen. I love ’em.

Basic House in Greenhills

Basic House in Greenhills

Now, I’ve shifted again. I still prefer basics but I like to dress a little better now and I’m not so exclusive. I still buy Filipino fashion when I can but I’ve opened my eyes to checking out other retailers as well. Basic House opened a branch in Greenhills and I’m currently really digging their pieces. Good quality and affordable. I like their stuff. They are good quality products and their fashion doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, which is more my thing. I find myself more comfortable when I dress low-key.

I think I prefer the low-key approach to dressing because I find that it counter balances my gregarious and outrageous personality. Keep ’em guessing, is what I am gunning for.

There are times I will make the trek all the way to Uniqlo because I just love their items there but the last time I went, the only thing I wanted to get was an Easy Jacket that was so lovely but a little outside my price range. But I have my eyes set on it. I want it. I want it badly.

I don’t know why I wanted to write about fashion today. I just did. It’s just a strange aspect of me. I worked in the fashion industry, as a features editor for lifestyle magazines for the better of three years, so I understand the complexities behind it. I have great respect for the creativity and the hard work involved. It’s just not what drives me.

I see fashion more as something that I can use rather than it consuming me. It was never what I was about, the way it is all some people are about. The clothes don’t make the man. That’s what I always thought. That’s how I roll.


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