Wasting time, I shall miss this thing when it all rolls by

My last few days of 2011 were spent running errands and doing things I normally wouldn’t be able to do on a weekday if I had to work. I love how our lives are a collection of somethings and nothings, and nothings add up to a great many somethings.  My top 3 favorite “nothings” to do on Christmas break:

  1. Leisurely grocery shopping
  2. Taking a walk outside. Even better if it’s just rained
  3. Cleaning and finding little reminders of a lot of things to be grateful for. Also, lots of things to crack up about

I should also add “wearing shorts” to the list, but it didn’t quite make the cut. On this no-occasion occasion I decided to pair my high-waisted navy shorts with a floaty white blouse. I like how preppy it looks with the shorts’ clean lines. For a small pop of color I added my favourite peacock earrings; the oyster-pink color sets off nicely with the matching headband. To keep the look polished, I pulled my hair back in a sleek ponytail. In a departure from my usual no-makeup look, just for the day I decided to add clean thick black eyeliner to widen my teensy eyes. Tan camel sandals and a navy crossbody bag complete the look.

Go-to Holiday Festive: Little Blue Dress

Most of my December entries have been about dressing for festive Christmas parties at work. Once out of office, rules are immediately relaxed, so one can break out cute party dresses, extra-large accessories, and so on. My favorite go-to dress for daytime events is this little blue dress, purchased for Php350 at a Greenhills tiangge. The sleeveless navy blue dress features tiny polka dots with a white floral trim, a full a-line skirt, and a cinched waist. There’s a lot going on with the dress, so I chose low-heeled camel sandals to balance out all the blue.

For a small pop of color, I like bright accessories, like this tiny London bus pendant on a short chain. Long, flowing wavy hair and deep wine-colored lips help to polish the look. To make it more casual for daytime, blend the edges of the lipstick after applying so the make-up doesn’t look too overly precise, as this will stiffen the overall effect.

Happy new year everyone! 

Tip: Easy to dress up or down, the little blue dress in any shade is a great alternative to black.

Behind the scenes at the shoot for Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Top left. Joseph and me at our senior prom five years ago. Right. The two of us in 2011. Bottom left. With the team. Make-up artist Karen Jean Santos, hair stylist Jay Wee, me, and Joseph Pascual.

Last November, I met up with photographer Joseph Pascual to shoot a collection of pictures to use for Rinse, Wear, Repeat . Joseph shoots full-time now, but he’s been taking photos for the longest time. Here is a photo of the two of us at our Senior Prom five years ago. I don’t think much has really changed.

Left. One of my favorites from the set. Top right. Joseph coaches me on my posing. Bottom right. A wide shot of the place.

We shot three layouts. The first location was at a small restaurant in Mandaluyong called The Frazzled Cook. The owners were kind enough to let us shoot early in the day, before the restaurant opened. I’ve been coming here for a while now; I always like tinkering with the little trinkets and odd things strewn playfully across the space. I asked Joseph to capture the busy, colorful feel of Rinse, Wear, Repeat, and to add an air of thoughtful nostalgia to the overall effect. I had fun with bright, colorful accessories like this hot pink Cambridge satchel, matching belt and jazzy bangles. I kept the rest of the outfit simple, with my favorite slim navy trousers and white blouse with a Peter Pan collar.

Left. A full-body shot. Right. Detail shots of the accessories. Bottom right. Karen and Jay work to create a sweet, romantic look.

We also shot outside, where the wind and sunlight were likely to give the photos an airy, sweet feel. Jay Wee, who did my hair, created this intricate updo with thick braids woven into rosettes, and Karen Jean Santos, who did make-up, kept the entire look very simple and clean. I had fun styling the simple peachy lace dress with contrasting aqua accessories. Joseph captured the dress’ movement and the small details in the accessories. I think I made myself dizzy with all the twirling.

Top left. The inspiration for this look. Bottom left. Close-up of the accessories. Right. A series of full-body shots from this collection.

It was Joseph’s idea to shoot outdoors in this small area in Greenhills. I picked out this beautiful cream dress with a long, flowing collar and a matching belt. I was inspired by this photo of two elegant ladies from the 40s, strolling along in their long dresses and jaunty hats. I envisioned the overall look to pay homage to the era without it looking like a costume, so I asked Karen to give me very full, deep berry red lips for a modern touch, while Jay softened the look by giving me neat-as-a-pin wavy hair. This dress is something I would wear to work, and so Joseph wanted to capture the contrast between the hard cityscape in the background and the soft, aged quality of the overall look.

Thanks to Joseph, Karen and Jay for all the time and effort to make this happen! I had a great time at the shoot, in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well.

Rinse, Wear, Repeat meets Aisa of Drowning Equilibriums

I’m a fan of musician Johnoy Danao’s work and recently attended one of his pop-up gigs at Moonleaf Tea Shop along Maginhawa Street. I was pleasantly surprised to run into Aisa of Drowning Equillibriums at the venue. I really liked her casual but still very put-together look. She layered an oversized white button-down over a plain tank tucked into cute high-waisted blue shorts. The accessories really pull the look together, as she played with small animal prints polished with some black pieces, like the toecaps of her flats and her purse.

Aisa was very candid and told me that accessories really help to bring out individuality when styling office clothes. Trading in the shorts for trousers, I can easily imagine her look at the office.

Holiday Business Festive: Corporate Christmas Party

I really liked my officemate Fren’s outfit to our corporate Christmas party the other day. Here she is with me and my boss, Andrei. With many superiors in attendance, it was important to look polished and festive but still professional. Fren chose this simple white dress from Tyler and dressed it up with luxe ivory accessories. The modern cut and the sheer sleeves really flatter her petite frame and provide much coverage for a work party with many superiors in attendance. A simple updo and her usual sunny smile complete the look.

As a proud outfit repeater, I’m unashamed to admit that I wore the same dress to our Marketing Department Christmas Party and last weekend’s corporate event at Trinoma mall. The teal dress’ strategic draping and modest length make it a perfect go-to outfit for business/pleasure occasions. This time, I polished the overall look with a deep berry lip and a sleek, low ponytail. As long as you won’t be seeing the exact same people, I believe it’s perfectly fine to repeat a good dress for two different occasions (or more).

Attire Required: Festive Holiday Fun, but Professional

Last weekend, I recently experienced the thrill of having a work project come to life, after being there in its infant stage. It took three months, long discussions, and an entire team of creative people to get this up and running, so we were all incredibly excited for the all-day event. While strictly a working day, the occasion still called for festive holiday attire with just a touch of glamor. In addition, it needed to stand up well next to our celebrity endorser, model Georgina Wilson. Below, I share my top tips on choosing the perfect look for a working (but festive) event:

  1. Choose both form and function. I chose this soft, stretchy dress, which allows for a lot of movement. The dress offers a lot of coverage, which is critical for a work event, while still retaining a modern silhouette. The flattering draping covers most problem areas, too.
  2. Rich colors and shiny accessories. Clothes in jewel tones are a holiday staple because they are so bright and festive, and look beautiful in photos. This teal dress is no exception. Thin gold bangles and a small necklace do a lot to lift the simple outfit.
  3. Go for heels, but cheat with wedges. These shiny sandals in a benign nude shade are my new favorite. I stayed upright in them for the whole day without breaking a sweat, too.

Me (and the dress) in action, alongside Kiten (foreground) and Georgina. Photo courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/cadburyph

I was lucky to meet Georgina Wilson at the event, who was really nice and told me that she swears by denim shorts to stay comfortable while navigating her packed schedule.

The 2012 Mega Young Designers Competition

I recently spoke to my friend, fashion designer Mia Syson, about her creative process, personal style, and design influences. Mia was a contestant on the 2010-2011 season of the prestigious Mega Young Designers Competition for up-and-coming fashion designers. While it is the longest-running fashion competition in the country, we have only recently seen the contest in television format. I’m a huge fan of some of the winners that the competition has produced, especially Aries Lagat and Russel Villafuerte, whose careers I’ve followed ever since they appeared on the Philippine version of Project Runway.

I was glad to hear from the people at Mega magazine that the contest is now airing its 2012 season on TV. I’m posting the ad with the show details to support the new designers. I love how they share a common cultural story, but with a thousand differing perspectives. All of this likely makes for a unique voice from each artist. As I observed from my morning with Mia, the creative process is something else to behold.

Rinse, Wear, Repeat Meets Fashion Designer Mia Syson

I’ve been experimenting with different writing styles lately. I’m now working on a series of short features on interesting women who love style, filed under the “People and Friends I Still Can Recall” section. These people, a collection of bloggers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and artists have found major ways to integrate personal style into their daily lives, whether for expression, as a means of livelihood, or simply for inspiration. The second feature in this series, about my old friend and schoolmate Mia Syson, can be found below. Mia is an up-and-coming fashion designer, was a contestant in last year’s Mega Young Designers Competition, and has her own online store, Mia Zarah Couture. She was kind enough to let me visit her Marikina studio, where we talk over cookies and orange juice. 

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