Love Chic

Great Man theory: José Rizal, Superman

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Today is José Rizal’s birthday and the day I got to watch “Man of Steel.” Two heroes with a universe of a difference—one real, one imaginary, yet both permanently etched in history as beacons of hope in mankind’s inherent goodness.

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I had planned for this to be a tribute post for Rizal, hence the subtle nod to the way he dressed. He was quite the dapper gentleman, sharp and handsome in his coats and jackets.

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But writing about one’s hero can be a challenging task. How do you tell the story of someone whom everybody on this side of the world is familiar with? As for the things about him that are not widely familiar, how do you condense everything you know and admire about someone you’ve looked up to your whole life, into a few paragraphs?

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Rizal is one of the first national heroes that Filipino children encounter, in their one-peso coins and school books. We all know his life and death story. We all know of his famous novels and his equally famous loves. We know that there are monuments and parks and museums and streets and establishments named after him. What else? Well, he is a polymath—excellent in many fields, and a polyglot—conversant in 22 languages. If he were alive today, he’d be receiving awards left and right for his interdisciplinary achievements: educated in Ateneo and UST, attended universities in Europe. He practiced medicine, trained in mixed martial arts, dabbled in visual arts (painting, sketching, sculpting, woodcarving, and get this: comics making). He wrote poetry, essays, novels and papers in various topics and using various languages. He was one of the first proponents of non-violence, perhaps even before Gandhi. He was a visionary: his literary works and his words are just as relevant (if not more so) today as it was during his time.

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I have always been awed by him. His greatness inspires and frustrates me at the same time—the hope that if Rizal could be all of these things, so could I, and the awareness that few are destined for his kind of greatness. This afternoon, I sat down and tried to articulate it all but drew a blank. Giving up, I went out with my mom to see “Man of Steel” for inspiration. By now I’m sure most of you have watched this movie. I’ve read some comics spanning different universes and seen past movies, and while I’m not about to delve into how this particular reboot inevitably veered away from some well-established Superman canon, I will say that I for one appreciate the efforts to ground it more on reality and plausibility. Unfavorable reviews notwithstanding, I enjoyed the film. (Plus, Henry Cavill is smoking hot. Hee.) It underscores how being good and making a difference in the world is not so much reliant on some pre-determined path laid out for us, as on our own choices.

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After the movie, I remembered a Vsauce video I watched this morning about honor, the Great Man theory (that mankind’s history is impacted by only a few men whose destiny it is to be great) and the Accumulation of Advantage (that given the right advantages and circumstances, anyone has an opportunity to be great). The latter is a criticism of the former, but I believe the two are intertwined. I thought that for my Rizal tribute I’d also touch on Kal-el—ordinary in Krypton, and on Earth raised on an ordinary farm by ordinary folk, who just happened to be stronger and faster and more powerful than humans but is a good man with or without superpowers. How Rizal, born to a wealthy family with access to the best education that schools and world travel can give, made use of his gifts for the good of his people. And then I remembered the cover of my History textbook in Ateneo.

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It’s one of my favorite books by one of the foremost experts on anything and everything Rizal: Sir Ambeth has dedicated his life and career to discovering the person behind the legends and myths. The ordinary individual with his foibles and human failings, the funny anecdotes, the contexts of his actions and words. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this image of Rizal as Superman came to mind on the same day I encountered them both and also happened to see the video. It is all a reminder of the importance of heroic imagination—to borrow from Vsauce, “thinking socio-centrically, not ego-centrically. Most heroes are everyday people who emerge as heroes in particular situations.” Here’s to the hope that when our chance comes, we would. •

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Outfit details: Mango tailored jacket, Paper Dolls button-down blouse, Marithe+Francois Girbaud jeans, Cole Haan Lunar Grand wingtips, Dooney & Bourke bag, Guess wristwatch, SM Accessories necklace and bangle.

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Hype on Lookbook here, vote on Chictopia here.

Bipolar

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Such a trite, overused word that I try to avoid 99% of the time, but unfortunately an apt description for this post. 

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Francis Libiran for Myth mens button-down, Divisoria umbrella-print tank top and denim shorts, YRYS fishnet stockings, Adidas sneakers, Nine West bag, The Belle Soeurs accessories. Hype this on Lookbook here and vote on Chictopia here.

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We shot this yesterday at Rockwell, and it was really sunny one minute while the next minute brought rainshowers. So yes, bipolar: the top and shorts for the heat, the button down-turned-blazer and stockings for the cold.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for menswear and androgynous pieces, long before “boyfriend polo” and “fashion blogging” officially entered the style lexicon. When I was younger, this preference for masculine apparel was often subject to subtle mockery. But really, what’s not to like? It’s slouchy, comfy and loose, like being in house clothes albeit better-looking.

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Haphazard braids (the title of this post on Lookbook and Chictopia) that I did on the way while bored in traffic. Wore it for the rest of the day when Seph said he liked how it turned out. I thought I had colored my hair red evenly after the Funky Streaks experiment, but look at that! Turns out I still have four different colors in my hair. Cool.

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Basic Black iced tea (without ice lol) because I have a cough, colds and a croaking voice that sounds like a thirteen-year-old boy going through both puberty and a sore throat, but it’s almost a tradition to drive thru for Basic Black on errands days.

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Thanks to sisters Via and Vina Guerrero of The Belle Souers for these!

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I seldom bring bags because I’m lazy like that, but on days that I do, it’s usually small ones just for my wallet, keys and phones. This one from Nine West was a gift from my cousins in the US and it’s my favorite for being the perfect size, weight and color.

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Lace sneakers from Adidas that I seldom wear because I like them a lot and don’t want to wear them out! When I do my outfits, I usually have a running theme with some of the pieces. I wore these because my hair was in braids and my bag was pink (girly floral lace), but I had rugged shorts and fishnet stockings on (high-cut black sneakers). Don’t worry if you didn’t get that—it didn’t really make that much sense, haha.

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In the car just before braiding, taken with Instagram. Hihi. Follow me on there @shailagarde!

Manning up

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Francis Libiran for Myth men’s button-down, Chemistry dress, Schu brogues. Second outfit for the Myth menswear challenge. Hype this on Lookbook here and vote for our outfits on our joint Chictopia here.

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We had a meeting with some wonderful folks yesterday for an upcoming project. They requested that we come in our usual complementary outfits but without being too dressy, so they could take photos for their pitch.  

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I wore this men’s button-down over a sleeveless Chemistry dress. It was too long, so I left the last three buttons undone, tied the bottom of the shirt into a knot and tucked in the knot upward.

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Good thing the sleeves weren’t too long for my arms and could pass off as stylishly oversized, like a loose Korean top. Except of course with crisp details on the cuff, collar and pocket.

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This pair of brogues is beginning to be one of my favorites. Just change the socks or wear it without and your outfit’s “vibe” instantly changes. We thought “manning up” would be an appropriate title for tonight, not only because of the menswear element in this outfit post, but because of what’s currently going on in our lives. Lately, we’ve been rethinking and reassessing a lot of our major decisions the past few months. There are steps we have been afraid to take, fears we have been hesitant to overcome, hesitations we have been allowing to get the better of us. Maybe it has something to do with being in your mid-20s? That feeling of not being quite sure what you’re doing with your life, whether or not any of the things you do still make you as happy and fulfilled as they used to, and a nagging uncertainty that causes you to feel inadequate when you happen to compare yourself with people your age who seem to have come so far. This upcoming project is one of those things that we hope would help us get out of this current rut, something to take our minds off the shallow things and empower us to, well, man up. Already, we’re beginning to feel a change. We can’t wait for the better things to start coming. 

Francis Libiran for Myth

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Francis Libiran for Myth button-down, Greenhills denim shorts, Coach bag, Schu flatforms. Hype this on Lookbook here.

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I got the chance to meet Francis last year when I interviewed and profiled summer’s hottest personalities for Metro Magazine. I was immediately blown away by how humble, soft-spoken and genuinely passionate Francis seemed about the local fashion industry. That, and well, his good looks too.

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After hearing the good news about ANTM, I was beyond delighted! I’ve always been a fan of the show (who isn’t?) but this cycle is extra special because London is one of the cities I’ve wanted to see since ever, thanks to Parent TrapHarry Potter and Love Actually. Anything Brit never fails to catch my fancy. This might be a dorky thing to say, but wearing one of his designs makes me feel “closer” to the show, hahaha!Check out Myth on Facebook and Twitter and the boutique at Greenbelt 5.