It can’t be helped that we tend to view things from the perspective of the majority. This is what works, this is what should be, this is the accepted practice, this is the norm. The standard.
It also can’t be helped that despite what we know better, sometimes we succumb and view ourselves from this same perspective. Am I—the clothes I wear, the things I accomplish, the talents I possess, the company I keep—good enough, from this perspective?
And therein lies all the self-doubt and insecurity and failure to see things properly. We become so engrossed in what they say we should know, not what we already know. When we pit ourselves against others in a game of Who’s Better, we never win.
I’ve experienced this so many times growing up that I can’t even count the incidents. I’m a bit like Mike Ross of Suits, however, in that I can remember in vivid detail the littlest details from the past, all the way from when I was three. Let’s go as far back as pre-school.
I was the youngest, and everyone else was painting their eggshell mosaic in the basic shades that came with the watercolor palette. I mixed some colors in mine, so my mosaic looked different. Though my work got hung on the bulletin board, I resorted to using basic colors for the next project to make them stop calling me weird. Another time when I was seven, the teacher taped a “King David” card on the blackboard, with a dozen random words on the other side. We were to pick a word that describes King David and place it around his name. I raised my hand, got my turn, and picked “ruler.” I was promptly laughed at and told that rulers are school supplies.
I could go on and on, but the point is, the more I tried back then to be on the same plane as the rest of them, the more I felt the disconnect. It was quite the struggle, trying to find your place while trying to not be out of place, as you may have felt too.
A comment I get a lot is that I have a way of putting forth ideas and outfits differently. That I don’t seem to simply be looking at trends, following them to a “T” and then merely compiling and rehashing them as if my blog were an RSS feed of content that can already (and more conveniently) be found in legit publications. It’s because I really don’t.
I work a real job in media after all; we are trained to keep an ear on the ground for anything approaching, to keep constant watch on what’s buzzing, to track the trending. Having sufficient awareness of whatever is going to hit mainstream soon, how long it’s likely to last, and the likelihood of its fade out, I tend to refrain from hitching my wagon on it. This habit extends to real life. It feels nice to be ahead—and when not possible, to be left behind to examine something on its own merits while the many have moved on to the next hype. When people would be abuzz about the latest trilogy or book or artist, I would stay away from the news feeds and wait out the loud chatter, returning only when it dies down and I could check it out for myself without any majority opinion to sway mine.
For me, mastering trends means studying the peaks and troughs of their precedents and feeling out predictions from there. Having a sense of what’s poised to hit it big, and simply injecting bits and pieces of it into my own take on things, regardless of whether or not it is hashtag-worthy.
An enduring favorite of many, myself included, has been activewear-sportsluxe-street-urban-sporty-athletic-varsity-chic (insert other fancy terms that point to the same trend of mixing sportswear with stylish clothes here). It’s enjoyed a tenure almost as long-lasting as animal prints and spring florals, but it is a trend undeniably headed towards its demise. I feel skater skirts and dresses would function as transitionary pieces: still as sporty, but versatile enough to make the shift from sporty to, say, punk and romantic looks, less drastic. But who knows? I just like caps, and sneakers, and florals. As I said, I tend to keep to what I feel is coming and stray from what’s already out there. What counts for me is that I’m true to my style.
Clinging on to trends makes one savvy, but it also tends to blur one’s identity if left to reign over it. Like summer flings and fair-weather friendships, trends can come and go without leaving us with anything substantial. Sometimes they return, sometimes they don’t, but always they never last. They die. And it’s not just fashion. Consider this week’s Anne Curtis brouhaha. It’s got everyone clicking “Share” and making commentaries and living in the huge moment, and it won’t be surprising if "I can buy you, your friends and this club" becomes some sort of meme. But like many of its predecessors, it won’t be long before it’s forgotten.
So sure, let’s have fun with trends, delight in the excitement of choices that social media gives us access to—so long as they simply garnish what we already serve. A healthy consumption of trends means that at the end of the day, while what’s hot has peaked and plateaued and we await the next big thing, we have our own selves to always go back to. ♥
Outfit details: Nike Air snapback, Redgirl floral raglan, Mango jeggings.
SM Accessories tote bag. Much mismatch.
World Balance sneakers in my favorite color.
Hype on Lookbook and vote on Chictopia by clicking on the links above. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @shailagarde, and feel free to leave a comment. What trends do you wish to see expire, and which ones do you want to last? I’d love to hear from you!
Filipinos are still on a high from Megan Young’s Miss World win, and rightfully so. It isn’t every day that a simple lady from a small town in Olongapo gets to fufill her and every other girl’s childhood dream of becoming a princess (in this case, a queen).
Wearing glamorous gowns, beautiful heels and a glorious crown over your crowning glory? Bringing honor to your country amidst pork barrel scams and celebrity sex scandals? Being given a chance to make a profound difference in the world? Check, check and check.
I possess neither the height nor the body proportions it takes to even make it to the preliminaries of any significant pageant of beauty and physiological symmetry (save for the occasional local santacruzan, which hardly counts), but here are three reasons I’m completely okay with that.
One, I’m average. I’m only 5 feet and an inch tall. My skin is far from perfect, with little scars here and there and breakouts every once in a while when I wear makeup for more than a few hours or don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. My hair is always all over the place: if I comb it, it looks like I have a household broom on my head. If I don’t, it looks like I slept on it and headed out. I have braces to align my crooked teeth, but there are no braces for my crooked grin. I may meet society’s standards in terms of butt size, but I can’t say the same for my chest size. Haha. I am average, and I say that with pride and loving self-acceptance, holding the torch for average girls all over the world.
Because there are more of us, and we are faced with a happy challenge: that of learning to love our physical average-ness, while at the same time discovering which aspects about ourselves enable us to be above average. Intelligence? Charm? Sense of humor? Musical talents? Artistic skills? Numerical aptitude? A penchant for finding the perfect gift or gesture for anyone’s birthday? Whatever they may be, they are the brushes with which we can paint the beautiful portrait of our above average-ness on a blank canvas of average-ness.
Two, I am unique. I may be average, but I am not generic—big difference. Average has the chance to command attention by standing out; generic stays in the background unnoticed, with nothing new or different to offer. I can pull things out of my pocket that no one else can have up their sleeves. The movie Hugo got it right about unique individuals: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”
Three, life is one big pageant anyway. Society is one big panel of judges, and there are universal criteria wherever we go. We are judged by how we look, what we wear, how we carry ourselves, what we want to say and how we say it, the culture and values we represent, the people we associate ourselves with, the beliefs we express and convictions we uphold, how we answer questions we are presented.
In this way, the world indeed is a stage, and every day is a part of the competition where we get to prove our grace, poise, skills and intelligence—not only to the judges and audiences, but more importantly to ourselves. In this way, we can all aim for peace, love and balance in the world, even in our tank tops, jeans and sneakers. :)
SM Accessories transparent cuff and bird-and-flowers pendant.
Bags In The City “Xavier” handbag.
World Balance “Vanity” sneakers. Apt sneaker name for today’s thoughts, yes? Apt, and ironic that there is none of the discomfort or superficiality that usually come with the word: these sneakers are about as simple, soft and comfortable as you can get. If you’re following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can win a pair for yourself.
It’s really cool how this racerback can be sporty, dressy or casual depending on what you wear it with. It’s got the right balance of being loose on top, snug and fit at the bottom, which is how I usually wear these things. All you really need to transform this dress are the blazer, shoes and accessories that would fit the look you want to go for.
For the bag and the jewelry, I played around and deliberately chose items that wouldn’t normally go well with this look, just to try and put dainty and athletic-chic together.
I usually wear this carry-all to the office or when running errands for easier stashing of everything. It’s got a frilly pink charm and comes with a pink polka-dotted wallet, but they make it look too Paris Hilton so I thought best to do away with those. Heh.
White, black and pink, just like the bag. Same shoes I wore on this post (also with a dress, just to show that sneakers don’t always have to be worn with jeans or shorts). I’ve always found this color scheme so easy to style. The black balances out the otherwise ultra-girly combo of pink and white and gives any item an understated edginess.
Here’s another pink-and-white combo that doesn’t scream girly, thanks to the rubber studs. iPhone 5 case from Beyond The Box.
How the white hard casing looks without the rubber cover. Industrial-chic is what I like to call it, but I don’t really know (and yes, this is an upside-down photo).
Aren’t these Silverworks necklaces just adorable? They’re my current favorites.
The top pendant is aquamarine, the birthstone for March. The customized nickname isn’t just pretty, it also helps café baristas take my order. No need to spell out my name—just point. Haha. I like wearing these two together as a representation of who I am. They go perfectly with my other two treasures.
My Pandora silver charm bracelet, also with aquamarine. I picked out the charms with one of my best friends, Joanne, and each one has a profound meaning. Wearing this helps to remind me of the things I strive for, of the things worth believing in, and the things I should never lose sight of.
My Me&U ring, given to me as a gift by the shop’s owners. The couple have become two of my dearest friends ever since meeting them through this blog. It’s a reminder that although some things aren’t meant to last, some things definitely are, and it’s these that we must always value and appreciate.
I guess I put together this look not only for the styling of it, but more importantly for the commonality that I saw in all the pieces: their versatility. I’ve been busy with work the past two months that I’ve struggled to divide time and energy equally among family, friends, fitness and self-improvement. As today is the first of September, my new-month resolution is to do away with the reasons (i.e. excuses) for not being well-rounded, allot enough time for everything and everyone and learn to make better use of every 24 hours I’m given. :)
Share your thoughts about this look or about whatever by leaving a Disqus comment below or tweeting me @shailagarde. Happy September!
A friend and I would often talk about the tyranny of choice—when we come upon a fork in the road, we are barraged with a million questions: If I choose this, what would be the opportunity cost? What would I miss out on? If I choose the other, what would I regret? Which one is the right path, the perfect choice?
I got into thinking about this yesterday at a lunch hosted by a friend who was leaving for Canada to continue his Masters. Soon, another friend is moving there to explore his options. Chalking them up to other friends who have been pursuing their chosen paths elsewhere in the world—in New York, in London, in Paris, I thought about the dreams they once shared with me that are now coming true, the challenges they are now encountering and overcoming, the successes they are now enjoying. The actions they have taken, whose consequences have led them to where they are right now.
I also got into thinking about my own choices, my what if’s and if only’s in life. The person I dreamed of becoming when I was younger and the one I am right now, the paths I’ve taken that didn’t quite align with one another, the dissonant and unfocused thoughts within me that manifested outwardly. There were just too many options!
I guess I’m what American psychologist Barry Schwartz calls in his book The Paradox of Choice, a maximizer. Simply put, a maximizer tends to overthink choices and overanalyze consequences. They like to consider each and every alternative and are worried about making the wrong choices. (The opposite of this is a satisficer, who makes a choice and sticks with it without looking back and worrying that there might be something better.) As a result of being a maximizer, I tend to always have realizations in hindsight: had I picked a different set of orgs in school, or hung out with a different set of people, or chosen a different course of study altogether, it would’ve vastly altered the landscape in which I move today. These thoughts aren’t imbued with hapless regret, mind you; I’m just really fascinated by the impact of one single choice. Knowing this has helped me become more focused and keep my goals aligned these days.
One of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, talks about how the diversity of people’s identities and tastes gives way to this explosion of choice just as well. He was referring to food marketing, how we can’t always explain what we want, and how there isn’t one Platonic—perfect and universal—way to prepare a dish. But it also applies to everything else. We have so many choices because we are all so different, and we have embraced this diversity more so today than ever. In the past, people simply became what their parents were. Options for what to buy, where to go, which course to study, when and whom to marry, etc. were as limited as the exposure they had of the world outside their boundaries. Now our world is bigger. The forks in the road have more branches. It can be overwhelming, especially with the variety of choices available to us these days. But so long as we know what it is we want, we should be able to make the right ones. ♥
A hark back to circa 2009 when I was doing TV production full-time. Had this vest-over-tank top with wristband and sneakers thing going on, and would often be mistaken for someone who plays in a band—specifically bass, for some odd reason.
Would it that I were. The only time I’ve ever been in a band was for a few weeks in senior high school, and only to fill in for a friend who got sick. Plus it was for vocals; I’m fine with YouTube covers but for legit performances, the only instrument I’d be comfortable enough to play would be air guitar.
Band or no band, music has always been a profound part of my life. My mom still has cassette recordings of 3-year-old me singing everything from Whitney Houston to Francis M, as well as little snippets of my grade school “compositions” (i.e. some words strung together haphazardly mostly to make them end in rhymes, sung to a pretty generic melody). Every highlight of my life, every person that bears making a memory of, has their own OST. Strangely enough, in the past couple of years, I had stopped singing, even in private. I barely listened to music by my own choice or for its sheer pleasure. If you checked my iPhone then, there was, as Siri snootily observed, “nothing in your Music library, just… silence.” If you are what you listen to, I was… how shall we put it? Vacant.
I finally got out of that laughable atrocity and got my groove back this year. It feels fascinating to be reunited with the gallimaufry of beats that once occupied my playlists and my soul. I will not use the word “eclectic” for the same reason I avoid the word “bipolar," and say instead that you’ll find Armstrong and Sinatra and Fitzgerald with their contemporaries from the swing band era along with the earnest riffs of Cash, Chapman and Mayer, the anthems of Marley, Queen and Journey (way, way, way before Glee, thanks to my dad) along with the happy comfort of Hillsong United, Manoling Francisco and Velvet Underground, and the sweeping symphonies of centuries-old Tchaikovsky, Bach and Beethoven along with movie soundtracks and Top 40 hits of recent billboard charts. I’ve started singing again. In the shower, while driving, at karaoke, in front of crowds, on YouTube. I’ve also gone back to self-learning basic music. Could girl-in-a-band turn from mistaken assumption into reality? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Outfit details: Landmark tank top, YRYS vest, Human skirt, SM Accessories cuff.
Pinkaholic dress, Adidas Originals sneakers, SM Accessories shades and earrings, Hodge Podge pendant. A mix of things I don’t usually put on. Shades, lipstick, dangling earrings, a longer-than-usual shift dress and sneakers to go with all of it.
You know how it’s uncomfortable hearing the sound of your voice on a recording? That’s kind of how the first three are to me. I like when people see my eyes and sunglasses cover them up. I’ve braces on my lower teeth, and lipstick brings attention to that when I speak. Just as dangling earrings bring attention to the fact that my ears rather stick out. Haha.
I usually prefer wearing elaborate necklaces with shift dresses, and leave the more casual pendants like these to when I’m wearing basic shirts. I also never wear necklaces with earrings together; it’s either just one or the other.
When it comes to dresses, I don’t like wearing huge prints. I like the length either really short or really long; never near the knees, especially when I’m wearing flat shoes because I’m not that tall and this gets highlighted by all these things.
And with that, I have just given away some of my nifty tricks for emphasizing one’s favorite features and bringing attention away from the opposite. Except I broke all of them.
But that’s okay. Once in a while, we all gotta step out of our comfort zones.
Whether it’s with small things like wearing things we normally wouldn’t, or with bigger ones like doing what we thought we couldn’t, trying something new leaves us feeling great about ourselves. The initial feeling of unease eventually leads to a sense of accomplishment. Instead of caring what other people think or say of us, we went ahead and freed ourselves of the limits we previously imposed.
A few days ago, my friend Anton challenged me to do one thing every day that’s out of the box. It doesn’t matter what it is, he said, as long as it’s something the old me wouldn’t have done. It’s been a helpful and happy exercise, so I’m sharing it in case you want to try it too. Let me know how it goes! :)
Hype this: Lookbook / Chictopia
It’s only a week before CloseUp Summer Solstice, the first music festival of its kind to happen here in Manila. If you’ve got your tickets and your date(s) but still haven’t figured out what to wear, here’s one of three outfit suggestions I’ve come up with. A hat to keep your hair in place amid the frizz-inducing heat and breezy clothes you can groove in.
It’s the top I wore here, the hat I wore in the last outfit here, and the same shorts and accessories that I wear, well, just very often. What I’m doing with this trilogy is to mix and match pieces I already own—you could do the same, check out your closet for anything that might work so you can save your shopping money for next time.
I’ve kept makeup and accessories just as fuss-free. Just enough to make a statement without having to worry about them while singing and dancing to the beats. After all, you’re there to enjoy the music, not to flaunt your entire wardrobe. Heh.
My current favorite: wedge sneakers! Skechers named it Skch +3 for the added three inches to your height. I’ve always professed my liking for boots and for wedges—boots with wedges hidden inside them? Yes, please. Especially for a music festival, where you’ll want to stand tall and you’ll need to be in comfy footwear at the same time.
Let me know what you think! Or if you have questions you want to ask me about style, feel free to write. Click here. :) Check back tomorrow for my second outfit idea!
Hot pink and purple against high-contrast zebra stripes.
Love how this cover-up is short in front and long at the back. I tend to avoid long tops that can make me look short, but I love flowy dresses and tops so this is just perfect.
We’re really so glad for Crocs’ latest collections of fashionable footwear. Form doesn’t have to be sacrificed for comfort indeed. This way for more cool wearables!
Pre-styling for a shoot: getting ready to Call It Spring #iPhoneography
Super fun relaunch of sneaker great Keds in the country, held at Ronac Art Center. “Keds: The Original Sneaker Exhibit” featured a gallery of shoes, designer collaborations, print ads and photos of Hollywood icons who have worn Keds through the years. Some of the shoes were shipped all the way from the US and Japan archives!
Among the many celeb Keds fans present was rock legend Pepe Smith. The main stars of the exhibit, however, were these sneakers, painted by some of today’s most talented young artists.
By our dear friend, Valerie Chua
By CJ de Silva
By Danika Rio Navarro
By Julius Sebastian
By Soleil Ignacio
Even the food looked (and tasted!) great.
With Val, her friend Irene, and Keds Philippines’ Katrina Ong, who also handles the marketing for Sperry Topsiders. Check out the Keds Philippines Facebook Page to view more photos and learn more cool stuff about Keds. For example, did you know that the term “sneakers” was all thanks to this brand? It’s because when you wear Keds, your footsteps are so quiet you could sneak up behind anyone.
See the latest styles here, then grab your own pair from any of these stores: Complex Lifestyle Store Eastwood Mall, Festival Mall and Alabang Town Center, Hideout Greenbelt 5, SM Supermalls, Rustan’s, Shoe Salon, Ayala Center Cebu and the Keds x Sperry Top-Sider Pop-up Store in Mega Atrium SM Megamall.
I sometimes get asked how I conceptualize my shoots. Nothing cerebral with my process. I don’t. Mostly I just check my closet and see how I can make what’s in them work, then find a nice random spot (in this case, the rooftop parking of a mall) then click away. The story comes to mind just when I’m about to post. It’s a whole lot more fun that way.
Doggie-print hooded shirt, thrifted. Doc Martens-inspired boots, Asian Vogue.
So this is just us, but yeah, it doesn’t always have to look so put-together. Pretty doesn’t always look fun, but fun always looks pretty.
We love blue, pink and animal prints. These sneaks rock our socks.