Lean Like A Chola

Leaning like a chola, sartorially.

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In the spirit of my chola reference (which is derivative of Down’s Lean Like a Cholo), I want to begin this post in Spanish and say, ¡hola! Mi chicas! Of course, with the limited phrases I actually can say, let’s keep the Spanish to the pleasantries and just stick to English.

Sob story: my friends have all but left me in Manila. College friends have flown to different continents since 8 years ago and post-college friends have gone to New York to pursue their passions leaving me high and dry. Interestingly – and I do not say this as a brag – whenever my college friends would show photos of us friends, their worldly colleagues (i.e., international) would assume I’m Latina. Not sure if the case remains the same but maybe my long curly locks of old made a huge impact on my perceived ethnicity. Never mind that they were off-base, those comments would always get me excited. Latinas are gorgeous. They’ve dominated Ms. Universe for most of the pageant’s lifetime (except for this year, everybody knows Ms. Philippines killed it.) They have the fieriest personalities- at least from their portrayals. And they have such a beautiful sense of style with the boldest of colors, the frilliest of ruffles all the while keeping the sexiest of silhouettes without having to wear latex bodycon. And while I don’t consider myself even remotely in their league, I could, from time to time, reference them sartorially.

If this off-shoulder top from gobuy.com.ph (which, by the way, is a great site for affordable thrills) isn’t giving you the Latina vibe, then maybe the red bandana turned topknot headband would do the trick. At least that’s what I’d like to think.

Let’s hope I did it justice somehow.

Top, GOBUY.com.ph | Skirt, PENSHOPPE | Bag, GUCCI

Lazy Bastard

From ultra feminine to downtown chic, where do you lie on the sartorial spectrum? I’d say far-left or far-right.

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“Who are your favorite designers?” is a question I’ve often asked and, in turn, answered. You can learn a lot about a person from the designers they spurt out – the kind of woman she wants to be, her aesthetic and the qualities she desires to embody.

I would often begin my answer with Valentino and in the same breath traipse off to say Dolce & Gabbana and now Gucci. If I had the money, and I mean lots of it, I’d love to wear their clothes – the epitome of romance and the pinnacle of femininity in my opinion. (Although Gucci is more for the cool chick who can pull off magpie-dressing like your typical art major but loaded. Still, everything is intricate and embellished!) Valentino’s dresses don’t even seem fit for mere humans, you know? It’s like they design with Greek mythology in mind with delicate, ethereal dresses perfect for equally delicate, waif-like ladies that only exist in a mythical world – wood nymphs, sea nymphs, goddesses, fairies or even glorious sirens more akin to Helen of Troy than a modern-day Jenner/Hadid.

At the opposite of the spectrum – and I am nothing if not not polar opposites at all things and at all times – I am obsessed with Alexander Wang (and Rag & Bone, Philip Lim and Helmut Lang). The opposite of the barefoot, braided nymph that walks through the woods following the moonlight, is the cool, effortless chick with a devil-may-care attitude from downtown. She probably knows how to ride a motorbike. We will never know. But she looks like she doesn’t give zero f*cks about what people think. That chick and the Valentino lady – these are the two personas I would like to have. (Yes, even the barefoot, braided part).

Point is, if I’m not burning cash on dainty, feminine pieces (trust me when I say even RTW, watered-down versions of anything even remotely intricate are overpriced), I’m collecting a cool-girl sartorial repertoire. Believe it or not, it’s never really been about being cool. I probably have a different version of what cool is anyway- just ask the next kid who hangs out in smoking rooms and parties ’til 4 in the morning. Sorry, #stereotype. I’m still essentially a dweeb. For me it’s more about looking and being effortless. So when I can, although most of the time not intentionally, I collect interesting basics – preferably in black or grey, like this faux leather top from Zara. And these ripped boyfriend jeans from Suiteblanco. And this penultimate chill piece – the bucket hat from Vanguard. Bucket hats are such an easy thing to throw on.

Off-duty is my actual on-duty, if that even makes sense to you. Long live easy dressing.

Top, ZARA | Jeans, SUITEBLANCO | Heels, JIL SANDER | Hat, VANGUARD from PACSUN 
Photos by Paul Mendoza
Shot in burger joint Lazy Bastard

Living Digitally

Millennials can’t live without their gadgets, especially their smartphones. I present three looks to match three recommended smartphones to optimize gadget usage and, somehow, life efficiency.

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I admit, we of the digital age are becoming helpless. We are perennially glued to our gadgets, rendered incapable without our apps, internet or battery life. We minimize the amount of physical labor we exert and are slowly losing grip on life skills. I could go so far as to say that without Google, we know nothing – no recipes, no workout routines and no self-taught lessons on how to reboot laptops. It’s not surprising then that the generational divide is growing even wider. Millennials (be honest where you lie in the generational spectrum) are often frowned upon for our perceived ineptitude. I mean, how can you quantify the limitless potential of having the internet as your personal assistant, tutor and life guide? Being glued to gadgets in whatever form is one of those tell-tale signs of a millennial. But, aside from the fact that maybe we need to learn actual skills privy to our seniors, I don’t think being dependent on gadgets is all that bad. In particular, I don’t think phone-dependence is necessarily evil.

Aside from the occasional silence over dinner (that I despise) thanks to everyone ‘gramming what they ordered instead of actually conversing, I don’t find much fault in phone-hogging. After all, these nifty little communicational devices have been lifelines and lifesavers on more than one occasion – saving us from traffic jams, moments of navigational failure, worried parents, saving our lives sometimes via 911 (in the US) and, the daily beast, boredom.

It is not my place to debunk myths about how much we use our phones nor is it my place to defend millennials and the corresponding benefits of knowing one’s way around the interwebz. I myself am a social media lurker who checks her phone every 10 minutes (mostly ‘coz it’s always on silent and I have a constant fear that work is calling), who plugs YouTube songs into my car when I’m especially lazy (Spinnr when I’m not), writes articles and saves important details on my Notes, edits and does work on the go and bugs friends and boyfriend (singular, obviously) on Whatsapp and Viber and all the other messaging apps. I also talk to Siri when I’m bored. She can get pretty entertaining. So I’m not here to judge. I am here to remind you that though it is sometimes condemned, (although I personally don’t get why- I’ve witnessed too many seniors addicted to Facebook, games and forwarding chain emails), we can still rock phone addiction in style.

Smartphones have transcended the realm of gadgets and have morphed into accessories on their own. We often buy phones based on preference in terms of jewelry or personal style. Think about it. I bet your choice of metal – silver or gold – has affected your color choice more than you care to admit. And many smartphones wow in terms of design. I mean the rose gold iPhone is gorgeous. It is, after all, pink! I may not know a lot about phone technicalities and processing specs but I do know fashion and value for money. So here are three looks to go with three of my preferred smartphones and the corresponding deals that you can use to get the best products and offers.

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First is a rose gold iPhone. Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus is gorgeous and it makes all my Mean Girls x Legally Blonde dreams come true. It’s a little huge for my tiny hands but the trend now is actually to have your phone in your hand outside of your bag for easy snapping. I got my pink iPhone from Smart and you can also get a 16GB iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus for free under the P2499 plan. I also just found out (literally, I just checked) that there are also a bunch of benefits like Uber, Airbnb and Zalora discounts- discounts that every person who might want a pink iPhone would need. I should really ask about these benefits. Let’s research together. For now, just seeing this phone – sans the case – is a visual treat. Camera’s cool too. I felt like I had to say that. (Read more about iPhone plans and benefits here)

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If you are more interested in budgeting your monthly expenses and are not a fan of either Samsung or Apple but still want an effective smartphone, you can get an Android MyPhone my28S with 100MB monthly data for just P888. The reason for this shockingly low price is that Smart wants to offer smartphone capabilities to more people and, in result, making even more people act like the dreaded millennials. Just kidding, this is a great thing. Its design also includes the Philippine map so it’s a pretty cool, patriotic choice. Make your phone standout by pairing it with loud, bright colors. A black phone needs a colorful canvas. (To know more about this program click here)

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Finally, if you’re the type who wants a phone with the best features, there are a bunch of Samsung phones to choose from. I am personally obsessed with the sleek look of the S7 Edge but the Note series is pretty amazing too. Nothing is more elegant than a gold phone which serves as the ultimate accessory. It can mean business during meetings and can go from day to party in 0 to 60. It’s such a stand out phone on its own that you can either play it up or play it down. In my case, I played it up and wore a dark blue slip dress to bring out the gold tones and play up the elegance of the phone.

No matter the packaging (and pricing) though, what smartphones should come down to is how you use it. We have different needs, and its up to you to make sure the phone you choose matches your lifestyle. I know exactly what I need in terms of apps – VSCO, Waze and, yes, Candy Crush. I also know what I need in terms of data. I don’t download a bunch of movies (I have iFlix for that) but I do spend a lot of time online. So if you’re like me and you find yourself online more often that not, you can subscribe to the new Smart Big Bytes 50. It’s a promo that’s been introduced before so it might sound familiar but the crazy new perk is that data is now doubled from 300+MB to 700MB. Imagine the digital mileage that it could mean for you. P50 is worth the digital investment. Text BIG50 to 9999 to avail of the limited offer. (Read here to know more about Big Bytes 50)

Smartphones are powerful tools – for business or leisure, for millennials or those against us. Don’t let anyone stop you from making the most out of your phones. Just don’t forget to do it in style. It’s nice to match your trusted gadget once in a while.

Photography by TIPPI SY
Makeup by RACHEL TORRES
Look with iPhone: Halter top and fringe skirt from NAVA
Look with Myphone: Romper from SHEIN.com (buy style here); Sunglasses from FLY SHADES
Look with Samsung: Blue midi slip dress from SUNE; Shoes from JIL SANDER
Special Thanks to Danika Navarro