Throwback Thursday Travel #1: Burano, Italy

I do not know if you guys do it very often, but I cleaned out the photo folder in my laptop and the camera roll on my iPhone for the first time yesterday. I almost lost it in the process.

Twenty-f#%@ing-thousand photos!!!

At first, I felt glad, nostalgic and grateful, for those photos bring back happy memories of places I have seen, things I have done, and people I have crossed paths with. Soon after that, though, I started to feel discouraged and jaded. Was it truly necessary to have taken so many photos in the first place? And why do so many of them remain un-shared? What is the point of taking that many if most of them never see the light of day?

Right there and then, an idea flashed into my mind. Why don’t we have a segment on the blog wholly dedicated to those have-not-been-shared-yet photos? And we name it Throwback Thursday Travel? Every Thursday, I will share with you an unpublished photo of a place I visit, which hopefully will walk you down the memory lane if you have been there before or inspire you to visit if you have not been there yet. Sounds good? As a photo speaks a thousand words, there will be minimal caption. You will not have to read, I promise :D

For today, I take you to Burano island near Venice, Italy. I found this little gem on my iPhone. [Read more…]

Louis Leeman Contrasting Toe Cap Leopard Print Slippers: Rediscover Your Inner Animal

In my humble opinion, there are only THREE places where it is acceptable to get in touch with your inner animal. One is the bedroom; there, the wilder the better. LOL. Two is the gym where you shouldn’t do anything half-assed. You have to roar and be ready to give your body a good beating so that you get the most out of it. And the last place is…your feet.

Recently, I have been feeling very weak in the knees whenever I see a pair of leopard print shoes. Maybe it is the inner animal in me waking up after so many years lying dormant, or maybe it is because leopard print is one of the quirkiest yet most timeless prints in fashion. And yet it is so severely underused in the menswear realm. It is time for us to embrace this funky print!

The best part about these Louis Leeman leopard print slippers is once you have them on our feet, you do not have to think much about what to wear with what. Just throw on a pair of black jeans or pants and a simple color button-shirt, and you are golden. I especially love the black captoe and the metal accent plaque; they put quite an interesting finishing touch to the shoes. I do not have anything leopard in my wardrobe yet, and I bet neither do you so let’s do this together. LOUIS LEEMAN contrasting toe cap leopard print slippers available on Farfetch for $674.

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Remember this: You have to be civilized and gentle everywhere you go and in everything you do. Except for what goes down in the bedroom, the gym and the feet.

By the way, here is the assurance that I am not leading you down the wrong path :)

Louis Leeman Contrasting Toe Cap Leopard Print Slippers, confused dasher,  men should wear leopard print too, best animal print shoes for men, nick wooster fashion icon in bold leopard print shoes [Read more…]

You Are Allowed To Wear White Anytime You Want

Wearing: All Saints Emmons Shirt (similar, Chambray cotton button-down shirt by A.P.C), COS White Chinos (similar, CANALI tailored trousers, on sale for $145), Hugo Boss Suede Desert Boots (similar, Suede desert boots by Fendi) & Warby Parker Glasses. 

I do not want to become that next-door blogger who talks about weather in every single outfit post, but I will just have to today. Maybe also tomorrow. And maybe the day after tomorrow as well. And maybe until this is all over.

The past two weeks or so have been shockingly glorious. Mildly chilly in the morning and evening, pleasantly warm and sunny the rest of the day. If you reside in the western hemisphere, sorry you simply will have to suck it up :P

Now, you might be wondering what is so special about that. Isn’t that, like, normal? Nope, it actually is very weird. Neither I nor anyone can explain why it is happening, but I do not bother trying to because I am too busy celebrating this personal milestone.

YOU GUYS. I could not believe it! The day when I am able to say without much reservation that I love the weather in my third-world country has finally come. Admittedly late but surely better than never. I have hated it here for so long that I am sick of hating it. Ridiculous, I know! But how do you manage to NOT feel that way when reality is so wildly different from theory?

Our climate is categorized as sub-tropical, which is code for four seasons. But the reality is we only have crazy stupid hot summers and crazy stupid cold winters. Throw in pollution and you are susceptible to all sorts of health-related issues. There are no beautiful transitional seasons that make sub-tropical climate great to live in in the first place.

Mother Nature, don’t you remember? Those seasons are our birthrights; we are supposed to have them. Give them to us more often, okay?

ANYHOO: Beautiful weather calls for an easy-breezy outfit (I wanted to write ‘beautiful’, but that sounded nauseatingly vain so I stopped myself short, hehe). In my style book, the foolproof, easy formula entails a light blue shirt and either a dark or white pair of pants. This color combo is versatile enough that we can pretty much team it with shoes of almost any color. When the temperature drops, you can put on a jacket or coat of almost any color as well. In these photos, I am wearing brown suede chukka, but if you promise to be good to me, I will show you how it looks when paired with, say, light blue boots, charcoal loafers, and orange/yellow trainers :)

Seriously, try this combo even if it is winter now in where you live. It works, guaranteed. 

P/S: I know it is not easy, but can you forgive the porcupine quills on my head? I swear I looked in the mirror before heading out. I was thoroughly mortified, but I really did not know what to do. I was powerless!

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Valentino Open Leather Sneakers: We Receive You With Open Arms

I am fully aware that I just talked about Valentino sneakers a few days ago. You probably are wondering what is wrong with me. Here is the truth: my imaginary doctor just informed me that I have been diagnosed with a disease called Valentinosession, which unfortunately has no cure yet. He advises me to live harmoniously with it rather than try to fight it because what you resist persists. So, here I am spreading it to you guys :D

I have to concede, though, that if it were NOT for the colored stripe panel, I would not give these kicks a second look. There are more than enough of plain white, pared-down and simple sneakers on the market already; more will only make all of us jaded. However, the fact that these Valentinos have sold like hot cakes everywhere and I am swooning quite hard right now really goes to show the brilliance of the Valentino team. They know that a small tweak in the right place is capable of transforming an otherwise bland pair of shoes into a completely covetable fashion item. The studs are slightly more unobtrusive this time, meaning people will really have to make an educated guess or ask you directly where you bought the shoes. Shoes can be a wonderful ice-breaker, do you know that?

 

The white/navy and white/burgundy versions are available on SSENSE for $745 and $795 respectively, the white/green version on Matchesfashion for $745.

While you are marveling at these stunners, let’s also look at how they were styled in the Valentino FW14 runaway show. Now you understand why I have been having multiple Valentino shoegasms lately. Valentino Low-top Sneakers FW2014 [Read more…]

Only Dress For Yourself & Mother Weather

Wearing: Uniqlo White Button-Down Shirt, Closed Laguna Blue Chinos (similar, Kenzo Skinny-leg chinos) & Nike Free 4.0 V3 Running Shoes in Laser Orange (similar, Raf Simons Orange Stan Smith Adidas Edition Sneakers)

I have completely given up on telling people around me that I ride bicycle almost everywhere. I simply could not do it anymore! I wish it did not pan out like this, but it’s absurd when they all give me the what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you look whenever I share with them that I prefer bicycles to motorbikes and cars. According to them, I’m regressing. Bicycles (and buses for that matter) are for those who cannot afford the other options. With my western education, I should be on my way to become a big shot by working in a bank or some conglomerate instead of being on a bike.

Whichever way you slice it, it really is a lost cause. I only can hope that they don’t use me as a poster child for failure at home to teach their kids because holy hell they would be ruining the next generation of this third-world country. Scary thought!

(And for the record, I can afford more expensive modes of transportation. I love biking around because it makes me feel healthy and happy, and that I’m doing something good in my capacity to the environment.)

Similarly, I have stopped explaining my fashion choices (and poses, hehehe) to people. I got my fair share of looks and head-shakes when I took these photos wearing one of my all-time favorite Closed chinos and a severely underused pair of Nike’s. In this land of deep-seated conformity, this color combination is too flashy, too strange, too everything. You are, in short, not supposed to dress this way; people do not expect or like to see it. Guess what people? It is your business whether you like what I dress or not; I am neither rebelling against anything nor convincing you to change. I only have two persons in mind when I decide what to wear every morning: me & Mother Nature.

And that, beloved readers, is precisely how you should approach fashion. 

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Saint Laurent Brown Suede Wyatt Cowboy Boots: Ace High! Ace High!

I don’t know about you, but dressing in anything remotely related to a cowboy is the furthest thing in my mind. (Can you ever, ever imagine an Asian cowboy? I hope you can’t because I already throw up in my mouth just thinking about it.) However, if dressing like a cowboy entailed getting to wear these Saint Laurent boots, I would be more than ready to be the first Asian wannabe cowboy and subsequently be the butt of every joke. Yes, I would scoop that low because goodness gracious me these boots are truly STUNNING.

It’s not easy to make a pair of cowboy boots an object of desire, but the Saint Laurent team gets every detail down pat this time, from the luxurious look-good and feel-good camel suede, the fashionable almond toe shape to the perfect-for-winter calf-high length. I see these work best with a knee-length overcoat and slim-fit jeans (in almost any color, though dark is better). Kind of like this:

or this:

MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I understand if you might feel nauseated at the $995 price tag. But these boots honestly are much cheaper than you think. Winter lasts about 5 months, right? You will wear these, on average, 15 times per month. Which means you will wear them a total of 75 times this season. I know from personal experience that if you do not actively destroy them, these types of boots will last ’til the end of time. For the sake of simple calculation, though, let say they retire after 6 years. The cost-per-wear is thus: 995 : (75 x 6) = $2.21. This, you guys, is what people mean when they say “good value” or “a bang for the buck”. So wait no more, go get them on SSENSE.  [Read more…]

Valentino Red & Black Camo Sneakers: Let Paint The Town Red

When I first saw the Valentino camo print sneakers on street-style blogs, I thought they were just an one-time thing, a passing fad. Apparently, I was dead wrong. They are not only still around and loved but actually have got ever more eye-catching and irresistible to the point that I believe they are iconic now. And this red version is the most decadent, most desirable yet!

You know I have encouraged you to add bold colors to your wardrobe for the longest time. I have done it myself, but have to admit that (bright) red remains the one color I still shy away from. While it generally looks powerful and enticing on women, it doesn’t have the same effect for guys for reasons I have yet to fathom out. Red suits, red shirts, red trousers, red accessories? No, thank you very much. But red sneakers? I’m willing to give a second thought.

The reason these red Valentino kicks work is that the bright red is patchy and thus not overwhelming and also balanced by the dark, beautiful and masculine tone of burgundy. Throw in black, beige and a couple of studs and we have this striking, utterly luxurious and drool-worthy combination. Winter is coming (sorry, I have been binging on Game of Thrones and am OBSESSED), so these Valentinos are exactly what you need if you’re in the market for some winter-looking trainers. They will add a wow factor to your otherwise monochromatic outfits. Head over to SSENSE and bag them, your feet will thank you!

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Eddie, you are a player!

the-theory-of-everything-eddie-redmayne-2Excusez-moi Mr. Redmayne, what do you think you are doing?

You have NOT responded to my endless love for your sense of style, which I confessed to the whole wide world a long time ago, and now you have also stepped up your game to another ridiculously insane, peerless level. You like to render me utterly speechless and unable to do anything except gasping at every outfit of yours, huh? You like to play with others’ minds and hearts, huh?

You, I have realized, are a certified player. I hope you have movies coming out every month so you can never get a break from this red carpet appearance madness!

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Style Inspiration #8: Lapo Elkann

Lapo Elkann Fashion Icon

Guys, are you ready for today’s special Style Inspiration episode? Because I’m going to serve you one of Italy’s finest, dandiest delicacies. If you have been stuck in a sartorial inspiration dry spell, you’re going feel very invigorated after reading this post. You will also love this man a lot for his ridiculously amazing fashion sense.

(And do NOT forget to love me too. Who is bringing all of this good stuff to you? hehehe.)

I have to confess, though, that reading about Lapo Elkann without feeling a sharp pang of jealousy was tough. His life story is an amalgam of fame, fortunes, fashion and power- things that most people have to spend their lifetime earning. Lapo, however, has had all of that attached to his name since birth. His brother is the current chairman of Fiat and a big investment company. His grandfather was the richest man in modern Italian history and one of the best-dressed men of the 20th century. His uncle was a publishing mogul who founded one of Italy’s leading publishing groups. As for Lapo himself, he currently runs several companies and lives the ultimate jet-setting lifestyle.

He is, simply put, a brainy man with killing style.

(To give you some perspective on how acclaimed his sense of style is, Vanity Fair magazine included him in the international best dressed list a couple of times in the past.)

What I personally love most about his style is that even though he mostly wears tailored clothing or items from high-end designers (read: very expensive stuff), he always manages to make his looks effortless, approachable and inspirational. This ability, I think, is what separates a real style icon from a wannabe one. He makes commoners like me believe that I need to be comfortable in my own skin first and then it’s entirely possible to dress like him on a tight budget.

You know how he does that? Because he seems to not give a flying fudge about looking every inch perfect. A few hairs out of place? No care. Some wrinkles on his luxurious jackets? No problem. Wearing $60 Nike’s with denim suit on the red carpet? Sure thing. Looking straight-up hung over while wearing the most stylish outfit? Oh yeah. And wearing the badass-est emerald green Gucci suit with a huge cast on one leg? Yeah I got 99 problems, but an injured leg won’t be one like what.

I know, I know. That nonchalant attitude probably takes a long time to cultivate. So I’m sharing with you some practical, easy-to-apply lessons that I have learned after years of following Lapo’s style moves religiously below. Enjoy!

1. Binge on double breasted jackets.

If you want to be taken seriously as a person with style, you need to develop your signature style. You don’t have to dress that way 24/7 (and you shouldn’t! Where is the fun in that?), but you must build an image strong enough that people associate you with it in their minds. Think Victoria Beckham in her form-fitting dresses, or Eddie Redmayne with his slim-fitting suits, or Nick Wooster with his preppy yet edgy mix and match garbs. 

Lapo is king when it comes to double-breasted jackets; he has an enviable collection of them in every type of peak lapel, color, pattern and fabric. Now, you should know that most of his double-breasted jackets are made for him by highly sought-after bespoke tailors such as Rubinacci, Alessandro Martorana and Caraceni, just to name a few. Which means they only fit his body. So let it go if you’re plotting to raid his closet :DLapo Elkann Double Breast VestsAll joking aside, the lesson here is not about dropping big bucks on made-to-order clothing, but about getting yourself several double-breasted jackets and teaming them up with what you already have in your wardrobe. Double-breasted jackets can and will elevate your ensembles to a whole new level.

Lapo Elkann Double Breast SuitsLapo Elkann Fashion IconLapo Elkann Double breast blazersLapo Elkann Colorful Vests [Read more…]

Counting My Blessings in Hualien

Me and the wonderful Tingying & her friend.

Whenever I think about Hualien, I do it with a lot of love and gratitude. That is because not only did I have a really fun, semi-adventurous time exploring with new friends, but every wonderful thing that happened to me during the rest of my time in Taiwan could be traced back to my very brief stay there.

Hualien truly had a positive ripple effect.

Situated on the mountainous eastern coast of Taiwan, Hualien County is just a couple of hours away from Taipei by train yet blessed with some of the most spectacular sceneries you could find in Asia…

…such as the triple threat Chishingtan beach

with pebbles, mountains & ocean. What more do you want? 

Most visitors, however, come to Hualien for Taroko National Park and then move on. Which, I realized after spending two days there, is a bit sad. There is more to Hualien than just Taroko.

The truth of the matter is I still do not consider myself qualified to advise you how to properly visit Hualien. I only did some scanty researching and planning beforehand; the sole reason I was able to visit the places I visited was the incredible locals I met at my hostel who fetched me around the entire time. Without them, I would have followed a very typical tourist path and probably left without any profound impression. I repeatedly asked myself what I had done to deserve that much kindness and hospitality. Did Longshan Temple have anything to do with it?

Lovely sunset at Chishingtan. Really, it was hard not to feel grateful for moments like this. 

Thanks to my sloppiness (or borderline stupidity? I will let you judge), the Chu-kuang Express train ride from Taipei to Hualien started out uneventful but ended up memorable. As I approached seat No. 9 of cabin 9, I was slightly annoyed to find that it had been taken by a middle-aged woman. “Seriously, Taiwan, you’re better than this”, I thought to myself. However, since seat No. 11 was empty, I sat down, reveling in the fact that I had saved her from some public embarrassment.

Midway through the journey, though, I woke up to see a man smiling hesitantly at me and pointing at his train ticket. I had no idea how long he had been standing there, but I could sense something was wrong. I glanced at his ticket, then at mine.

Shit, I had been really stupid, and worse condescending all along. [Read more…]