My First Black & White Portrait Shoot

My friend asked, Who is this pensive thinker? LOL.

Near the end of 2015, I did something that I hadn’t done before. Which was to ask someone take photos of me.

Oh don’t get me wrong; I have asked people to take photos of me a million times. But those people are always family members and friends who have cameras and take photos for fun. I never asked someone who is serious about photography and treats it like an art form.

Anyway, my narcissism level was off the chart last December so I wanted to take a few good portrait photos just for the heck of…having a few good portrait photos. At the suggestion of my sister, I contacted Do, a very young photographer in Hanoi known for his B&W photos. His distinctive style and skill and maturity really belie his age; I could hardly believe he’s only 19.

For me, the experience was enjoyable and educational in a way. I mostly do travel and nature photography, which, I feel like, is somewhat easier because you know, everything is right in front of you. You don’t have to manipulate light like you do in a studio. And capturing the essence of another human being and conveying it in photos…tough job!

We took a fair share of photos, but picked only a handful of them for the final edit. And I want to share some of them with you guys today ūüôā

Okay, it sounds exactly like I’m blowing my own horns, but I personally really like this one.

IMG_1591This one, I feel like, could be Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2050. HAHAHAHA!!!

IMG_1708What do you think about the lighting here?

This was my Instagram profile photo until yesterday. Haha.

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Absolute Winter Wardrobe Essential: The Parka Coat


With the non-stop award season and fashion weeks, I have been woefully negligent in shooting and posting outfits. But I seriously don’t know what more I can do. Two jobs, two dogs, and one blog are just overwhelming¬†for my two eyes, two hands and slow-processing brain. I’m leaving for Burma and Thailand in three weeks, and I have NOT¬†booked anything. You guys just bear with me, okay? ūüôĀ

Enough¬†of preface. Let’s continue our conversation about coats. Because the only house rule of The Confused Dasher is that we love glorious coats no matter what happens.

(If you live in the western hemisphere, I think you will love the timing of this post. A huge blizzard is coming to the East Coast, and you need to stay warm and safe.)

Here is the thing about glorious coats: They don’t come cheap. A decent¬†one already sets¬†us back at least a few hundred bucks. And since 98 percent of us are not trust fund babies, we have to make choices. We can only buy what we get most mileage out of.

IMG_5341You can bet your bottom dollar that I¬†get a hell lot of mileage out of these ūüôā

Of the numerous tempting coat offers in the market, the three must-haves are a knee-length coat, a peacoat and a faux-fur trim hooded parka. 

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Wardrobe Essentials: Lightweight Jacket for Fall

There are so many things I love about these photos that I’m not sure what I should talk about first. Whether you like it or not, you will just have to excuse my self-absorption today because¬†I’m a millennial and so supposed to be self-absorbed.

Actually, I can hear¬†you guys awww-ing very hard right now at the photos. If you weren’t, your heart might be made of rock and stone ūüėõ Isn’t my son, Mr. Bun, really the cutest little nugget? I can’t believe he is turning 1 next month. When he arrived at our home in January, he was so tiny and innocent and helpless that I felt utterly guilt-ridden over taking¬†him away from his mama and siblings. (Before you roll your eyes, I did it legally, alright?¬†The owner had no capacity¬†to care for so many dogs, so he asked around if anyone was interested.) Now, Mr. Bun is one handsome, mischievous little man who wants to have one-night-stand on a daily basis, lol. He just penetrated a chihuahua cougar last month!

Moving on to the outfit part.

Military green and midnight navy has become my go-to color combination. And I think it should be yours too because it’s effortless, understated yet noticaebaly¬†stylish particularly when a darker color palette is your cup of tea. I got this green lightweight linen jacket from MUJI last month when I was traveling around¬†Taiwan. Not only was it super affordable (on sale for around US$ 50), but it is wearable in both summer and fall. During summer months, we can wear it with nothing underneath, and it will miraculously absorb our perspiration. And when it gets chilly during fall, we can get a layering or two. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? I love mine.

As for the shoes, I must have been, and I think I still am, possessed by‚Ķorange when I purchased this Teva pair (US$ 80). Or maybe I just don’t want my¬†Pierre Hardy¬†and¬†Nike¬†to ever feel lonely? Teva and I have a kind of painful history; the last time I owned¬†Teva¬†footwear was more than 10 years ago when I was fugly (= fat and ugly, not fucking ugly although it was almost the same, alright? lol) I’d never want to relive those harrowing memories in a million years, but when I saw the color of the sandals and realized it’s totally possible to walk miles and miles in them, I asked myself if I could accept, let go and re-embrace. I managed to, obviously. But in all seriousness, are Teva sandals being seen on almost every street-style blog under the sun?

I’m wearing: MUJI Dark Green Linen Jacket (similar affordable option from TOPMAN¬†or jaw-dropping gorgeous¬†Deconstructed wool jacket¬†from PS Paul Smith), United Colors of Benetton Linen Trousers & Teva Terra Fi Lite Sandals.¬†

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Who Wore It Better: Ryan Gosling or Moi?

confused dasher, ryan gosling style roll sleeves 2014, how to stay cool and stylish this summer menswear, all saints shirts, all saints brogue, american apparel unisex beltRyan Gosling wins hands-down. But that doesn’t mean yours truly loses. We’re just…¬†different ūüėČ

Hi Ryan Gosling fanatics,

Don’t you even try to send hate mails my way. This post is NOT my blasphemous attempt to upstage the Greek God reincarnated. I mean, seriously, how could I upstage that face and that body, not to mention that talent?

You guys know that I’m part of the tribe and that¬†I worship at the altar of Ryan Gosling’s style. So, the point of this post simply is to pay homage to my fashion god. (I used to use¬†the word¬†crush, but it no longer even came close to describing my new-found devotion after this¬†happened.)

In where I live, summer is just brutally hot. The heat and the humidity make the simple act of putting clothes on my body feel quite torturous. Fashion thus becomes irrelevant for the most part.

The bad news is life doesn’t stop when summer is in full force, meaning that I still have to be presentable when I go to places. But¬†I believe I have found the perfect solution for that conundrum. Just a fitted light-colored shirt, slim-fit linen pants in navy blue, some skinny belt and a pair of seemingly beat-up shoes. That’s it. I have always known that it kind of works, but now that Ryan has proved that it actually works like a charm, I have no doubt left whatsoever. Remember this: When Ryan says something is alright, it’s really alright.

In both outfits: All Saints Shirts, United Colors of Benetton Linen Pants, American Apparel Unisex Basic Leather Belt, All Saints Brogues & Warby Parker Glasses.

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Look du Jour #7: Light Blue

all saint chambray shirt, club monaco striped shorts, cinque terre, walkabout florence tour Big Red Alert, Again: The search for the next face of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Fragrance Campaign 2020 is officially over. Move over, David Gandy. You’re being replaced by a much younger thus fresher face in the modeling industry. He’s The Confused Dasher. [Read more…]

Look du Jour #6: Terracotta. Again.

florence, duomo early in the morning, all saints, terracotta, marc jacobs denim chukka bootsOn me: AllSaints Granddad Collar Shirt, AllSaints Chinos, Marc Jacobs Denim Chukka Ankle Boots and Ray-Ban Wayfarer. 

The nice perk of traveling is that it gives you myriad chances to validate your own preconceptions about things. Pre-trip, I was fed on a daily basis with images of Italian men who are so well-dressed that I was overly excited to see them in the flesh. For the record, they are as good as they are cracked up to be. A lot of them have all the menswear thorny issues of tailoring, fit, mix and match and especially colors down to a science based on my observation.

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Look du Jour #5: Linen is the name of the game

united colors of benetton florence, italy, all saints shoes, uniqlo yellow socks

On me: United Colors of Benetton Linen Shirt & Pants, American Apparel Belt, Uniqlo Socks and AllSaints Shoes. 

Here is the second look in my two-segment series¬†about wearing linen during summer, which is easily one of the best things you can do to your body. If you happen to live in humid subtropical climate places like New York or (even worse) the third world (namely, Vietnam) where it feels like living in an oven during the summer, simple cotton doesn’t cut it. You need a different fabric that keeps you from sweating profusely and your fat from crying out loud [Read more…]

Look du Jour #4: Feeling sorta kinda blue

look du jour, american apparel beige belt, tie dye paul smith shirt, creative reaction yellow shoes, ONA bowery bag, benetton linen pants, duomo florenceOn me: Paul Smith Jean Tie-Dye Short-Sleeves Shirt, United Colors of Benetton Linen Trousers, Creative Recreation Suede Shoes, ONA The Bowery Bag and American Apparel Belt. 

It’s funny how at home I’m the ultimate champion at lazing around but once on the road I turn a 360 degree and treasure every fraction of a second. I keep churning out platitudes like if only there were 72 hours a day blah blah blah. (Don’t judge me too hard though; you said similar things at least once or twice too, right?.) This look was shot within the first 30 minutes after [Read more…]

Look du Jour #3: When good jeans happen

_DSC0684On me: J Crew Shirt, Maison Kitsuné Jeans, Diesel Black Gold Belt, and The Generic Man Wingman Wingtips.  

Here is another look in my “When in Rome” series. The jeans are from Maison Kitsun√©, whose store in Paris I should have dropped by, in hindsight. This pair is associated with a story that I’ll probably remember for a long time.¬† [Read more…]

Look du Jour #2: You can never be overdressed

Taupe Dip Dyed Suede Miller BroguesOn me: All Saints Sweater, American Apparel Trousers & Belt, Paul Smith Taupe Dip Dyed Suede Miller Brogues, Ray-Ban Wayfarer. 

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated”, said Oscar Wilde. Keeping that quote in mind coupled with Vatican’s dress code, that was the look I opted for on my outing to arguably one of the most sacred places¬†in¬†Christendom.¬†In case¬† [Read more…]