Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guyliner, a Tutorial

We've all had our eyes lined before---Halloween, school plays, afternoons spent curiously fiddling around at Sephora...---often to a much too harsh, unflattering effect. Though I do maintain that men look their best natural and simply groomed, I'm also all for advocating the idea of men having the freedom to change up their look from time to time the same way women have fun with cosmetics. Guyliner may not be as everyday-wearable as concealer, but on the nights you decide to break out the huge Yohji Yamamoto coat and the floor-sweeping vintage Dior Homme scarf, having a pair of dramatic, intriguingly smoldering eyes in your arsenal might just come in handy. Our mangy make-up model Mike Shaeffer returns for another installment of my little series on make-up for men.

We tried on a few shades of brown and found that YSL's pencil liner in Leather Brown, a dark brown with undertones of gray, worked best with Mike's olive-pink skin. Brown blends with skin tones much more naturally than black, which when smudged shows some hints of green.

We started by priming Mike's eyes with the Auto Pilot primer from Napoleon Perdis. This isn't an absolutely necessary step, but this pre-makeup moisturizer helps the liner smudge more evenly and stay on longer.

Apply a very small amount over the lids and under the eyes, and wait to dry.

Then with the eye pencil, draw a line from the the corner of the eye to the tear duct, as close to the lash line as possible. Draw it in with little strokes until you complete a line.

The line needn't be perfect, you'll be smudging it anyway. Mike's slightly jagged job works just fine.

Immediately after application, before the liner sets, smudge the line gently across the lower part of the lid with your ring fingertip until all visible lines are blurred. Then, with the fingertip stained with the eye pencil, smudge some color to the outer 1/3 of the lower lash line to define the eye from below. Do this with a very light touch; heavy lower liner can easily look very severe.

Soften those stares with your secretly guy-lined smoldering eyes. You are one dashing dark dandy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turquoise Time

turquoise, coral, and sterling silver Native American watch band on a Casio watch

There's something about turquoise jewelry, perhaps in the convoluted notion of pan-Americana, that makes it meld well with classic, preppy, if you may, American sportswear pieces. I had spotted one of these stone-set watches, in fleeting and from afar, on a handsome older man outside a burger joint close to where I live. I thought to myself, who would have the patience (and the genius) to set a twenty-dollar Casio watch with turquoise and coral? Apparently, these beauties are handcrafted by native Americans and sold as watch bracelets, as explained to me by the lovely lady who owned the shop in Old Town San Diego where I bought it from.

The dark sterling against the brash cheap steel, the turquoise and red coral against the blue and red print, the handcrafted against the digital---aah, this will be tattooed on my wrist for quite some time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Staples

Having moved from the Philippines of Perpetual Summer to the Northeast United States, with its extremely variable four seasons, I often get approached by friends from back home for wardrobe advice when making the move to a colder city. I tell them, besides a closetful of beautiful coats of varying lengths and thicknesses (I just can't bear to look the same on the street every day, could you?), the best advice I could give would be to suit up and have proper winter gear. Lest you be amenable to having your extremities un-stylishly freeze off and your heartbeat slow down to a hypothermic pace, you can't just throw a big black coat over your t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers and call it a day. This is my guide to surviving New York winters in style:

Sunglasses protect your eyes from the piercing winter sun, and also act as a partial mask, shielding your face from the cold wind. I always keep mine on.

Illesteva sunglasses, Uniqlo turtleneck, Black Fleece jacket, Portolano gloves, Uniqlo jeans, Desert Mali boots c/o Clarks

A nice polished indoors jacket is important, because as outside temperatures drop, the indoors, though heated, get cooler too. One layer is often not enough for indoors, but wearing your heavy coat inside would look silly, hence the need for an indoors jacket.

jacket by Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, pin by Husam El-Odeh

Thermal underwear works wonders at maintaining body heat, and the new ones in the market, from Uniqlo's Heattech line in particular, are stylish enough to wear out. The slimness and clean lines on their fine jersey turtlenecks make them modern and universally flattering.

Uniqlo Heattech turtleneck

It's important to have everything covered, especially your hands, which are one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Leather gloves, lined in cashmere, work best for me. A little secret for those of you with skinny fingers like myself, don't be afraid to check the women's section for gloves; just stay away from the bows and ruching and ruffling. Unless you want to, and by all means, go forth.

red leather gloves by Portolano

I still can't quit cropped pants, so in the winter, lace-up boots keep my ankles protected. These Clarks Desert Mali boots have a silhouette that evokes a slimmer pair of Dr. Martens, but the minimal detailing and waxed leather makes them that little bit more intriguing. The bouncy crepe soles make them immensely comfortable, once broken in.

Running back inside--I need my coat.

photographs by Pop, Bop and Snap

Monday, November 21, 2011

One Monk

single monkstrap shoes with John Lobb signature buckles in navy, rust, and chestnut

With the current pervasiveness of double monkstrap shoes, I find myself favoring the conciseness of single monkstraps. It seems as if all of New York feels like they've discovered the ingenious new invention that is the double monkstrap shoe and are scrambling to call dibs on who wore it first. Scratch that---I'm not one to hate on pieces of sewn-together leather and metal, but in their austere simplicity, don't you think single monkstraps are decidedly more monastic?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maybe Miami

So about that trip to the Galapagos... how's about Miami instead? Onia had shared with me a few new campaign shots of their reversible Marko short board short, shot in Miami, and they're building up a feeling of claustrophobia knowing I'll have to remain within the northeast continental United States for the holiday break.

the clean elegance of stark white swimwear, perhaps made delightfully gauche with an aggressively all-gold Rolex

The white Marko shorts turn inside-out to an equally chic fine gray and white stripe, shown here. On a mildly chilly vacation eve, I'd say they're nice enough to wear with an un-lined un-structured navy blazer.

a peek at Onia's coming offerings: stripes, color, and archival Liberty of London prints

But maybe, just maybe Miami?

photos via Onia

Friday, November 18, 2011

London Lunacy

A recent visit to the London Show Rooms to view the designers' Spring 2012 collections reminded me of the boldness, originality, and oftentimes lunatic charm that I find lacking in New York's more sober, commercial fashion scene. "So bad it's good" was a recurring theme among my picks, and depending on your degree of risk-aversion---once-in-a-while or once-and-for-all---it's mighty fun to break the rules.

So wrong it's right: studs, tattoo prints, and a huge "ELVIS" sign seemingly DIY-sewed on to the back of a faux-denim knit jacket sound like a recipe for chaos, but with summer blacks and beat-up black lace-ups, I think this Sibling jacket could be next season's beautiful disaster.

Cozette McCreery, in a Sister by Sibling neon leopard-print sweater, holds up the jacket to show the circus-font "YES" on one sleeve and the tattoo prints on the other.

The time for leopard print (at least in my world) has passed, but the mirage-like quality of the digital cheetah and tiger prints on this Katie Eary silk shirt is enthralling. With the gold buttons, and the peek-a-boo detail right under the collar, tucked into sharp navy trousers, this would be perfect for hosting a summer soiree.

Katie Eary's eagle-headed cheetahs are as absurd as they are beautiful.

exaggerated epaulettes by Katie Eary

Lou Dalton's inspiration was the miners strike in the UK during the 80s and the Pitman Painters, livened up by the idea of the swan and the duckling, and it was fascinating to see how clearly this inspiration was translated into her clothes.

These fully-lined white denim bermuda shorts by Lou Dalton are carefully hand-frayed all over to resemble feathers.

This Lou Dalton Swarovski crystal-encrusted chain mail cummerbund/apron is regal, warriorlike, and gentlemanly all at the same time.

Lace panels bring a subtle gentleness to this easy white t-shirt.

photographs taken at the London Showrooms in NYC

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Everybody's a F*****g Blogger

Everybody's a blogger nowadays: everyone has their own outpost (or three) in the vast plains of the cybersphere; Internet life is taking over real life and blog musings are taking over in-person conversation.  My editor, Kwannam of I.T Post in Hong Kong had given me free rein on this piece, and I went on and explored the effect of this phenomenon on our fashion-world.  Here's an excerpt of the piece, read the rest of the article after the jump:

Yesterday at Café Select seemed to be a typical lunch date among friends in New York City: catching up on the latest movies seen and the best new free yoga classes in town, who’s dating whom and who isn’t anymore, a rundown of the sample sales happening within the next week---we, after all, all worked in and around the fashion industry in differing capacities.  But there was one more thing we seemed to have in common; interspersed between the chatter were bursts of enthusiasm in a language that would have sounded foreign merely eight years ago.  “I could only imagine how many hits you got from the UK after that feature.” “How come I’m not on your blogroll? We’ve been friends for ages!” “Nicola Formichetti just tweeted at me, sooo dreamy!”  It then dawned on me: everyone at the table was a blogger, or had at least some significant social media presence, be it on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.

Read "Everybody's a Blogger" and more on I.T Post

Monday, November 14, 2011

Practical Genius

a beach towel with brains: Onia X The Ritz Carlton nylon and terry beach towel

The folks at Onia have collaborated with one of my favorite hotels on a nylon and terry cloth beach towel embroidered with the Ritz-Carlton's lion insignia. On one side, plush and absorbent terry, and on the other, the same water-repellent nylon that Onia crafts its stylish swim shorts out of. Lie on the striped side wet and sandy, and all debris shakes right off. I particularly like this seersucker-esque crinkled striped nylon.

What do you say, let's quit this winter and fly to the Galapagos Islands and wear our Resort 2011 purchases?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reptile and Rubber

There may not be a pair of fall shoes more perfect than these Walter Steigers on Austin. They are crafted out of both crocodile and alligator, in the richest shade of black-brown. The toes are wearably round, but ever so slightly elongated for elegance. And the soles! Hiking-boot rubbers, the season's sole du jour, great for stomping around the city's autumn leaf sprinkled streets---or running from myself, the reptile shoe thief.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Perfect Slick-back, a Tutorial

They ask, "How do you get your hair looking so perfect everyday?" "With hot and painful morning hair-pulling, and a cup of hair spray!" I reply, half-jokingly. Knowing how to do the perfect, sharp slick-back is great to keep in one's arsenal for that hot date or the occasional black-tie affair, or for those with the same commitment to dandyism as I have, everyday. Admittedly, it does take a little more time and effort than a tousled dirty-wax hairstyle, but with technique and lots of practice, this 'do can be most certainly do-able.

You might notice the rigor and severity of my technique; I do have to contend with the stubbornness of my horse-thick Asian hair. For those with finer hair, feel free to skip the blow-drying step, or use a gel or pomade with a little less hold. Here's how to do it:

Begin with your hair fresh from the shower; it is most pliable at this state. Towel-dried until it is very slightly damp, parted where preferred.

Start by blow-drying the sides of your hair closer to the head for a slim, sleek profile. Comb the hair down and back, and follow the motion with the hair dryer. Repeat until dry.

Take time to blow-dry the top portion of your hair that falls right opposite the part: this section will carry the most weight, and blow-drying it would prevent it from collapsing throughout the day. Brush back with the comb and follow with the hair-dryer on high.

When all is dry and set, it's time for gel or pomade. I like the sharpness and the volume that gel permits, but if you prefer the more throwback, closer-to-the-head sort of slick-back, by all means use pomade. I use about two teaspoons of Goldwell's mello goo gel, it's thick as jam.

Rub the product thoroughly between your hands, and carefully shape your hair the desired way. I think having it slim on the sides, with a slight bit of volume on the top-front, gradually tapering down is universally flattering.

Follow through with a comb to distribute the product.

And set with hair spray.

I like to run my fingers through the top about ten seconds after spraying it. It gives my pencil-straight hair a bit of texture and it makes for a bit of a controlled messy look. For something more runway-pristine, skip this step and use more hair spray. Make sure to lay the hair spray on twice as heavy on the top portion right opposite the part; this section needs the most support. Set everything with a hair dryer on low.

As an extra flourish, I like to finish it off with a glossing serum. I use the medium-thickness Nigelle Rx from Hair Mates in the East Village.

Rub a squirt or two vigorously between your palms.

And carefully work it through your hair. That extra glint, that shine when the halogen lights at a gallery opening hit your mane, ah, with that perfectly slicked-back mane you will stand out in the crowd.

Finished. Smile, you movie star you.

photographs by Austin A. Wong

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