Messy Man by Messy Bessy

Messy Man Family

Ever since I made the move to natural and organic products Messy Bessy has been one of my go to brands over the last couple of years. I use their hand wash and liquid detergents for hand washing my clothes. I find that their products are gentle on the skin, remove dirt easily and smell nice.

Messy Bessy’s feminine branding doesn’t exactly appeal to most men and their offerings are aimed mainly at women. That has changed with the introduction of their Messy Man brand aimed at the male market. They sent me all of the products from their new line and I’ve been using them over the last few weeks. Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Confessions of a Bespoke Shirtmaker, The Grey Fox, Turnups

Confessions of a Bespoke Shirtmaker (Esquire)
“Well, I would be remiss from telling you, though, that there is an American Psychoaspect to this. They can afford it, they come to Turnbull & Asser and have their shirts made for them. That is big with these types of guys—whether they need a bespoke shirt or not. We use black labels for the bespoke items and once we ran out and used white labels instead and we received phone calls right away. The shirt fit fine, but they wanted the label. It’s not a [redacted] shirt from Macy’s, you know?”

Enchanted Naples (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“More literal-minded readers might be shocked, upon arriving in Italy, to find locals pushing buttons through machine-made button holes without being committed, Talarico umbrellas with polyester canopies, and young people more desperate for opportunity than free of care. I was even once petitioned by my revered tailor’s spawn and heir to bring him some Brooks Brothers shirts from America on my next trip. It’s enough to make you wonder if the whole thing isn’t just a hoax made up to sell ties to Americans.”

Turnup for What? (Put This On)
“In the end, just do what looks right to you. The only sartorial no-no is wearing cuffs on very formal trousers, such as those you’d wear with black tie. This is partly because cuffs are inherently a casual detail (they originated as mudguards) and because they interfere with the braid that typically runs up and down the legs.”

Mr. David Evans (Mr. Porter)
“There may also be a generational element, according to Mr Evans: “It’s becoming much more acceptable to be stylish. Fifteen or 20 years ago if you’d gone into a pub wearing a pair of pink chinos you’d have been chucked out… Nowadays someone will ask you where you bought them.””

The staples of a good wardrobe (Permanent Style)
“ In response to requests in the recent post ‘Classics that never get used’ here are five essentials of a modern wardrobe. Obviously a man’s actual requirements will vary hugely by lifestyle and occupation, but hopefully there will be something here for everybody.”

A Visit to the Tabacalera Incorporada Cigar Factory

Tabacalera Cigars Factory

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The Philippines has a long history of tobacco cultivation and cigar making beginning in the 16th century when tobacco seeds were brought to the country via the Acapulco-Manila galleon trade route. Private enterprises were not allowed to engage in the cigar business until 1881 when the tobacco monopoly was abolished. One of the companies put up following the abolition was the Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A. also known by its nickname, “La Tabacalera”. In 1887 the company established “La Flor de Isabela” (The Flower of Isabel), the largest cigar factory in the world at that time.

After a century, Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A. sold its entire tobacco and cigar business, including the name, to a Filipino group. The group modernised the facilities and brought in a Cuban master cigar maker as a consultant. He improved every aspect of the operation and taught workers the Cuban rolling style which ensures a consistent draw. Eventually, the company reverted back to its old name, Tabacalera, and is known as Tabacalera Incorporada today.

My friend Jose Perfecto, who works at Tabacalera Incorporada, introduced me to cigars two years ago. He told me that their cigars are still rolled by hand and pressed using wooden moulds that are a century old. This piqued my interest and made me want to visit the factory to see how the cigars are made from start to finish. I asked Jose to give me a tour of their factory in Dasmariñas, Cavite which they have been using for the last 6 years. The factory is about an hour and a half drive from Metro Manila.

Continue Reading

Weekly Roundup | Stop the Fop, Luca Rubinacci, Trouser Rise, Avoid Looking Like A Tourist

Stop the Fop (Billionaire)
“And it’s not even an expression of individuality — which is what dressing with flair should be. With their ‘unique’ pocket squares, florid boutonnieres, intentionally skewiff ties, Technicolor combos and bold pattern clashing, loony RainbowLoomy wrist adornment, generic expensive watches, corpulent lapels and oh-so-studied ‘accidental’ styling, these guys may not realise it, but they all look the same. It’s stand out to fit in, pseudo-individualist conformity. Sprezzaturaas stereotype.”

How High Should Trousers Come Up? (Put This On)
“So, finding that sweet spot — where a rise is high, but not too high — is largely personal, and dependent on your dress habits, taste, and body type. For myself, I prefer trousers that come up just below my navel, although for more casual pants (i.e. anything I wouldn’t wear with a tailored jacket), I don’t mind going lower. Note, the higher you go, the more you might want to consider pleats. They’ll help visually break up that expanse of fabric that can take up your upper thighs and hips.”

Mind Over Matter (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“There’s a certain masochism in most classic dressers’ stubborn adherence to tailored clothing as the mercury rises and the humidity settles in. We justify having distinct seasonal wardrobes with satisfyingly technical appraisals of weight and weave, making a nuanced art of dressing for the weather. I can’t help but wonder, however, if the “practical” dimension of classic summer attire isn’t suffused with a romance all its own, based on quaint and somewhat delusional notions of how gentlemen keep their cool.”

How To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist (Mr. Porter)
“Dressing for a summer vacation can present something of a challenge, especially for men who spend the vast majority of their lives under grey skies in equally grey suits. Luckily, most of the obvious pitfalls can be avoided by simply learning to dress in an age-appropriate manner. To help you achieve this modest goal, we’ve enlisted the help of three experts. Each of our columnists has offered up five simple tips – abided by carefully, these “abroadrobe rules” should see you safely through each of the first three decades of adulthood. You’re on your own after that.”

Interview with Luca Rubinacci at Pitti Uomo (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3) (Styleforum)
“What I want to build is a modern tailoring house. What many people and aficionados of the business don’t know, is that Neapolitan culture is in the structure, not in the style. The style is for the customer. When you see more wrinkle here or spalla camicia there, this is style. The Neapolitan structure is inside the jacket – it’s less canvas, shaping the waist with a high armhole. This I will never go away from. This is my father’s style. But what I want to build is mixing this with the customer’s needs. If the customer wants a short jacket because he’s short and wants to feel taller, let’s give him a short jacket. Why does he have to go to Tom Ford to have it?”

Getting Around Shopping and Shipping Restrictions of U.S. Retailers

Brooks Brothers Belt-019

Buying clothing, shoes and accessories from U.S.-based retailers remains one of the most convenient ways to build a wardrobe. Brands and retailers in the U.S. frequently hold promotions and sales that a good deal is only days if not weeks apart. U.S. brands almost always have a presence in the Philippines so it’s easy to figure out the sizing.

Unfortunately some of these retailers have tightened restrictions for shoppers abroad. This can be frustrating as there is no notice with the payment being rejected or the transaction being cancelled after ordering. I use two methods to get around these shopping and shipping restrictions. Continue Reading

Menswear Syndicate Meetup on August 14, 2014 8pm at EDSA Beverage Design Studio

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It’s time for another meetup! There’s no theme this time around. Let’s just chill over great coffee and finely crafted cocktails at EDSA Beverage Design Studio. Everyone is welcome to attend so bring your friends.

The meetup is free and open to everyone but registration is required. You can register through the widget below or on Facebook.

When: August 14, 2014 8pm

Where: EDSA Beverage Design Studio, 209 EDSA, Mandaluyong City

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Weekly Roundup | Classics That Never Get Used, Tips for Ironing Shirts, Stefano Bemer, Anthony Delos

Classics that never get used (Permanent Style)
“Thanks for your question. It is a very interesting one: a fresh perspective on both the building of an ideal wardrobe and the sartorial temptations we enthusiasts sometimes fall prey to. Here are five things that I think are worth reconsidering. I could go to the other extreme and list the five most useful at some point too, if people think that would be helpful.”

Ten Tips for Ironing Shirts (Put This On)
Most people hate ironing, but I admit to finding a strange pleasure in it. There’s something gratifying about passing a hot iron over cloth, and seeing a wrinkled mess transform back into a smooth, familiar garment. It is, however, a chore, and like all chores, there are better and worse ways of doing things. Over the years, I’ve picked up ten practices that I think not only help speed the process, but also improve the results.”

Stefano Bemer: Final Bespoke Shoes (Permanent Style)
As to style, this is a classic Bemer shape – relatively wide in the points, but coming into a short, sharp toe. The toe cap is elongated, which lends further prominence to that area of the shoe. The only downside of this design is that the toe puff (the reinforcing layer of leather inside the toe) is not as long as the cap, leading to wrinkling on either side of the line of brouging. I can see some people disliking this, but I don’t mind it.”

My New Life At Berluti : An Interview With Anthony Delos (Parisian Gentleman)
For a bootmaker like me, it means having access to incredible tools and fantastic talents and handiwork, all in a grounded aesthetic-centered universe that breeds pure inspiration–which is very far from limiting in my opinion. I consider myself lucky to have been given the chance to apply my know-how and to be at the service of this iconic house of which the bespoke shoe industry is indeed indebted to, in terms of breaking the paradigm that told us that all shoes should essentially look the same. With the limits of this paradigm broken, many possibilities opened across the industry for creative minds to apply to the art of shoemaking.”

FASHION IS DEAD! LONG LIVE FASHION! (Ivory Tower Style)
Read carefully here. Not only does the author lament that the basic structure of coat, vest, and pants remains unchanged, he calls this era of ossification the Age of Fashion. And he calls what preceded it – presumably with a rapid churn of different cuts and details, which accelerated suit-buying – the Age of Style. So not only is style not permanent, even the matching of word to concept is not permanent. Apparel Arts, iGent Bible, did indeed advocate for “style, not fashion.” But in doing so it meant the exact opposite of what the phrase means today.”

The Gentleman’s Wager

Jude Law joins Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini in a short-film for Johnnie Walker Blue Label. It is a beautifully shot video by Jake Scott where Law plays the rich and successful playboy who wants something he doesn’t have which, in this case, is Giannini’s rare and fabulous schooner. The boat, of course, is not for sale. Law makes a wager that if he can convince Giannini with a dance he can have the boat. The two clink their glasses and Law proceeds to setup an elaborate show for his friend including a visit to Steven Hitchcock and a shoemaker. When everything is ready Law invites Giannini to watch him dance. Moments later Giannini eventually joins Law on the dance floor losing the wager. The short-film ends with Giannini wanting to buy back his boat from Law with a story. The two clink glasses setting up the sequel which should be out in a few months.

Weekly Roundup | Quality, Monogram, Foster & Sons Bespoke Shoemaker, Adriano Dirnelli

Quality (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“Quality is meant to refer to the integrity of the make and materials that produce the finished items. Like many words that describe a broad category of more specific characteristics, its meaning is vague and therefore poorly adapted to making fine distinctions. Consider the word “size”. Size has many components, such as height, weight, width, and so on. Sometimes the concept of size can be useful for casual comparisons. It’s clear that a whale is bigger than a chicken, and it’s just easier to say “bigger” than “taller, wider, and heavier.””

On The Monogram (A Suitable Wardrobe)
“My guess is that this position springs from the anti-logo, anti-advertisement current, almost a sort of snobbery, of recent years, as well as from the ease with which so many things can now be monogrammed, which undermines the implication that something with your initials in it was specially designed or made for you. I subscribed to this viewpoint for years, until I recently noticed a colleague’s shirt monogram in a tone-on-tone (white-on-white, to be precise) in a pleasant fancy italic font and found myself thinking it actually looked rather nice. Growing old, perhaps, I realize life is too short to use the presence of a monogram as a way to judge someone, even if the monogram was on his shirt cuff. Shoot, I’m doing it again.”

Interview: Andrew Murphy, retailer manager of Foster & Sons bespoke shoemaker (The Penny Yard)
“The bespoke team works upstairs at 83 Jermyn Street, in the workshop. There are 4 people: Jon, who is the last maker, Emiko, who is also a last maker, pattern cutter and shoemaker (she is quite unique, because most people just specialize in one area), Emma who is a pattern cutter and almost also a shoemaker, Lucy, who is the youngest, she is been in team for 2 years and she is a closer. We also have some people who work from home. All of them started as apprentices and they were all trained by Terry Moore who is the master shoemaker at Foster & Son. He started with Foster & Son in 1964 and is now officially retired, he is 79, he has bad health and he can’t do physical work. So he comes in twice in a month as a consultant to see the guys in the workshop and customers for a chat. The whole team were trained by Terry, Jon has worked here for 4 years, Emiko for 14 years, Emma for 7 years and Lucy for 2 years.”

Interview with Adriano Dirnelli, menswear blogger and connoisseur (For The Discerning Few)
“I have always despised guys who proudly wore a hideous big watch simply because it was the most expensive around. Expensive does not necessarily equal to beautiful. Lesser known brands can offer a beautiful product, with a very good value for money, you need taste and education to get it. My motto is “best for less”. Any guy can dress well if he has the money (sort of)… However dressing well on a budget requires dedication and creativity. Finding the three hundred dollar watch which seems to be worth three thousands, that’s the challenge. It takes time and requires taste. It is an uphill battle but it is loads of fun.