Dandy does it

Written and styled by Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in The Philippine Star, 5 September 2008

The devil in menswear lies in hidden sartorial details, hides its head in unobtrusive style statements. From the length of a cuff and the fold of trouser hems to the shoulder peak of jackets and intended shirt creases, there is no exhausting the devices with which to show one’s individuality. There is also the choice of jewelry, shoes, and belts, the types of patterns and prints, shirts, trousers, and headgear.

Having a careful eye for small things does not mean a man is vain or foppish, or even snobbish. All it says is that he knows how to tend to himself, has more or less mastered the things that suit him.

Outift based on this lookbook

Velvet vest from Anthology; navy long-sleeved shirt whit black polka dots, Marc by Marc Jacobs; black pants, Stitch’s; black leather belt with moose buckle, Gucci; black scarf with embroidered and sequinned detail, Vintage Shades from Adora, ; black leather patent shoes, Swear; black suede gloves, Marlboro Classics; and black fedora hat, Philosophy. Shot at Karma vintage interiors store.

Men can be the most incorrigible when it comes to burrowing out of their habits, one of which is the adherence to the notion that for one to stand out, one must first blend in. It seems we can only be slowly nudged out of it, carefully be convinced that there is so much difference between Tom, Dick, and Harry, and they can show it even if all three remain faithful to their beloved pinstripes and khaki.

The key to possessing one’s own personality is to grow into it. For style, there is a continuous progression, where each fashion choice builds to refine personal taste, so that there is nothing awkward or fake about it.

Outfit based on this lookbook

Black and white plaid pants, Diesel; white short-sleeved shirt, cK Calvin Klein; plaid bowtie, Polo Ralph Lauren; Mariche cap, from Anthology; brown leather belt with gold buckle, Brave Beltworks, and black patent leather shoes, Swear, both from Theodore’s; khaki suspenders, Marlboro Classics; red windbreaker, gold vintage watch, and electric bass guitar, stylist’s own. Shot at The Grand Thrift House.

The truly stylish man—let us call him the dandy—is not driven to be different just for its own sake. He knows he is and can’t help but express it. He won’t roll up his pants just because it’s the fad; he wears it as his own discovery. He adapts to what fits him, even if it means bending or totally breaking rules. He traces and retraces trends, goes back and forward. He never refrains himself from the joy of role-play. The dandy moves outside conventions. There is no spilled wine to his experimentation.

There is no pop star residing in him, who yearns for makeovers every season. He stays relevant by listening to himself and how his personality changes.

The dandy, like all men, takes with him things along the way, items or style devices, like souvenirs from adventures he owns because he worked for them, trekked earth and climbed mountain ranges in the journey to self-knowledge.

He has learned to capture through dressing his different moods, the fall of a facial expression, his changing shadows—all imperceptible, yet definitely present.

Outfit based on this lookbook

White lawn blazer with crest, and navy tie with white stars, both Polo Ralph Lauren; gray long-sleeved shirt with white polka dots and purple flecks, Diesel; handmade belts, Old Stud, Kent shoes, F by Friis, torn jeans, Energie, all from Theodore’s; and gold vintage watch, stylist’s own. Shot at Bellini’s Italian restaurant.

Men seem to be such incomprehensible animals, but there are always hints to personality and identity. To the attuned, attire is always telling.

What does a gold vintage automatic watch say? Studded belts and torn jeans? Fabric suspenders with leather belts? Fedoras and metal beads?

Outfit based on this lookbook

Printed polo shirt, Energie from Theodore’s; gray Zakuro jeans with print and meshed fabric detail, Mizra from Theodore’s; aqua colored cap with apache print, Diesel; maroon leather belt, McQ by Alexander McQueen from dotdotdot; gray suede shoes, Opening Ceremony; metal bead necklace, Leathers and Treasures; ethnic metal bracelet, Anthology; and 1960’s Polaroid land camera, Swapmeet Shop. Shot at White Box.

These days, snuff, linen, and lace are no longer necessary to show sophistication and taste. You don’t have to be a baron or hail from royalty. You don’t even have to be Ernest Hemingway or Oscar Wilde, Johnny Depp or Gaspard Ulliel, Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, not even The Aviator or The Talented Mr. Ripley to show any personality. Sometimes one item is all it takes: a trinket, a souvenir, something that holds a memory or captures your individuality. This and inimitable confidence: the uncanny mix.

Outfit based on this lookbook

Gray denim vest, Goldspun from Theodore’s; gray plaid jodhpurs, Anthology; black leather boots with buckles, Marlboro Classics; black fedora hat and wooden beaded necklace, both from Philosophy; ball wallet chain worn as a necklace, PBD from Theodore’s; and black woven leather belt, Armani Exchange. Shot at Old’s Kool vintage store.

Photos by Darrel Pobre for Design Arts Media Network (DAMN),
Assisted by Ardin Tuga
Hair and makeup by Benjie Angeles for Shu Uemura and Kiehls
Modeled by Carlo Adorador of Raven Models
All shot at Cubao Expo