Acceptance of others.

I had a recent conversation with my friends recently, over mahjong (’cause great ideas are formed at a mahjong table, said No One Ever).

We were talking about marriage (’cause that’s what everyone my age is talking about now, whatever happened to DoTA?!), and I brought up the unspoken “market guideline” of the engagement ring being 3 times the last drawn salary of the lucky groom. Yes, I can almost hear the silent uproar of the Singaporean male community with how money could be better spent on housing or exorbitant COE prices.

And as a professional shit stirrer, I felt it was my duty to inform my male comrades about how a Hermes bag can set you back by more than $20,000 (and I wasn’t even talking about the limited editions).

You cannot imagine the amount of bias the room could contain.

Of course, there are also one-sided views on how certain professions are looked down upon, or “cosplaying” is a waste of money, or cricket is dumb.

“Everyone is entitled to their own set of beliefs and preferences”, but I think some folks neglect to view that statement in its entirety. They think: “Yeah I’m entitled to my opinion”, but forget that others have their tastes and priorities too!

I think I bashed a couple of Singaporean males for not dressing well in a previous post, but hey, if external appearance isn’t high on their priority list, so be it! I think comfort trumps all in fashion and I just tend to be more comfortable with a better appearance. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to conform to my beliefs. I was just giving some advice and trying to help my boys out.

What I’m calling for is mutual respect. I prefer tea and you prefer coffee. Don’t put down someone’s hobbies or interests, or draw negative conclusions from it. Have an open mind and see both sides of the coin.

Learn to understand others’ interests and find out what hooked them in the first place. Unearth the complexities and passion behind their craft. It’s actually very simple? Well some people like it simple and minimalistic! You’ll be surprised at how close-minded you were, not to mention childish too! (Remember how at 10 years old, kissing the opposite gender was disgusting? Well, look who’s the horny one now! Haha!)

Like your mind, the world will open up if you choose to let it open. The world is a more beautiful place once you learn to accept.

P.S. I have a secret admiration for cosplayers, enjoy cricket once in a while (especially when I’m watching with my Indian friends) and strongly believe that every profession (yes, even the bloody summon aunties) deserve some respect.

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Fashion Tips For Men

Well, as promised, this is the second part to my take on the male fashion scene here. Read the prequel here.

Before I begin, I would like to clarify that the term “shirt” refers to the working shirt with buttons that most people wear to office. Okay, let’s get straight into it then.

Men’s Fashion Don’ts

Footwear

No slippers, no sandals, and obviously no Crocs, unless you’re going to the beach. But it’s no Crocs ever. It’s Men’s fashion advice here, not boys.

School/Army Polo

Stop wearing your school/poly/army polo shirts. But it’s totally okay if it’s Singapore Polytechnic or the latest Arsenal jersey. Damn that team’s so fashion forward. Sometimes I think it isn’t fair to the other teams.

Branded Tees

No more “brand” T-shirts, like the A|X one in my previous post. Do you want to be a walking billboard of bad piracy? Look: Branded ≠ Good Fashion Sense. Stop buying SuperDry tees.

How about you give yourself a personal challenge for a year: Not to buy any apparel that has its brand visible? Try it! Do you really believe that people think you dress well because you spent $200 on a shirt?

Work Pants

No more loose shirts or pants. There are enough “sails” in Marina Bay and Raffles already. Also, stop wearing just black pants to work. There are grey pants and chinos.

Photo Credit: The Effortless Gent

Photo Credit: The Effortless Gent

Suits

If you’re wearing a suit (I see this mostly at graduation ceremonies and weddings), don’t button the bottom button of your sports jacket/coat, unless it’s single button.

Notice something?

Notice something?

Cologne

Don’t suffocate me with your cologne. Use odourless (if possible) deodorant if you start to smell after a bit of sweat. Almost every guy’s like that, don’t sweat over it (pun intended).

Fitness

Don’t give yourself excuses to being fat. If you have time to watch TV/the computer, you have time to hit the gym.

Men’s Fashion Do’s

Shirts and Fit

Your t-shirt/polo shirt/shirt/top/bottom should always fit your body almost perfectly. It should give you that coveted “V” shape. I cannot emphasize this enough. Fit > Quality > Brand. Recommended article: “Style Tenets”, by The Effortless Gent.

Please tuck your long-sleeved shirt in, be it with your pants or jeans. Belts are optional if you tuck in, but I’d recommend it. Basically, you should look neat and that you take care of your image. But not to the point of public vanity.

If you’re wearing a tie, the tip should *just* about cover your belt buckle. Recommended article: “The Perfect Fit: Ties”, by The Effortless Gent.

Your belt should always match (i.e. roughly the same colour as) your shoes.

Shoes

Invest in a nice pair of loafers/boat shoes. I recommend Pedro.

The versatility of loafers/boat shoes.
Photo credit: http://www.mensfashionmagazine.co.uk

Also, invest in a pair of brogues/monk shoes, just so you don’t rely on that pair of black leather shoes too much. You have to be a bit like Benitez: squad rotation.

Suits and Watches

Invest in a tailored suit. Make sure it’s not over-sized. You should be wearing the suit, not the other way around.

Invest in a classy looking watch. You’re a grown man now, time to show it (pun intended). It doesn’t have to be a Rolex, Tag Heuer, IWC etc. My personal preferences are Stuhrling and Orient.

There are many “indie”/”bo mia” brands out there that get away with looking expensive but costing $100+. Recommended article: “Best Automatic Watch Deals – Spring 2013”, by Dappered.

My current Stuhrling

Very classy looking Orient.

I’ve always thought henleys looked good on any man. It’s like formal casual wear, exuding a quiet sense of confidence and fashion sense.

If you want to hear current fashion advice, I *think* bold colours are in, which I think is about right. You want to do stand out for your sense of style. The fear of taking bold colours on is best described in yet another fashion blog I follow and I quote this post from mensfashionmagazine.co.uk:

“Block colouring is a great trend and when pulled off well, is extremely stylish, but for the majority of men we prefer to play it safe on most occasions.”

Ask a lady for advice. I always try to shop with a female friend, if she’s willing.

Learn how to match with colours. Recommended article: “Killing it with Color”, by The Effortless Gent.

You want to forge your own unique style. When I buy clothes, I’m always looking for that subtle flair or understated detail. Loud but not too loud.

Blogs

The most important tip is to read magazines or subscribe to fashion blogs. Reading these blogs regularly can have a positive effect on your outlook on image and style, which will give you better decision making when shopping.

Here are the blogs I follow:

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I guess, at the end of the day, what I’m trying to show is that it’s not difficult to seem fashionable or stylish. And with that little bit of effort, it can go a long way in terms of your personal image, self-confidence and career, to name a few. (okay okay, sex life too. LOL)

Come on boys, let’s give the ladies a run for their money.

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The Rise Of The Well-Dressed Singapore Man

Call it bias or tunnel vision, but I’m in the opinion that a fashionably dressed man will leave a better impression than a lady with good fashion sense, at least in Singapore. This is unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a man into Darwinism) due to the severe disregard of fashion among the male population in the land of the Merlion, as compared to their lovely counterparts.

I’d like to take this opportunity to raise my imaginary Lychee martini glass to all the Office Ladies (OLs) in Singapore. On behalf of all the men having lunch at Raffles Place, I would like to thank you for making the world a better and more beautiful place with your dresses and pencil skirts. I’d thank all of you personally, but you know what Singaporean women are like. Rejecting men in clubs is the national pastime here.

And let’s not forget the short shorts (nope, it’s not a typo) that is so prevalent everywhere as well. Now, that’s one thing we can be thankful of the weather here for.

Turning our attention back to my fellow brethen, I can almost peer into all your minds now: an image of the proverbial Singapore man, wearing an A|X T-shirt (loosely, I must add), decked out in loose cargo shorts and fitted with Tat Seng slippers.

No? Not the man you’re thinking of? How about the man wearing a polo shirt which might date back to when Sir Stamford Raffles first landed in Temasek, combined with the typical loose pair of jeans with <nsfw, viewer discretion advised> a pair of CROCS. (Ugh, the horrors).

Image

Not until recently.

You can start to tell, that a culture has been slowly, but surely, seeping into the hearts and minds of the guys here. Call it a vanity complex, if you wish. It started innocently with a prevalence of male colognes. Then, it was the increased attention on men’s skincare.

That was just the tip of the vanity iceberg.

Shorts and pants were getting tapered, shirts are hugging more bodies and men were exchanging tailor contacts. You can count more loafers and skinny jeans worn at Orchard Road than Filipinos at Lucky Plaza on a Sunday afternoon. Did you notice the rising trend of “hitting the gym”? And the results are showing. I used to quite the beast at Yio Chu Kang gym, now I am but an average guy amongst protein-guzzling nineteen year olds.

Photo credit: forums.hardwarezone.com.sgThis image was shared on the most male oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

Photo credit: forums.hardwarezone.com.sg
This image was promoted on the most male-oriented website in Singapore, barring the dirty ones. Heh.

So now lads, it’s a sink-or-swim situation all of us are facing. No one’s going to put a gun to your head and threaten that you dress properly, but I urge that you hear me out.

Why every man should dress well:

  1. Boosting your self-confidence, which helps you in every aspect of your life. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, then who will?
  2. There’s no need to explain if you’re single. If you’re attached/married, what better feeling than to make your woman feel insecure cos you’re so handsomely groomed? Perfect payback for the times she went clubbing and told you “she’s just going with her girlfriends.” HA!
  3. Bumping into those obscure “hi-bye” friends and leaving them with a good impression.
  4. Instead of “How come no girlfriend?”, the aunties will be saying, “How come so handsome no girlfriend?”
  5. Motivation to lose weight/sculpturing your body to look great into those mustard shorts and short sleeve shirts.
  6. The biggest reason is your career. Want to get an edge at work? Dress smartly. No upper management wants to see a slob at a managerial position. Your clients will treat you with slightly more respect and so will your colleagues. As superficial as this may sound, your image may affect your perceived performance at work.

If I’ve managed to motivate some of you, it’s only right that I leave some tips to get you started. Now I’m aware I’m no fashionista myself (as some of my friends can attest to) but I make the conscious effort to always try to look better.

Unfortunately, I’ve exceeded my word count (and need for a social life, I have friends you know) for this post. Stay tuned for my next blog post on “Fashion Tips for Men“.

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