If there is one clear benefit about being back home here in Manila, it’s that I’ve been serendipitously surrounded by a lot of stylish and chic, fashionable Mommy friends (#SoMoms, you know who you are!). 🙂 Before I started listening to their fashion advice (and admittedly sometimes when I’m not always with them), I can’t say I’d win an award for the best dresser in town.
Growing up I was always taught to dress for comfort and efficiency. Forget the style. Translate: Jeans, shorts and a regular shirt, no accessories. And really I don’t own that many shoes (I promise it’s true). I don’t even know how to put make-up on myself (Thank GOD the The Painter’s Wife is my friend!).
I actually think my sense of dress style got worse when I stopped working and became a full-time mom. With the lack of time (and sleep), I just wasn’t in the mood to dress up. Sweats or exercise clothes were my staples. No wonder they call it “casual clothing” in the states (and I learned this on Project Runway!) — because it’s really something you’d just throw on and go out in, everywhere.
Anyway. Fast forward to Manila, where there are really more facets to life. Remember those Life Bubbles? They’re all simultaneously inflating here. And no one really walks around in their “casual clothing” unless they’re really headed to the gym to work out. So with the help of my friends and a few of their recommendations, I’ve had the chance to upgrade my wardrobe. Here are a few of the brands I’ve learned from them:
1. Fashion Forum – Thanks to my friend Tin of Manila Fashion Observer, I discovered that SM department store carries modern, designer clothes. The pricing is fairly affordable for the quality and the names that you get. They are in several women’s sections of SM malls around the metro, the biggest selections are in SM Aura, SM Megamall and SM Makati. Here I bought several dresses that I wear to many occasions. The most versatile one is a printed purple shift dress from Laura Ashley. On my own I’d never buy it, but it’s served me well on several occasions, including our family photoshoot with Sheila Catilo!
2. Karimadon – Also an introduction made by Tin (that is WHY she is Manila’s Fashion Observer yes?), was to Karen Wu. She invited the #SoMoms to their branch one afternoon and gave us all the privilege of trying on outfits from their new collection. I even got to take home a black jumpsuit, and I won a cleopatra-like accessory piece in their raffle! I’d have to say, while I grew up seeing Karimadon in every mall I went to growing up (they’re currently present in 16 malls if I’m not mistaken), I always thought they were all about formal wear for older people. Now I know that they do have a wide variety of dresses that girls can wear to their prom, Beauty Queens can wear to a pageant, or regular “older” (I suppose I do belong in that bracket now) moms like me can wear to regular social gatherings. Everything is locally produced and designed — such Filipino talent ey!
3. Elin – Now THIS. This! Elin has become quite the favorite of mine in the last year. I’ve bought several easy dresses and shirts from them and I wear them practically every week. Jen of Attached at the Hip is right; it’s even become my everyday uniform. It’s a brand started by three partners in an effort to provide pregnant moms, nursing moms and new moms comfortable, easy-to-wear clothes. They are all also locally made. I love their fabric choices, and the colors and plain tones are right up my ally. In fact my friends from the #SoMoms were asked to model some of their clothes. Of course when I saw the pictures, I wanted it all!
4. Piesa – Accessories are a learning curve for me, and they are made fun by the unique pieces and choices one gets from Piesa. Phoebe makes all these pieces by hand. I’m told no two pieces are alike. They’re easy to wear and quite fun too. They go with any regular piece of clothing, and these I have a lot of! At least with Piesa I know I won’t look so plain all the time. A little “fancy” here and there should spruce it up enough ey? 😉
5. Yellow Bird Shoes – My dear friend Patty of Non-Stop Babble launched her very own line of shoes about 8 or so months ago. Who wouldn’t love them! The colors are bright and cheerful, they’re an accent piece on their own. The pairs I’ve bought have also taken me from day-to-night – as glittery and sparkly as they are. And they’re affordable enough that I’ve also given them as gifts to cousins and friends.
Patty plays with prints too which is quite fun (considering all my shoes are plain so that they can go with anything. But as I learned on TV, shoes can be fun accessory pieces too!). I’m excited to get my new pair and try them out.
Now here’s a tip, when ordering from Patty, always check the Yellow Bird Shoes updates if the shoe size is true to your size, or if you’ll need to go a size up. Patty’s pretty good at indicating which shoes these are, and following this as served me well thus far.
So there you have it folks. Looking at it all: my what a big influence these #SoMoms have been on my fashion life and everyday style. I’m ever a willing student. Why not – I’ve learned so much already and it has done my closet a whole lot of good. 🙂
The click on the links of each brand to visit their Facebook pages.