So not all of us can dress like we’ve just stepped out of Vogue or Marie Claire all the time. Sometimes we hit it, sometimes we just miss it. Just like me. There are times when I get compliments on my outfit. But there are also instances when I feel like I must have dressed up on crack before leaving for work.
But there’s nothing more terrible than being totally fashion clueless. I’m not talking about not being up-to-date with the latest trends here. It’s when a person doesn’t know how to dress right on certain occasions, or what dress is appropriate for her body shape and what truly reflects his personality. Like I don’t think it is cool for a 50-year old Mom of four to run around donned in Goth attire and makeup. Do you?
Fashion is dynamic. Rules and ideas change constantly. Of course there are also fixed rules that remain constant across fad phases. But generally, it evolves. From being merely functional to a means of self-expression or status symbol, the purpose of clothing has gone through many changes.
While I totally subscribe to the time-old axiom that real beauty comes from within our selves, external beauty also matters. Impressions are created on the way we look, on how we present ourselves, the way we act, speak and the clothing we wear.
Apart from makeup, clothes can also make or break you. It can leave a positive impression or cause a permanent damage to your image. This goes true especially during interviews. Most headhunters think it is better to come to an interview overdressed (in full corporate attire, I mean) than to be underdressed.
But it isn’t just in interviews or party or any special occasion that we have to be properly dressed. My personal rule when going out of the house is to wear something decent at the least.
Good thing fashion experts abound in magazines, on the Internet and on TV. What Not To Wear is one example of this. Unlike other fashion police TV programs where so-called fashion pundits ambush you and drag your reluctant arse to the mall to buy new clothes from their sponsors for a certain affair, What Not To Wear would give you actual fashion advice that are practical, helpful and applicable to everyday life. Once you’ve been transformed into a modish woman under the amazing hands of style pundits Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, you become a butterfly for life (that is, if you follow their advice to heart). That’s because What Not To Wear digs deeper into the problem, determining the root cause and addressing your fashion dilemmas right at its source.
Stacy London reminds me of my friend Kim Avena who decided to take the fashion route. Kim and I were both Communication Arts students. I ended up in Public Relations and writing; she invaded the glamorous world of fashion.
I remember Kim as one of my best-dressed schoolmates in high school. She has the knack and innate sense of what’s hot and trendy even at an early age. This interest is what, perhaps, prodded her to pursue this type of career.
Even before she started Keestine Outlets, an online fashion store, she was already dressing up local celebrities. She used to own a boutique in Greenhills that sponsored the outfits of Pinoy Big Brother host Toni Gonzaga. Pinoy Big Brother is the local franchise of Endemol’s Big Brother.
When she went to the United States, Kim took this opportunity to chase her dream of becoming an ultimate fashion stylist with her fellow Filipinas as her clients. So she opened Keestine Outlets which offers affordable international luxury brands for her customers in the Philippines.
Despite being in the early stage of success, Kim remains to be that girl with simple dreams and joys. That includes meeting in person her ultimate idol Stacy London. To others this may sound shallow but it’s a BIG DEAL for Kim. For her, it’s like winning the lottery or something. If I would faint at a close encounter with Adam Levine or George Clooney, Kim almost did cartwheels when she gets to hug Stacy.
I’m so happy for you Kimmy! I know Stacy is not only your fashion icon but also your inspiration.
Kim shared to me that she looks up to Stacy and the entire StyleforHire team for learnings, which she intends to share with her kababayans (fellow Filipinas).
I wouldn’t be surprised if someday she’ll join the ranks of Filipinas who have created waves not only in the US but the rest of the world. Women like Ms. Universe Runner Ups Janine Tugonon, Shamcey Supsup and Venus Raj, American Idol batch 11 finalist Jessica Sanchez, Monique Lhuillier and Josie Natori, among others.
However, Kim humbly countered that she still has a long way to go. “It’s still a very long shot. It will take a while before I finally reach my dreams,” she confessed. “But I promise to continuously hone my craft and sharpen my skills.”
With Kim at the helm, Keestine Outlets won’t be your average online clothing store. It’s an online stylebook, fashion school and personal shopper rolled into one. Its mission is to serve as your personal stylist and shopping buddy who are always ready to give you fashion advice whether you are a brand-conscious client or shopaholic on a budget. Just subscribe to her page www.facebook.com/koutlets and send her a private message for prices and other queries.
When I was still a kid I was hopelessly burara. My folks would always complain that my room (or part of the room when I was still sharing with my sibs) is a pigsty. My bed was always unkempt. I have packets of junk food stashed everywhere. And my collection of Sweet Valley Twins and High were scattered on the bed, on the floor, on top of the TV…well, they were found anywhere but the bookshelf.
Surprisingly I turned into an OC Mom and Wife. I really feel agitated whenever I see one of H’s toy cars, blocks or discarded papers lying on the floor. Because both kids have plenty of toys accumulated over the years, my husband and I bought and re-used huge plastic storage boxes to segregate, organize and keep all of their toys and knick-knacks. Whenever H takes out his toys to play, I make him pack them away before sleeping or moving to another set of toys.
I cringe when the kids mix their toys. Or when H puts the blocks in the plastic box for his alphabet magnets. Even if I stay up late I really make time to sort out the megblocks from the small legos, the alphabet wooden blocks from the plastic alphabets, or the small cars from the big cars. I can’t sleep well knowing the toys are in disarray anyway.
My OC-ness extends beyond the children’s toys. If you open their closet, their pyjamas are piled in pairs. So do their house short and shirts. Their casual and formal wear should be hanged. For T, her diapers must be kept in the right cabinet. The left cabinet is solely for bed linens and towels. This is one of the reasons why I hate changing yayas. I have to re-train them over and over. I don’t want their own method of organizing clothes. I WANT MY WAY!
At night I double and triple check the locks. Even if my husband is already fast asleep, I wake him up to re-check the gates. I also get irritated if he leaves our closet doors ajar. Yes, I’m that OC ladies and gents. I toss and turn if I see our closet doors open. No matter how sleepy am I, I feel I have to get up to kick shut the doors.
Yet, I don’t think I am a candidate for expert help. Yes I tend to worry about a lot of things. And my hands are somewhat dry because I love to wash hands or use sanitizer a lot. But so far my OC-ness does not impair our normal lives. I do tend to drive my loves nuts with my quirks (sometimes I yell at my husband and H when they leave crumbs after snacking in bed. Lol). I do think it’s just part of wanting to be a perfect wife and Mom. I’m sure most of you have that tinge of domestic OC-ness somewhere or somehow. Don’t be in denial.
On the other hand…
Photos retrieved from:
My cousin, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, and her fiancee (now my cousin-in-law and also a law graduate) decided to get hitched somewhere in Tagaytay. They chose a hotel for their wedding reception and the Transfiguration Chapel in Caluruega, Batangas for the rites.
To make the most out of our stay in Tagaytay, hubby suggested we book an overnight stay in the same hotel. We thought everything was going to be convenient and easy: leave Manila at 9AM, have an early check-in, eat lunch, scout for a hair and makeup artist, attend the wedding then uhm…sleep???? <naughty grin>
However, Murphy once again proved that he’s right (and most of it is our fault). Instead of heading directly to the salon after lunch (wedding is at 5:30), we decided to uhm, stay in our room first to, uh…take a nap???? Yes, take a nap it is!
As a result, we arrived at the salon (David’s Salon Tagaytay) late. It was already dark when the stylists were done. They assured us, however, that the chapel is a merely 20 minutes away. But lo, it wasn’t just 20 minutes away. It’s actually like going to Makati from Marikina. And that was just the tip of an iceberg-sized misadventure.
Since it was our first time to visit the place, we had to rely on the map attached to the invitation and google map for navigation. The maps indicated numerous landmarks which we should pass on our way to the chapel. But it was so dark we failed to see those establishments or places. So we had to make several u-turns and stops to ask for directions. Good thing most of the people we encountered were helpful and friendly. None of those who take advantage of lost tourists.
But it gets worse. Used to the bright lights of the Metropolis, we consider the Aguinaldo Highway dark and deserted already. There are long stretches that are still uninhabited with only reflectorized markers serving as our beacon. But it was nothing compared to our destination.
When we turned left to the road going to Lemery, that’s when we got really creeped out. No lights. No reflectorized markers. Not even an abandoned shack. Finally we saw a lone sign indicating the direction to Caleruega. At the entrance there was a guardpost and a lighted building so we heaved a sigh of relief.
But that was just a temporary interlude. Again, we had to navigate a long stretch of empty road ahead. The asphalt eventually gave way to a dirt road and that’s when we started to get really agitated. We cannot see anything beyond 5 meters! We made several wrong turns. Mr. M had to make a very tight U-turn so we will not fall off a cliff which we believe was there but cannot see because it was bloody dark. I even have to scream for him to stop driving several times because I wasn’t sure if the dirt road will actually lead somewhere or to an empty abyss.
Anyhoo, we did arrive but were very, very late. We missed my cousin’s pa-kape of Starbucks hot coffee and frappuccinos (you see, their love was made in Starbucks, hence the Starbucks buffet)in the chapel. My husband, always the snacker, helped himself to the remaining chocolate chip cookies as consolation for the fright.
We were very happy to see people at the church. And we made up for it by gawking at my cousin’s VIP (like Associate Justice Abad and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales) and politico (my congressman uncle and another female representative somewhere) wedding sponsors at the reception. Sayang we missed CJ Sereno who just attended the church rites.
Looking back, it was one of the biggest scares of our lives. My husband admitted he got really terrified because he was thinking of our two children who are still young (awwww). Those familiar with the place may think we are being grossly namby-pamby but for us, we are only glad to survive Caleruega at night.
Promises are made to be broken. And so are new year’s resolutions. Truly, it is easier to write down pledges at the start of every year but more difficult to actually make a follow through. One reason could be people tend to make outrageous promises at the beginning of every year. Courage reaches its peak whenever an old year is about to bid farewell – perhaps fueled by elation, a surge of adrenaline, or simply of alcohol coursing through the veins. But when the thrill fades, so does the determination to keep on one’s promises.
This year, I ought to make it uncomplicated. I promise to really try to write or post something on this blog regularly. It could be as simple as a photo, random thoughts or a quote that interests me. Or it could also be a little bit more elaborate as an approved press release.
I hope I can live up to this pledge. I’m crossing my fingers.
I may be a banker’s wife but I’m much different from the rich bankers’ wives of developed Western countries. The same goes for my Mom who’s a wife of a retired banker (and she’s a former banker herself!). But some things are similar: we, the Filipino bankers’ wives, are as intelligent, ruthless, ambitious and sharp (if not more) as our partners. And we are definitely in control of our marriages. -wink, wink-
SO RICH YOU WANT TO SLAP THEM (PART TWO) © Sarah Tucker / Daily Mail
On Saturday the Mail described the obscenely lavish lifestyles of the women married to the City’s new super-rich. Here, one ex-member of the club breaks ranks to say these wives are totally in thrall to their husbands – and often regard their marriages as business contracts.
At a formal dinner party I once attended – populated entirely by bankers – I remember one newly married woman being lectured by her banker husband as we were walking into the reception area.
Their conversation went along the lines of him telling her: ‘Don’t mention you come from Essex; don’t eat with your fingers because it looks common; don’t get drunk because you get stupid when you get drunk; hide your watch because it’s not worth showing.
‘Don’t talk to Henry because he’ll try to flirt with you; don’t talk to Gerard because he’ll want to find out about me. Don’t speak about the holiday, because they’ll realise we’re not having one this year and they are; don’t tell them you can’t ski, or surf or dive.’ With that he strode on ahead of her. I remember the woman looking at him on the verge of tears. Only then did her husband turn to her, hold her hands, hug her and say: ‘But remember to be yourself.’ The irony is that the woman was so wound up at the beginning of the evening, she proceeded to get absolutely hammered on champagne and attracted so much attention from the other male guests – Henry and Gerard included – that, as I later learned, the drive home was conducted in stony silence.
Welcome to the unique and secretive world of bankers’ wives.
From the outside it looks glamorous and privileged. The reality is that it’s a pressure cooker of control in which men with vast salaries seek to employ their spouses as corporate weapons.
This week, everyone from the liberal media to chippy Government ministers have been getting excited about the prospect of record City bonuses this Christmas – up to £5million each for senior bankers. But for me a far more interesting, complex group of individuals stand in the wings – their wives.
So who are they? Take a footballer’s wife, give them a brain, double the ambition, dull the hair, halve the chest size and you have a banker’s wife. I know this because for years I was one myself.
Although my ex is a good man and a good father, when we divorced after seven years of marriage, having fallen out of love, my solicitor told me in no uncertain terms that I should never, ever consider marrying a corporate man again.
‘Sarah, you are not right for a corporate life,’ he told me as we walked out of the court room.
‘Corporate man expects you to put him first, always first, and what is true of most corporate men is especially true of men who work in the City.
‘It is a job for which you get well paid but you must be prepared to play by the rules.’ Perhaps I never mastered The Rules, but there are plenty of women who have. I’ve met some highly successful corporate wives, and their husbands, and learned more about how these women manage their corporate husbands.
Take the dinner parties which are so often the place where the bankers’ wives come into contact with each other. They were full of the boring, pompous banter about expensive holidays, expensive cars and expensive houses that passes for conversation at banker dinner parties.
THE men talk in money terms about wine, cars and boys’ toys; about whether the 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape is better than the 2001 Barolo; or if the Ferrari 575M Maranello is more stylish than the Aston Martin Vanquish.
One bizarre conversation revolved around two guys talking about whether or not they should buy a fullsize Star Wars stormtrooper suit with a helmet for just under £3,000, and if they’d get much use out of it. They are literally overgrown boys.
Think of suppressed anger of Abigail’s Party crossed with money, and you get the idea.
None of the parties I have been to, or friends have been to, have ended in a heart attack, but a few reputations have been slashed to bits – in a world where reputation is everything.
The wives themselves, with a few notable exceptions, are effortlessly stylish, but none of them are what you might call ‘sweet’. To be a banker’s wife for any duration you need, ironically enough, to think corporate – be brighter and sharper than your husband, and more ruthless.
‘I know one wife who earns more than her husband as a senior accountant but would never dream of admitting it to any of her friends,’ says Elizabeth Fairing, who lives in Hampstead, North-West London, and is now a banker’s ex-wife.
‘Her husband praises her for being a gracious hostess but never mentions her business success.
‘At dinner parties, she remains strictly an observer. She hasn’t exactly lost her identity, but in his company, she keeps it well hidden.’ So how would you recognise a banker’s wife at a charity event among all the other corporate wives?
They fall into two categories. Those who have a successful career and earn as much or more than their husbands.
And, in the second group, those who’ve made a career looking after their husbands and the household (ie.the professional mummy).
Bankers also tend to go for small or petite wives. I remember going to one rather surreal dinner party, where all the men were 6ft and over and all the women were a foot shorter.
I always tried to wear flat shoes when I was married because I’m over 5ft 8in, or at least bend my knees when talking to the wives because their husbands might be happy to literally talk ‘down’ to them, but I wasn’t.
Most of the wives are vicariously ambitious for their men, so in many ways are not unlike any other corporate wife or footballers’ wife.
‘Bankers’ wives don’t seek fame, recognition or validation through association with their husbands. They are completely confident in who they are, where they are and why they are there,’ says investment banker’s wife Tanya Endlemann, who has homes in London and Hertfordshire, a fulltime nanny, a highly successful business in PR, and a husband, Terence, who works more than 80 hours a week.
‘When I meet bankers’ wives at charity functions, they are without exception the most immaculate, highly intelligent, and extremely sharp women in the room, but they are also quite unassuming,’ she adds.
‘They have perfected the politics of maintaining a successful marriage, with the same efficient management skills they use in their businesses, the running of their households and even their emotions.’ So how do bankers’ wives spend their time when they’re not preparing perfect dinner parties or play dates for their pampered children?
Rather than shop and sleep with other peoples’ husbands, wives or personal trainers, these well-educated, well-travelled women tend to be far more creative and lucrative in their activities.
They set up businesses – nanny agencies, interior design companies, PR consultancies – or continue climbing their own corporate ladder, only taking a quick coffee break for the hiccup of childbirth.
They ensure their income is always separate from that of their spouse and that he always thinks they earn enough for him to boast about to his pals, but not too much to feel intimidated by.
The relationship with their banker husband often becomes a business contract which is increasingly too expensive on either side to get out of.
One banker I knew always introduced his wife as ‘his current wife’ – just to keep her on her toes, he would add, although I always got the feeling it was she who kept him on his toes.
She reminded me of the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada – one look from her and her husband would shut up like a clam.
This banker’s wife was definitely the one in control.
Ella Martin, 38, a friend of mine who has a very happy home life and three children, married a highly successful banker (who is now retired and much happier for it) and has told me many horror stories about dinner parties, bits of which I’ve fictionalised in my book The Playground Mafia.
‘On the face of it, everything is ticking away nicely, but take away the boys’ toys and the wealth and you’re left with all rather insecure and vacuous characters,’ she says.
‘I used to spend time in the kitchen when I threw a dinner party, mainly because I didn’t want to screw up the meal but also because it gave me a break from the banter about money, who has it, who’s lost it and who’s making more of it.
‘If you get on with them, or find a common denominator like a love of animals or playground politics banter, then that’s fine, but if you don’t, it’s a bit like going into a playground yourself and knowing you have to make conversation with people you don’t like, trust or respect.
‘I attended a charity event once with my husband and the wives were all stuck on one table together. They each talked about the usual – the parties they’d been to where champagne had been flowing endlessly and the new Porsche or Ferrari their husbands had just bought as a third car.
‘Then they got onto their gowns, their jewellery, gifts from their husbands, all mentioning the price as though for some reason the expense made it more beautiful than a slightly cheaper creation, and arguing animatedly about how could you compare a £2,000 Valentino to a £2,000 Dior.
‘When they asked me where I bought my gown, and how lovely it was, and – obviously – how much it cost, I told them I bought it off the peg for £200, and that I’d donated the spare thousand to charity. They didn’t talk to me after that, which was a bit of a relief.’ Those bankers’ wives who don’t work either focus on training up their children to be control freak, neurotic copies of themselves, or focus on training up their nannies to train up their children to be control freak, neurotic copies of their parents.
These are the mothers who bought Baby Mozart long before everyone else, and find it desperately important – for their own self- esteem and that of their husbands – that they can bring up happy, balanced but, most importantly, highly successful children.
While many women will feel that these wives have made a Faustian pact, trading in the prospect of a fully functional marriage for a life of luxury with a husband who works 80 hours a week, there are many of the breed who approach these relationships on their own mercenary terms.
Bankers’ wives keep their eye on their own bank balance as well as their husbands’, identifying when he’s going to reach burn out and drop him just before he does.
‘Bankers’ wives are more than capable of trading their husbands in for a better model before they are traded in themselves’, says Elizabeth Fairing.
‘The key is to make themselves invaluable and of worth. Compare it to how they view a diamond.
They may admire the diamond, but that doesn’t mean they won’t want to see some more.
‘They lose sight of the fact they have a person by their side, rather than a possession to be shown off which will make them look good and, above all, more than they are.’ Many of my friends are still married to bankers. They are, without exception, more intellectually, socially and emotionally developed, rounded, grounded and impressive than their husbands, and deep down, I think their husbands know it.
The bankers’ wives who manage to last the course prove themselves sufficiently shrewd in managing their portfolios of husband, family, homes and hormones – his and their own.
They hedge their bets, managing to retain a veneer of submissiveness in public to ensure their men (who are still boys) feel secure and in control.
In private, these wives rule these men with a rod of iron, with mind games rather than sexual peccadillos, for they know they married psychopaths, albeit functional and financially efficient ones, and that their husbands, to be efficient in a world where everyone screws everyone else, must have little understanding of the hurt they cause others, including their wives.
In public, they subsume themselves to their husbands’ wishes, moulding themselves into walking corporate storm-troopers – just without the £3,000 Star Wars outfits.
© Sarah Tucker / Daily Mail
Husband and I both love Japanese food so for Father’s Day (June 17, like 4 months ago), we decided to sneak away from the kids (more like dumped them at my Mom’s) so I can treat the Mister at Yakimix.
When we arrived at a nearby mall, we were aghast to find the restaurant like a marketplace. There were so many people, couples, and families in the waiting list. At the rate it’s going, we would be able to eat lunch at around 9 PM pa. That won’t do for my perennially hungry husband whose sight dims (nagdidilim ang paningin) figuratively when he can’t eat on time.
So off we went to the Podium to see if the Yakimix branch there can squeeze us in. It was nearly 2:00 PM. There’s still a waiting line but we waited for only a few minutes.
Although it was way past lunch time, I did not have the appetite to gorge myself. I only opted for a few types of maki and sushi. I concentrated on my most favorite of all, salmon sashimi. Yum!
We’ve been meaning to try out Komrad – Mao’s Hunan and Sichuan Kitchen for sometime now. The opportunity presented itself when husband and I were contemplating where to celebrate Mother’s Day a week before May 13. I called to make reservations but as it turned out, there’s no need for it when it is just two people who’ll be dining.
instructed requested (tee-hee) mi esposo not to include the children on this lunch date. Hey, this is my day. I wanted to relax and not spend the day yelling at our precocious son or racking my brains on what resto food is okay for our 1 year old daughter. After all, one cannot call it a date when there are kids and their nannies seated between the two of you. I just asked my folks and sisters to bring them to another mall instead. Thank God for parents!
(retrieved from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7qgw8-DoXWE/Ty7EAyqIwXI/AAAAAAAAAbU/WnFEoQJhLWY/s1600/KOMRAD.jpg)
Komrad is a modification of the word Comrade which means “friend” or “ally”. It is popular among left-wing organizations such as communist China. Mao Zedung and other members of the Communist Party of China would take it as a sign of disrespect if you failed to address them as Comrade or Tong Zhi.
The food we ordered were okay but not spectacular. Personally I thought the servings were small considering the price. Nonetheless, they’re quite filling unless you have a huge appetite. But it’s definitely not big enough for sharing.
I was expecting a slow service because it was Mother’s Day but surprisingly the food came out just in time. Maybe because we opted to order some of their house specialties. I have read somewhere that when you are too hungry to wait, do not get the least ordered food; order their “most recommended” instead.
One thing I noticed though is that the crew seem to have no clear seating plan because we have been served by different attendants throughout the meal. It is unlike in other restaurants where there is a specific food service crew assigned to (a) particular table/s. When we asked for our bill, one of the crew wasn’t sure if he was giving us the correct billing and had to ask me to look over the slip if those were our orders. He got the first one wrong but was correct on the second attempt. This could pose a problem for the restaurant if a dishonest customer decided to fib by owning up to a bill that is priced cheaper than what he actually ordered.
In any case, the whole dining experience was okay but honestly, we’re not too eager to go back.
Komrad is part of the Red Crab group and I must say, I’m more partial to its Red Crab and Crustasia restaurants.