Men’s shoes: styles and formality levels

Men’s shoe styles are just as varied as women’s since there are different options to suit different occasions. The styles are varied and dress codes often need to be taken into consideration. Here is a guide to men’s shoe styles and shoe wardrobe makeover for elevated personal style.

If you are looking to elevate your personal style, an easy solve might be to review your shoe collection. Do you have classic oxfords for business formals, brogues for smart casual, loafers or trainers for casual wear? It is important that your shoe collection is not simply limited to two pairs, one for indoors and the other for outdoors! The goal is to have right items in your wardrobe and also to ensure longevity as shoes get the time to breathe and air between wear and hence can last longer. 

Shoes help to complete the look and to convey your sense of personal style. Here is a basic shoe guide to enhance your wardrobe.

1 pair of business formal oxford lace-ups ideally black and brown

1 pair of business casual chestnut brown wing tips

1 pair of monk straps and/or loafers, black or brown, especially if you are required to take your shoes off when visiting Asian homes and office (like in Taiwan). While these can be worn for business casual occasions, their level of formality is lesser than wingtips.

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1 pair of classic casual trainers. A must have for every stylish guys wardrobe. Trainers come in a range of colours, styles and materials and help make a personal style statement even for the most informal occasion.

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1 pair of sports shoes

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1 pair of stylish slippers for the warm weather to pair with your shorts

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Style rules for footwear:

  • Have at least 2 pairs of formal shoes – black and brown in leather
  • Good quality shoes are made of leather, top and bottom
  • Quality is reflected in shoes with soles stitched rather than glued
  • Allow shoes to breathe to retain original shape by alternating between pairs
  • Match the colour of the shoes to the belt. For casual looks, you can wear belts closer to trouser colour, since casual shoes can come in variety of colours.
  • Wear black shoes with black trousers
  • Wear black, brown or oxblood coloured shoes with navy, grey trousers
  • If wearing a tux, make sure your black oxfords are polished to a perfect shine
  • Dark socks are more suitable for formal occasions, while lighter socks can be paired with summer suits

Image consultant’s tip:

Stuff your shoes with newspaper to help absorb the moisture and get rid of any perspiration smell. Resole your leather soled shoes to make the original sole last longer and prevent slipping. Finally, shoes should fit from the moment you try them on and you should not have to ‘break them in’ to be comfortable.

For help to understand formality levels, update your wardrobe or find quality items that last, contact us here.

3 ways to update distressed denim for fashion trend in 2024

Update your wardrobe

Like it is being said, the most sustainable garment is the one in your wardrobe. The distressed denim trend might be phasing out but there is always a sustainable solution to stay up to date.
Denim is notorious for its environmental impact due to high water consumption, energy use and water pollution. Finding ways to update the existing denim already in your wardrobe, is the best sustainable solution. Here are 3 ways you can do it.

After all, the beauty of denim jeans is that it can be personalized for your style in so many ways.

Style and denim fashion trend in 2024
Style and denim fashion trend in 2024
Sustainable update for denim fashion trend in 2024

The denim fascination is on the rise and definitely deserves a more detailed blog post. We are on the hunt for brands that are making the effort to address denim’s sustainability issues. Stay tuned.

What to pack for a stylish resort holiday?

Part of the fun of a resort holiday is to spend time style spotting. Seemingly effortless but thoughtfully planned looks are an inspiration. There were many chic looks to be admired while on our recent Phuket trip, here are 3 of them to help you pack for a stylish resort holiday.

what to wear at the resort

Why we loved this style?

The silhouette of the A-line dress works perfectly in a soft fabric that drapes the curves gently.

Tip for packing

A dress that compliments your body shape to drape well along the bodylines.

Style inspiration for resort wear

Why we love this style?

All the colours at the beach brought together harmoniously – peachy beige bikini, designed with bold black border and embroidered floral design in fluorescent pink, green and yellow + a sheer cover up in blue and yellow pattern + bright green sandals.

Tip for packing

Think about a capsule wardrobe, where colours can be mixed and matched. Don’t be afraid to match soft hues with bold patterns in primary colours like green and blue.

Why we love this resort style?

The voluminous style of the sleeves is not only on trend but in a sheer fabric makes the look so graceful – just right for a stylish evening with cocktails at sunset.

Tip for packing

Think about the weight of the fabrics – silk, chiffon, muslin cotton etc. Lightweight fabrics flow and even in voluminous styles don’t bulk up your silhouette.

Finally, take the resort wear as an opportunity to try new combinations and ways of wearing what you already own. Accessories do the magic – even a few will do the trick to elevate your look for the special holiday evenings.

4 ways to style the versatile overshirt

Overshirts have existed forever, currently a trend but without doubt a classic piece you would want to have in your wardrobe ( or already have but need to rediscover). Why? Because it is so versatile ! It can be styled (note we say styled not just worn) in so many ways – dressed with some accessories or as the essential utility must-have that you can throw on. Below we share features and 4 different ways you can style the versatile overshirt.

4 different ways to style the overshirt

I have had a beautifully tailored, black overshirt in my closet for a couple of years now. I rediscovered it when I was looking for some more options within my closet for a cover up that was not as heavy as a jacket and neither was a cardigan. The overshirt has since become an easy choice for carrying everywhere with me – especially practical when the outdoors are too warm and indoor tends to get chilly, a perfect style solution for Singapore.

Stylist’s tips for a sustainable wardrobe:

  1. Go for quality, can’t insist on this enough. Fabric and stitching which is well done, will never let you lose the chic factor and you build sustainable wardrobe.
  2. Look for an oversized shirt with similar details in your husband’s closet, you might have some choice already there, waiting to be discovered and it will give you the silhouette needed for the overshirt.
  3. Don’t hesitate to accessorize – earrings or a delicate necklace will balance the bulk of the shirt.

Don’t hesitate to get creative. A good quality garment will always work and the overshirt is so practical, you don’t need to think twice.

Reach our experienced personal stylist and shoppers to get more tips and advice.

A guide to help when shopping for men’s trousers

Guide to help when shopping for trousers

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How long you wear your trousers, is a matter of personal style preference totally. For those in slightly more creative field or following very casual level of dressing formality at work, wearing your trousers 4 inches above your shoe can be your personal style statement. For those in the more conservative or traditional industry, following business formal or business casual dressing, wearing the trouser at the right length is important for an overall balanced look. Here is a guide to help when shopping for trousers.

Cuffed trousers: or turn-ups, mostly seen as part of a suit, should have a straight hem and should be long enough to sit on your shoe without a break. The cuff works better on tall men. The thing to note is that cuffs, because of the fold, can create bulk in a heavier fabric. Avoid cuffs on heavier material trousers, if you are hoping to create the appearance of length. The right width of the cuff is ideally between 1.5 inches to 2 inches wide. 

Current trend in trouser styles, the hem sits slightly higher above the ankle and the trousers have a narrow fit. This look is trendy and sharp if the smart casual formality level works for you. 

appropriate length for cuffed trousers

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Uncuffed trousers: should be long enough to make a small break in the front crease. The hem line is sloped, longer at the back, to reveal only an inch above the shoe sole.

Appropriate length for uncuffed trousers

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Jeans: have the casual formality level that can be played around with. To elongate the appearance of the leg, a length that sits just at the top of the shoe are best. This length can also be created by folding the bottom; however, the lighter shade of the fold then works to create the opposite effect, i.e., shortens the leg length visually. Skinny fit jeans have a narrow leg where the hem sits in a few gathers around the ankle, working well for the skinny shape. Below we showcase Nudie Jeans, click through to their site to read up on their sustainability approach as well, which is so inspiring.

Appropriate length for jeans

Image source: Nudie Jeans

Chinos or Khakis: Also known as America’s official trouser, several men opt for chinos for the business casual look. (What’s the difference between chinos and khakis? Chinos are a pair of pants and Khaki is the colour.)

The right length would be long enough to end in a few breaks above the shoe and should never show your socks when standing. Do keep in mind, chinos tend to give a very relaxed look and might not be suitable for formal business settings.

Robb Report shares more about the khaki pants from workwear to classic cuts.

Length for chino or Khaki trousers

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Choosing the proper length and styles can help you visually create length or width, so do give your trousers a proper break.

Need more than this guide to help with men’s shopping, then do connect here for personalized advice.

How to check for ‘quality’ when shopping for clothes?

Market research studies show that fashion shoppers in Southeast Asia prioritize quality and durability of fabric over price and even sustainability . Given the long queues outside fast fashion stores and the growing online business of fast fashion brands, this study got us thinking how consumers were assessing quality of apparels when shopping. It was time for a post about how to check for quality when shopping for clothes.

The most important part of garment construction are the seams that bring the garment together. Placed on the inside and outside of the garment, they ensure quality and durability of a product. Seams need to be to checked, just as equally as the fabric, to ensure you are paying for the quality that is being promised.

3 things you should look out for when checking seams:

Choosing natural fabrics like cotton, silk, linen provide a comfortable wear and are more qualitative than synthetic fibers like polyester. Seams should match the weight of the fabric and also take into account the functionality of the garment. French seams, most seamstress’ favorite, denote high quality and are suitable for light weight fabrics like chiffon or organza. Flat-felled seams are stronger and suited for fabrics like denim to hold the bulk of the fabric together and offer durability for prolonged usage.

Check the finish of the seams

Seams that are neatly bound, taped or sewn to hide rough edges, showcase the workmanship and the quality standards of the brand. There are several different ways to finish the raw edge of the fabrics -for e.g.: by using pinking shears to make a zig-zag cut on the fabric edge which will stop it from fraying, serging the edges, or enclosing the edges by binding them together with a fabric tape.

Here is a good resource if you are keen to have in-depth information on seams.

Avoid seams like these

For a qualitative garment construction, the inside of the fabric is just as beautifully finished as the outside. Exposed raw edges, loose threads, broken lines of stitching are an indication of poor quality and does nothing to ensure longevity of the item. The seams will come loose with movement or even after a couple of laundry cycles. Another indicator of poor quality is the tightness and closeness of the stitches. Stitches in a seam that are far from each other will fall apart quickly – you will often see this on skirt or dress hems.

In the end, higher quality finish of the garment will be reflected in the overall fit, finish and comfort. If the inside of the garment has just as pleasing an aesthetic as the outside you are investing in a qualitative wardrobe that gives you value for your money.

Where to find naturally dyed clothes in Singapore

With growing awareness of eco-friendly fashion, we are learning more about the use of natural dyes in fashion textile. Keen to know where to find naturally dyed clothes in Singapore, we browsed around for designers or brands that have been working with natural dyes. Earlier this week, La Tierra pop-up caught our attention, as I walked into the Design Orchard store.

Where to find naturally dyed clothes in Singapore

I was so excited to talk with Lulu, who is the beautiful lady behind the brand. She introduced La Tierra as an ethical fashion brand that uses natural dyes for eco-friendly fashion in Singapore.

By using different techniques, like Shibori, batik, clamping, eco printing and hand block printing, La Tierra creates wonderful designs on fabrics like silk and kala cotton (organic cotton). The lovely colors on these materials come from using dyes that are mainly made from organic waste like onion skin, pomegranate skin, lac, madder, myrobalan and natural indigo.

Here are some of the designs we absolutely loved and you can find them on their website.

More on natural dyes:

‘Natural dyes are derived from naturally occurring sources like plants, insects, animals, and minerals. Due to its natural origin, biodegradable nature and little or no chemical reactions in dye preparation, it has minimal impact on the environment, and disposing them does not create pollution.’ 1

Since the use phase of garments has a significant impact on its carbon footprint, we wanted to find out from Lulu, how customers can take care of these beautiful garments to prolong their longevity and maintain the color fastness of these natural dyes?

An easy care tip she recommends is to gently handwash the garments with pH neutral soap or shampoo and then hang them to dry.

Lulu shares more about La Tierra and the processes involved in designing, here and on IG @latierrasg.

Ask us more about how to style these outfits for your personal style and build a long lasting wardrobe.

Source: 1 (Affat, Sajda. (2021). Classifications, Advantages, Disadvantages, Toxicity Effects of Natural and Synthetic Dyes: A review.8. 130-135.)

  • Men’s shoes: styles and formality levels

    Men’s shoe styles are just as varied as women’s since there are different options to suit different occasions. The styles are varied and dress codes often need to be taken into consideration. Here is a guide to men’s shoe styles and shoe wardrobe makeover for elevated personal style. If you are looking to elevate yourContinue…

  • 3 ways to update distressed denim for fashion trend in 2024

    Like it is being said, the most sustainable garment is the one in your wardrobe. The distressed denim trend might be phasing out but there is always a sustainable solution to stay up to date.Denim is notorious for its environmental impact due to high water consumption, energy use and water pollution. Finding ways to updateContinue…

4 eyebrow shapes and a guide to achieving the right shape

 4 eyebrow shapes and a guide to achieving the right shape.

You could

1. Tweeze: which most women do or prefer to get done. Not bad, if you dont mind the pain.

2. Shave: with an eyebrow shaver. The results are good but once your hair starts to grow back, the short thick hair can be quite unsightly.

3.Wax: The desired shape might be a little bit difficult to achieve and then there is the hot wax to be considered, which has to be at just the right temperature to avoid disastrous results.

4.Thread: My recommended option. The thread cleans out all the tiny, fine hair that cannot be picked with a tweezer and the end result is significantly cleaner, shapely eyebrows. The best would be to get a professional to shape your eyebrows and then you can keep up the maintenance by tweezing the hair as it starts to grow back.                                               

Here is a guide to the ideal eyebrow shape

 A. Hold the pencil from the corner of your nose, against the inside corner of your eye and where it meets your eyebrow is ideally where your eyebrow should start.

 B. To achieve the arch in the right place, hold the pencil in front of your eye, align the side of the pencil along with the outer edge of your eyeball, where the pencil meets the eyebrow is the point where you should get an arch.

 C. Hold the pencil from the corner of your nose, against the outer corner of your eye and where it meets your eyebrow is where your eyebrow should stop.

While using eyebrow pencil or brush to define your eyebrows, use the pencil or brush in short swift strokes to add colour in between the hair, in the direction of your natural hair growth. If you use a pencil, please ensure that the line is well blended and soft, that is why instead of ‘drawing’ your eyebrows, ‘fill in’ your brows with a colour closest to the natural colour.

One last tip, if your eyebrows are dense at the begining and fade out considerably giving you the half eyebrow look, fill in the colour from the middle to complete and balance out the shape.

If you do have any questions related to eyebrows and how to enhance the shape of yours, please feel free to ask.

Till the next time….

How can you get the hairstylist to give you a good haircut?

You visit a new hairstylist, strongly recommended by your best friend. You are welcomed into the salon and escorted to the styling chair where you are met by the artist who you are hoping will be able to give you that special cut that will make you look different, feel good and always makes you look fabulous.

After 2 hours of washing, cutting and blowing you walk out of the salon, feeling more or less happy.

The next morning … reality strikes !

Your hair has again developed a mind of its own and is doing its own thing, which is very different from what it did yesterday.

This cycle has to stop !

What can you do? Here are the guidelines:

1. Before surrendering yourself right into the stylist’s hands and hoping for the best, book a consultation, time before the hairstylist actually cuts your hair.

The consultation is for the hairstylist to understand your needs better and for you to understand whether what the hairstylist is suggesting really will work for your lifestyle and personal style.

2. Share your daily routine to explain your lifestyle. Inform the stylist, whether you are a working professional, a busy mother or both. How much time do you really have in the morning to spend on styling your hair.  Your hair stylist should suggest something that is easy to manage, which in turn means a good cut rather than one that needs work and products to style.

3. Share about your style personality and image you need to project. Do you want a personal style that is ‘elegant’ or ‘ smart’ or ‘fun’ or ‘edgy’? At work, are you needed to look creative with smart casual look or look authoritative with a formal and professional appearance? Your hairstyle should project or contribute towards projecting these characteristics through your overall look.

4. Share about your hair type. You know your hair best. You should advise your stylist on the quality and texture of your hair. Is it wavy, straight or curly? How does it behave with humidity? Ask your hairstylist to suggest styles that work best with your hair type. If its wavy then a hairstyle that requires straightening will not work well for too long.

5. Share about your ability or inability to use hair dryer, hair straightener or even hair products. Short hair styles usually will need hair styling product, therefore, after the cut is done, do spend a few extra minutes to learn exactly how to use the product and in fact, ask your hairstylist to let you try out using the product yourself.

Our image consultant advises: Once decided on the hair style, let the hairstylist explain exactly what technique they are going to use to create volume, texture (which of course will have to match your face shape) etc. A good hairstylist should be up-to-date with their skills and incorporate volume or texture in the cut without you having to add products to create that effect.

The key to getting a hair style that is a joy to wear everyday is to be well informed about what you want and being able to explain it to the stylist.