What fits in a PS1 Large Chain Wallet

I am, for the most part, a big bag kind of girl. Apart from the fact that I carry so many bits and bobs with me, I also try to refuse plastic/paper bags as much as possible when shopping. So it’s convenient to have a bag that would hold not just my stuff, but my reasonably-sized purchases, too.

So I surprised myself when I found myself drawn to the PS1 Large Chain Wallet by Proenza Schouler. It was tiny compared to the other bags I owned and would obviously never fit all the stuff I carry around on a daily basis.

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But the bag is a lot more functional than its size would make you think. First, the gunmetal chain is removable (or you can slip it inside the bag if you can’t be bothered), converting the bag into a clutch. Second, it  has enough pockets and compartments to meet even a neat freak’s needs. It has an outer front panel pocket, a zipped compartment, an inner pocket behind that, six card slots, a panel for bills, and an outer zipped back pocket. It also has a small mirror behind the front flap.

DSC00977But of course, the real test is not in the number of pockets a bag has. It’s how much I can actually carry in it without overstuffing it to its physical and aesthetic ruin.

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The surprising answer is, quite a lot. Sure, it can’t fit any of the grocery items I abuse my larger bags with, but the PS1 Large Chain Wallet can definitely carry everything I need for a night out.

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The card and bill panels eliminate the need to bring a bulky wallet. So I can bring cash, IDs, and credit cards without taking up barely any space. That leaves room for (clockwise, from top left) lip balm, hand sanitizer, lipstick, an iPhone, wipes, a power bank, a phone cord, and a set of keys.

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Even with all that stuff, the zipped panels inside and outside the bag were still unused. And as with the photo above, the bag still has a relatively flat profile. So there’s definitely still some room for one or two small items and change.

My PS1 Large Chain Wallet is my go-to bag for things like concerts or any place that’s crowded, like a bar. Its size, the fact the it hugs close to the body, and is convertible into a clutch makes it an easy bag to carry for a night out. It looks great, too, with that same cool, downtown vibe as its larger sibling, the PS1 satchel.

It’s a great bag, and I actually should carry mine more than I do. Now if I could only train myself to carry less with me on a regular basis…

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Yes or no: White jeans

In my head, I have a list of things I would NEVER wear: white and/or lace leggings, patent platform heels, see-through half-skirts and short-shorts with the pocket linings showing, among other things.

That list also included white jeans. For one, the color usually makes things look wider than they really are  and that’s the last thing my thighs need. For another, my clumsiness usually seems to betray me the most when I’m wearing something I really shouldn’t stain (silk shirts, dry-clean only pants, etc.) so white jeans are not exactly a good idea for me.

But I think I am slowly changing my mind, because look how good Emanuelle Alt, Kate Moss and all these other ladies look in their pristine jeans:

What these ladies paired with their jeans are right up my alley: chambray shirts, blazers in navy and gray, neutral bags and shoes. It all looks so clean, fresh and put together.

Now if I can only make sure I don’t get ketchup, chocolate sauce and/or mustard on them. Barring that, Scotch Guard, maybe?

The Uniform: Work heels

I was pretty clear about what I wanted for my work heels:

(1) They have to be all-leather and well-made
(2) They have to be comfortable
(3) They have to be pointy
(4) And they should be reasonably priced (i.e. within 4 figures so the Jimmy Choo Agnes or the Manolo Blahnik BB are sadly out of the question).

Most shoes I found only met one or two of the criteria. Some shoes would be comfortable and well-priced and butt-ugly (seriously, what is it with the abundance of fugly shoes?). Others would be comfortable but made of synthetic leather, while the construction of a lot of shoes would be just downright shabby. I’ve gotten so desperate that I broke my own rule: not to buy shoes from a store that doesn’t primarily sell shoes.

I have that rule because I think that shoe-making, especially high-heeled shoe-making, is not something that a clothing brand might particularly do well on or focus on. Luxury brands are probably the exception, of course, but I wouldn’t know. But I don’t really trust, say Zara, to be able to consistently make well-made, comfortable, high-quality shoes when that’s not their forte to begin with.

So it was with some reluctance that I tried looking for shoes at Massimo Dutti. Not only did it break my aforementioned rule, but MD was also on the expensive side, with items routinely costing twice as much a similar item would cost at Zara. But I was desperate and I wasn’t too optimistic that I’d find anything anyway, so I went in.

Imagine my pleasant surprise (my wallet felt otherwise of course) when I found these: The Massimo Dutti Antik Leather Court Shoe.

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 And these:

Both were all-leather, interior included, perfectly pointed and juuuuuust within my budget. They were reasonably comfortable (at least from the few times I circled the store in them), too. I bought the black ones on the spot and had my parents buy me the nude ones in Spain, where Massimo Dutti is roughly 30% cheaper than in Manila (yey!).

And I have no regrets. Massimo Dutti makes great shoes. Even the patent ones, with the 90mm heel, are comfortable. Both pairs  pretty much go with everything and their classic shape means they probably will never go out of style. The only thing I would say is that I wish the black ones were just a smidgen higher. At 70mm, I do sometimes think that the height is slightly awkward (my sister calls them “starter heels”). Other than that, I think they’re pretty much perfect.

I alternate these shoes with each other and with my Anthology flats (because alternating shoes is essential to foot health!) and they are now essential parts of my self-imposed work uniform.

Not that I will be needing any new ones soon, but Massimo Dutti will now be the first place I look in case I want need shoes in the future.

Rule? What rule?

Jimmy Choo? Manolo? Who?

Okay that last one’s obviously a joke. Let’s not get too crazy over here.

Click on the pictures for their sources, if you must. But the photos are obviously stock photos from MD anyway.

The Uniform: Work

I wore a uniform to work for two years. I worked at a plant and had to wear company-issued, ill-fitting and high-waisted khaki pants, collared shirts that were only slightly less unflattering than the pants and closed shoes. Needless to say, I didn’t like my uniform and tried to minimize the times I was seen in public in it.

A few months back I moved out of the plant to our Makati offices. And yes, as shallow as it sounds, one of the things I looked forward to the most was not having to wear my uniform anymore. A few weeks in, though, I wanted my uniform back.

For the first few weeks, I found myself sitting on my bed, with closet and cabinet doors flung open, staring. I was now back to having to think about what I had to wear to work. I took for granted how easy I had it when I could dress myself while half asleep (which was the case sometimes, since I woke up at 4:30 am to go to the plant). I just had to grab a pair of pants from their pile, any of the shirts from theirs and I was good to go. Of course, that was no longer the case now.

To save myself the unnecessary stress and, also, to get myself to work just that teeny tiny bit earlier, I figured I should come up with my own uniform for work: a wardrobe that would require minimal effort in putting outfits together in the morning before work. I wouldn’t have to worry about putting together outfits half an hour before leaving the house. I’ve done the careful thinking and stressing before I’ve even bought the pieces, making sure it will fit with the look I want to achieve, and will go with multiple things that I already have. In other words, I could still be half-asleep and dress myself appropriately for work, albeit this time with more variety, and better-fitting pants.

In the two years I was at the plant, I didn’t shop for work clothes. I’ve had to overhaul my wardrobe a bit, clean out the stuff that no longer fits me either physically or style-wise (stylistically?). I’ve had to really think about what I wanted to look and dress like. I had to be careful about not buying things on a whim, like I did when I started earning money, only have to those purchases end up in the discard pile after my wardrobe clean-up. So after careful thought and consideration, this, in condensed form, is what my new work uniform looks like:

The Uniform

Pencil skirts – I bought two black ones from Zara and had our family tailor copy one of them for three more. Two of them where in basic fabrics, khaki and houndstooth-ish gray. But the third one was in a bright purple-blue tweed with green, yellow and pink threads running through.

Skinny cropped pants – I bought a pair of J. Crew Factory Winnie pants during my NYC trip, fell in love them and promptly bought two more. I’ve been looking for a similar fabric in other colors to have some made, but no luck so far.

Sweaters – Zara and Uniqlo for fitted v-neck ones, but I also have looser sweatshirt-ish ones similar to the gray one above.

Shirts – Slim fit cotton ones from The Gap and Uniqlo and flowier, looser silk ones from Massimo Dutti and Joe Fresh. Alas, Equipment is still beyond my reach.

Pointy flats and heels – The flats pictured above are J. Crew Vivs, but mine are my favorite Anthology Carnabys which pretty much look exactly the same. Massimo Dutti, surprisingly, has some well-made, comfortable and relatively affordable heels.

I will spring for something printed (dots) or with texture (like that tweed skirt) or with more color (a deep purple silk shirt from Joe Fresh) sometimes, but as you can see, almost everything is in a neutral: white, black, gray, navy, khaki (the influence of the plant?) or blush.

And because everything is in either a neutral or in a classic style or cut (or both), everything goes together. Like I used to with my plant uniform, I can pick any bottom and any top (there will be some exceptions, of course) and be good to go.

I have a uniform again.

A first: A shoe review

I am not a shoe girl. Yes, I will oooh and aaah over a particularly lovely pair of shoes once in a while, but as you may have already noticed, I am a bag girl at heart.

So if I go on here and write about shoes, then you can expect that I feel really strongly about the shoes. And, yes, I do feel very strongly about the Anthology Carnabys.

My first sighting of the Carnaby was a blurry picture on Twitter from Karrots, Anthology’s former designer. It was a photo of the prototypes for a pointy, patent leather flat. I was looking for a dressier alternative to ballet flats and these seemed like the perfect option. They would also be my first pair of Anthos. I’ve heard so much good stuff about the brand, but haven’t found a pair of their shoes that I loved enough to take the plunge. And these basic, classic flats were IT.

I had to wait about three to four months before Anthology actually got the shoes to market. I have to admit that I thought they were a bit pricey for flats, but I bought the beige ones anyway, remembering the feedback I’ve heard about Anthos.

I had a good feeling about the shoes already when I fit them at the store. The patent leather was soft, which was a concern for me, since more often than not, patent leather shoes tend to be rigid. Pliability of the leather is even more important with pointy shoes and with flats, to avoid any pain at the toes or at the back of the heel where the back of the shoe hits the skin.

I’ve worn the shoes to work, during 12 hour days and they were great. No pain or bloodied heels, no wrinkling of the leather, the shape was perfect, they looked good with practically everything. In short I loved the Carnabys. So much so that I bought a second pair in black.

I brought these shoes with me during my NY trip as a back up to my trusty ballet flats. But as luck would have it, my ballet flats were soaked through when I got caught in the rain at the US Open. I had no choice but to use my Anthos the next day, as my ballet flats were still drying out. And I never looked back.

I put the Carnabys through the ultimate comfort test, walking Lord knows how many NYC blocks in a day, and they passed. With flying colors. I’d be out in the city the whole day, on my feet probably 80% of the time, I’ve never once felt any pain or discomfort due to the shoes. No pinching of the toes, no scarring at the back of my foot. Nothing. For patent pointy shoes, that’s amazing.

I thought I loved the Carnabys then, I’m crazy about them now. They look great, they’re a dream to walk in, plus they are proudly 100% Filipino designed and made. So go get them. Now. Before I decide to hoard and buy out all the size 7s available.

Click on the photos to buy the Carnabys from the Anthology site or to get information on where else you can get them.

OOTD: Independence Day

Today’s holiday was celebrated with a road trip and a very, very indulgent lunch.

Coincidentally, I found myself wearing the colors of the Philippine flag:

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Red, White, Blue, and Gold

I took advantage of today’s rainy weather to wear one of my favorite marinièresIt’s made with a heavy, thick knit and the soaring temperatures this past summer means I don’t even remember the last time I wore it. I love this shirt so much that I have a second one in the navy and red colorway.

I paired that with dark blue jeans, a red bag with gold hardware et voila, coincidental tribute to today’s holiday. Ok, it’s a French-inspired tribute, but it’s the thought that counts. Heehee.

OOTD: Baguio again!

Is it sad that the thing I’m most excited about when going to Baguio is the prospect of wearing cold-weather outfits? OK, the answer to that is probably yes, but as you may already know, I love, love dressing for the cold. So, yes, the prospect of going to a city where I could wear boots and a scarf and not look like an idiot makes me giddy. So please indulge me this completely superficial post.

So here goes Baguio day 2 outfit:

These are new my new favorite boots, which I bought at 65% off their usual five-figure price. They have a slight motorcycle-y look, which I love. And yes, that brings my boot count to three. And yes, I live in a tropical country. So yes, I have a problem.