On Dressing Up


 As I was commuting in my regular train in this fall weather, I see people’s attires transition from the light, single layered summer clothing to the freshly dry-cleaned fall coats /jackets.  In this part of the world where people wear double layers of clothing for pretty much 9 out of 12 months within a given year, the anticipation of transitioning from winter, spring, summer and fall attire is exciting. The other day I saw a gentleman in a suit and tie wearing a knapsack ; an almost 60 year old grandmother wearing tights.  I’m not the fashion police nor an authority on sartorial etiquette, but yikes, I thought they were a tad too tacky with their choices. One thing I can say though – I thought they dressed like their day was important!  

When our office converted to the “business casual” dress code almost 10 years ago, I was one of those who relished the idea of coming to work minus the suit and tie. Thanks to the Silicon Valley pioneering folks who popularized this “dressing down” style to instill a bit of that much needed informal and relaxed atmosphere that was supposed to boost productivity.   There is absolutely no reason for techies who have no direct contact with clients don a suite and tie all day. Friday had also automatically became jeans day. Gone were those days when you have to fork in 2 bucks ( to be donated to charity) so you can wear jeans on Friday. I remember that in the first few weeks of the new dress code a colleague of mine continued on coming with his suit and tie. We couldn’t figure out why and the jokes started coming around at the cafeteria for this rather stubborn dude. In the end, we found out that it had to do with his neighbors. He wanted to impress them all the time that dressing down meant he had to tell them he moved to another company. As for the women it is a toss up. Frankly, I can’t even figure out what constitutes business casual attire for women . They seem to get away with anything. 🙂

 I once got invited to a bbq birthday party and the man of the house, the husband of the bday celebrant was wearing sandals, shorts and an unimpressive, discolored white T shirt. OK fine, he was tasked with bbquing at the backyard but man, he looked like he just mowed his lawn for 2 hours and came to face the guests. It’s not even an issue with “being with Pinoys – so who really cares?” I believe that it is consistent with good manners to dress well when you welcome your guests who are well dressed in the first place. Just because you are the host doesn’t mean you need to dress up like a house cleaner. Enough with this humility or hospitality thing 😦  Dress up proudly like you’re the master of the house period ! 🙂

 There’s definitely a clear and thick line between looking dignified and looking like we’ve just hopped out of bed. One doesn’t need to wear ultra-expensive clothing and heavy jewelry to embellish his image with other people. Dressing up appropriate to the occasion is definitely important but more importantly dressing up like the day is important to you giving you that confidence that you look respectable and dignified should be the rule of thumb.


I remember when I was in grade 5, an uncle gave me a new bike, and an aunt wanted to give me a watch as a gift for my being an honor student. I told my mom she better give me a Seiko or a Citizen or else I would not wear it and I was dead serious. Looking back , I can curse myself for being stupid but then at that age what mattered to me wasn’t what I wanted but what my peers and buddies think of what I have ! I was feeling that peer pressure of belonging to a group, being in line with the fad, wearing the coolest stuff. Sadly it continued on even worse up to my high school days.

We can easily dismiss those immature years as part of growing up but what about now, when school years are decades over  – are we still into the business of wearing what’s cool and hot, and worse, do we still feel inferior if can’t use or wear them ? I bet we still do, more so in Pinas, where people would spend their last money and be penniless until payday as long as that can don and proudly display the  branded logo or the model  of their precious possession, be it  clothing or cell phone.

Talking about clothing – does anyone really know the difference between authentic and fake anyways?  If I buy a Tommy Hilfiger shirt from a Tommy Hilfiger store, does it mean it is authentic even if it is made in China?  Do they still make Lacoste shirts in France?  When I drive 2 hours south to the factory outlet stores in the U.S. I can buy IZOD sweaters of 10 bucks, Greg Norman golf sweaters for 11 bucks. Granted that they’re older models, where is the sense in this ? Are they even authentic for godsakes.

 What has consumerism done to our society?  Why do we allow ourselves to be duped in buying branded clothing that are for the most part fake? Tough question and I don’t have an answer.  The other week I chuckled when I heard over the car radio that Kevin Federline, the much maligned ex of Britney Spears was spotted shopping at Kmart . LOL .What was a “celebrity” like Kevin F. doing at Kmart anyways. I bet he’d say he was buying diapers for the baby hehe. 🙂


37 Responses

  1. the upside of rainy days (for me) is that I get to wear my favorite sweater or denim jacket or at least get to layer my clothes. Of course no matter how rainy or windy it is, you can only go as far as two layers in this side of the globe, bummer. I don’t know, I like looking at myself when I layer my top hehe weird!

    I’m not really brand conscious. I don’t know. I mean I try to buy at least one branded shirt, one branded watch, one pair of branded shoes etc but that’s it. The rest are still branded but brands that you never heard of hehe got lots of U2 jeans though but they’re all from UK and I meant ukay-ukay wahahaha

  2. i’ll go for branded, kailan ilang piraso lang basta laging malinis. ako nga para laging naka uniform kasi iilan lang damit ko, branded, hehehe (yabang ba?)

  3. I say Kevin S. is smart 😛
    I was into brands during my younger years but now, I’m into market (as in palengke) brands *lol* Nowadays, it’s hard to distinguish the real ones from the knock offs- clothes, apparels, bags , they all look the same.
    What’s more, the European big names are made mostly in Asia where labor is cheaper & even materials used to making them ( I know because I used to manage a cloth shop here.)
    So really, it’s just the name consumers are paying for.

    As for the bbq guy, talaga ba’ng naglalamita? 😀

  4. I meant Kevin F. (that’s what I get from calling him Mr. Spears) 😛

  5. To be honest, I used to be so brand conscious that I won’t wear a jeans if it wasn’t Levi’s or Guess. Now, that’s when I was still single. Now, I have become more practical since my priorities for expenses have greatly shifted as a family man, and of course no more “papa n mama” to those expensive shoes. Now, I can wear the cheapest shirt as long as it look good on me. But of course, if I am about to socialize and meet up with friends in a bar or party, I’d be outrighly insane and uncouth not to appear with a Lacoste and Guess jeans.

  6. The host must go home in the Philippines so there is no need for him to do the bbqing (if he can afford a houshelp). Just kidding bro.

    Aside from knowing which brand is which, I am also wondering how consumers make the right decision when buying the latest gadgets or machines (like buying a lap tops or pc). How on earth a non-technical consumers are subjected to a lot of technical things like DDR, TS1700, RAM, Cache, etc.. when buying this machine? How they decide which one is the best for them when they have no idea of what these specs and terminologies are for is a big question to me.

  7. On work clothes, good thing the company where I used to work didn’t require us to dress up all the time, unless going to an important meeting with a client. Most of the time though, we wore jeans, and why shouldn’t we? We manufacture and sell them, hehe. 😀

    As for going for brands, well if it’s about cars, watches, electronics and the likes, of course I’d go for the branded ones. No use wasting your hard earned bucks on cheaper but inferior products.

    It’s different for clothes though, because frankly speaking, they’re all the same inside and out. And that’s coming from someone who’s been in the business for more twenty years. So yes, it makes no sense to spend thousands of pesos just for a pair of signature wear when you can have a similar product, sans the signature, for less than half the price.

  8. Verns – cold weather does make you wear less clothes since you don’t have to laundry sweaters everyday. I have been used to cold weather that I remember in Jan 2005 I was in Negros and at 10pm we went out and everyone was wearing a jacket. I would think it was around 19 to 20 deg C plus a bit of wind but I thought it was perfect weather 🙂

    I stopped becoming too brand conscious with clothes too because there are lots of great products around here that are comparable to branded quality and much cheaper in price 🙂

  9. Iskoo – you mentioned about uniforms. In this part of the world, only service oriented business are mandated to wear uniforms such as subway and train personnel, hotel staffers, hospital employees, airport employees because I think they are partly subsidized by the company. Uniforms are a must for these industries because it allows the public to identify them from the crowd.

  10. Thess – yes, Mr. Spears is smart by maximizing the value of his money at Kmart hehe 🙂 At his stature though ( no matter how maligned) the paparazzi had deemed him off limits to proletarian places such as Walmart and Kmart 🙂

    I ‘ve found that the wheel heeled folks go to upscale places to buy their stuff to guarantee that their prized acquisition are authentic and original. Anything bought out of these upscale places aren’t to be trusted. This seems to be the way the game is played these days

  11. Major Tom – what you’re saying makes sense. I shop for branded clothes at US factory outlets where they are crazy cheap depending on time of the year. If you’re lucky you can score a GAP long sleeve shirt for 5 bucks so why spend 5 to 10 times more? I also get branded clothes as gift more often than not – Bday, Xmas, Fathers day 🙂 It’s more of a feel good thing and more importantly buy them only if you have the money 🙂

  12. MyePinoy – yes, he better hold the bbq party in Pinas where the can have more hads to fo the job 🙂

    I remember a friend of mine who runs his mon and pop insurance business from home tell me that he gives his PC a maximum 3 years life, writes it off and replaces it with a new one. The law allows you tax breaks on these things if you run your own business which isn’t bad .Unfortunately, keeping up with technology is a scourge which we have to live with. Talk about large companies forklifting every PC to a new model every 3 years just to be inline with technology – that’s one heck of an expense ! Technology is one damn good business 🙂

    I bought a new Dell laptop for my wife this year and got a 3 year maintenance warranty on it rather reluctantly just to protect my investment. After 3 years I’m hoping it still runs and I hope to write it off and replace it on the 4th year. I’m fortunate enough to be provided home access hardware by my company – a PC and a laptop- to allow me to work from home which I don’t worry about getting obsolete. One thing that we hope is for technology to become cheaper over the long haul so we aren’t stressed financially to replace them 😦

  13. Sgnlguy – very true and coming from you who is engaged in the business, they’re words of wisdom 🙂

    Quality is something we desire to get the best bang for our buck and this is so true with appliances and gadgetries. But we cannot seem to claim the same for clothing. One thing I hate ( but my wife loves) when we travel in the US and pass through factory outlets where branded clothes prices become so ridiculously cheap that my wife thinks Xmas shopping all the time but which makes me think – am I buying an authentic one ? 😦

  14. I agree with you on how to dress up being a host. I think I like your work dress code. Yeah, those who are not frontliners shouldn’t have the need to dress for the job. When I was still working in a bank back home, it was important. Uniform is a big help. Everyone is dressed up the same way or a little difference for the senior posts. This is safer.

    I think majority of us Filipinos are brand conscious. Perhaps our colonial mentality. Anything made in the U.S.A. is tops. Even up to now when most U.S. products are manufactured in China. Only a few really understands that the factory is nearby, only the words in the tags are made in the U.S.A. People will look down on others if they don’t wear/have branded goods. Well, I am guilty of this as well. Especially in my younger days. Now I think that’s snooty.

    As I mature, my thinking is the value I invest on something. As mentioned by snglguy, it’s the quality. I get long life for something expensive right?

    I read another Kmart celebrity couple last week. Avril Lavigne and hubby went K-marting. I think there’s nothing wrong going into those shops if what they need is made in China anyway. Who knows they’re just buying tissue paper or dog food? 🙂

  15. Ipanema – having uniforms is “safer” LOL. I guess it would result in maintaining dress decorum when there are not much options available to employees 🙂

    I have grown sick and tired of being brand conscious myself. When winter comes, I want something that keeps me warm and I couldn’t care less about these brand names any longer 😦

    Incidentally Avril Lavinge is an Ontarian from the town of Napanee. Prior to hitting it big time she was a staff at the town’s Home Depot store. Born and raised in a community of mostly blue collar folks, I am not suprised with her down to earth attitude 🙂

  16. There’s a dress code where I work as well. And you are right, women get away with a lot of their attires especially in the summer time. I just raise my eyebrows when I see them wearing sleeveless, backless, low necklines and short skirts.

    I remember wearing those uniforms when I worked in the Philippines. It was easier and less expensive.

    I used to like branded clothes as well but I now purchase my clothes based on price and quality.

  17. even if you’re not required to dress up in coat and tie, there is still a dress code in the office. actually, there’s a silent dress code anywhere.

    and re branded clothes, guilty as charged. hahahaha. but i’m okay with it. coz it’s good quality naman. but i make sure the clothes that i buy do not shout the brand name. and to make sure an it’s not fake, i buy from the store itself 🙂

  18. Leah – It is OK for women nowadays to change to running shoes when they commute to work and it doesn’t matter what they wear 🙂 They keep a bunch of regular shoes at work. Unfortunately men can’t do this – it looks so sissy hehe 🙂

  19. Tin – I know what you mean , given that everybody wears a uniform, there are those who carry themselves really well and those who looks like sclouches hehe 🙂

    Guilty ka rin ba.. It’s part of growing up I think but in the end it also has to do with the society you’re in. If no one gives a hoot about branded clothes then it is no big deal. Of course there’s always that desire for quality and feeling good with yourself that motivates people for branded clothes 🙂

  20. Branded clothes are in my opinion an antire waste of money. I only buy them if I have extra money to spare, which doesn’t happen too often 😦

    It is all about how you carry yourself with your choice of clothes that really matter 🙂

  21. I think being appropriately dressed for occasion good enough for me. But dang, because of our dress code at work, once the girls started wearing something showing their beautiful cleavages, they get a “friendly” reminder from the managers, who may not want to do it, (since they too love looking at them, except some lady managers) but young girls nowadays are up to date and somehow they’ll try to beat the code..

    Anyways still have to get an appropriate winter coat for this will be first car less winter. Hope won’t get frostbites waiting for the bus..hehe…

  22. yes siree, it’s safer. i hate women who come to work dressed improperly. it’s hard if the person can’t identify which one is sensible clothes and party clothes. i mean a little bit of power dressing if one is connected with bigcos. and dress something that would suit a small shop.

    oh i see. thanks for that info. on Avril. 🙂

  23. I used to be too formal at the office when I was still in Marketing but when I moved to another department, I started wearing long-sleeved polos sand the tie. It feels liberating. On Fridays, I see to it that I wear jeans so I don’t need to change for the evening’s “gimmick”. I love freedom!

  24. I think it’s only important to wear a suit and tie if you work in sales. AS for us other grunts who just stay in the office, business-casual is just fine. 😀

    If it was just a bbq, then I wouldn’t mind the sandals. I’d put on a short-sleeve collared shirt though, not just a T-shirt. 😀

    I don’t really shop for clothes so brand names are not that important to me. I do remember in the late ’90s when Nike got a bad rap for using child labor and paying them next-to-nothing. That’s one brand I don’t shop for. I’m thinking big brand names still do a bit of this stuff so they can cut costs.

  25. Irrealis – absolutely agree with you when it comes to having the best bang of your buck. A good dresser is always one whatever brand of clothes he/she wears 🙂

  26. Vic – good that there’s the fashion police in your office hehe 🙂 Well, good that you’ve decided to be car-less this winter. Public transport is always available anytime as long as you live within Metro – just dress up warmly at all times 🙂

  27. Ipanema – believe it or not many years ago the then head of our HR, a woman , gave a series of orientation to staff on dress decorum, this was before the business casual dress code was implemented. There were women in our company who come to work with their party clothes the night before ( apparently spent the night somewhere) !

    In this part of the world, company uniforms are mandatory only for service companies – i.e., hotels, trains, hospitals, airports. Other than these type of companies, uniforms are a no no, probably because companies don’t want to subsidize or that people prefer to dress up in whatever way they want.

  28. Abaniko – it is refreshing indeed. Business casual here is minus the tie so it’s even more relaxing. I happen to agree that the more casual one is, his productivity increases, esp those who are not in the business of interfacing with clients 🙂

  29. Wil – it does appear kind of cultural for Pinoys not to dress up when they are the host of a party. I have noticed this many times. It does seem odd when everybody else is dressed and the host isn’t !

    Yep, child labor in Asian countries is one of the concerns not only with clothes but globalization as a whole, and no wonder why the cost of production becomes much cheaper. The irony is Nike and these other brands are selling them many times over when it gets to North America 😦

  30. I’ve always been a shirt and jeans type of gal. And I guess, being a print media person, I could get away with it. But my editor (the lifestyle ed) did tell me once that I should dress up for special occasions like company parties and press conferences usually held in 5-star hotels. So I would wear a pantsuit sometimes.

    I had the hardest time, fashion wise, when I worked as a media relations supervisor for a big corporation (I lasted only 8 months there). The HRD manager would always reprimand me for wearing casual clothes in the office. I was able to come up with a solution: wear Hang Ten or Giordano shirts and cover them up with a nice-looking blazer matched with formal slacks. LOL.

    Based on your blog posts, it seems to me that you’re the posh kind of guy. Parang pang GQ. 🙂 Tama ba?

  31. ah, well..it’s always comfy to wear casual dresses. unfortunately, we have to abide by the dress codes in a company.

    i am not brand conscious with clothes. with gadgets, they have to be of the best quality.

  32. I remember those days when I also have to pay a loonie ($2.00 ba sa inyo?) to wear jeans on jeans day. I’m going to work back at the office, permanently, in a few weeks and I heard that every Friday is now jeans day. And we don’t have to pay. 🙂
    When it comes to business dress codes, yes, I think we women can get away with anything more than you guys. I think it’s only in the summer when they would keep reminding us what’s the appropriate footwear. Like what kind of sandals you should be wearing at the office.I have certain styles of clothing that I like. But I’m not brand conscious. This is also something that I have instilled in my children. Mahirap na kasi at baka laging mahal ang ipabili eh tatlo sila. 🙂

  33. Jayred – folks in the media get away with many things .. As for me being GQ ( LOL) my policy is simply as they say, dressing like the day is importan 🙂 . Branded is an exception rather than rule for me. My wife is the same but when it comes to our daughter she breaks the rule more than me. She buys my daughter six pairs of shoes at one time. Call it silly but ganyan yata pag nag-iisa lang ang anak. 🙂

  34. Bingskee – comfy clothes is the way to go man. In fact the real challenge for me would be finding the highest paying job while wearing jeans hehe 🙂

  35. Niceheart – in summer women can wear almost anything they want and in our office as long as you don’t wear shirts with silly prints and torn jeans, you are OK. On the footwear side, yes, women can get away with sandals in summer while men can’t. I agree with you – it is silly to buy children branded clothes. I always remind my wife of that proverbial saying “ the baby in the $1,000 Jeep stroller is an ugly baby “ hahaha 🙂

  36. I myself am a casual person but I do not mind dressing up on occasion if it calls for it. I prefer comfort than brand specially with shoes. I noticed dito sa US specially dito sa FL, people are not sticklers for dressing properly. Minsan sa grocery, nakakakita ako ng mga taong tipong naka-pajama at mukhang bagong gising. People up north though dress up more, kahit na nasa bahay lang (based on my observations).

  37. Patrice – you are right. Some people don’t really care how they look. I will never go grocery shopping in my pajamas LOL 🙂

    I once had a colleague , a young guy, who came to work in an un-ironed white long sleeve shirt with tie. The shirt looked like it didn’t even go to the dryer. He was brave enough to wear it the entire day hehe 🙂

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