Stripes, stripes, stripes

I can’t recall how many striped tops I’ve gone through since I learned the power and versatility of this classic print. The last one was a boatneck with long sleeves I’d roll up to the elbow that had a slouchy fit, which I wore to death and cost less than P2000 from H&M. I loved it so much that I wore it dressed up, dressed down, to work, to the beach, to the mall and eventually, in the comforts of my living room when it was no longer acceptable to wear it out. I have a couple of t-shirts, thicker versions for travel and a brown and white one that’s close to my old favorite that I’m trying not to abuse too much. Truth is, stripes are the most democratic print out there that every woman with every body type gravitates to, fashionistas or not. It really is a neutral, wear-with-anything print that withstands trends, time and place. Consider it your best friend, your constant and something you can rely on when you have two minutes to get ready. Here are some of the ways my personal style icons styled the beloved print. Get inspired to wear this staple!

All images from the World Wide Web.

Oh, Tokyo!

Turning Japanese: my husband and I in coordinated outfits that we swear, didn’t plan, shot by a lovely tourist that happened to pass by the exact spot this ice cream shop was. It’s quite the serendipitous photo that I’ll treasure for life.

December 2018. It was our first time in Tokyo, a bit implausible for Filipinos who practically take the country by storm during the summer break, and now even the holidays for a chance to experience snow. Suffice to say, we now know what the fuss is all about! Japan’s capital is every bit what I expected in my dreams, and so, so much more. For a city girl like me, navigating the busy, hectic, sometimes manic streets of Tokyo is akin to a hamster in a very elaborate cage/colony that I never wanted to get out of. I lived for the rush of crossing busy Shibuya, running to catch a train, squeezing into tiny restaurants and watching the rest of the city do the same thing day in and day out. I loved how the Japanese pay attention to the most minute details, like the time to make everything around them functional and pretty. I enjoyed how bright the streets were at night, how safe it felt even at the wee hours and how they valued space (or a lack thereof) by using each millimetre. And don’t even get me started on the shopping! You can easily burn a few hundred thousands in a day if you let yourself go; same goes with the food, albeit there are lots of cheap eats for the budget-conscious. I couldn’t help but compare it to my hometown which is light years away in terms of almost everything and felt a sense of sadness mixed with awe on how it was so possible to have all these conveniences if only things were different. While we barely scratched the surface of this magnificent city, I think we did pretty well exploring, eating, shopping and bonding to last us until our next visit.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip, all shot with my trusty iPhone 8 that I whipped out about ten thousand times a day when I’d see something wonderful.

My first glimpse of Shibuya Crossing that left me awestruck.

Simple, fresh, perfection.

Meiji Temple

Early morning temple run

Omotesando & Harajuku

Kids off to school were adorable!

No shortage of IG spots here.

Uber hipster cafe.

The famed street devoid of the once colorfully dressed characters that were so popular in the ’90s. Sad to have missed that era.

Some fashion remnants of what once was.

Sneaker shops galore!

Wanted these but the smallest size won’t even fit.

Tried these on for size.


Went back for these two days after and it was sold out!

Famed gyoza place in Cat Street.

Verdict: a bit on the bland side, but good.


Ended up with these Puma Thunder Spectra and I love them!


Newly opened Ginza Six mall.

Multi-level Uniqlo.

Happy to see the old logo still up here.

Tall and short in one street.

These are actual puppets that moved with the music!

Took a break at the Dover Street Market cafe.

Jingu Gaien

Our anniversary meal!


Thrift shops and local ware can be found in every corner of this charming ‘hood.


Sushi for brekky!


At the Golden Gai.

Found this tiny 24-hour ramen shop in the maze of bars and restos.

Soup was sardine-based and so tasty.

Roponggi Hills

The breeze was nice and cool up here.



All vegetarian tacos with different flavored tortillas. Tasted so clean and fresh.

Fish tacos.

Such a delightful ward!

Gorgeous townhouses.

Very hip local Spring Valley brewery.


The leaves were falling as we stolled…so whimsical.

Couldn’t leave without having his goodies!

Finally tried the famed frozen s’mores! TDF!!!

Carlo’s chocolate mousse.

Another dreamy resto.

















Caftan, Josie Natori in Rustans; gold platforms, Santoni/Rubelli from Santoni in Milan.

Cecil Ravelas is a walking, talking, breathing version of an artwork one might find in a very stylish shop…at least that’s what I thought when I met her at Lagun Hotel (which she interior designed) in El Nido during a Smile Magazine shoot last October. She had on a shapeless mustard dress in soft linen and major statement earrings to offset the plain garment and looked particularly eye-catching, immediately giving off that fashuuuun vibe well-dressed individuals have, however simple their outfits may be. She had It and seemed like a really nice lady, so naturally I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Once I started to engage with Cecil, I found it hard to stop exchanging views, both creative and otherwise. She’s someone who puts you immediately at ease, whatever topic you choose to tackle; in our case it was design, fashion, food, travel and shopping (while travelling)! Cecil is funny, intelligent, generous with her time, advice and a shopaholic—probably my favorite personality combination; seeing a small part of her closet got me ooooing and ahhhing at the merch, mostly bought in their countries of origin for a fraction of the price compared to Manila. This also told me she is a practical person who happens to love nice things. Her design aesthetic—as seen here at the S.C. Vizcarra and Beautiqua shop in Shangri-La Plaza mall—is just as intriguing, inventive and original as she is. I asked how her staff did the beehive-like design of the Beautiqua display (inspired by the chemical structure symbol of Hyalauronic acid, the shared ingredient of the skincare products that promises young-looking skin) from cut wood and she just replied with a laugh na “na-stress sila.”  Only a beautiful mind can think of such a design: an accessible work of art worthy of exhibit.

More of this brilliant designer and stellar human being below.

What she does  Interior Designer

Personal style   Depends on my mood. My constant is really more androgynous, modern minimalist, architectural, utilitarian, comfortable.

On appearance and why it matters  How you look sets the mood anywhere you go. I always tell my staff to dress well even when going to job sites. If you look nice, then you have better chances of being heard, you feel good and you spread cheer to those around you. People feel good and are more attentive when they see you well dressed.

Her days be like  Hectic! Now I start my day with my trainer. I am trying to do regular exercise to become more healthy; then my busy day begins with me shuttling  between client meetings,  job site visits then office work. In the evening, I try to join friends for dinner or just have a few glasses of wine with them or sometimes just more dinner meetings for me. In between, I manage to attend some events. Otherwise, I am in a plane off to a site for ocular or a factory visit. Saturday morning I swim with my coach & my high school friends and then do salon or lunch then attend learning workshops. Sunday is my lounging and quiet day. For leisure I travel to eat, take photos, discover new places & meet new friends.

Favorite designers and shopping haunts  Atsuro Tatsuyama, Issey Miyake, Marimekko, Christian Dior, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen.

I have very limited options in Manila because of sizing so I shop when I travel. Most of my shopping I do outside when I travel to Hong Kong, Milan or London—it’s the cities I visit regularly. COS is my staple then a few pieces from Atsuro Tatsuyama, 45R, Issey,  Marimekko. In Milan, there are nice local shops I go to – 120% Lino, Liviana Conti and then there’s La Rinascente!

Top 5 closet staples Shoes, Shoes & Shoes! My Repetto & Gucci ballet flats, Adidas sneakers and Doc Martens. My Dior Studded  denim coat, Harlan & Holden cabin dress, scarves and bags!

Celebrity crush Angelina Jolie

Online surfing Dezeen, Design Milk, Dior, Valentino

Reading material Architectural digest, Interior Design magazines, Vogue

Style evolution I now go for comfort, less detail; more minimal but structural, more particular in pieces. I am still attracted to unique pieces. When I was younger and smaller I can wear anything—I had an ethnic phase, lacy, ruffly phase, jeans & shirt phase, mini skirts, sheer dresses, corsets–name it and I have it! I guess I wore it all, haha! Now I am more selective and comfort is non-negotiable.

Current uniform color black is my uniform! It’s easy to dress up and dress down so a black dress is my uniform paired with red bags or shoes.

The beautiful all-wood design up close!

Her interesting accessories complement this S.C. Vizcarra bag perfectly.

Daily uniform: Mint Design dress, Assembly; shoes, United Nude in London; red cuff & skull ring by Arnel Papa.

Shoes, United Nude in London; red cuff & skull ring by Arnel Papa; woven bag by SC Vizcarra.

Dress, Issey Miyake from a Corso Como store in Milan; black heels from Hermes in Milan.

Patent Mary Jane flats, Gucci.

Another match made in fashion heaven.

Dress, Marimekko Hong Kong; orange bangle from United Nude London; flats, Gucci.

More quirky bags from S.C. Vizcarra

Pinstripe navy dress, 45R Harbour City, Hong Kong; studded sneakers Christian Dior Milan; earrings by Adante Leyesa.