“Pink is so me,” my best friend Ana said rather sarcastically when I told her I was putting her in various tops in the saccharine shade. My friends and I like to play the “This is so you” game whenever we watch a fashion show or scan through a magazine. We’ve categorized each other’s personal style into eras: I’m from the 1950s, my friend Agoo who loves to wear bling, could fall under the 1980s and Ana is definitely from the disco ’70s. She rocks vintage looks like a pro with her model-like features and lithe frame. Once, at a party, she wore her mom’s high waist bell-bottoms and looked absolutely divine. You can say fashion brought us together and at four years my junior, she’s the other sister I was meant to have. We can spend hours dissecting a strong fashion image or a designer we adore and quickly jump topics to the latest gossip or cosmetic surgery trend (and who’s had what done). As much as she loves fashion, Ana is also a huge braniac who loves books and trivial things. She has a soft spot for animals that she decided to go vegetarian years ago (while putting up with her carnivorous friends) and is one of the most resilient people I know—she can literally bloom anywhere! I miss her when she’s in Bangkok where she now lives and thrives, so I couldn’t pass up this chance to bond. I believe pink could be her next signature color, as evidenced by these very girly and fresh images. Now to convince her…
What she does Bangkok-based word slinger
Personal style I’m a minimalist and I’m allergic to clutter, and this is reflected in how I decorate my home, the clothes I wear and how I accessorize. I like clean lines, sleek silhouettes and solid, neutral tones. A friend recently color-coordinated my closet and my whites took up half of the space. My new mantra is, when in doubt, wear white. Or black. Or gray.
So you can say wearing pink for this shoot was a bit out of my comfort zone.
I’m a bit of a schizo, actually. Either I buy really loose, easy-wear clothing that hang on my body or well-tailored pieces that emphasize – or camouflage – my, uh, proportions.
Living in Bangkok has definitely changed the way I dress. I walk a lot more now and dress more casually. I never wore sneakers when I lived in Manila. And now I have two pairs! That’s two more than what I had back home. I worked for a luxury lifestyle magazine in Bangkok for a year and that required some dressing up, but now that I work in an agency setting, I go to the office in stretchy jeans and a loose top, sometimes even sans makeup. It’s quite liberating. After years of feeling I needed to dress or look a certain way because it was, somehow, required of my profession, I can now step out of the house without my brows “on fleek” (whatever). And, oh my god, it feels good.
On the importance of appearance Looking good is important, but it’s more important to feel good. So if you need to look good to feel good and to boost your self-confidence, then dress up to the nines, put on four-inch heels and wear falsies everyday. Personally, I need to feel comfortable in order to feel good. And that’s probably the reason why I barely wear cream foundation or why I’ve never wanted to wear a Hervé Leger bodycon dress – I’ll never feel comfortable with so much gunk on my face or wondering the entire night if the dress I’m wearing makes me look fat. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, 6.5 on a daily basis. But 9 if I need to make an impression – or if I’m going on a date.
Her days be like I work the 9 to 6 grind now so my weekdays pretty much follow a routine. But what happens after work or on the weekends is a free for all. Bangkok has an amazing food scene so I spend weeknights and weekends hunting down amazing vegetarian fare in the city. I also learned how to cook when I moved to Bangkok, and realized that I can actually be one of those domestic types that finds joy in stir-frying. And I’ve also become boring. There’s nothing better than a night in front of the TV watching BBC’s Planet Earth.
Favorite designers and shopping haunts Bangkok is a shopping mecca, and Thai designers so talented, that there are always good finds in every mall or in some streetside boutique. Sometimes, I even spot great pieces at the market right by where I work (I go out to buy a salad for lunch and come back with a slouchy top). It also depends on which Club 21 store is on sale. But usually, you’d find me at Top’s Supermarket. Vegetables section…
I’m not obsessed with a particular brand or designer, although I do have certain purchase goals: a Roland Mouret or Zac Posen gown, a Carolina Herrera button-down shirt, a tie-dress from Donna Karan’s Urban Zen line and a pair of Rothy’s shoes made out of recycled water bottles.
Top 5 closet staples
Black, stretchy skinny jeans or pants.
White tops or dresses.
Vintage clothing. I believe in fashion longevity (or I’m just a cheapskate), which is why I hang on to hand-me-downs from my mom and still keep clothes that I wore when I was a teenager or in my early 20s. My favorite jeans now is a pair that I’ve had since I was 13.
Seamless underwear. I’ve always fantasized about owning those little scraps of lacy lingerie, but each time I buy underwear, I find myself gravitating to seamless, practical cotton pieces. I hate wearing thong underwear; for some inane reason, I feel it’ll give me a hernia.
Impractical shoes. For those days when I’m brave enough to traverse Bangkok’s streets on skinny heels.
Celebrity crush Can I please have Madonna’s biceps, Kate Bosworth’s eyes (I’ve always wondered how it feels to have heterochromia), Halle Berry’s butt in the first X-Men film, Olivia Wilde’s bone structure, Song Hye Ko’s skin and Joan Smalls’ everything else?
Online surfing Al Jazeera for world news. The New York Times for lifestyle reads. Business of Fashion for designer updates. Inhabit for eco news. Jonathan Pie’s Facebook page for political insights. James Corden’s and Graham Norton’s YouTube channels if I want to laugh.
Reading material In a fantasy world, where I have enough time to read or even buy magazines, I’ll be sprawled on my couch perusing through every issue of Vanity Fair, Cereal, British Vogue, Afar and Time Style evolution
Current uniform I believe in having a signature, something that others can associate with you. I guess mine would be lined eyes, matte lip color and emphasized cheekbones (flaunt ’em if you have ’em). Fashion-wise, probably black skinny bottoms with heels.
The same top becomes event ready and can even be garden wedding-appropriate when worn under a sleeveless dress.
Dress, Dior; shoes, Zara; bag, Lanvin.
Pink can temper a serious suit and Ana injected a bit of punk with a grommet belt just to throw things off. Every bit the #Girlboss, yassss.
Jacket and belt, Zara; pants, Margiela x H&M; shoes, Zara.
My mom got me this old rose kimono from Tokyo on a recent trip and I thought about styling it three ways to get the most mileage. Here, Ana wears it with a very on-trend slip dress to keep her warm and add interest to the simple shape.
A kimono can take the place of the usual blazer for the workplace. Plus, it’s the perfect transition piece for cocktail hour.
Top, Unif0rm; pants, Levi’s; boots, Calvin Klein. This furry guy is her beloved Santino (who is very protective and quite fiesty. He has yet to develop a liking to me).
Dress down the kimono with a white tank and denim cut-offs and it instantly becomes your weekend or beach go-to piece.
White tank, Zara; denim shorts she’s had since she was 13 from Guess; sandals, Marks & Spencer.
Velvet was a huge trend last fall. The blousy style of this bodysuit easily transitions to spring/summer and the rich texture and color dresses up even the most tattered boyfriend jeans. I nabbed this during the last Zara sale, the only piece I got! #proudmoment
Jeans, Zara; shoes, Giuseppe Zanotti.
Tone down the plunging neckline and wear a tank top underneath to make it office-appropriate. Keep the rest of the look simple and streamlined with capri pants and closed shoes.
Pants, Dorothy Perkins; shoes, Zara.
We dubbed this the travel outfit, paying homage to Gucci with the black bow on the turtleneck that she layered under the top. Paired it with white slacks to keep it from looking too severe and two-tone sandals to pull the look together.
Turtleneck, vintage; earrings, H&M; pants, Mango; shoes, Giuseppe Zanotti.